A language of Switzerland

Alternate Names
Rhaeto-Romance, Rheto-Romance, Romanche, Romansh, Rumantsch

40,000 in Switzerland (2012 census). 1 canton. Population total all countries: 40,039.


Graubünden canton: Surselva, Hinterrhein, Inn, and Maloja districts.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Statutory provincial language in Grisons Canton (2004, Grisons Cantonal Constitution, Article 3(1)).


Puter (Upper Engadine), Surmiran (Albula), Sursilvan (Surselva, Vorderrhein), Sutsilvan (Hinterrhein), Vallader (Lower Engadine). Friulian [fur], Ladin [lld], and Romansch [roh] are separate languages (1978 R. Hall). Lexical similarity: 78% with Italian [ita] and French [fra]; 76% with Catalan [cat]; 74% with Spanish [spa], Sardinian [sdc], and Portuguese [por]; 72% with Romanian [ron].

Language Use

Many children learn the language but most become more fluent in German (Salminen 2007). Also use Standard German [deu].

Language Development
Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. New media. Bible: 1679–1953.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Official written language in common use now, called Rumantsch Grischun.