Jun 6, 2017 - 11:08 AM
in reply to maggiehorswell
>> we find all languages and their quirkiness really interesting
I do too!
>> Mike bought himself a small Romansch - Deutsch dictionary years ago which for us with our Latin as well as French and German was really fascinating and helped us understand some inscriptions though the pronunciation was beyond us!
I am fascinated with the Romansch language/s as well! I think it was those intriguingly strange place names such as S-chanf, S-charl and La Punt-Chamues-ch that piqued my curiosity initially. I've since discovered, both from listening to announcements for the next stop on the train and researching on the internet, that the strange (to me) spelling convention of "s-ch..." and "...s-ch" is to represent a pronunciation of "ch" as in English "chocolate", because "sch" with no hyphen represents a "sh" sound. Apparently this spelling convention only occurs in the Putèr and Vallader varieties of Romansch, and this sound is spelt as "stg" in other varieties. I'm glad I heard "Muottas Muragl" pronounced correctly on a YouTube video before I had to pronounce it myself ;D
There's something amazing about a language that has only about 30,000 speakers, yet has 5 different varieties! (That's as a consequence of the mountainous terrain isolating the populations of the various valleys in the past of course). I wondered whether it was only older people that continued to speak Romansch, but was impressed to hear young people, e.g. waiters/waitresses in restaurants in Scuol, conversing in Romansch. I read somewhere that schooling for the first 3 years in the Romansch-speaking areas is conducted exclusively in Romansch, after which children begin learning German, and then from year 5 learn another language such as French, Italian or English.
I don't know whether it will ever in fact happen, but one day I would like to do a course in the Vallader variety of Romansch in Scuol, where "Lia Rumantscha" run 5-day intensive courses. In the meantime, I am dabbling in learning what I can from resources on the internet.