Romansh language

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Romansh (also spelled Romansch, Rumants(c)h, or Romanche; Romansh: rumantsch/rumauntsch/romontsch; German: Rätoromanisch; Italian: Romancio) is one of the four national languages of Switzerland, along with German, Italian and French. It is one of the Rhaeto-Romance languages, believed to have descended from the Vulgar Latin variety spoken by Roman era occupiers of the region, and, as such, is closely related to French, Occitan and Lombard, as well as other Romance languages to a lesser extent.

As of the 2000 Swiss Census, it is spoken by 35,095[1] residents of the canton of Graubünden (Grisons) as the language of "best command", and 61,815 in the "best command" plus "most spoken" categories.[2] Spoken now by around 0.9% of Switzerland's 7.7 million inhabitants, it is Switzerland's least-used national language in terms of number of speakers.

Contents

Dialects

Romansh is an umbrella term covering a group of closely related dialects, spoken in southern Switzerland and all belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance language family. The other members of this language family are spoken in northern Italy. Ladin, to which Romansh is more closely related, is spoken by some 22,550 in the Dolomite mountains of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, and Friulian is spoken by between 550,000 and 595,000 people in northeastern Italy.

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