Implementing language rights in South Tyrol: developing legal terminology for the public administration and the judiciary
This paper illustrates the current language regulations applying to multilingual communication within the administrative and judiciary powers in South Tyrol. The main focus is on the importance of developing legal and administrative terminology as a means of ensuring that language minorities have the possibility to fully enjoy their language rights. South Tyrol is an autonomous province in Northern Italy where two minority languages, German and Ladin, have official status next to Italian. Both minority languages are used locally by the public administration and in court, albeit to different degrees and with different regulations. In this paper we first sketch the historic and legal background of South Tyrol’s multilingualism. Then we describe the three different approaches followed since World War II with the aim of developing South Tyrolean German legal language and terminology. The later development of terminology in Ladin is also explained briefly. We then illustrate in detail the current legal framework and situation concerning language use and legal terminology in the public administration and local courtrooms. Our conclusions evaluate the successes and failures of the above-mentioned three approaches. This information can be useful for other minority groups that have been granted extended language rights only recently.