|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2014)|
The Questione Ladina is a scientific debate about an adequate model of categorizing several Romance languages or dialects spoken in the Alps. Basically, it is dealing with the question of whether Romansh, Ladin and Friulian form together a proper language sub-family, or if these idioms should be regarded as a part of a wider northern Italian dialect continuum.
The beginning of the Questione Ladina is marked by the publication of the Saggi ladini by Graziadio Isaia Ascoli (1829–1907), who identified the area between the Oberalp Pass and the Gulf of Trieste as a specific language area with some common characteristics and called the idioms spoken there Ladin dialects. This theory gained a large circulation with the publications of the Austrian linguist Theodor Gartner, who, however, used Rhaeto-Romance instead of Ladin as an umbrella term.
The idea of a Ladin unity found in Carlo Battisti (1882–1977) a strict opponent. Battisti demonstrated in several studies that the whole range of dialects in question showed only few common characteristics and were respectively closely related to neighbouring Lombard and Venetian varieties. The dialectologist Carlo Salvioni held similar view.
Both the idea of a distinctive language sub-family and the denial of a Ladin unity still have strong proponents, the former especially among Swiss, German and Austrian, the latter among Italian linguists.
Aspects of the Questione Ladina
A characteristic of the Questione Ladina is the commixture of grammatical and sociolinguistic aspects, as well as of linguistic and political-ideological convictions. On the one hand Battisti's and Salvioni's research was influenced by sympathies for the Italian irredentism, leading to the demand that speakers of Romansh should accept Italian as a Dachsprache due to their Italianity, and subsequently to linguistically justified political claims that the Romansh-speaking Graubünden should become part of Italy. On the other hand especially Swiss linguists regarded mere grammatical features as subordinated compared to sociolinguistic and historic considerations, and strongly supported the idea of a separate "language".
- Ricarda Liver (1999), Rätoromanisch – Eine Einführung in das Bündnerromanische, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, ISBN 3-8233-4973-2, p. 16
- Ricarda Liver (1999), Rätoromanisch – Eine Einführung in das Bündnerromanische, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, ISBN 3-8233-4973-2, p. 16−17
- Ricarda Liver (1999), Rätoromanisch – Eine Einführung in das Bündnerromanische, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, ISBN 3-8233-4973-2, p. 18
- Ricarda Liver (1999), Rätoromanisch – Eine Einführung in das Bündnerromanische, Tübingen: Gunter Narr, ISBN 3-8233-4973-2, p. 17