The Romansh language

Kapelle Disentis Sedrun
In addition to German and Italian, Romansh is an official language in the canton of Grisons. At national level, it is one of the four national languages of Switzerland, together with German, French and Italian. Since 2001, Rumantsch Grischun has served as the official Romansh language at cantonal level.
Today, Romansh is spoken by about 19% of the Grisons population and 90% of Disentis and Sedrun inhabitants. Because of the former seclusion of many places and valleys, five idioms have formed.

The five idioms

Sursilvan: widespread in the Vorderrheintal valley and its side valleys (near Tujetsch and in the Val Medel with the dialect Tuatschin). In the region of Imboden (Il Plaun), with the villages of Domat/Ems, Rhäzüns, Bonaduz and Trin, Sursilvan has long been used as a school language but due to their linguistic characteristics, the dialects of these communities belong to the Sutsilvan.

Sutsilvan: in areas of the Hinterrhein, namely the mountain communities of the Domleschg (Tumliasca) and the Heinzenberg (Mantogna), as well as the Schams (Schons) and the Val Ferrera.

Surmiran: widespread in the Albula Valley, the municipality of Vaz/Obervaz and the Oberhalbstein (Surses).

Puter:  in the Upper Engadine and Bergün/Bravuogn, which does not belong geographically to the Engadine and has a local dialect similar to the Surmiran.

Vallader: widespread in the Lower Engadine and the Münstertal (where the dialect is called Jauer).



Romanisch summer courses

Rumantsch Grischun

Rumantsch Grischun was developed in 1982 by Heinrich Schmid on the initiative of the then Secretary-General of the Lia Rumantscha, Bernard Cathomas, as the standard written language of the Romansh in Grisons. Since 2001, it has served as an official Romansh language at cantonal level.

The three most vital idioms Vallader, Surmiran and Sursilvan, served as the basis for the development of the language, and linguist Heinrich Schmid always searched for the most significant commonality between the three idioms.