Bilingual labelling goes ahead in South Tyrol- but not for Ladin

Alkistis Fleischer fleischa at
Wed Jan 7 04:34:44 UTC 2004

Some more info on Ladin language policy and planning:
According to a recent text by the Gesellschaft fuer Bedrohte Voelker (Society for Threatened Peoples), while a Ladin standard has already been developed, the provincial government explicitly refused to introduce the language into the provincial parliament at the beginning of 2003. 
(in German)


----- Original Message ----- 

  From: Alkistis Fleischer 
  To: lgpolicy-list at 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 9:01 PM
  Subject: Re: Bilingual labelling goes ahead in South Tyrol- but not for Ladin

  Well, there are two projects of Ladin standardization that have begun a few years ago. The Office for Ladin language planning is engaged in developing a common written language for the whole community of Dolomite Ladins. The aim of the so-called Spell project for the Ladin varieties in the Italian Dolemites (the "Servisc per la Planificazion y Elaborazion dl Lingaz Ladin") is to create a new standard variety on the basis of several representative dialects of the language (Wolfgang Wölck has written about this). The TermLeS project ("Lexical Standardisation and Terminology for Ladin and Sard") aims at standardizing modern Ladin terminology. For more info, see: 
  I think the fact that bilingual labeling goes ahead in South Tyrol for German, but not for Ladin is due to the demographics of the region and the status of the different languages.

  The official language of the Province of Trentino is Italian; the official languages of the Province of Bolzano-Alto Adige / Bozen-Südtirol are Italian and German. Ladin is a minority language; its speakers form less than 5% of the population in the Autonomous Region of Trentine-South Tirol.  

  In the Autonomous Region of Trentine-South Tirol the three language groups are Italian (62%), German (31%), and Ladin (3.2%) (approximate figures from 1991 census). However, the speakers of German form the majority in the Province of Bolzano-Alto Adige / Bozen-Südtirol, comprising 69.15% of the population of the province, as compared to Italian speakers (26.47%) and Ladin speakers (4.37%) (figures from 2001 census). The percentage of German speakers in the province has actually increased since the last census.  

  Incidentally, the Italian state officially replaced the designation of the Autonomous Region "Trentino Alto Adige" with the designation "Trentino Alto Adige / Südtirol" in 2001.

  A. Alkistis Fleischer
  Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics (Sociolinguistics), Georgetown University
  fleischa at

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: "Christina Paulston" <paulston+ at>
  To: <lgpolicy-list at>; "Language Policy-List" <lgpolicy-list at>
  Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 4:18 PM
  Subject: Re: Bilingual labelling goes ahead in South Tyrol- but not for Ladin

  > Nor is Ladin standardized and has a variety of dialects (at least according
  > to the chapter on Ladin BE in Christian and Genesee BILINGUAL EDUCATION) so
  > it is hard to see how they could. Christina Paulston
  > ----------
  > >From: "Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at>
  > >To: Language Policy-List <lgpolicy-list at>
  > >Subject: Bilingual labelling goes ahead in South Tyrol- but not for Ladin
  > >Date: Tue, Jan 6, 2004, 3:12 PM
  > >
  > >>From
  > >
  > > Eurolang, the European news agency for minority languages
  > >
  > >
  > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  > ----
  > >
  > > Bilingual labelling goes ahead in South Tyrol- but not for Ladin
  > > Torino / Turin  6/01/04, by Marco Stolfo
  > >
  > > The labelling of pharmaceutical products in the Autonomous Province of
  > > South Tyrol, in northern Italy, is now available in German and from
  > > December German-speaking customers of pharmacies have been receiving
  > > information leaflets and brochures in their mother tongue.
  > >
  > > This measure has been introduced with the support of the Association of
  > > Pharmacists (Federfarma) and the main pharmaceutical producers and
  > > distributors in the region where German, Italian and Ladin are spoken.
  > >
  > > It follows a lengthy process beginning with a presidential decree in 1988
  > > (DPR no. 574 on the use of German and Ladin in dealings of citizens with
  > > the public administration and in court proceeding), followed by a circular
  > > issued by the Ministry of Health in 1997 and confirmed by a new decree two
  > > years ago (D. Lgs. 283/2001).
  > >
  > > Fifteen years later, this provision finally becomes a reality. Speaking to
  > > Eurolang Uberto Cimatti, President of Federfarma in South Tyrol, said
  > > that: There was a legal obligation to give customers bilingual packaging,
  > > but it was very difficult to implement it. Now, with information
  > > technology, it is easier to do.
  > >
  > > It began with a project started by Unifarma, the main distributor of
  > > pharmaceutical products, to give every chemists shop in South Tyrol the
  > > possibility of giving their customers bilingual information leaflets, says
  > > Cimatti.
  > >
  > > It was clear that the best way to reach this goal was to install computers
  > > and printers in every pharmacy.  This measure currently covers 10% of
  > > products on the National Health Service [which means 50% of all the
  > > medicines distributed], but the number is increasing, states Cimatti.
  > > People in the province have welcomed the move; German-speakers were
  > > waiting for it for a long time while pharmaceutical producers are covering
  > > the costs.
  > >
  > > The initiative illustrates where market requirements and linguistic rights
  > > can operate in tandem. I think it could also be realised for other
  > > linguistic minorities, says Cimatti.  However, the measure does not cover
  > > South Tyrols Ladin speakers. According to Cimatti it is because the Ladins
  > > are a small community, they can read German or Italian, they didn't ask
  > > for it and laws and decrees provide for this measure only in German.
  > > (Eurolang)
  > >
  > >
  > >
  > > 
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