ROMONTSCH first became known to the world in general with its promotion to Switzerland's fourth national language in 1938. This was in recognition of the fact that a certain percentage of her population had as their native tongue neither French nor German nor Italian, but a form of Romance descended from the original inhabitants of most of their territory, the Raeti. For that reason it is known as Raeto-Romance, a term which has the advantage of covering all five forms of the language spoken in the Canton Grisons. Strictly, ...
ROMONTSCH first became known to the world in general with its promotion to Switzerland's fourth national language in 1938. This was in recognition of the fact that a certain percentage of her population had as their native tongue neither French nor German nor Italian, but a form of Romance descended from the original inhabitants of most of their territory, the Raeti. For that reason it is known as Raeto-Romance, a term which has the advantage of covering all five forms of the language spoken in the Canton Grisons. Strictly, it includes some of the vernaculars of the Dolomites, which, with Romontsch and Friulan, are believed to constitute a single independent Romance idiom called Ladin. What makes Romontsch, especially in its Sursilvan form, of particular interest to linguists, is the effect on it of close contact with the Germanic language of the Alemanni. This has cost it some features believed integral to Romance; and the Germanic substitute, together with Romontsch's own peculiar verbal system, make it a language of surpassing interest. The prose-extracts in the Anthology show that Romontsch is a mature language with the power of expression necessary for literary creation. It is remarkable that so small a territory has produced so much prose of high quality in novels such as Toni Halter's "Culan da Crestaulta," Gion Deplazes' Passiun, and Ludovic Hendry's "Discuors cugl Assassin," in short stories like those of Gian Fontana, and in satires such as the "Historias da Gion Barlac" of Theo Candinas. As for verse, Raeto-Romance poetry can stand comparison with the best western lyric, and the patriotic poets of the nineteenth century have had worthy successors to justify their faith in their mother-tongue. Flurin Darms, Hendri Spescha, Felix Giger, Silvio Camenisch, and many others, sing each with his personal note, but all with the musicality which is one of Romontsch's most precious qualities. Sits alongside "Romagnol: Language and Literature" (9780902675124) and "Friulan: Language and Literature" (9780902675391). For D. B. GREGOR a language is a mechanism that can and should be set out with the same coherence that one expects from a manual on the parts of a machine. Doubtless this conception derives in large measure from the Greek and Latin Grammars on which he was brought up in the 'Twenties, and from his personal experience in discovering that this is the quickest way to acquire a reading and writing knowledge of a language, which in turn accelerates the acquisition of an ability to speak it. He is no stranger to such an exposition, having thus presented also Romagnol, and features of the six Celtic tongues. In now offering his analysis of a second Ladin language, he hopes that it will not only excite the interest of linguists, but do something to rouse Romontschers themselves to the necessity of rallying to the defence of their threatened tongue. Part of the Oleander Classics series, this title has been reproduced using the highest-quality modern scanning technology. This is done in order to keep important works from the Press's 50-year history from going out of print. In this way, the invaluable resources provided by this and other books in the series remain available for general readers, academics and other interested parties.
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