Cooking for everyone - free ebook in Romansh

I was watching a past issue of Telesguard, a television news programme in Romansh, and they mentioned pupils at a school learning cooking with an ebook that they read on iPads.

They mentioned that the book was available to the public as well, and I found it as an ebook from the Apple store thingy you can access from inside eBooks, and it appears to be free.

So if you’d like a cookery book with short recipes with steps labelled by how long they take and howto-pictures, search for mintgin_cuschin (“everyone_cooks”)!

If you know French or Italian, you might be able to understand at least some of the text even if you don’t specifically know Romansh. There’s also a bilingual glossary (Romansh–German and German–Romansh) of food and kitchen vocabulary at the “back”.

In some ways, Romansh is in a similar position to Welsh: traditionally spoken in the entirety of an area, slowly pushed back by a bigger language, now learned as a second language by some and still spoken as a first language by others. Some schools are through the medium of the minority language, some through the majority language.

Rather than having a North–South dialect spectrum, though, Romansh has a West–East one, or perhaps South-West–North-East; and the language seems strongest at the two ends (SW: Surselvan dialect, NE: Vallader dialect—the cookery book is written in Surselvan, I believe).

Even the fact that former “u” has merged with “i” in some dialects while remaining distinct in others (sounding like French “u” or German “ü”) reminds me of Welsh :slight_smile:

Romansh was traditionally written in five local spellings, each roughly representing the dialect of one valley (one of them, weakest today, covered quite a wide variety of different-sounding village dialects); it now also has one single unified compromise written form which is not based on any one village’s native dialect, so is not without its controversy – perhaps a bit like Cymraeg Byw!

There were some schools that taught that form as the written form (in a valley that had traditionally never had a written form of its own, so people had been used to spelling differently from the way they spoke; they used the written form of the next valley over) but I’m not sure whether they still do. But it’s used by the cantonal (regional) government for anything addressing the whole canton.

For spoken use (e.g. on television news programmes), people still speak their local dialects. I had read once that one radio station had the announcers speak this compromise written form out loud and that this generated some controversy as well.

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Where is Romansh spoken?

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Oh! Sorry.

It’s spoken in the Swiss canton of Grisons (German: Graubünden; Romansh: Grischun), in the south-eastern corner of Switzerland.

Coincidentally, the map of Grisons looks rather similar to the map of Switzerland.

And there’s an odd situation at the eastern border of Grisons in Val Müstair where it is adjacent to Italy – well, to South Tyrol, which used to belong to Austria and where many people still speak German as their first language.

So while one would expect that going from Switzerland to Italy would be a border between German and a Romance language, that is certainliy true here, but in the opposite direction from what one might expect! (Romansh in [that part of] Switzerland, German in [that part of] Italy.)