Surmeir language

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Original distribution area of ​​the individual Romansh idioms in the canton of Graubünden

Surmiran (German also: Surmeirisch , Oberhalbsteinisch) is a Graubünden Romanesque idiom and is spoken in Oberhalbstein and in parts of the Albula valley in the canton of Graubünden . The region is also called Surmeir .

Local distribution

Surmiran is spoken in the Albula and Oberhalbstein valleys. The Surmeir language belongs to the Central Graubünden dialects with the Sutselvian language . The term Surmeir (literally: whether the wall ) refers to the Moir rock face , the most difficult obstacle on the way through the Schyn Gorge between Scharans and Alvaschein and has always been the border between Domleschg and Albulatal . The Bergün dialect, the Bargunsegner , also belongs to the Surmiran; for historical and religious reasons - Bergün is a Reformed village in an otherwise Catholic environment - the official language there is the Upper Engadin Putèr . The same was once true for the community of Filisur, which had been Germanized for some time .

Language differentiation

There are very pronounced village dialects in Surmeir, which usually differ greatly from the common written Surmeir. By definition, the local dialect of Stierva is used as the written language. The dialects in the Albula Valley are notable for their wealth of diphthongs . In the Oberhalbstein and Bergün, however, the phenomenon of diphthong hardening (from louf becomes locf ) can be found.

Speech withdrawal

Overview of the Surmiran language area

Like all other idioms, the Surmiran has to contend with a sharp decline. During the second half of the last century, a strong Germanization took place in central Grisons (especially in the Albula Valley). In certain communities in the Albula Valley, the Romansh language was almost completely replaced by the German language.

According to the 2000 census, around 2,200 people in Central Grisons speak the Surmeir language. Measured against the population of the originally Romansh-speaking communities, this corresponds to a share of around 28%. However, the proportion of the Romansh-speaking population in the municipalities varies greatly. While certain municipalities in the Albula Valley only have a 10% share of Romansh in Graubünden (e.g. Vaz / Obervaz and Bergün / Bravuogn ), in various municipalities in Oberhalbstein more than 70% speak Graubünden Romansh (e.g. Salouf and Sur ). It should be noted, however, that the census asked about the language most commonly used in everyday life. As a result, many people who are Romansh mother tongue have given German as their main language because they use German more often.

The following is an overview of the Graubünden Romansh shares in the Central Graubünden communities according to the 2000 census (not listed are Filisur , which has been Germanized since the 19th century, and the Walser communities of Mutten and Schmitten, which have been German-speaking since ancient times ):

coat of arms Name of the parish population
Alvaneu Alvaneu 403 68 16.9%
Alvaschein Alvaschein 154 62 40.3%
Bergün / Bravuogn Bergün / Bravuogn 520 55 10.6%
Bivio Bivio 204 25th 12.3%
Brienz / Brinzauls Brienz / Brinzauls 117 37 31.6%
Cunter Cunter 198 101 51.0%
Lantsch / Lenz Lantsch / Lenz 485 178 36.7%
Marmorera Marmorera 49 17th 34.7%
Mon Mon 86 45 52.3%
Mulegns Mulegns 33 17th 51.5%
Riom-Parsonz Riom-Parsonz 327 209 63.9%
Salouf Salouf 205 159 77.6%
Savognin Savognin 882 468 53.1%
Stierva Stierva 128 85 66.4%
Sur Sur 93 70 75.3%
Surava Surava 250 27 10.8%
Tiefencastel Tiefencastel 230 87 37.8%
Tinizong-Rona Tinizong-Rona 369 185 50.1%
Vaz / Obervaz Vaz / Obervaz 2691 243 9.0%


The regional weekly newspaper La Pagina da Surmeir is published in Surmiran .

Language example

Textbook Deutsch-Surmeir (1969)


La golp era puspe eneda famantada. Cò ò ella via sen en pegn en corv tgi tigniva en toc caschiel an sies pecal. Chegl am gustess, ò ella panso, ed ò clamo agl corv: “Tge bel tgi te is! Schi ties cant è schi bel scu tia parentscha, alloura is te igl pi bel utschel da tots. "

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: “Everyday 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. "


  • Faust Signorell (Red.): Vocabulari surmiran-tudestg / Dictionary German-Surmiran. Lehrmittelverlag des Kantons Graubünden, Chur 1999 OCLC 729110514 ; 2001 2 , OCLC 890545759 (Dictionary for Grade 4–9 ).
  • Corrado Conforti, Reto Capeder, Linda Cusimano, Violanta Spinas Bonifazi: An lengia directa. En curs da rumantsch surmiran. Leia Rumantscha, Coira 1997– 2003, OCLC 759351610 (multi-part language course with audio CD and separate grammar).
  • Gion Peder Thöni : Rumantsch-Surmeir. Grammatica per igl idiom surmiran. LR [Ligia Romontscha], Chur 1969, OCLC 2801965 .

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