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Languages > Rhaeto-Romance
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Language Information

Rhaeto-Romanic is a collective term for three dialects of the Romance family spoken in northeastern Italy and southeastern Switzerland. Of the more than 500,000 speakers of Rhaeto-Romanic, about 90 percent are in Italy, but there the language is considered a mere patois and has no official status. The Swiss dialect on the other hand, known as Romansch, is one of Switzerland's four official languages, despite the fact that it is spoken by only one percent of the population. The passage cited below is in Romansch.

The two Rhaeto-Romanic dialects of Italy are (1) Friulian, with about 500,000 speakers in the region of Friuli, near the border with Austria and Slovenia; (2) Ladin, with about 10,000 speakers in Alto Adige to the west. Romansch is spoken by about 50,000 people in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, bordering Austria and Italy. The survival of Rhaeto-Romanic, despite pressures from surrounding languages, is largely due to the isolation of its speakers in extremely mountainous regions.

Rhaeto-Romance is spoken/used in the following countries:
Italy, Switzerland.

Language Family
Family: Indo-European
Subgroup: Romance

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


In Vella, ancient capital of the Lumnezia Valley, long the domain of breeders of prized cattle, the splendor of the home fields seems to touch the very houses. In the hush of Sunday morning, one gets the feeling that village and nature are fused into one, that the swaying of the ripening alfalfa seems to stretch beyond the boundaries and walls, almost listening for an echo behind the shining windowpanes of the surrounding homes. The promise of summer is in the very air with the sweet perfume of wild roses and honey, but also with the painful sight of thorns and thistles.

—TONI HALTER, The Herdsman of Greina

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