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  #41  
Old 07.07.2009, 18:57
Dorio
 
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Re: Rumantsch

For me, being that I have never had any education in the language, smaller differences can confuse me. Once I figure it out, then I can remember it the next time I come across it. I guess that both being in the Engiadina did allow for enough contact between the upper and lower, so the Puter and Vallader had more in common than the others, as you pointed out.

About a year ago, I read that the Surmiran idiom is near extinction. That's sad. The accent of the Surmiran is not that difficult for me to understand. The 2 north idioms are the most difficult for me to understand. It seems that the new unified Rumantsch favors everything other than the Puter and Vallader.

I looked at a map, and Dorio is just on the edge of the Val Bregaglia, below Chiavenna. I guess there had been so much traveling around, too, so some people would bring their language and words with them, and since they are Latin based, it was easy to get things mixed together. That's most likely one of the contributory factors for my language being the way that it is. We use "S" at the ends of some words to make plurals, but in all of the Italian dialects, they use "i". Depending on the word, we use "i" or "s".
It took me a very long time to figure out what it was that I was speaking. My mom said that we spoke Milanese, but that's definitely not the case. We aren't Piemontes because we don't have enough French influence. We aren't Dolimitic Ladin, even tough we do share quite a few words in common, it's not a close enough match. Even Rumantsch is not a perfect match, but it seems to be the closest, and the one that I can read the best.
I've been trying to decide if I should continue to put effort into learning more Rumantsch or not. I plan on moving to the area where my family is from, and I've looked at many cities in the area. I like Chiavenna a lot. When I was there last month, it seems that German and Italian are the languages of choice. In some ways, it seems like there might actually be more German being spoken there. It may have just been the particular time that I was there. . . I am not sure.

Thanks for sharing with me,
Tom
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  #42  
Old 07.07.2009, 19:22
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Re: Rumantsch

Do you come from Chiavenna? That's a hard nut linguistically speaking. It's the "end" of the Bregaglia, which is officially italian speaking but more for political than linguistical reasons.

Bregaglia-dialekt called Bergajot is very closed to Puter - I repeat myself, but they don't translate with Puter-speakers. Gergajot was the native language of Giacommetti (from Stampa). This region had a fair part of northern italian religious refugees, as the upper part of the valley is Protestant, whereas Chiavenna is catholic.

My personal hypothesis: Bergajot is the natural continuity of Rumantsch ladin from east to west jauer-vallader-puter-(Bravuogn)-bergajot. But the last part south of the alps did not developp an own written language before italian was chosen by the population as written language after a mix of population from locals and northern italian protestants. The battle for the frontiere between Rumantsch and Italian is blured by history : the national frontiere is religious-politic, and Chiavenna became more and more italinized and never became the centre of the Bergajot-rumantsch culure. Italian won the language battle on paper, but the old dialects keep the link to Rumantsch alive.

For your question: if you are from a small village outside Chiavenna upwanrds on italian side, you are in my opinion a kind of italianized Bergajot speaker. But it is just my hypothesis.

Go to Bregaglia and talk to people there in dialect, ask them how they understand you, if they have heard people talking like you.
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  #43  
Old 07.07.2009, 20:22
Dorio
 
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Re: Rumantsch

When I was in the area, I remember thinking that it had similarities to what I speak, but it sounded Italian, even though the words were similar. I was also hard-pressed to find but only 2 people who did speak it. Most nearly everyone in the area spoke proper Italian. Many of them looked at me strangly when I asked questions about dialect or Rumantsch.

What they spoke reminded me of what I heard in Bergamo. What I speak is different to the extent that my when my Grandmother would speak English, no one ever thought that her accent was Italian. It was clearly different than that of my Italian relatives on my dad's side of the family. Additionally, when she spoke standard Italian, she had a Rumantsch accent. I didn't know what it was at the time. All I knew was that it sounded sharper, rougher, and often sounded more like French and at times German, than Italian.

Lombard and Piedmont dialects have that French influence, but they don't have German sounds. And then the "S" used for more than one.... like in Italian, "uno amicco", and "due amicci". Excuse my spelling- no formal training. In ours we would say "un ami, and "dus amis".

Another example.... in Italian: All of My friends are here - every one: "Touti mi amicci sono qui - ogni persona." In my way, I would say something like: "Tut mes amis son qua - mintsch-un."

There are lots of words we use that are so much more Rumantsch. Most Italian dialects use "nienta, nenta, ninta," and so on for the word "Nothing"..... very much like the Italian word "nienta". My word is totally different. I say nagot. The list goes on and on. My mom will often ask me to look up a word to see if it's more of an Italian, Lombard, or Rumantsch word. I have all 3 dictionaries. In spite of the fact that my Rumantsch dictionary is based on the new standard, most of the time our word is the same, or one letter off - like our Nagot, and the Rumantsch Nagut.

It does get confusing when there are multiple choices..... For example, if I want to say the word "ours", I can say "Nossa" or "Nost". I think that I use "Nossa" for fem form, and "Nost" for masculine form.

Looking at the Rumantsch dictionary, I do see there are times when words in that book are Completely different than what I use.
My language is far from conforming to any standard! I wish it did.
Tom
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  #44  
Old 07.07.2009, 20:39
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Re: Rumantsch

Even old people? It's hard to find people now who speak like hundred years ago.... I guess. Bergajot is described as close to Puter, but obviously, school and Italienità have done their work... One must understand that their only direct neighbours are Chiavenna Italians.
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  #45  
Old 07.07.2009, 20:46
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Re: Rumantsch

You may ask people in the Graubünden Forum, Section Allegra Grischun, under-section Grigioni italiano:
http://www.link-gr.ch/wbb2/

It's not very active, but people are from there and one good answer is better than twenty irrelevant ones.

EDIT: There seems to be two titles of literature from the last century.... if you are lucky enough to find them somewhere, Zurich University or so, you could compare:
"La Stria" (1875) von Giovanni Andrea Maurizio
Conrad Ferdinand Meyers "Jürg Jenatsch" durch Giacomo Maurizio.

Last edited by ElieDeLeuze; 07.07.2009 at 21:05.
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  #46  
Old 07.07.2009, 20:55
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Re: Rumantsch

If you want to browse in Rumantsch (or any obscure langage), then wikipedia is probably the best option.

http://rm.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagina_principala

While there will not be many articles, there is usually enough to give an understanding of what the language looks like.

To me, Rumantsch looks like a dialect of Italian. I can understand 90% of it (written) with no prior study. For that reason, I also thought it would be interesting to learn some basic grammar, just to reach the level where I can read it without doubt. With a prior knowledge of Italian, this would probably just involve learning the 100 most common words (especially conjuctions).

Actually learning to speak it would be too hard (for me), there are only about 50,000 speakers in Switzerland, and at least 5 different dialects.
I don't know how useful the dictionary would be. Most words are easy enough to understand at sight. It would be interesting to have an over view of the grammar. Does anyone know of any more useful resources for this?
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  #47  
Old 07.07.2009, 21:09
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Re: Rumantsch

RTR is the place to look for food for thoughts in Rumantsch.
La quotidiana also has a website with extract of the newspaper.
Otherwise, there are good grammar books in the libraries in rumantsch area. Not only dialect ones, also Rumantsch grischun.

When people learn the language, they usualy chose either Rumantsch ladin (Vallader or Puter), or Sursilvan. And then, they learn to deal with Rumantsch Grischun for the writing part. The other dialects are almost only for locals or people who really want to live in a particular village.
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  #48  
Old 13.07.2009, 12:51
Dorio
 
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Re: Rumantsch

I have RTR as my main page for my internet explorer, so that way I have the news right there in front of me. Also, when anyone looks at or uses my computer, they will ask me, "What's this?" It opens the door for me to talk to them about Rumantsch.

I know that the area in which I will be living is going to be around Chiavenna, so I guess that Puter is the closest one to the original native language when it was still part of the Grison. Too bad that it's not used there anymore. I have an artical that said that in that area, they used to speak a linguistic mix (a mix of Rumantsch and Lombard Italian), and since Lombard Italian, Especially Alpin dialects, tend to have very much in common with Rumantsch, the language of the area would have been some kind of a 6th idiom had it flurished and survived. Again, too bad that things are as they are.

I really hope the effots of Lia Rumantscha and RTR help to keep things alive. I was listening to some of the podcasts about the schools, and it's encouraging. They spoke with some of the parents, and they want their children to learn it, and to use it in the home. There have been some issues. There have been times when they needed two teachers. One teacher had to be there specially for the Ladin.

It seems that there are enough differences that it's confusing to the children. I also heard one RTR podcast about a Portuguese family that moved to Switzerland, and the children were speaking Rumantsch (with a tiny bit of Portuguese mixed in).

It seems that there are some young people who are interested in the language. When I visited Dorio on my second trip, I met a couple of young people who said that they watch RTR Television, and listen to the Radio. One young lady said that she watches it with her Grandmother, because it's so close to the old language of the city that's no longer spoken, and that it's a way for her to get in touch with her linguistic roots. I hope that the interest continues.
Tom
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  #49  
Old 30.07.2010, 03:39
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Re: Rumantsch

Dorio, if you still are here...
are you sure your family doesn't speak Bargajot (Bergell/Bregaglia valley) or a kind of it even if they emigrated from that valley on the italian side? The more I read your description, the better I think it matches.
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