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A Brief History of the Romansh Language

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Beatriz Augustinis

on 19 August 2014

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Transcript of A Brief History of the Romansh Language

Romansh originates from the spoken form of Latin brought to the region, where today is Grisons, in Switzerland, by Romans after the conquest of the area by the Roman Empire in 15 BC.
In 1465 many German-speaking artisans, who were brought to repair the city after a fire, settled in Raetia, causing German to be the most spoken language there.
In 1803 Grisons became a part of Switzerland. Back then it had about 73.000 inhabitants, of which about 36.000 were Romansh speakers.
As the importance of tourism to Grisons' economy and the rural area, which used to be the most important economic activity of the area, became less and less important the need for German speakers in the canton also increased.
Public schools in many municipalities of Grisons started teaching in German around 1833
Romansh today
Romansh is, together with Italian, French, and German, one of the official languages of Switzerland
Nowadays, Swiss censuses monitor the number of Romansh-speaking people.
Almost all of the speakers of Romansh also speak German
A Brief History of the Romansh Language
The Romansh language is a Romance language, more specifically a part of the Rhaeto-Romance Dialects group.
The Rhaeto-Romance languages, or Rhaetian languages, are a subfamily of the Romance language family. Its name refers to the Roman province of Raetia.
The Rhaetian languages are spoken in parts of Italy and in Switzerland.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Tuots umans naschan libers ed eguals in dignità e drets. Els sun dotats cun intellet e conscienza e dessan agir tanter per in uin spiert da fraternità.

Before the Romans, the inhabitants of the area spoke Celtic and Raetic languages.
By the 5th or 6th century, all of the languages spoken before the Roman invasion were extinct, and the region of Raetia became a part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom.
Around 765 AD a germanic duke was assigned to administer the region. With that, the culture of Raetia became much more oriented by the German-speaking people up north.
The elite of the area spoke German.
Grisons becoming a part of Switzerland made the contact between German and Romansh much more intense that it had been for the last couple of centuries.
In 1980 around 36,016 people in Grisons, the equivalent to 21.9% of its population, spoke Romansh as their main language, while 59.9% of the people there had German as their first language.
Like most of the Romance languages, words in Romansh are separated into two genders.
The masculine pronouns are 'il', before a consonant, and 'igl', before a vowel. The feminine pronoun is 'la'.
The Romansh language is sometimes considered a group of closely related dialects, rather than one unified language.
One - In
Two - Dus
Three - Treis
Four - Quater
Five - Tschun
Six - Sis
Seven - Siat
Eight - Otg
Nine - Nov
Ten - Diesch
Full transcript