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Ladin language and identity

Ladin is a Romance language of ancient origin and constitutes the remnants of a greater linguistic system that once spread over the whole of Gallo-Roman Europe and still culturally distinguishes the Dolomites, Friuli and the Grisons.

It is a mountain language: its linguistic structures are specialised to describe the features of the alpine environment with the maximum expressiveness possible. The earliest words form a "technical vocabulary" and belong to the languages of the pre-Indo-European peoples who lived in the Alps before the Roman invasion. They are called "alpine words" such as crepa (= bare rock), piz (= summit, peak), toèl (= mountain gorge devoid of vegetation), boa (= landslide), troi (= path), baranchie (= mountain pine), dascia (= fir bough).

The voices of these ancient peoples resound in the archaic timbre of such words, pronounced today on a daily basis in schools, newscasts and family conversations. These are the words of nature and a vital part of the experience of the community.