Commemorations

One Century Lia Rumantscha

The Lia Rumantscha (Romansh Organisation) was founded in Chur in 1919, October 26th, as an umbrella organisation for Romansh associations in Graubünden (Grisons). Romansh personalities from Oberhalstein, Unterengadin, Oberengadin and the Oberland were worried about the Romansh language and culture. German became the dominant language in more and more villages, education and public life. Giachen Conrad (1882-1956), Giachen Michel Nay (1860-1920) and Andrea Vital (1885-1943) were among the founders.

From its head office in Chur, the Lia Rumantscha supports, fosters and coordinates the activities of regional organisatons that work in favour of the Romansh language and culture ever since. It campaigns for the promotion and maintenance of Romansh at home, work and school, in the church and in public life, organises cultural events and also represents the Romansh community in the various fields of political and social life.

It also drew up a concept of a standardized written Romansh language, the Rumantsch Grischun, for the whole of Graubünden. This language is based on three Romansh idioms (Sursilvan, Vallader and Surmiran, the other two are Puter en Sutsilvan) and it was created in accordance with the majority principle. Wherever possible, a form that is common to these three written idioms was taken.

Since 1986, it had been the practice of the Swiss Confederation to use Rumantsch Grischun for any document with a particular bearing on the Romansh-speaking territory (the language was already recognised as fourth national language in 1938). From a territorial point of view, the Romansh language is still losing ground however (Ilanz, Disentis, Flims and the Oberland, Oberengadin, Oberhalstein, have been strongly germanised since 1919, just a few small villages remain Romansh-speaking).

The education and the practice of daily life are decisive. There is hope and the Lia Rumantscha is an effective and active organisation and it is up to Romansh people to speak and write in Romansh and around 60 000 actively do so. (further information: www. liarumantscha.ch).