In a Europe that is transforming its linguistic diversity and multilingualism in one of its strategic goals – as evidenced, among other things, by the creation, on the 1st of January 2007 of a European Commisioner for Multilingualism – the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia can play a key role, thanks to its linguistic situation, which is unique in Europe. Only in this region, in fact, we can find a centuries-old coexistence, on the same territory, of the three main European linguistic families: Latin (Friulian and Italian), Germanic (German communities) and Slavic (Slovene minority).
In recent years, there have been numerous legislative and administrative interventions, aimed at protecting a particularly complex cultural heritage, differentiated for history, number of speakers and protection needs.
On the border areas with Slovenia, there are 32 Slovene-speaking municipalities. This national minority, in the last decade, has reached high forms of regional and State legal recognitions, not only with the law 482/99, but in particular with a specific law for the Slovene minority (law 38/2001), which includes specific global measures: the names or their reset in Slovene, the right to use the language in the relations with the administration, the place names and the school; it establishes a “Joint institutional Committee for the problems of the Slovene minority”; it encourages the cooperation between border population and the minority and its cultural institutions, in a climate of mutual exchange, to promote and implement uniform policies on neighboring territories. More recently, the Regional Law 26/2007 integrated the State legislation, defining the fundamental basic lines of intervention of the Region in favor of the minority.
The German communities of Friuli-Venezia Giulia are present in five municipalities of the province of Udine (Sauris, Timau, Tarvisio, Pontebba and Malborghetto). The region has promoted, with the Regional Law 20/99, specific actions for the protection and enhancement of the Germanic community, providing funding for cultural activities and especially for linguistic and cultural clubs and associations present in the five municipalities where there are German-speaking citizens. The recognition of the German minority in the region has been completed in 2009, with the approval of the Regional Law 20/2009, entitled “Provisions for the protection and promotion of the German-speaking minority in Friuli-Venezia Giulia”.
The Friulian minority is the most important one, because, numerically, it is the largest one (175 municipalities in the provinces of Udine, Gorizia and Pordenone), it has a language that is not official in other states, it he has undergone a strong minorization and expressed a strong demand for protection and self-government. This has led to different protection measures (at a national level: Law 482/99; at a regional level: 15/96 and 29/2007) and to an active language policy. In this case, it is very interesting the comparison (and often the conflict) between the different levels of protection (European, national and regional): that's why I chose to handle it in this thesis, with the objective to describe and analyze the situation and to find some objective and subjective peculiarities.