When the Romans subjugated Rhaetia in 15 BC, no one would have thought that they would trigger a linguistic revolution. A revolution that would spread insidiously and over several centuries and would finally result in a language called "Rhaeto-Romanic".
Romansh has a turbulent history. It emerged from the germ of Roman conquest campaigns. It grew steadily until it became the dominant language from the upper Danube to the Adriatic around 500 AD. Constantly changing and splintering into numerous dialects. And finally, roughly displaced by other languages and meanwhile shrunk to an endangered minority language.
The collapse of the Roman Empire and advancing Germanization from north to south were the disintegrating forces that pushed Romansh further and further back, reducing it to a few isolated linguistic islands in Grisons, Friuli and the Dolomites. As the area of influence diminished, so did the importance of the language - until its advocates decided to stand up for it!
We in Samedan think: Romansh - or more precisely: our dialect Puter - belongs to our life like the snow to winter and the golden larches to our autumn landscape. But we don't want to hold on to Romansh only because it sounds beautiful or because it is an ancient cultural heritage. Or because it brings us a good deal closer to other neo-Latin languages such as Italian, Spanish, French, etc. And not just because it helps you understand foreign Latin words. There are also other reasons:
Did you know, for example, that English contains a respectable amount of French and Latin words that are easily accessible in Romansh? Or that Romansh expresses a particular attitude towards life? A Romansh sentence is not simply a translated sentence from another language. When you learn Romansh, your soul grows into a new home. If this is too enthusiastic for you, please, there is another very prosaic reason to learn Romansh or to hold on to it: …
… Bilingual people are namely more flexible mentally! They learn other languages faster, can calculate better and are more creative! Not only we Samedner claim this, but also international studies on bilingualism. By the way, most people can only dream of the kind of bilingualism we teach our children. We love, cherish and cultivate our bilingualism so intimately that in 2004 we even included a language article in our communal constitution that expressly designates Romansh and German as official and school languages with equal rights. And it goes without saying that we also have a bilingualism officer who promotes the presence of Romansh in everyday life.
Would you like to help us keep Romansh alive? Would you like to integrate it naturally into your everyday life in Engadin? So why not attend a language course? The Fundaziun de Planta organizes intensive language courses in summer, the Lia Rumauntscha evening courses during the year. And if you already know it, speak Romansh in your family, in your club, at work! You will be amazed how many people will answer you in the same language! If you have any questions, please contact our bilingual Nina Dazzi Andry, email@example.com