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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rhaeto-Romance languages are a Romance language sub-family which includes multiple languages spoken in North and North-Eastern Italy, and Switzerland. The name "Rhaeto-Romance" refers to the province of Rhaetia once in the Roman Empire.

Historical ladin areas. Light green shows the highest extension around 1000 A.D. according to linguist Isaia Ascoli



The area where Rhaeto-Romance languages (also called Ladin languages) were spoken during the Middle Ages stretched from Switzerland to the Julian Alps (in modern-day western Slovenia).

Some of the varieties are:

The inclusion of the following two dialects in the Rhaeto-Romance languages is still debated (the so called: "Questione Ladina")

  • Nones: Dolomite mountains in Italy (centered around the Val di Non (Non Valley) in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol)
  • Solandro: Dolomite mountains in Italy (centered around the Val di Sole (Sun Valley or Valley of the Sun) in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol)

Related languages

The family is most closely related to its nearest neighbors: French, Franco-Provençal, Occitan, Gallo-Italian (Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Venetian), and Istriote. A number of lexical items are shared with Ibero-Romance due to the similar date of latinization for both regions.


The Rhaeto-Romance languages originated as a dialect of the provincial Latin of the central Alps, which were incorporated into the Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus. Before the Roman conquest, this area was Celtic-speaking in the north and Rhaetian-speaking in the south. By the end of the Roman Empire, there was an unbroken region of distinctive Romance speech here, which was gradually fragmented into secluded areas in the high valleys by the encroachment of German from the north and of Italian from the south.


Rhaeto-Romance is distinguished by a number of features which separate it from its neighbors.

  • diphthongization of Vulgar Latin closed e into ei
    • pei "foot"
    • fieste "party, feast"
  • occasional change of stressed a to e, particularly after a palatalized velar
  • fronting of long u into ü (mainly Swiss)
    • Lad plü "more"
  • fall of final vowels save -a, which often weakens into -e (in Friulian there is also a feminine plural in -is)
    • Lad sëra, Friul sere "evening"
    • Lad festa, Friul fieste "party"
    • Friul pie 'pia (pious, f.)' "press"
  • general palatalization of the ca and ga groups
    • cjampanis "bells" [tʃampanis]
  • conservation of cl-, pl-, fl-; conservation of Germanic w
    • SwRom clav/clev "key"
    • Friul plui "more"
    • SwRom flad, Lad fle, Friul flât "breath"
    • Lad vera, Friul vuere "war"
  • voicing of intervocalic unvoiced consonants
  • fall of intervocalic voiced consonants
  • conservation of final -s, lead to single case based on acc (oblique); formerly a double case system
    • SwRom sunàis "to ring, 2ndp.sing.)"
    • SwRom culinis "hills"
    • SwRom bels ölgs "beautiful eyes"


English Surselvan Sutselvan Surmeiran Puter Vallader Rumantsch Grischun Friulian Nones (ladin) Latin Italian
gold aur or or or or,aur,ar aur aur or aurum oro
hard dir dir deir dür dür dir dûr dur durus duro
eye egl îl îgl ögl ögl egl voli ocel oculus occhio
light, easy lev leav lev liger leiv lev lizêr lizer levis lieve
three treis tres treis trais trais trais trê trei tres tre
snow neiv nev neiv naiv naiv naiv nêf neu nix (abl.: nive) neve
wheel roda roda roda rouda rouda roda ruede rueda rota ruota
cheese caschiel caschiel caschiel chaschöl chaschöl chaschiel formadi formai (ciasolet) caseolus (formaticus) cacio (formaggio)
house casa tgeasa tgesa chesa chasa chasa cjase ciasa casa casa
dog tgaun tgàn tgang chaun chan chaun cjan ciagn canis cane
leg comba tgomba tgomma chamma chomma chomma gjambe giamba gamba gamba
chicken gaglina gagliegna gagligna gillina giallina giaglina gjaline gialina gallina gallina
cat gat giat giat giat giat giat gjat giat catus gatto
all tut tut tot tuot tuot tut dut tut totus tutto
shape fuorma furma furma fuorma fuorma furma forme forma forma forma
I jeu jou ja eau eu jau jo mi ego io

See also

  • Rhaetian language, an unrelated language spoke in ancient times around the area where Rhaeto-Romance is now spoken.

External links



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