Romansh language

«Il rumantsch», Rhaeto-Romanic is one of the four national languages of Switzerland and is spoken mainly in the canton of Graubünden, including the Engadine. The Lower Engadine cultivates the idiom «Vallader» – a language that sounds like music to the ears. See for yourself!

At a glance

The Rhaeto-Romanic language

Switzerland's fourth national language

Romansh is the fourth official national language of Switzerland. Around 35,000 Graubünden residents speak Romansh, in various dialects and official idioms. Due to the former remoteness and independence of the Graubünden valleys from each other, the five idioms Sursilvan (Vorderrhein), Sutsilvan (Hinterrhein), Surmiran (Oberhalbstein, Albula), Puter (Oberengadin) and Vallader, spoken in the Lower Engadin and Val Müstair, have developed.

Rumantsch Grischun

The administrative burden of five different, officially recognised idioms compared to the small proportion of Romansh speakers in the Swiss population as a whole led to the drafting of guidelines for an «all-Federation Romansh written language Rumantsch Grischun» as early as 1982. Since then, the introduction of Rumantsch Grischun as an official language and language of instruction has repeatedly led to discussions and differences between supporters and opponents of the written language. The main goal remains to preserve the Romansh language as a living cultural asset that promotes identity.

On site

The Romansh language is spoken, lived and cultivated in the Lower Engadine. As an integral part of the regional culture, however, it is not only found in songs and books but also everywhere on the street and at school. For example, it is compulsory to name shops and companies in Romansh. Romansh is still the only language of instruction at school until the end of the second grade. After that, German is learned as the first «foreign language» and later French, English (from 5th grade) or Italian. Publicly, Romansh (Rumantsch Grischun and/or individual idioms) is used in addition to general use, as the language and subject of instruction, as well as for inscriptions in regional media and publications.

Examples of Romanesque media


Experience & learn the Romansh language

In order to learn the Romansh language, there are various possibilities and assistance. We recommend:

  • Lia Rumantscha, the umbrella organisation for the promotion of the Romansh language and culture, including online shop for Romansh literature and music. Further information at
  • Pledari Grond, the large online dictionary for Rumantsch Grischun and the individual idioms. Further information at
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Romanisch lernen

People & Stories Those who know Romansh can do more «Chi chi sa rumantsch, sa daplü»

Does it make sense to learn a language that just 5000 people still speak? In an area where everyone knows German anyway? Christina Sedláček is sure: yes.

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Everyday expressions in the idiom «Vallader»

allegra «grüezi», good day
a revair goodbye
bun di good morning
buna saira good evening
buna not good night
bellas vacanzas nice holidays
grazcha fich thank you very much
bun viadi have a good trip
il bogn the bath
l’abitaziun the flat
la bacharia the butchery
la banca the bank
la butia the shop
la furnaria the bakery
la garascha the garage
la posta the post office
l’ospidal the hospital
l’ustaria the restaurant
la via the road
na no
schi/hai yes
s-chüsa sorry
lündeschdi Monday
mardi Tuesday
marcurdi Wednesday
gövgia Thursday
venderdi Friday
sonda Saturday
dumengia Sunday
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Die Band Rebels aus Zernez an der Messe WEGA 2019

For fans of the Romansh language Our music tip

The local band «Rebels» from Zernez sings mostly in their mother tongue. In this song they sing about old memories, «veglias spranzas».
Continue to the song
Nachhaltigkeit gesammt

Sustainable because ...

... the cultural values and the associated cultural assets of the Engadin Scuol Zernez holiday region, including the Romansh language, represent an identity-forming contribution to the regional tourism attractiveness and living community. In connection with the language, the intangible cultural heritage is also actively lived and cultivated in the form of customs. On an economic and social level, the preservation and promotion of the Romansh language is therefore of central importance.