PRIMIS - The protection of linguistic minorities in Friuli Venezia Giulia Region


The linguistic physiognomy of Friuli Venezia Giulia is very articulated and unique in its kind. Due to its geographical position, Latin, Slavic and Germanic languages meet here. In Friuli Venezia Giulia, in fact, four officially recognized languages are used: in addition to Italian, Slovenian, Friulian and German are present.

In addition to the protection of the Slovenian, Friulian and Germanic communities, the FVG Region provides funding for the enhancement of the dialects of Venetian origin and in favor of the Resian and of the linguistic variants of the Natisone, Torre and Val Canale valleys.

With the law n. 482 of December 15, 1999, the Italian State proceeded to standardize, in implementation of art. 6 of the Constitution, the protection and enhancement of the historical linguistic minorities of Italy, while until that date the protected linguistic minorities, in particular the Slovenians of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Germans of South Tyrol, were so following to specific international agreements reached at the end of the Second World War, such as the Special Statute annexed to the London Memorandum of 1954 and the Treaty of Osimo of 1975.

The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region had already adopted specific regulations, albeit of different scope and with different funding for each of the linguistic minorities identified by Law 482, in particular with Regional Laws 46/1991 (Slovenian minority), 15/1996 (Friulian language and culture) and 4/1999, art. 6 (German-speaking community).

Therefore, following the Law 482/1999 and the subsequent Law 38/2001 (on Global protection of the Slovenian minority), a situation of regional "plurilingualism" emerges in Friuli Venezia Giulia, on which the Region, based on its Statute of Autonomy, it is called to operate, considering that some regional linguistic communities are specific and exclusive to Friuli Venezia Giulia, while the Germanic communities are also present in other Italian regions close to the Alpine arc.

Law 38/2001 for the protection of the Slovenian minority prefigures "global" interventions in favour of a specific minority.

This is a complex legal regulation which for the first time recognizes the presence of the Slovenian linguistic minority of Friuli Venezia Giulia not only in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia, already protected by international agreements, but also in the province of Udine, recognizing the Institute for the Slovenian education of San Pietro al Natisone and allocating funding for the protection of the social, economic and environmental interests of the Municipalities of the Canal del Ferro, the Val Canale, the Valli del Torre and the Valli del Natisone.

With the Regional Law 15/1996 for the first time the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region regulates a global protection of the Friulian language and culture, also having a regional Observatory of the Friulian language and culture (OLF) and a specific administrative unit for the communities. language. In 2004 the OLF was replaced by the Regional Agency for Friulian Language (ARLeF).

The work of the ARLeF Technical Scientific Committee is fundamental for the Friulian language policy: the task assigned to it is to plan and coordinate all the initiatives in favor of the Friulian language. Of strategic importance in this sense is in particular the task of supervising the process for the unitary spelling of the Friulian language and of favoring the production of dictionaries and any other instrument capable of spreading and facilitating the use of this spelling.

The Germanic communities of the FVG are present in six municipalities in the province of Udine.

In the municipalities of Sauris/Zahre, Sappada/Plodn and Paluzza (hamlet of Timau/Tischlbong) an archaic language similar to that of other German-speaking communities in Northern Italy is spoken, with which cultural and linguistic relationships and exchanges also occur thanks to the Unitary Committee of the Germanic Historical Linguistic Islands in Italy (established in Luserna in May 2002).

In the municipalities of Val Canale/Kanaltal (Tarvisio/Tarvis, Malborghetto-Valbruna and Pontebba/Pontafel) the German language is spoken in the Carinthian variant.

The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region has promoted with art. 6, paragraphs 40, 41, 41 bis of the Regional Law 4/1999 on Specific actions of protection and enhancement for the Germanic communities, providing funding for cultural, but above all linguistic activities, both of clubs and cultural associations and of the six Municipalities in which they are German-speaking citizens present.

An important step forward in the path of recognition of the indigenous Germanic communities present on the regional territory was reached in 2009, with the approval of the first organic legislative protection text: the Regional Law of 20 November 2009, n. 20 containing Rules for the protection and promotion of German-speaking minorities in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

With the Regional Law 20/2019 Provisions for the protection and promotion of the Slovenian, Friulian and German linguistic minorities of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Region wanted to adapt and update the previous legislation concerning minorities to the changed institutional set-up of the Region and Local institutions.