Upper Engadin language

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Former distribution area of ​​the individual Romance idioms in the canton of Graubünden

Upper Engadin (advises: puter , with an emphasis on the long second syllable, therefore sometimes also written putèr ) is a Romansh idiom and is spoken in the Upper Engadin between Maloja and Cinuos-chel and in Bergün / Bravuogn in the canton of Graubünden .


Upper Engadin is a variant of the Ladin . In Switzerland, the term Ladin describes the Rhaeto-Romanic variants of the Engadine and the Münstertal. In addition to turkeys, these are Lower Engadine (Vallader) and Münstertal (Jauer); In contrast to Puter and Vallader, however, the latter dialect has no written language tradition (Vallader has been taught in the Münstertal schools up to now). The Ladin in Switzerland is part of the Graubünden Romance language and, despite the misleading name, can be clearly distinguished from the Ladin languages in South Tyrol.

The oldest longer literary text in Romansh is the Chanzun da la guerra dalg Chiastè d'Müs from 1527, written in Puter by Gian Travers from Zuoz . The first printed book in the Romansh Alliance also came from the Upper Engadin: a Protestant catechism appeared in 1552 and the New Testament in 1560 , both texts were translated into Romansh by Jachiam Tütschett Bifrun from Samedan .

Spelling and pronunciation

Sgraffito on a house facade in Samedan , translated: A person without love is like a meadow without a flower
Signpost in Zuoz with examples of the paragraph «s-ch»

Despite numerous adaptations over the centuries, the Upper Engadine written language has received numerous ancient features to this day, which makes it more difficult to pronounce than that of the four other traditional written idioms of Romansh. For example, the pronunciation of the letter combination -aun- as "än" before the consonant or even "äm" before the vowel and at the end of the word should be emphasized. The Romanic place name Silvaplauna (dt. Silvaplana ) is therefore pronounced like "Silvapläma".

Another peculiarity of the Upper Engadin spelling concerns the ending -ieu, which sounds like "ia" (with an accented i and a very short a). Because of these and other rules, the Romance Bainvgnieu (English: welcome) results in the pronunciation "bäjnfnjía", Vstieu (English: dress) sounds like "Schtía" (without v!).

The Upper Engadin place names also have some surprises in store for those who speak other languages: Since a -g at the end of a word is usually pronounced like "tj" in High German "tja" (or, if the pronunciation is imprecise, simply like German "tsch"), the side valley of Pontresina / Puntraschigna looks more like Rosetsch, although Roseg is written.

The letter combination "s-ch" also stands out in several place names, e.g. B. in S-chanf , Cinuos-chel or La Punt-Chamues-ch . The pronunciation corresponds to the combination of German "sch" with the previously mentioned "tj", ie "sch-tj" or (more imprecisely) "sch-tsch" ( IPA : / ʃtɕ / ). The hyphen is essential to avoid confusion with simple "sch". The examples mentioned are therefore roughly: "Shtjanf", "Tsinúoschtjel", "Tjamuéschtj". This rule applies not only to the Upper Engadine, but to the Ladin in general.

An easy-to-hear peculiarity of the turkey compared to the other idioms is the frequent replacement of long a by long e (in this case the e is also written). While in the Lower Engadine and mostly in the rest of the Romansh Grisons it is called: chasa (house), Banca Chantunala (cantonal bank), dumandar (ask), ala (wing), the Upper Engadin consistently say chesa, Banca Chantunela, dumander, ela (each with a long , emphasized e).

School language

Since Upper Engadin, like all five Romansh idioms, is not just an oral dialect, but a written language with standardized grammar and spelling, it is also used as a school language. In the primary schools of the following municipalities turkey is the official school language: Sils im Engadin / Segl , Silvaplana , Celerina , La Punt-Chamues-ch , Madulain , Zuoz and S-chanf . Bilingual primary schools with turkey and German as the teaching languages ​​can be found in Bever , Pontresina and Samedan . St. Moritz and Bergün / Bravuogn run a German-language primary school with turkey as the first foreign language . In the village of Champfèr , which politically belongs to the municipality of St. Moritz, there is also a Romance elementary school with a turkey as the language of instruction.

Language examples

Information sign in Upper Engadin, German and Italian.

To compare the languages, a text in Upper Engadin, Rumantsch Grischun and German.

Upper Engadin

La vuolp d'eira darcho üna vouta famanteda. Cò ho'la vis sün ün pin ün corv chi tgnaiva ün töch chaschöl in sieupical. Que am gustess, ho'la penso, ed ho clamo al corv: "Che bel cha tü est! Scha tieu chaunt es uschè bel scu tia apparentscha, alura est tü il pü bel utschè da tuots".

Rumantsch Grischun

La vulp era puspè ina giada fomentada. Qua ha ella vis sin in pign in corv che tegneva in toc chaschiel en ses pichel. Quai ma gustass, ha ella pensà, ed ha clamà al corv: "Tge bel che ti es! Sche tes chant è uschè bel sco tia parita, lura es ti il ​​pli bel utschè da tuts".


The fox was hungry again. Then he saw a raven on a fir tree with a piece of cheese in its beak. I would like that, he thought, and called to the raven: “How beautiful you are! If your singing is as beautiful as your looks, then you are the most beautiful of all birds. "


  • Philipp Walther, Domenica Messmer: Rumauntsch putèr - A small phrase book for everyday life. Societad da turissem Engiadin'Ota / Verkehrsverein Oberengadin, Grischun / Pontresina 1983, OCLC 499372211 .
  • Gion Tscharner: Dicziunari - Dictionary computer-German / German-computer. Lehrmittelverlag Graubünden, 2000; Chur 2007 3 , OCLC 759741607 (DC-ROM).
  • Corrado Conforti, Linda Cusimano, Marietta Jemmi: In lingia directa - Ün cuors da rumauntsch puter. Lia Rumantscha, Chur 1997–2003, ISBN 3-906680-57-6 (two-part language course with audio CD).
  • Walter Scheitlin: Il pled puter. Grammatica ladina d'Engiadin 'ota. Edician da l'Uniun dals Grischs, Samedan 1980 3 . 1972 2 , OCLC 887137201 (Bilingual grammar Upper Engadin / German).
  • Daniel Manzoni: Ramba Zamba. [ 123 ed ün pêr chanzuns per s'allegrer, suter, chanter e rir, guarder e culurir! ] Coloring pictures songbook. Ed. Daniel Manzoni, Segl 2013, OCLC 887708677 ; with double CD Ramba Zamba. [ 40 chanzuns rumauntschas ]. Ed. Daniel Manzoni, Segl 2011, OCLC 779227244 ; Double CD Zamba Ramba. Verl. Daniel Manzoni, Segl 2013, OCLC 851257934 (music project for kindergarten and lower school).

Literature on turkey is published by the Lia Rumantscha in Chur , among others .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The political song of the Müsserkrieg as a testimony of oral literature is only passed down in later copies. See Gion Deplazes : Romansh literature. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . December 16, 2011 , accessed May 7, 2016 .
  2. ^ Ottavio Clavuot: Bifrun, Jachiam. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .