New Romansch books

Since travelling abroad is not a possibility I have gone on-line to look for more books about the Romansch language. I have missed my European language studies, which I haven’t undertaken since 2009 [1]. I would like to continue both Romansch and Breton but as my 2009 experience showed, it was not a good idea to go from one language to another with only a weekend between the two. It is better to concentrate on one language at a time. Had COVID not existed I might have resumed my studies already or at least investigated courses offered this summer. It will be a new experience for me when I do resume my Romansch studies since the program is no longer being offered at the Casa Caltgera in Laax.

I often visit the website of the Lia Rumantscha, the organization that promotes the Romansch language, and visited its headquarters in Chur in 2006 and 2009. Since I don’t see myself setting foot in Switzerland anytime soon I decided to place an order for some books on-line. What a surprise to find a package at my doorstep this morning before I left for work. Merely one week after I placed my order, I received the four books I wanted plus some bonus material at no extra charge.

I collect translations of Le Petit Prince and I already own copies in the Romansch idioms of Surmiran and Rumantsch Grischun. While I was in Laax I learned that a Sursilvan edition existed but it was long out of print. Luckily a second edition came out only last month and I was on top of it. I ordered one in Sursilvan, the idiom I speak, and also one in Vallader:

versiun sursilvana

versiun valladra

At only 27 pages, Problems dell’instrucziun romontscha is a lecture given by Ramun Vieli at the Conferenza romontscha on 24 January 1942. The Lia Rumantscha must have had these in storage for the past eighty years. It looks untouched.

Il romontsch, in model per la sort da minoritads linguisticas e culturalas? by Alexi Decurtins is a ten-page triglot from 1980. Its English title sums up its brief contents.

In a note I wrote to the Lia Rumantscha that accompanied my order (I wrote it in romontsch sursilvan, of course) I stated that I was interested in learning the language. I did not state that I was interested in resuming my studies and that I had attained level five. They were kind enough to include their own first-level textbook, En lingia directa 1: In cuors da romontsch sursilvan, Cudisch principal (they sell it for 22 CHF):

Unlike the text material that I have used in my previous studies which were all legal-sized loose pages (the student had to insert them into a binder, good thing they were already hole-punched), this text, while the same dimensions, was a bound book.

There is no question that I will have to review all of my Romansch notes and exercises before I enrol in class six. I am nevertheless surprised at how much I have retained of the language, thirteen years after my last class.

The Lia Rumantscha also sent along a pen with their insignia, some stickers and information pamphlets on the registered language programs and promotional materials for new books.

[1] In 2000 I studied Finnish in Finland; from 2005 to 2007 and in 2009 I studied Romansch in Graubünden, Switzerland and in 2009 I also studied Breton in Brittany, France.

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