Ladin is spoken in some Alpine areas of Trentino-South Tyrol and Veneto, where it is a direct continuation of the local variant of Vulgar Latin. The name Ladin was initially used in a very narrow sense, reserved primarily for the Val Badia variety, but it was later extended to the entire Rhaeto-Romance group of the Dolomite valleys.

On historical and cultural grounds, a Tyrolean Ladin and a Venetan Ladin can be distinguished: the former is spoken in the five valleys that were part of the Austrian empire until 1919: the Val Gardena/Gherdëina and Val Badia, in the province of Bolzano/Bozen, the Val di Fassa/Fascia, in the province of Trento, and finally Livinallongo/Fodom with Colle Santa Lucia and Ampezzo/Anpezo, in the province of Belluno. Venetan Ladino, on the other hand, is spoken in the area that belonged to the Republic of Venice (La Serenissima) (see Pellegrini 1977): the areas that have declared themselves Ladin are Comelico, Cadore, Val Pettorina, Agordino and Zoldo. Finally, transitional varieties (with some Ladin features and some features typical of Trentino dialects) are spoken in Val di Non and parts of Val di Sole.

It should be noted that some dialects have further internal subdivisions. In Val Badia, for example, there are at least three different dialects: badiot (in the upper part of the valley), ladin de mesaval (in the middle and lower parts), and mareo (in the adjacent Mareo/Marebbe valley). Fassano is also divided into three dialects: cazét (in the upper part of the valley), brach (in the middle part of the valley) and moenat (typical of Moena). Thanks to the Atlant linguistich dl ladin dolomitich y di dialec vejins (ALD) we have detailed documentation of the individual dialects.

The language vitality of Ladin varies strongly from valley to valley: Val Badia has the highest percentages of Ladin use, with a (quasi-)omnipresence of Ladin in most contexts of daily life. The percentages of those who claim to be and/or speak Ladin decrease progressively when one moves to Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Fodom, Colle Santa Lucia, and then Cortina d’Ampezzo (where Ladin speakers are a minority). Recently, a sociolinguistic survey was carried out in the Veneto region, the data of which will be published shortly (cf. Melchior 2023).

ISO code: 639-3 lld


Further reading

  • Casalicchio, Jan (2020): Ladinia dolomitica, Versione 1 (18.05.2020, 18:37). In Roland Bauer & Thomas Krefeld (eds.) (2020): Lo spazio comunicativo dell’Italia e delle varietà italiane, Versione 88. Korpus im Text.
  • Dell’Aquila, Vittorio & Gabriele Iannàccaro (2006): Survey Ladins. Usi linguistici nelle valli ladine. Trento: Regione Autonoma Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
  • Dell’Aquila, Vittorio, Fernando Ramallo & Sabrina Rasom (eds.) (2022). CLAM 2021. Cimbri, ladini, mòcheni. I dati. Monographic issue of Mondo ladino 46. 
  • Dell’Aquila, Vittorio, Sabrina Rasom & Nadia  Chiocchetti (eds.) (2023).CLAM 2021. Cimbri, ladini, mòcheni. Analisi dei dati: restituzione alla popolazione e indicazioni di politica linguistica. Monographic issue of Mondo ladino 47.
  • Videsott, Paul, Ruth Videsott & Jan Casalicchio (2020): Manuale di linguistica ladina. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.

Additional online resources

Websites of Ladin communities