The Ladin Language and Ladinia


The denomination "ladin language" refers to a large group of idioms of latin roots, which are spread all along the central and eastern Alps. Within the group three principal varieties can be identified: western ladin (or Rumantsch) in the Grigions of Switzerland; central ladin (or Dolomitic Ladin) in the valleys of the Dolomites; eastern ladin (or Friulano) in Friuli. Because of their different geographical origin the idioms spoken in the Dolomites are considered as belonging to two families, one of which is the "atesina" and the other is the "cadorina". In the same area there are even valleys where the language sounds like a mixture of ladin and venetian elements.

Recently, mixing some local idioms, two standard varieties have been created: the Rumantsch Grischun in Switzerland and the Ladin Dolomitan in the Dolomites. In Friuli the idiom of the midlands is widely accepted as regional standard.

In the Dolomites, Ladinia is devided in two macro-areas. In the west, under the name of Ladinia Brissino-tirolese, five valleys consider themselves as one community: Gardena, Badia, Fassa, Livinallongo and Ampezzo. This particular partnership is due to historical reasons: they all used to be part of Bressanone's countryside in South Tyrol, up to the end of World War I. Nowadays they are devided by administrative boundaries, both regional and provincial. In the east, the so called Ladinia Bellunese puts together the valleys of the Magnifica Comunità del Cadore (Cadore and Comelico), Agordino and Zoldo, which used to be territories belonging to the Republic of Venice. They are included in the Province of Belluno today.

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