Period IV newsletter

Rätoromanische Inschrift an einem Haus in Trun. Foto: Adrian Michael/Wikipedia

Romansh and Lausanne

The Canton of Graubünden largely German-speaking. It has various Swiss-german dialects, (Schweizerdeutsch)  including Höchstalemannische, Walserdeutsche or Zürichdeutsche dialects.

Italian is the official language in three areas in the south of Graubünden: Misox (Mesocco) on the border with Ticino in the Mesolcina and Calanca valleys, in Bergell (Bregaglia) and in Puschlav (Valposchiavo).  They are Lombard dialects as in Ticino and the neighbouring areas of northern Italy.

Romansh is spoken in five regions (see also Swiss Spectator). Article 18 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to linguistic freedom as an individual right; even languages that are no longer spoken fall under the scope of protection of Article 18. The practical solution is laid down in the principle of territoriality (Article 70(2): “The cantons determine their official languages. In order to maintain harmony between language communities, they must respect traditional languages and take account of traditional linguistic minorities”.

In any case, Romansh or rather Rumansch Grischun has reached the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgericht) in Lausanne. The Court only gives rulings in this language on a specific issue in this region. Rumansch Grischun, the unified Romansh language among the five dialects, is the legal language in Lausanne (Source: G. Janzing, Rätoromanisch, 4th edition (Bielefeld, 2016).