Lia Rumantscha calls for greater visibility for Romansh

25 years ago, the Swiss electorate recognised Romansh as a partial official language of the Confederation. Despite much progress in the promotion of the fourth national language since then, the implementation of multilingual communication on the part of the Confederation is often lacking. The Lia Rumantscha is therefore calling for more consistent use of Romansh in contact with the Romansh population.

The Lia Rumantscha, the umbrella organisation for the promotion of Romansh language and culture, considers the status of a partial official language to be important for the preservation of Romansh. Since the vote on the language article in 1996, a great deal has been done to promote Romansh, which the Lia Rumantscha gratefully acknowledges. For example, the Confederation translates documents of particular importance, such as explanations of votes, into Romansh. If a citizen addresses the federal administration in Romansh, the administration replies in Romansh.

More visibility

However, the Lia Rumantscha sees a need for action in the implementation of multilingual communication by the Confederation. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Romansh as a partial official language of the Confederation, it is calling for more consistent use of Romansh as an official language at federal level: Parliament, the federal administration and businesses close to the Confederation must make greater use of Romansh in their communication and contact with the Romansh population.

Specifically, the Lia Rumantscha is calling for Romansh to be used throughout Switzerland for all types of signage. This applies wherever the other three official languages of Switzerland are mentioned. In the Romansh-speaking area, Romansh must also be used as a priority for information to the population, and this on all communication channels.

"If Romansh is not used in the national context, it will increasingly be forgotten," says Andreas Gabriel, Secretary General ad interim of the Lia Rumantscha, explaining the demand. In addition to the consistent use of Romansh, the Lia Rumantscha would like the federal administration and federal-related companies to pay attention to correct terminology in connection with the national or official languages. "Switzerland is quadrilingual or multilingual, but not trilingual," says Andreas Gabriel, summing up the concern.

To illustrate how simple it could be to give Romansh a greater presence, the Lia Rumantscha recently published a short animated film on the social networks. With a wink of the eye, the clip points out a glaring omission in the use of Romansh.

Support in Parliament

National Councillor Martin Candinas, Die Mitte - CVP Graubünden, supports the demands of the Romansh language organisation: "A small language like Romansh depends on being present throughout Switzerland". The Confederation is obliged to do this, he adds.

Confederation sensitized

On 10 March, exactly 25 years to the day after the 1996 vote, the Federal Administration, and in particular the Federal Delegate for Multilingualism, in collaboration with the Lia Rumantscha one campaignto raise awareness of the Romansh language and culture among employees of the federal administration.

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