German, Italian, Ladin
German speakers make up the largest proportion of the population.
Historically this language group dates back to the Germanic, Alemannic and Bavarian tribes that crossed today’s South Tyrol during the Migration Period and to some extent settled there. The South Tyrolean dialect is used rather than High German in everyday life.
The second largest language group is Italian. It is, in cultural and historical terms, the most recent arrival.
In terms of figures, the Italian language experienced its strongest growth group in the Fascist era in the 1920s and 1930s, when Mussolini tried to emphasise the "Italian character" of South Tyrol by promoting massive immigration from the south.
The Ladin language group is considered to be the oldest in the land.
Ladin (also called Rhaeto-Romance) is a neo-Latin or Romance language. After the conquest of the Alpine regions by the Romans in 15 B.C. the native population absorbed the vulgar Latin of officials and soldiers, without however completely giving up their own language.