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Rhaeto-Romance languages

Rhaeto-Romance languages

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Rhaeto-Romance languages are a Romance language sub-family which includes multiple languages spoken in north and north-eastern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. The name "Rhaeto-Romance" refers to the former Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 province of Rhaetia.

Varieties


The area where Rhaeto-Romance languages (also called Ladin languages, not to be confused with Judaeo-Spanish
Judaeo-Spanish
Judaeo-Spanish , in Israel commonly referred to as Ladino, and known locally as Judezmo, Djudeo-Espanyol, Djudezmo, Djudeo-Kasteyano, Spaniolit and other names, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish...

) were spoken during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 stretched from Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 to the Julian Alps
Julian Alps
The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretches from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipium of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains...

 (in modern-day western Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

).

Today some of the spoken varieties are:
  • Friulian
    Friulian language
    Friulan , is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance family, spoken in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy. Friulan has around 800,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom also speak Italian...

    : Friuli
    Friuli
    Friuli is an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the province of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, excluding Trieste...

     region, Italy
  • Ladin: Dolomite
    Dolomites
    The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. It is a part of Southern Limestone Alps and extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley...

     mountains in Italy (in Trentino, South Tyrol
    South Tyrol
    South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

     and the province of Belluno
    Province of Belluno
    TheThe Province of Belluno is a province in the Veneto region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Belluno.It has an area of 3,678 km², and a total population of 214,026 .-Geography:...

    )
  • Romansh: Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    . Romansh has status in Switzerland as a national language with three other national languages; however, its usage is rather limited to the canton of Grisons (Romansh: Grischun). It is composed of the following dialects:
    • Puter
    • Surmiran
      Surmiran
      Sursilvan is a group of dialects of the Romansh language. It is spoken in Surmeira and in the Albula Valley in Switzerland.-The "Hail Mary" in Surmiran:...

    • Sursilvan
      Sursilvan
      Sursilvan is a group of dialects of the Romansh language spoken in the Surselva, on the western bank of the Rhine. The most closely related variety is Sutsilvan, which is spoken in the area located to the east.- Example :...

    • Sutsilvan
      Sutsilvan
      Sutsilvan is a group of dialects of the Romansh language. It is spoken on the eastern bank of the Rhine....

    • Vallader
    • Rumantsch Grischun, the standardized literary language, constructed by the Swiss linguist Heinrich Schmid
      Heinrich Schmid
      Heinrich Schmid was a Swiss linguist and "father" of the Rhaeto-Romance Dachsprachen Rumantsch Grischun and Ladin Dolomitan....

       in 1982.


The inclusion of the following two dialects in the Rhaeto-Romance languages is still debated (the so-called "Questione Ladina")
  • Nones
    Nones language
    Nones is a language named after and spoken in the Non Valley in Trentino, northern Italy. It is estimated that around 30,000 persons speak it.Some linguists argue that it is a dialect of the Ladin language, since it shares many similarities...

    : Dolomite mountains in Italy (centered around the Val di Non
    Val di Non
    The Non Valley is a valley located mainly in Trentino, with three, primarily German-speaking enclaves belonging to the province of South Tyrol , in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, northern Italy....

     (Non Valley) in Trentino)
  • Solandro: Dolomite mountains in Italy (centered around the Val di Sole
    Val di Sole
    The Sole Valley is a valley in Trentino, northern Italy.Sole Valley applies to the Vermiglio Valley, the east-west aligned valley of the river Noce and its sidevalleys, among which the Peio Valley that heads to the Ortler...

     (Sole Valley) in Trentino)

Related languages


The family is most closely related to its nearest neighbors: French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Franco-Provençal, Occitan, Gallo-Italian (Piedmontese
Piedmontese language
Piedmontese is a Romance language spoken by over 2 million people in Piedmont, northwest Italy. It is geographically and linguistically included in the Northern Italian group . It is part of the wider western group of Romance languages, including French, Occitan, and Catalan.Many European and...

, Ligurian
Ligurian language (Romance)
Ligurian is a Gallo-Romance language spoken in Liguria in Northern Italy, parts of the Mediterranean coastal zone of France, Monaco and in the villages of Carloforte and Calasetta in Sardinia. Genoese , spoken in Genoa, the capital of Liguria, is its most important dialect...

, Lombard, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Venetian
Venetian language
Venetian or Venetan is a Romance language spoken as a native language by over two million people, mostly in the Veneto region of Italy, where of five million inhabitants almost all can understand it. It is sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friuli, Venezia...

), and Istriote. A number of lexical items are shared with Ibero-Romance due to the similar date of latinization for both regions.

Origin


The Rhaeto-Romance languages originated as a dialect of the provincial Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 of the central Alps, which were incorporated into the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 during the reign of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

. Before the Roman conquest, this area was Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

-speaking in the north and Rhaetian
Raetic language
Raetic is an extinct language spoken in the ancient region of Raetia in the Eastern Alps in pre-Roman and Roman times. It is documented by a limited number of short inscriptions in two variants of the Etruscan alphabet...

-speaking in the south. By the end of the Roman Empire, there was an unbroken region of distinctive Romance speech here, which was gradually fragmented into secluded areas in the high valleys by the encroachment of German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 from the north and of Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 from the south.

Features


Rhaeto-Romance is distinguished by a number of features which separate it from its neighbors.
  • diphthongization of Vulgar Latin
    Vulgar Latin
    Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

     closed e into ei
    • pei "foot"
    • fieste "party, feast"

  • occasional change of stressed a to e, particularly after a palatalized velar

  • fronting of long u into ü (mainly Swiss)
    • Lad plü "more"

  • loss of final vowels except -a, which often weakens to -e (in Friulian there is also a feminine plural in -is)
    • Lad sëra, Friul sere "evening"
    • Lad festa, Friul fieste "party"
    • Friul pie 'pia (pious, f.)' "press"

  • general palatalization
    Palatalization
    In linguistics, palatalization , also palatization, may refer to two different processes by which a sound, usually a consonant, comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate....

     of the ca and ga groups
    • cjampanis "bells" [tʃampanis]

  • conservation of cl-, pl-, fl-; conservation of Germanic w
    • SwRom clav/clev "key"
    • Friul plui "more"
    • SwRom flad, Lad fle, Friul flât "breath"
    • Lad vera, Friul vuere "war"

  • voicing of intervocalic unvoiced consonants
    Voiceless
    In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Phonologically, this is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word "phonation" implies voicing, and that voicelessness is the lack of...


  • loss of intervocalic voiced consonants

  • conservation of final -s leading to a single case based on the accusative
    Accusative case
    The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

     (oblique); formerly a double case system
    • SwRom sunàis "to ring" [2nd p. sing.]
    • SwRom culinis "hills"
    • SwRom bels ölgs "beautiful eyes"

Examples


English Surselvan Sutselvan Surmeiran Puter Vallader Rumantsch Grischun Friulian Nones (ladin) Latin Italian
gold aur or or or or, aur, ar aur aur or aurum oro
hard dir dir deir dür dür dir dûr dur durus duro
eye egl îl îgl ögl ögl egl voli ocel oculus occhio
light, easy lev leav lev liger leiv lev lizêr lizer levis lieve
three treis tres treis trais trais trais trê trei tres tre
snow neiv nev neiv naiv naiv naiv nêf neu nix (acc.
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

:
nivem)
neve
wheel roda roda roda rouda rouda roda ruede rueda rota ruota
cheese caschiel caschiel caschiel chaschöl chaschöl chaschiel formadi formai (ciasolet) caseolus (formaticus) cacio (formaggio)
house casa tgeasa tgesa chesa chasa chasa cjase ciasa casa casa
dog tgaun tgàn tgang chaun chan chaun cjan ciagn canis cane
leg comba tgomba tgomma chamma chomma chomma gjambe giamba gamba gamba
chicken gaglina gagliegna gagligna gillina giallina giaglina gjaline gialina gallina gallina
cat gat giat giat giat giat giat gjat giat catus gatto
all tut tut tot tuot tuot tut dut tut totus tutto
shape fuorma furma furma fuorma fuorma furma forme forma forma forma
I jeu jou ja eau eu jau jo mi ego io

See also

  • Rhaetian language, an unrelated language spoken in ancient times around the area where Rhaeto-Romance is now spoken.
  • Western Romance languages
    Western Romance languages
    The Western Romance languages are one of the primary subdivisions of the Romance languages. They include at least the following:* The Pyrenean–Mozarabic group consists of two languages in two separate branches:**Aragonese**Mozarabic...


External links