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Languages Spoken in Graubünden

Relaxing at Lai Nair
Graubünden is the only trilingual canton of Switzerland. Among the population living in Graubünden, 64 percent speak German, 13 percent Romansh, 11 Italian, and the remaining 12 percent use other regional languages.

German Language Area

Around two thirds of the Graubünden population use German as its main language. In particular, we can roughly identify the following German-speaking areas: Walser German is spoken in the Rheinwald, in Vals, Safien, in Schanfigg with Arosa, in Prättigau with Klosters, Davos and in the enclave of Obersaxen. The Graubünden German with the typical open vowels is found in Chur, the Rhine Valley in Chur and in the adjacent former Roman territories. Finally, Samnaun locals speak a Tyrolean-Bavarian dialect.

Arcas, ST Markus Buehler

Italian Language Area

The four southern valleys of Graubünden where Italian is spoken are referred to as «Grigioniitaliani». This includes the Misox (Italian of Val Mesolcina), the Calancatal (Italian of Val Calanca), the Bergell (Italian of Val Bregaglia) and the Puschlav (Italian of Valtellina). These areas are characterized by a distinct linguistic autonomy and by various local dialects.

Poschiavo (Foto: © Graubünden Ferien, Stefan Schlumpf)

Romansh Language Area

The Roman language area alone is a feast for linguists. It is divided into different regions and five dialetcs. The Lower Engadine and Val Müstair traditionally belong to the catchment area of Vallader, Puter is spoken in the Upper Engadine, in the Graubünden Oberland Sursilvan, in Domleschg and Schams Sutsilvan and in Oberhalbstein and Albulatal/Surmiran.

Rätoromanische Inschrift bei Haus in Feldis