Language and culture

Sociolinguistic condition

Sociolinguistic studies are a useful tool to measure and assess the state of a language in a society.

Furthermore, as it is happening to Friulian, they can provide important information to those who are concerned with linguistic policy and planning, offering hints that enable to develop the right type of action on the territory under protection. Since 1977 several studies have been conducted in Friuli on the sociolinguistic state of the Friulian language with the aim of identifying the number of Friulian-speaking people, the contexts where it is used, the opinions and attitude of Friulian-speaking people vis-à-vis the mother tongue. Thus we can depict an accurate picture of the linguistic dynamics of Friulian, which will only be partly dealt with in this work.

The first researches in this area were carried out, at regional or provincial level, by the International Sociology Institute of Gorizia (ISIG), in 1977 and 1986 respectively. Conversely, in 1998, a survey by the department of Economics, Society and Territory of the University of Udine was carried out with the objective of recording the development trends and sociolinguistic dynamics of Friulian in the twenty years after the first research.

Another study was completed in 2003 at the Interdepartmental Research Centre on the Culture and Language of Friuli (CIRF) of the University of Udine: in this case, a new line of studies was pursued, aimed at recording the frequency and scopes of the use of Friulian, the opinions, attitudes and knowledge of specific groups by age, personal details or other social and cultural characteristics. Specifically, this sociolinguistic study concerned a sample of adolescents living in Friuli and aged between 15 and 18.

In 2015, with the collaboration of the University of Udine and under the coordination of Claudio Melchior, Head of the Science Dept., ARLeF presented the complete data on the sociolinguistic survey on the Friulian language carried out in 2014.


In 2023, a sociolinguistic survey called “Tire fûr la lenghe” was conducted, supported by the FVG Region with the contribution of ARLeF and carried out by IRES FVG and FEF (Forskningscentrum för Europeisk Flerspråkighet) as part of the General Language Policy Plan for the Friulian language 2021-2025. Over 4,300 interviews were collected in 178 municipalities by completing a questionnaire.

The first significant results – presented in May 2024 – show that the Friulian language is now actively spoken by 444,000 people (corresponding to over half of the population resident in the declared Friulian-speaking municipalities of the autonomous Friuli-V.G. region and the Veneto region), which rise to around 700,000 (9 people out of 10) considering those who even just understand it. The areas where the active use of Friulian hits the highest percentages are central Friuli, the hilly area and Carnia. Basically, in the vast majority of the territories that were investigated, Friulian is spoken by at least one person in 2 and one in 4 could reactivate their competence in this language if encouraged to use it.

The sense of belonging and the Friulian identity are clearly evident in most of the areas taken into consideration: 52% of the sample states that they feel “very” Friulian, a percentage that rises to 75% if we also consider those who claim to be “enough”.

The researchers are now working on the overall analysis of the large amount of data collected, with the aim of making it fully accessible to the public by the end of 2024.

The Friulian language is spoken in 173 Municipalities of the F-VG Region (122 of the former province of Udine, 15 of the former province of Gorizia and 36 of the former province of Pordenone) and in 7 Municipalities of the Veneto Region (Cinto Caomaggiore, Concordia Sagittaria, Fossalta di Portogruaro, Gruaro, Portogruaro, San Michele al Tagliamento, Teglio Veneto).
Here you can see the complete list of Municipalities considered friulianophones.

Consulte i materiâi

Ogjet Cjale
The sociolinguistica research on friulian language carried out in 2014
Friulian language: where and how many people speak it and an outline of the protection measures.
Friulian-speaking municipalities

Stanus Daûr

Components ARLeF


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