The Ladin language is closely related to Rumantsch (Switzerland) and Friulian (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia). The word LADIN originates from LATINUS (Latin). Ladin is a romance or neo-Latin language. Ater the Roman conquest of the Alps in the year 15 B.C. the indigenous people took on the vernacular Latin spoken by civil servants and soldiers without, however, rejecting their own native language completely. Each of the peoples subjugated by the Romans developed in the language of Rome to various degrees depending on the local idiom. There was probably a homogeneous area sharing mutual language coloratins. This area was bordered by the Danube in the north, by Lake Garda in the south, by the St. Gottard Pass in the west and in the east by the towns Trieste and Muggia. After the fall of the Roman Empire (476 A.D.) other linguistic influences were effective in the Latinate alpine region: from the north Germanic, Alemmanic and Bavarian influences, from the south northern Italian dialects which were coloured by Tuscan dialects and from the east Slavic dialects. Since then Ladin has been on the retreat. After the end of World War I in 1918, Italy annexed the southern part of Tyrol, including the Ladin areas. The Italian nationalist movement of the 19th and 20th centuries regarded Ladin as an "Italian dialect”.
Following the end of World War II, the Gruber-De Gasperi Agreement of 1946 between Austria and Italy introduced a level of autonomy for Trentino and South Tyrol, but did not include any provisions for the Ladin language. In the second autonomy statute of South Tyrol in 1972 the Ladin language was recognized as a partially official language. The current language area is an archipelago of linguistic islands where idioms with phonetic, morphologic, syntactic and lexicographic similarities are spoken. A standard written variety of Ladin has been developed but is not used among the population.