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Thread: Are Ladin Speakers Germanic ?

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    Are Ladin Speakers Germanic ?

    Are the Ladin speaking people of Switzerland and Northern Italy considered partially Germanic ?

    I know that they speak a Romance language but are they racially Germanic ?

    Or are they Celtic, Italic or Celto-Italic racially ?

    Because of their proximity to German and Italian areas I'm wondering if thet can claim any Germanic racial identity even though they speak a Romance language.

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    There is no Germanic race, so no, they are not Germanic. They may have genes that are similar to the Swiss Germans though, but so do many non-Germanics like the Alsace French.

    Although I certainly think they (Swiss Romance, Alsacians) could be assimilated to become Germanics, since they are "racially" similar. At least I think they are similar, may be wrong.

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    Northern Italy has a Celtic and Germanic legacy, and racially many northern Italians aren't comparable with their dark-skinned compatriots from Southern Italy.

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    They speak a Romance tongue which traces back to vulgar Latin. They have at the very least been Germanised and undergone reasonably mixture with Germanics to the extent that one could at least say they were closer to Germanics than Romanics in the respective areas.

    Since they have historically attempted - at the very least before the coming of relative language purism at least with the Swiss Rumantsch-speakers to approximate somewhat towards the German population rather than any other proximate population - they remain a difficult case.

    I wouldn't consider them fully Germanic as such, whilst their customs no longer deviate much from those of German-speakers in the respective areas, their mentality is still conservative enough to mean that they are a case apart; so they are bound fulfill the extremely rare case of "non-Germanic or partially-Germanic kinfolk", due to their historical approximation towards Germanendom in the respective areas.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    @ Sigurd :

    So basically they are of ancient Latin bloodline with a partial Germanic bloodline, while still speaking a Latin language, but far enough removed from modern Italian culture.

    Related by Germanic bloodline mixture, yet conservative enough culturally to retain their Latin language, but closer to German culture than the Italians.

    What is their position on the South Tyrol ?

    Should they have their own piece of the Tyrol like the Austrians of the South Tyrol ?

    Are they discriminated against by the Italians like the Austrians of the South Tyrol are as well ?

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    No, they aren't Germanic because they speak a Romance language.
    Do they have Germanic-speaking ancestors? Probably, as do other Latin/Romance peoples- French, Romanians, Northern Italians and even Spaniards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhobot View Post
    No, they aren't Germanic because they speak a Romance language.
    As a student of both Linguistics and History I can tell you quite safely that such straw-man argumentation is pretty much half baked.

    First of all, from an argumentational point of view, that doesn't stand - it would mean that thousands of for example Argentinian-Germans aren't Germanic because they likewise speak a Romance tongue.

    From the ethnological, linguistic and historic point of view the question is more complex, and I will answer this after the quote below, as People's Observer has essentially pretty much asked the same question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peoples Observer View Post
    So basically they are of ancient Latin bloodline with a partial Germanic bloodline, while still speaking a Latin language, but far enough removed from modern Italian culture.
    Nope. Pretty much the only thing that is Romance about them is their language. Basically, we have to go back to Roman conquest to establish that.

    Before 15CE you have numerous groups populating the area for a while, at this point the population is collectively known as "Raetians". It is hard to class them exactly in today's nomenclature, as they don't exactly fit, but you're essentially looking at the pre-Roman, pre-Celtic and pre-Germanic population, we're probably talking about the descendants of essentially Breoni, Focunates and Genaunes (in Latin terminology), three Indo-Germanic tribes in the Eastern Alps. Not much else is known about them.

    Then you have Roman conquest. Much of culture is kept, as Romans are fairly liberal towards that - but the language is lost and a type of Vulgar Latin enters the parlance, this is when the linguistic change happens. This is essentially kept until later --- but there appears to be no ethnological connections to Romanic populations per se, the Romans are well known for their hate of high altitude.

    Then, around the 5th-6th century you have the arrival of Bavarian and Langobardic groups who settle the more accessible valleys, and over time protrude into the less accessible valleys as well. Their influence in these areas is not enough to push the Ladin idiom out, however.

    However, as travel becomes easier, they have to take a pick: Themselves, they are few in number and anything but a unified people. Even whilst they are at this point less than 50,000 (approx. 30,000 today) you have five different idioms who are not mutually intelligible: Gherdëina, Maréo-Badiot, Fodom, Anpez and Fascia.

    Their numbers are so small, because many have Germanised at this stage already. One can conjecture that the original Ladin population was at least thrice of today's size (approx. 100,000), during Germanisation a fusion of culture occured, and approximation starts: Many German customs are added into everyday Ladiner life.

    Then, basically around the 17th century, they are left with two options: To approximate towards the linguistically related Italians or towards the culturally related Germans (there was much contact in the areas concerned whilst Germanisation went on) --- they pick the Germans. In the next 200 years, you're going to be hard-pressed to find a family that doesn't have at least one daughter that marries a wealthy German man in the valley, or vice-versa.

    At some point (would have to look up the exact date), Ladiner surnames were also Germanised --- Moroder, Senoner, Melauner, Kostner - just to name a few now German-sounding common names which are etymologically from Ladin. Intermarriage brings them to the cities as well.

    It is only in the latter part of the 19th century that something that could be called "Ladiner consciousness" comes up, they however still continue to seem themselves as staunch Tyrolese, these identity-based matters are only of folkloristic and language-planning nature.

    What is their position on the South Tyrol ?
    Could you rephrase that, please? I'm not sure if I quite get what you're intending to ask? You mean their opinion of South Tyrol, or whether they feel part of the Italian state? For a fact, they feel as little Italian as the Germans in the area do.

    Should they have their own piece of the Tyrol like the Austrians of the South Tyrol ?
    That is to be debated, but I am personally, from gut feeling, against an independent state of Ladinia. They can receive more effective protection under German rule, especially also since in some villages it becomes increasingly hard to distinguish between those of Ladin heritage, those of German heritage and those of mixed German-Ladin heritage.

    Are they discriminated against by the Italians like the Austrians of the South Tyrol are as well ?
    Actually, they are arguably even worse off than the German-speaking population. They actually received no protection in the Gruber-Degasperi-Abkommen of 1945, this only happened in the Zweites Autonomiestatut in 1972.

    Before that, however, in 1923 Mussolini undertook a few steps to tear them further apart: That which you now know as "Cortina d' Ampezzo" and "Livinallongo del Col di Lana" are originally majority-Ladin villages which were systematically removed from South Tyrol (previously both part of Tyrol, not Venetia!) - and were known in German/Ladin as Hayden/Anpez and Buchenstein/Fodom, respectively.

    Those who live in those two municipalities don't receive the protection that those in Südtirol or Welschtirol do.

    Basically, the Italian state in the area knows five social classes of people: Italians who moved there (20%) > Italians who have always lived there (3%) > Non-belonging aliens (5%) > Germans (68%) > Ladiners (4%). Notice that the Italian authorities regard the aliens-from-afar as more worthy than either Germans or Ladiners.

    Hope that's somewhat useful.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Méldmir View Post
    Although I certainly think they (Swiss Romance, Alsacians) could be assimilated to become Germanics, since they are "racially" similar.
    Why should they be assimilated to become Germanics?

    That are an own ethnic group in their own right.

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    OK I think I got a better understanding of Ladiners now.

    Romance by language but Germanic by bloodline and culture.

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    They aren't Germanic per se, but have stronger Germanic ancestry and cultural ties than Northern Italians due to their location and the fact that they were part of the Austrian Empire for a long time. As such, they are more Germanic than other Romance-speakers, but as I understand it they are primarily descended from Romanized natives of the southern Alps (the Raetians).
    We don't know what language the Raetians spoke before the Roman conquest, but it doesn't seem to be Germanic, Celtic or Romance. It was possibly a language isolate influenced by the speech of their Etruscan trading partners.

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