Introduction to Swiss “Rumantsch” – in Japanese!
For the first time, a Japanese-language monograph dedicates itself to giving an introduction to Romansh language and culture. The book is of great interest for linguists, historians and friends of Switzerland’s cultural diversity.
The first chapter gives an overview over 2000 years of history of Switzerland’s easternmost canton of Graubünden and its Romansh-speaking regions. Various migrations kept shaping the Romansh cultural sphere for centuries. Nowadays, Romansh is spoken by 35’000 – 65’000 people (<1% of Swiss population), who actively promote their culture, contributing to a vivid scene of literature, music and art.
Besides a grammar of the most-spread Romansh idiom, Sursilvan, the work shows up the essential differences between the two major idioms and gives an overview over conspicuous and less evident influences of (Swiss-) German within Romansh. There is probably no other Latin-based language that was influenced by German syntax and vocabulary as much as Romansh. Therefore, Romansh is a language of great linguistic and socio-historical interest.
The last part of the book contains some examples of Romansh literature with translation and grammatical explanation of sample sentences in Japanese. In the appendix, the reader finds a list of Romansh vocabulary as well as a language-guide for all four Swiss national languages. Suisu romanshu-go nyûmon aims to give an introduction to Romansh according to scientific standards, and, at the same time, to reach an audience of interested travellers beyond academia.
We are proud that a recent embassy intern, Mr. Jonas Ruegg, is co-author of this interesting Japanese publication. The publication can be ordered directly from the publisher.