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Romansh dialects carry the day in Graubünden

The parliament in canton Graubünden has decided that schoolbooks can be issued again in local Romansh dialects.

The decision, which overturns a 2003 vote demanding the sole use of a standard version of the language, was included in the revision of the canton’s education legislation.

The choice of “rumantsch grischun” had provoked an outcry in the different valleys where the language is spoken. The “Pro Idioms” association began collecting signatures earlier this year to demand a return to local dialects for teaching material.

Some communes have announced they will go back to using schoolbooks in the local Romansh dialect, while others such as Laax will stick with the standard version.

Rumantsch grischun was created in 1982 by Zurich language specialist Heinrich Schmidt. It is one of Graubünden’s three official languages, along with German and Italian.

Romansh is also one of Switzerland’s national languages, but is only spoken by about 70,000 people or one per cent of the population.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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