Reto Roman

Language spoken in the Graubünden (or Grischu - as its called in Rumantsch) canton of Switzerland.

Only about 1 percent of the Swiss population - 70,000 people - are left on this planet to speak the language that is considered to be one of the oldest ones still existing, as it is extremely similar to the Latin spoken in ancient Rome.

Actually, the language is also very similar to Italian, at least in its written form.
Romansch is the common name for the Raeto-Romanic subcategory of the Romance Languages. Spoken in the Triuli region of Italy and in some parts of the Swiss Alps, there are three dialects of Raeto-Romanic.

The three dialects of Romansch are spoken by a total of about 450,000 people (That's fewer than the population of Wyoming.) The dialects are not exactly interchangeable, and not quite the same, but are thrown together more for geographical convenience than any uniting linguistic factor (other than that they are random Romance languages spoken by too few people to be considered different from each other.)

Romansch is, in fact, a corruption of Latin. It is thought that the cultures (read: isolated villages) that speak Romansch were the last to stop speaking Latin. A Swiss friend of mine told me that it is generally considered "New Latin."

How to count to ten in Romansch:
ONE: in, ina
TWO: dus
THREE: trais
FOUR: quatter
FIVE: tschintg
SIX: sis
SEVEN: set
EIGHT: otg
NINE: nov
TEN: diesch

Please don't ask me how to pronounce them or what dialect they are. In the last week or so, Raeto-Romance languages have become a small hobby, but it's quite difficult to find concrete information about it other than encyclopedia entries.

Ro*mansch" (?), n. [Grisons rumansch, rumonsch, romonsch. See Romance.]

The language of the Grisons in Switzerland, a corruption of the Latin.

[Written also Romansch, and Rumonsch.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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