35,000 Romansh people, countless dialects, five vernaculars, one language and a culture defined by farming, craftsmanship and trade. Allegra illa Rumantschia.
The Romansh language
Romansh is the fourth official national language in Switzerland. Around 35,000 residents of the canton of Graubünden speak Romansh in various dialects and official vernaculars. The former independence and isolation of the Graubünden valleys led to the development of five vernaculars Sursilvan (Vorderrhein), Sutsilvan (Hinterrhein), Surmiran (Oberhalbstein, Albula), Puter (Upper Engadin), as well as the Vallader dialect spoken in Lower Engadin and Val Müstair.
The administrative effort involved in accommodating five different, officially recognised vernaculars compared to the small number of Romansh in Switzerland’s overall population led to the creation of guidelines for a common standard language called Rumantsch Grischun in 1982. Since the introduction of Rumantsch Grischun as the official language used by administrative authorities and in schools, there have been frequent discussions and disagreements between the proponents and opponents of the standard language. The main aim is still to maintain Romansh as a living language and a cultural asset that supports the region’s identity.
Usage within the region
The Romansh language is spoken, lived and actively fostered in Lower Engadin. As a major part of the regional culture, Romansh is not only used in songs and books, but also everywhere in the streets and schools. There is even a law stating that the signage on shops and businesses must be in Romansh, for instance. School children are taught exclusively in Romansh until Grade Three. After that, German is the first foreign language introduced, followed by French and English (from the Grade Five) or Italian. In addition to everyday usage, the Romansh language (Rumantsch Grischun and/or individual vernaculars) is officially used as the language of instruction in schools and is taught as a subject, and also appears on local signage and in regional media and publications.
Examples of media
Experience & learn the romanish language
- Lia Rumantscha, Umbrella organization promoting the Romansh language and culture, including online shop for Romansh literature and music. www.liarumantscha.ch
- Pledari Grond, great online dictionary for Rumantsch Grischun and the individual idioms www.pledarigrond.ch
Allegra - everyday expressions: Idiom «Vallader»
|bun di||Good morning|
|buna saira||Good evening|
|buna not||Good night|
|bellas vacanzas||Nice holidays|
|grazcha fich||Many thanks|
|bun viadi||Nice trip|
|il bogn||the bath|
|la bacharia||the butcher shop|
|la banca||the bank|
|la butia||the shop/store|
|la furnaria||the bakery|
|la garascha||the garage|
|la posta||the post office|
|la via||dthe street|