Friulian language

Friulian language

Infobox Language
name = Friulian
nativename = Furlan
states = Italy
region = Europe
speakers = 794,000 [ [ Ethnologue report for language code:fur ] ]
iso1 =
iso2 = fur
iso3 = fur
familycolor = Indo-European
fam1 = Indo-European
fam2 = Italic
fam3 = Romance
fam4 = Italo-Western
fam5 = Western
fam6 = Gallo-Iberian
fam7 = Gallo-Romance
fam8 = Gallo-Rhaetian
fam9 = Rhaetian
script = Roman script
agency = Osservatori Regjonâl de Lenghe e de Culture Furlanis

Friulian ("Audio|Furlan.ogg|furlan" or affectionately "marilenghe" in Friulian, "friulano" in Italian) (also "Eastern Ladin") is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaetian family, spoken in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy. Friulian has around 600,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom also speak Italian. It is sometimes called Eastern Ladin, since it comes from the same roots as the Ladin Language although over the centuries it has diverged under the influence of surrounding languages including German, Italian, Venetian, and Slovenian. Documents in Friulian are attested from the 11th century, and poetry and literature dating as far back as 1300. By the 20th century, there was a revival of interest in the language, which has continued to this day.


A question which causes many debates is the influence of the Latin spoken in Aquileia and surrounding areas. Some claim that it had peculiar features that later passed into Friulian. Epigraphs and inscriptions from that period show some variants if compared to the standard Latin language, but most of these are common to other areas of the Roman Empire; often it is cited the fact that Fortunatianus, bishop of Aquileia from 342 till circa 357, wrote a commentary to Gospel in "sermo rusticus", that is in the language spoken by the people, which therefore should have been quite different from Standard Latin [ [ storia ] ] . We don't know the language of the text, but it shows a shift between languages that didn't exist for example in other important communities of Northern Italy. The language spoken before the arrival of the Romans in 181 BC was of Celtic origin, since the inhabitants belonged to the Carni, a Celtic population. In modern Friulian the words of Celtic origins are few, while much influence of the original population is showed in toponyms (names of villages which end in "-acco", "-icco" are an example). Even influences from Longobardic language —Friuli was one of their strongholds—are very few. From this evidence, scholars today agree that the formation of Friulian dates back to around 1000, at the same time as other dialects derived from Latin (see Vulgar Latin). The first written records of Friulian have been found in administrative acts of the 13th century, but these documents became more frequent in the following century, when literary works also emerged ("Frammenti letterari" for example). The main center at that time was Cividale. The Friulian language has never acquired official status: legal statutes were first written in Latin, then in Venetian, and finally in Italian.

Relationship with Ladin ("La questione ladina")

The idea of a unity among Ladin, Romansh and Friulian comes from the Italian historical linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli, who was born in Gorizia. In 1871 he presented his theory that these three languages are part of one family, which in the past stretched from Switzerland to Muggia and perhaps also Istria. Today we can see only those three languages, isolated from one another, that evolved differently—in particular, Friulian was much less influenced by German. The scholar Francescato claimed subsequently that until the 14th century the Venetian language shared a good number of phonetic features with Friulian and Ladin; therefore he thought that Friulian was a much more conservative language. It is also interesting to note that before the arrival of the Romans, the border between Carni and Venetic populations was the river "Liquentia" (nowadays Livenza), which is still the border between Friulian and Venetian today. The most widely-held opinion is that these languages were part of a family but were split many centuries ago. Also, many features that Ascoli thought were peculiar to the Rhaeto-Romance languages can in fact be found in other languages of northern Italy.

The area of diffusion

In Italy

Today, Friulian is spoken in the province of Udine including the area of the Carnia Alps, but widely throughout the province of Pordenone, in half of the province of Gorizia, and in the eastern part of the province of Venice. In the past, the language borders were wider since also in Trieste and Muggia particular variants of Friulian were spoken—the main document about the dialect of Trieste, or "tergestino", is "Dialoghi piacevoli in dialetto vernacolo triestino", published by G. Mainati in 1828.

In the world

Friuli was until the 1960s an area of deep poverty, causing a large number of Friulian speakers to emigrate. Most went to France, Belgium, and Switzerland or outside Europe, to Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, the United States, and South Africa. In these countries there are associations of Friulian immigrants (called "Fogolâr furlan") who try to protect their traditions and language.


The first texts in Friulian date back to the 13th century and are mainly commercial or juridical acts. We can see in these examples that Friulian was used together with Latin, which was still the administrative language. The prime examples of literature that have survived—much from this period has been lost—are poetry from the 14th century, which are mainly dedicated to the theme of love and were probably inspired by the Italian poetic movement Dolce Stil Novo. The most famous work is "Piruç myò doç inculurit" (which means "My sweet, coloured pear"), composed by an anonymous author from Cividale, probably in 1380.Before a vowel, both il and la can be abbreviated to l'.The indefinite article in Friulian (corresponding to "a" in English) varies according to gender.

An example: "jo o lavori" means I work; "jo lavorio?" means Do I work?, while "lavorassio" means I wish I worked.


* Friulian verbal infinitives have one of four endings, either -â, -ê, -i, -î; if you remove the ending you get the root which is used to form the other forms ("fevel - â", to speak). In the case of irregular verbs, even the root changes. These kind of verbs are commonly used ("jessi", to be, "vê", to have, "podê", to be able to). Frequently people use verbs in combination with adverbs to restrict the meaning.


An adjective can be made into an adverb by adding -mentri to the ending of the feminine singular form of the adjective ("lente" becomes "lentementri", slowly), though it can sometimes [Such is the case of Friulian adjectives deriving from Latin adjectives of the second class.] lose the -e of the adjective ("facile" becomes "facilmentri", easily). These type of formation is more common in written language; in spoken language people use frequently other forms or locutions (i.e. "a planc" for slowly).


Most of the Friulian vocabulary is derived from Latin. Needless to say, there have been substantial phonological and morphological changes throughout its history. Therefore many words are shared with Romance languages, [ [ Language similarity table] ] but other languages have contributed too:
* German words were introduced in particular in the Middle Ages, during the Patrie dal Friûl, when the influence from this culture was quite strong (i.e. "bearç", backyard; "bussâ", to kiss).
* Slavic words were brought by immigrants that several times were called to Friuli to repopulate lands where the inhabitants had been killed due to Hungarian invasions in 10th century (i.e. "cjast", barn; "zigâ", to shout). There is also a good number of toponyms of Slavic origins.
* There are many words that have Germanic (probably Longobardic origins) and Celtic roots (what still remains of the languages spoken before Roman colonizations). Examples of the first category are "sbregâ", to tear; "sedon", spoon; "taponâ", to cover. For the latter category, "troi", path; "bragons", trousers.
* The Venetian language influenced Friulian vocabulary, for example "canucje", straw.
* scientific terms are often of Greek origin, and there are also some Arab terms in Friulian ("lambic", still)
* Some French words entered the Friulian vocabulary: examples include "pardabon", really and "gustâ", to have lunch
* Many English words (such as computer, monitor, mouse and so on) have entered the Friulian vocabulary through Italian.
* Italian itself has a growing influence on Friulian vocabulary, especially as far as neologisms are concerned (e.g. "treno" meaning train, "aereo" meaning airplane). Such neologisms are currently used, although not accepted in the official dictionary.

Present condition of Friulian

Nowadays, Friulian is officially recognized in Italy, supported by law 482/1999, which protects linguistic minorities. Therefore, teaching of Friulian has been introduced in many primary schools. An online newspaper is active, and there are also a number of musical groups which use Friulian for their songs as well as some theatrical companies. Recently two movies have been made in Friulian ("Tierç lion", "Lidrîs cuadrade di trê"), with positive reviews in Italian newspapers. In about 40 per cent of the communities in the Province of Udine, road signs are in both Friulian and Italian. There is also an official translation of the Holy Bible. In 2005, a famous brand of beer used Friulian for one of its commercials.

The main association to foster the use and development of Friulian is the "Societât filologjiche furlane", founded in Gorizia in 1919.


Every city and village in Friuli has two names, one in Italian and one in Friulian. Only the Italian is official and used in administration, although it is widely expected that the Friulian ones will 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. The regional law 15/1996 approved a standard orthography, which represents the basis of a common variant and should be used in toponyms, official acts, written documents. These standard is based on Central Friulian, which was traditionally the language used in literature already in 1700 and afterwards (the biggest examples are probably Pieri Çorut's works), but with some changes:
* the diphthong "ie" replaces "ia", e.g. "fier (iron)" instead of "fiar" or "tiere (soil, Earth)" instead of "tiare".
* the use of "vu" instead of "u" at the beginning of word, e.g. "vueli (oil)" instead of "ueli " or "vueit (empty)" instead of "ueit".
* the use of "i" between vocals, for example "ploie (rain)" instead of "ploe".

Standard Friulian is called in Friulian "furlan standard", "furlan normalizât", or, using a Greek word "coinè".

Criticism against standard Friulian

There have been several critics of the standardization of Friulian, mainly from speakers of local variants which can differ a lot from it; they also argue that the standard could eventually kill local variants. The answer of the supporters of standardization are the various advantages that a unique form can bring to the language, above all it can help to stop the influence of Italian language in the neologisms, which pose a serious threat to Friulian's future development. They also explain this is a written standard, and it doesn't affect pronunciation, that can follow local variants.

Variants of Friulian

Four dialects of Friulian can be distinguished, all mutually intelligible. They are usually distinguished by the last vowel of many parts of speech (including nouns, adjectives, adverbs), following this scheme:
*Central Friulian, spoken around Udine:*words end in -e:*used in official documents and generally considered standard:*some people sees it as the less original, since it doesn't show interesting features which can be found in other variants
*Northern Friulian, spoken in Carnia:*several variants; language can vary with the valleys; words can end in -o, -e, or -a
*South-eastern Friulian, spoken in Bassa Friulana, and Isontino, spoken in the area along the Isonzo River (the area of the old Contea di Gorizia e Gradisca:*words end in -a:*some features of the pronunciation have been lost; this dialect is closer to Italian
*Western Friulian, including Pordenonese, spoken in the Province of Pordenone, also called "concordiese", from Concordia Sagittaria:*words end in -a:*Venetian influence:*some claims that this is the more conservative variant

For example, the word "home" becomes "cjase" in Central Friulian, and "cjasa" or "cjaso" in other areas. It is also notable that the most famous intellectual who used friulian during the 20th century. Pier Paolo Pasolini, wrote his works in Western Friulian, since he learned the language from his mother who was from Casarsa/Cjasarsa ( [] ), near Pordenone.

It's worth to note that in 13th century, early literary works in Friulian were based on the language spoken in Cividale, which was at that time the most important town in Friuli. These works show endings in -o, which, interestingly, nowadays is restricted to some villages in Carnia. Later, the main city of Friuli became Udine and the most common ending was -a; only from the 16th century on, -e endings were used in standard Friulian.

Writing systems

In the official writing system, approved by the Province of Udine and used in official documents, Friulian is written using the Latin alphabet, plus the c-cedilla (ç). The letter q is used only for personal names and historical toponyms, in every other case is replaced by c. Besides that, k, x, w, and y appear only in loan words, so they are not considered part of the alphabet.:Aa Bb Cc Çç Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv ZzThere are also grave accents (à, è, ì, ò and ù) and circumflex accents (â, ê, î, ô, and û), which are put above the vowels to distinguish between homophonic words or to show where there is stress (the former) and show long vowels (the latter).

Other systems

An alternative system is called Faggin-Nazzi from the names of the scholars who proposed it. It is less common, probably also because it is more difficult for a beginner due to its use of letters such as č that are typical of Slavic languages, but seem foreign to native Italian speakers. These letters are used in order to more accurately reflect particular features of Friulian phonology.

ome examples

*Hello, my name is Jack!
*:"Mandi, jo 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 can’t go out with you tonight, I have to study
*:"No pues vignî fûr cun te usgnot, o ai di studiâ"


The grammar section is based on [ An introduction to Friulian] by R. Pontisso. Some parts are also based loosely on "Gramatiche furlane" by Fausto Zof, Edizioni Leonardo, Udine 2002.


External links

* [ Official Friulian orthography]
* [ – Online bilingual magazine (Friulian/Italian)]
* [ Online magazine and resources]
* [ The juridical defence of Friulian (in English)]
* [ Ethnologue report for Friulian]
* [ Course of Friulian]
* [ Friulian Journal of Science] – an association to foster the use of Friulian in the scientific world
* [ "Fogolâr furlan" of Toronto]
* [ "Fogolâr Furlan" of Windsor]
* [ Societat Filologjiche Furlane]
* [ Centri interdipartimentâl pe ricercje su la culture e la lenghe dal Friûl "Josef Marchet"]
* [ Friulian version of Firefox browser]
* [ Centri Friûl Lenghe 2000, with online tools]
* [ Friulians in South America]
* [ Furlan English Dictionary] from [ Webster's Online Dictionary] – the Rosetta Edition
* [ C-evo Furlan] – a computer game in Friulian
* [ Serling] – friulian language linguistic services

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Friulian literature — is the literature of the autonomous Italian region of Friuli, written in the local Friulian language.Even if the first poems in Friulian date from the 14th century (anonymous works written in Cividale such as Piruç myò doç inculurit and Soneto… …   Wikipedia

  • Friulian — /friˈuliən/ (say free oohleeuhn) noun 1. a Rhaeto Romanic language spoken by about half a million people in north eastern Italy. 2. a native of the Friuli region of north eastern Italy. –adjective 3. of or relating to this language or the people… …  

  • Friulian — 1. noun /friːuːliːən/ a) A native, inhabitant or a resident of . b) A language spoken in . 2. adjective /friːuːliːən/ Of or relating to …   Wiktionary

  • Friulian — ISO 639 3 Code : fur ISO 639 2/B Code : fur ISO 639 2/T Code : fur ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

  • Friulian — Fri•u•li•an [[t]friˈu li ən[/t]] also Fri•u•lan [[t] ˈu lən[/t]] n. peo a Romance language spoken throughout most of Friuli Venezia Giulia in NE Italy …   From formal English to slang

  • List of Friulian place names — This is a list in both Italian and Friulian language of place names in the historical area of Friuli, Italy. So far, Friulian names are not officially recognized, although there are increasing numbers of bilingual road signs in the area. These… …   Wikipedia

  • Dalmatian language — This article is about the extinct Romance language. For the language of modern region of Dalmatia see Croatian language. For other uses, see Dalmatian. Dalmatian Spoken in Croatia, Montenegro Region Adriatic coast Extinct 10 June …   Wikipedia

  • Lombard language — For the extinct 6th century Germanic language, see Lombardic language. Lombard Lombard/Lumbaart (WL), Lombard (EL) Spoken in   …   Wikipedia

  • Triestine language — The Triestine dialect ( it. triestino, Triestine: triestin ) is an Italian dialect local to the city of Trieste. It is a form of Venetian, strongly influenced by a Friulian substrate, mainly due to the existence of the now defunct Tergestine… …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Italian language — Infobox Language family name=Northern Italian altname=Padanian, Cisalpine (rare) region=Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia familycolor=Indo European fam2=Italic fam3=Romance fam4=Italo Western fam5=Western fam6=Gallo… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”