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Rumantsch receptiv

Project conducted by the University of Teacher Education Graubünden PHGR

Coordination: Prof. Raphael Berthele and Amelia Lambelet (RCM); responsibility: Dr. Manfred Gross (PHGR, Institute of Multilingualism); 2013-2014

Project outcomes: www.chapeschas.ch

The project "Rumantsch receptiv" has been created to develop teaching material for independent study and/or use in language courses. The goal of the project is to design a method to help learners develop receptive language skills in Rhaeto-Romanic (i.e. its idioms). In particular, the method should enable target groups to acquire skills in listening and reading comprehension – the foundation of receptive language competence – in Rhaeto-Romanic.

The objective of "Rumantsch receptiv" is to address and improve the often inadequate language skills in Rhaeto-Romanic on the part of speakers of other languages; this condition is at least partially responsible for preventing receptive multilingualism in communicative settings. Up to now, any conversations, discussions and/or events in places where Rhaeto-Romanic is spoken (for example, local government, clubs and societies, teacher conferences, education and further education courses), the dominant German language – which is generally understood by everyone in the Rhaeto-Romanic-speaking area – will be used if there is only one person present who does not understand the local idiom. Moreover – and in spite of the self-declared tri-lingual character of the Canton of Graubünden – speakers of Rhaeto-Romanic are not able to speak and be understood in their own language within everyday settings in cantonal institutions (such as parliament or in administration) due to the lack of receptive skills on the part of speakers of other languages. Consequently, the Rhaeto-Romanic language has lost footing in its own linguistic domain, and its use and prevalence have declined.

To enable speakers of other languages to develop receptive skills in Rhaeto-Romanic, the language learning tool Rumantsch receptiv – similar to the autodidactic learning tool Chunsch druus? for Swiss German – places the focus on the following points: recognition of similarities between languages (particularly between vocabulary in the Romance languages, but also between German, English and Rhaeto-Romanic); integrative methods for learning basic vocabulary; and a cognitive approach to listening and reading comprehension. By using these tools, learners can develop strategies to acquire listening and reading skills, thereby quickly gaining a rudimentary familiarity with the Rhaeto-Romanic language.