|Spoken in:||the eastern part of Italy|
|Official language of:||No country. Officially recognized in Italy with the law 482/1999|
|Regulated by:||Osservatori Regjonâl de Lenghe e de Culture Furlanis|
|See also: Language – List of languages|
Friulian (friulano in Italian, Furlan in Friulian) is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaetian languages family, spoken in the north-east of Italy (Friuli-Venezia Giulia province) by about 600,000 people. It is also called Eastern Ladin, since it has the same roots of Ladin, although in the centuries it has developed in different ways under the influence of surrounding cultures (German, Italian, Venetian, Slovenian). It has a good cultural background (there were poems and works in Friulian already in 1300, while first documents appear in 11th century) and in the 20th century there was a revival of the language, which continues so far.
Table of contents
The area of diffusion
Today, Friulian language is spoken in the Province of Udine, in the vast majority of the Province of Pordenone, in more than half of the Province of Gorizia and in the eastern part of the Province of Venice.
In the world
Friuli was until the 1960s an area of deep poverty, so lots of people left their homeland to search a job; the main destinations were Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, the United States, South Africa. In these countries there are still today associations of Friulian immigrants (called Fogolâr furlan) that try to protect the traditions and the language of their origin.
Famous poets and writers
- Ermes di Colloredo (XVI century)
- Pietro Zorutti (XIX century)
- Caterina Percoto (XIX century)
- Pier Paolo Pasolini (XX century)
Long vowels are typical of the Friulian language and this has a great influence also on Friulian pronunciation of Italian. The double consonants (ll, rr, and so on), used a lot in Italian, are nearly absent in Friulian
- The plural has usually an -s termination
- Friulian verb infinitives have one of four endings, either -â, -ê, -i, -î
Actual condition of Friulian
Nowadays, Friulian is officially recognized in Italy with the law 482/1999, which protects linguistic minorities; therefore teaching of Friulian was introduced in many primary schools. An online newspaper is active, and there are also a couple of musical groups who use Friulian for their songs, as well as some theatrical companies. In about 40% of the communities in the Province of Udine, road signs are both in Friulian and Italian. There is also an official translation of the Holy Bible. A famous beer brand used Friulian for one of the latest advertisements.
Every city and village in Friuli has a double toponym, one in Italian and one in Friulian. Only the first one is official and can be used in administration, although the Friulian ones will probably have receive partial acknowledgement in the near future. For example, the city of Udine is called Udin in Friulian, while the town of Tolmezzo is called Tumieç.
Challenges of standardisation
A challenge that Friulian shares with other minorities is to create a standard language and a unique writing system. Usually, Friulian of central areas of Friuli is considered standard, but not everybody agrees.
Variants of Friulian
We can basically find four dialects of Friulian, all of which can be understood by a native speaker. They are usually distinguished by the last letter of nouns, following this scheme:
- Friulian of the central Friuli, around Udine
- words end in -e
- used in official documents and generally considered standard
- Friulian of Carnia (northern Friuli)
- several variants; language can vary with the valleys; words can end in -o, -e, or -a
- Friulian of Bassa Friulana and isontino (south-eastern Friuli)
- words end in -a
- some features of the pronunciation have been lost; this dialect is closer to Italian
- Friulian of pordenonese (western Friuli)
- words end in -a
- deep influence from Venetian dialects
For example, the word home becomes cjase in Central Friuli, cjasa or cjaso in other areas.
There are actually two main writing systems:
- The most common is that approved by the Province of Udine and used in official documents. It uses the same letters that the French language uses: the standard Latin alphabet plus the cedille (ç) and vowels such as â, ê, î, ô, and û. This system is the most natural one.
- An alternative system is called Faggin-Nazzi from the names of the scholars by whom it was proposed. It is also widely used, but it is more difficult for a beginner due to its use of letters such as č that are typical of Slavic languages, but often seem unnatural to native Italian speakers. These letters are used in order to more accurately reflect particular features of Friulian phonology.
- Hello, my name is Jack!
- Mandi, jo o mi clami Jacum!
- Today the weather is really hot!
- Vuê al è propite cjalt!
- I really have to go now, see you
- O scugni propite lâ cumò, ariviodisi
- I cant go out with you tonight, I have to study
- No pues vignî fûr usgnot, o ai di studiâ