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Old 16.07.2010, 20:11
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Lombard vs Rumantsch

Ok, I've got some questions about Lombard.

1. Can someone who speaks rumantsch understand someone speaking Lombard?

2. What are some varieties of Lombard, especially those similar to rumantsch?

3. How prevalent is Lombard in Italian Switzerland?

If Lombard is really akin to rumantsch and it isn't dying out, maybe using standard italian would have atleast slowed Germanisation and kept rumantsch thriving like lombard in Switzerland.
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Old 16.07.2010, 21:54
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

Lombard as the ancient extinct Germanic language or as the Lombardo dialect?

Regarding Rumantsch, it is a Latin language. The language itself is a attempt to keep the 7 dialects of the Grisons alive. The closest language is the Ladino (which is just a variation) which is spoken in Italy (Alto Adigio- Süd Tyrol).

The Lombardo dialect is a Gallo-Italic dialect. The Ticinese is closely related to it. The Rumantsch is not from the same family of Latin Language.

Concerning the Germanization of Switzerland, I doubt that Rheto-Romanche (how we call it also) was prevalent out of the mountain region (former Rhetia with Tyrol) before the end of Middle-Age. The influence of the Swabia on the north part of the county was not only linguistic but also commercial. The entrance of Zurich, an important market, in the Confederacy was seen as a great victory by the Mountaineers Cantons. They would eventually more than once regret it....

The only "if" I could imagine to a certain extend is a Milanese-Swiss victory versus France-Venice at Marignano. The change of Leadership from the ZH-BE to a possible Milanese one and a shift of interest to the South would might have influence the structure of the language of Switzerland. Increasing the "Northern Italian" influence versus the French one.

The victory of the French and the signature of the "Perpetual Peace" with the French Kingdom allowed the Confederacy to prey on the Burguignon-Savoy for the great satisfaction of the French Crown.
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Old 16.07.2010, 21:59
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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The Lombardo dialect is a Gallo-Italic dialect. The Ticinese is closely related to it. The Rumantsch is not from the same family of Latin Language.
I might be wrong but I always thought that "Ticinese" was a Lombard dialect.
I can distinguish between "Comasco" and Ticinese but they really sound almost identical to me. Wasn't Ticino once Lombardy?
Rumantsch on the other hand is nearly indecipherable to me. I get many things but most folks from Grisons have a far to nasal voice for me to get anything.
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Old 16.07.2010, 22:16
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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I might be wrong but I always thought that "Ticinese" was a Lombard dialect.
I can distinguish between "Comasco" and Ticinese but they really sound almost identical to me. Wasn't Ticino once Lombardy?
Rumantsch on the other hand is nearly indecipherable to me. I get many things but most folks from Grisons have a far to nasal voice for me to get anything.
According my understanding, Lombardo and Ticinese are almost the same, with few variations. But I speak standard Italian and some Romagnolo (my dad mother tongue) so I might confound them even.

The Ticino become a "subject territory" of the Central Swiss Cantons after a war between Milan and the Confederacy (it did happen before Marignano). It was administrated by bailiffs of the Waldstatten. It lost its "colonial" status after the French Revolution and the "Acte de Médiation" imposed by the First Consul Bonaparte. Same thing for Vaud and Aarau (even Thurgau IIRC).

Rumantsch is like Dutch to me, easier to understand when it is written
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Old 16.07.2010, 23:04
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

I speak rumantsch to a good level, but not mother tongue. My italian is what I can understand thanks to rumantsch and french, so I can only tell you what I witnessed in that direction.

Lombard or not Lombard, the question is highly sensitive in Ticino. Endless discussions. Every time I ask people, I get a different answer. I gave up asking the locals, I go by my Romanistikseminare from University: Tessin-dialect(s) is(are) lombard.

Rumantsch speakers tend to understand Italian and northern Lombard dialect easily in daily life situation, but as soon as the topic is more specific, the differences of lexic gets in the way. But noone will ever take rumantsch for an italian dialect, so there is no reason what so ever to even think of italian as standard language for rumantsch speakers... no Rumantsch would understand this reasoning.

Lombard and italian speakers will find it very difficult to understand spoken rumantsch and will have to look up words when reading it, especially Rhyne valley romontsch and central rumantsch. When Rumantsch meet Ticinesi, the communication usually is "flavoured" italian, because Rumantsch are in general exposed to standard italian but not dialects. And let's face it, if rumantsch is your mother tongue, there is little work to do to get it almost right in Italian. But not everybody does that little work, mostly because they are busy with learning Bündnerdeutsch and Hochdeutsch.

Kaeso, how do you get up to 7 dialects? Do you count in "jauer" and "bravuogn"?



EDIT: you may as well experience a Ticinese and a Rumantsch speaking in Swiss German with each other... and not only in Deutschschweiz area. Both communities have to learn German for anything at "next level" above their local community, so German may come naturally to them.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 16.07.2010 at 23:24.
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Old 17.07.2010, 00:16
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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Kaeso, how do you get up to 7 dialects? Do you count in "jauer" and "bravuogn"?
By drinking too much I guess I did not check the number of dialects, I guess I can blame my poor memory.... After a quick check it is 5.
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Old 17.07.2010, 00:47
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

You are not drunk. It depends how one counts. This is why Rumantsch say idioms, not dialects, otherwise, the maths is endless and people start to get agressive.
idiom, in the present case, is a written norm elaborated in the course of history in different areas and adopted as norm by a territory. Nothing says that they speak exactly the way the idiom is written, hence the dialect question and my curiosity about how you count them.
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Old 17.07.2010, 05:07
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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Rumantsch speakers tend to understand Italian and northern Lombard dialect easily in daily life situation, but as soon as the topic is more specific, the differences of lexic gets in the way. But noone will ever take rumantsch for an italian dialect, so there is no reason what so ever to even think of italian as standard language for rumantsch speakers... no Rumantsch would understand this reasoning.

Lombard and italian speakers will find it very difficult to understand spoken rumantsch and will have to look up words when reading it, especially Rhyne valley romontsch and central rumantsch. When Rumantsch meet Ticinesi, the communication usually is "flavoured" italian, because Rumantsch are in general exposed to standard italian but not dialects. And let's face it, if rumantsch is your mother tongue, there is little work to do to get it almost right in Italian. But not everybody does that little work, mostly because they are busy with learning Bündnerdeutsch and Hochdeutsch.
It's understandable that rumantsch-speakers want to write in their own language instead of Italian (they hesitate to write in the standardized rumantsch grischun anyway), but it's so sad seeing German taking over Graubünden and elsewhere, even Italian-speaking areas like Moesa and Poschaivo are losing ground to German.

Last edited by Longbyt; 29.07.2010 at 20:22. Reason: Tried to correct the quote. If it's wrong, please PM me.
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Old 17.07.2010, 05:09
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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Rumantsch speakers tend to understand Italian and northern Lombard dialect easily in daily life situation, but as soon as the topic is more specific, the differences of lexic gets in the way. But noone will ever take rumantsch for an italian dialect, so there is no reason what so ever to even think of italian as standard language for rumantsch speakers... no Rumantsch would understand this reasoning.

Lombard and italian speakers will find it very difficult to understand spoken rumantsch and will have to look up words when reading it, especially Rhyne valley romontsch and central rumantsch. When Rumantsch meet Ticinesi, the communication usually is "flavoured" italian, because Rumantsch are in general exposed to standard italian but not dialects. And let's face it, if rumantsch is your mother tongue, there is little work to do to get it almost right in Italian. But not everybody does that little work, mostly because they are busy with learning Bündnerdeutsch and Hochdeutsch.
It's understandable that rumantsch-speakers want to write in their own language instead of Italian (they hesitate to write in the standardized rumantsch grischun anyway), but it's so sad seeing German taking over Graubünden and elsewhere, even Italian-speaking areas like Moesa and Poschaivo are losing ground to German.
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Old 29.07.2010, 20:18
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

Hi, let me try to give you answers to two of your questions:

1. Can someone who speaks rumantsch understand someone speaking Lombard?

I can answer to the opposite question, and the answer is yes, to some extent. Although I would go as far as telling you that you should not only take into account Lumbard, rather, a mixture of the Northern Italian dialects. Furthermore, it is hard to think of a codified, single, Lumbard, because up until 70 years ago the use of the "vulgar" Italian language was reserved to the upper classes, and each city had a different vocabulary - not just a different accent...what can I say, we like complication

2. What are some varieties of Lombard, especially those similar to rumantsch?

From my completely amateurial linguistic perspective I would tell you that the Northern Italian dialect most similar to Rumantsch is Patois, highly diffused in Aosta, and therefore pretty far from Lombardy. I have the feeling that progressive dominations, as well as internal waves of immigration have sort of "washed" away the french influence from the Lombard dialect...which nobody really speaks anymore, anyway, if not for smaller centres.
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Old 29.07.2010, 22:07
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

Just coming back from Engadin, I tried to ask as much as I could.
A primary teacher said - to my surprise - that it was no big effort to understand standard italian after training her ears a bit. The rumantsch vocabulary is quite "italian" to be honnest. But this passive skill also mean that she does not know a squit about italian endings or even pronouns (she said she just guessed pronouns as she was used to the other rumantsch idioms with other ways of expressing that too).

Now the biggie : Bregaliot - a very high up the valley lumbard dialect seen from Italy, is very easy to understand for Rumantsch, especially with good knowledge of Puter-Rumantsch. Then, no problem, even a kid get it (at its level). The Bregaliot being attracted to the more exiting Oberengadin during tourist season, the mix of German, Rumantsch and Bregaliot just make it easy for everybody. And all Engadin-inhabitants have had many years of italian lessons at school (that nobody I know of there took seriously, by the way).

But all that does not work as well with Sursilvans or Surmirans, north-alps Rumantsch, that only have school italian to go by and get along. They need to be smarter, but not geniouses. At least, that was the word of local Engadin Rumantsch about them...

But is Bregaliot lumbard? ya... with a bit of tolerance for vocab strangenesses. Same with Poschiavo-dialect (called talian dal Puschlav in Rumantsch).

With Rumantsch, you always have the same problem: if you take vocab, you find it closer to lombardo italian, if you take grammar and phonetics, it's closer to arpitan-french (alpine francoprovancal... aoste french... there are other names for it too).

Rumantsch ist just.... different.


EDIT: on italian sites, it says Bregaliot as a strong romanish substrate, as if the valley had been Rumantsch/ladin speaking before taking over influence from futher down. Or lumbard speaking population mixed strongly with Rumantsch further up for a long time.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 29.07.2010 at 23:19.
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Old 30.07.2010, 00:04
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

I'm native speaker of Romanian and I do understand a lot of Rumantsch, especially when it's written. I've discovered many identical words. To my ears it does sound more like Portuguese (as Romanian sounds through a glass wall) or better said Portuguese mixed with Italian.
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Old 30.07.2010, 00:11
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

Ya, lots of sch, tsch, ch, cht... like portugzese :-)
Romanian is known for having kept old latin words, and rumantsch too!

white - alb
church - baselgia
...

and of course the common latin vocab of all neolatin languages.
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Old 10.11.2012, 06:45
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Re: Lombard vs Rumantsch

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Romanian is known for having kept old latin words, and rumantsch too!
I listened to Rumantsch for the first time today on youtube, it sounded a fair bit like the Romanian spoke in northwestern Romania.
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