The ancient Land of the Ladin

The Ladin Language

The annexation of Rhaetia to the Roman Empire allowed the diffusion of the Latin language among the indigenous population.

The vulgar Latin spoken by Roman soldiers and merchants underwent a particular transformation over the centuries, from which the Ladin language or “retoromanzo” originated.

There is evidence that in the past a vast area of Ladin influence stretched from the sources of the Rhine to Trieste, from the Danube to Lake Garda.

The Ladin language today is divided into many local varieties, all of which form an original language system: Ladin is, therefore, a Romance language with some characteristic features:

  • the preservation of the final Ladin -s (as in the formation of the plural);
  • the palatalisation of the GA and CA links;
  • conservation of pl, bl, fl, cl, etc. groups;
  • the reduction of the QU and GU links.

Traces of the pre-Latin vocabulary, especially in place names, are preserved in the Ladin dialects, while the contribution of the contact languages, the Tyrolean dialects and the Alto-Italian dialects was considerable over the centuries.

Fassano represents the southernmost Ladin dialect of the Dolomite group.

It is divided into three main varieties, locally called cazèt (high valley), brach (central Fassa) and moenat (Moena).

The Ladin areas today

  1. Canton Grigioni (approx. 50,000) Engadina, Val Mustair, Surmeir, Sutselva, Surselva
  2. Ladina Dolomitica (approx. 30,000) Val Gardena, Val Badia, Marebbe, Val di Fassa, Livinallongo, Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  3. Comelico(approx. 10,000)
  4. Friuli(approx. 700,000)