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Expert in the spotlight in January 2014: Cinzia Petris

The expert in the Spotlight feature gives you the chance to interact one-on-one with our Ask the expert-section. The feature also provides interesting and insightful comments regarding the subjects mentioned above, in-depth content and exclusive Q and A’s.

Featured Expert / Area of focus

Cinzia Petris cooperates with ISAL (Istituto Studi sull'Amministrazione Locale, in Udine, Italy), with the emphasis on the German speaking language minorities in Europe. Previously she worked at ARLeF, Italy (regional office for Friulian language).
She is the author of the new Regional Dossier: Friulian, the Friulian language in education in Italy which will be published in January 2014.

Face to face with Cinzia Petris

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/ multilingualism?

After my degree in foreign languages and literatures and my dissertation about the language policies of the Council of Europe, I began to cooperated with the University of Udine in projects about minority language teachers’ training. The first project was a survey about the situation of language learning in the public schools of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia. Since then I did not realize that my mother language, a northern variety of Friulian, was a minority language and that it should have the same dignity and rights like any other language. Since then I worked in different institutions promoting minority languages in several projects, mainly on didactics.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?

In the Nineties of the last century minority languages had their time in Italy. Legislation for their safeguard and promotion were approved and there was un clima positivo e di entusiasmo. Now somehow interest towards them has decreased. Therefore the main challenge is to raise again awareness and make them considered not minority languages but ‘normal’ languages. It should also be proper to order all energies and competences and work in a systematically way.

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?

Now I am cooperating with ISAL (institute of studies about administrative issues, recently member of FUEN) as advisor for what concerns minority languages. I am concentrating on German speaking minorities (in Friuli Venezia Giulia , there are three minority language communities: Friulian, German and Slovenian) because they have very few speakers and really need help and more competences to be able to implement an effective language policy, although they have a great potential being a link with the many German speaking areas.

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?

  • Didactic materials were translated by Cinzia Petris in Friulian: Pascolini M & Guaran A. (2013). La pianura e la costa friulane / La planure e la cueste dal Friûl ; [ transl.Cinzia Petris] -  Basaldella di Campoformido (UD): La Tipografica.
  • Comelli M., Peron M. & Vinciguerra G. (2013). La Venezia Giulia - Carso Isontino e Triestino / Trieste  -   La Vignesie Julie - Cjars Gurizan e Triestin / Triest. Handbook ; [ transl. Cinzia Petris] . Basaldella di Campoformido (UD): La Tipografica.

Very interesting and for an overview about Friulian language and history are:

  • Francescato G. & F. Salimbeni (2004). Storia, lingua e società in Friuli. Roma: Il Calamo.
  • Frau G. (1984). I dialetti del Friuli. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana.

Friulian language and culture:


Un cartello in italiano e friulano su
una strada provinciale

Do you have any questions on these topics?

Ask Cinzia