Lo sloveno

  • Matej Šekli


The article offers an overview of Slovene in the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Friulian: Friûl-Vignesie Julie, Slovene: Furlanija – Julijska krajina, German: Friaul-Julisch Venetien) in the north-easternmost part of Italy, where Slovene is present in its historical linguistic setting alongside the Italian-Slovene national border. In fact, the presence of the Slavic linguistic element which eventually developed into Slovene in that territory dates back to the period of the settlement of Slavic populations in that area in the second half of the 6th century AD. From the viewpoint of linguistic genealogy, Slovene dialects in Friuli-Venezia Giulia unambiguously form part of the Slovene dialect continuum. From a sociolinguistic point of view, Slovene was officially recognised as a minority language by the Italian Republic by the language protection act for the historical linguistic minorities in Italy in 1999. However, the actual level of legal protection and the “health” of Slovene in the Italian minority context differs from region to region. The actual state of affairs depends predominantly on the availability of public education in Slovene and, consequently, its official use in formal contexts. In the Provinces of Trieste/Trst and Gorizia/Gorica, where Slovene is used as the teaching language in Slovene monolingual education up to the university level (i.e. 13 years of education from 1946), intergenerational transmission of Slovene as the mother tongue can be observed, with a balanced use of different linguistic varieties: the use of dialect or other substandard varieties in informal contexts and Standard Slovene (alongside Italian) in formal contexts. On the contrary, in the Province of Udine/Videm, the situation is significantly more complex. In those regions where at least elementary Italian-Slovene bilingual education also exists in Standard Slovene, it is the local Slovene dialects as well as Standard Slovene that are used in public. This is the case of the Natisone/Nadiža Valleys, where starting in 1984 a five-year bilingual schooling system was implemented, extended to eight years in 2008. In stark contrast to that, the Torre/Ter Valleys and the Resia/Rezija Valley, where Standard Slovene is absent from the educational system, witness very limited public representation of local Slovene dialects and/or Standard Slovene, which is more or less characterised by occasional use. The last part of the contribution provides a case study illustrating in more detail the role of Slovene in the Val Canale (Slovene: Kanalska dolina, German: Kanaltal, Friulian: Val Cjanâl).

Šekli, M. (2024). Lo sloveno. Linguistik Online, 130(6), 211–233. https://doi.org/10.13092/lo.129.11156