Friulian or Friulan (furlan in Friulian) is a language spoken in the historical Friuli region in northeastern Italy confined in the north by Austria and in the east by Slovenia. It developed around 1000 AD from Vulgar Latin spoken in the Aquileia region and conserves for example a final –s in the plural of nouns, cf. cjan (sg.) ‘dog’ vs. cjans ‘dogs’ (pl.): in Italian: cane (sg.) vs. cani (pl.), and it maintains consonant clusters such as cl, gl, bl, pl, fl; compare e.g. clâf (Latin: clavem; Italian: chiave). Friulian can be divided into three main varieties: western Friulian, central-eastern Friulian and Carnic Friulian, spoken in the north, in Carnia.
Due to its peripheral geographic position, Friulian has always been in contact with other languages and varieties. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, an autonomous region with special statute, recognizes (besides Friulian) also two other historical minority languages as official languages: German (for example in the language islands Sappada/Pladen, Timau/Tischelwang or Sauris/Zahre going back to a medieval variety of Southern Bavarian) and Slovenian spoken in the provinces of Gorizia, Trieste and Udine.