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Rhaeto-Romanic (rēˈtō-rōmănˈĭk) [key], generic name for several related dialects of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languages). These dialects are now considered sufficiently similar to form a single unit in the Romance group. The principal Rhaeto-Romanic dialects are Romansh (or Romansch), Ladin, and Friulian. Romansh has about 70,000 speakers in SE Switzerland and is recognized in that country as a national, but "semi-official," language (German, French, and Italian are Switzerland's official languages). Ladin is the tongue of some 20,000 persons in the Italian Tyrol, and Friulian is spoken by approximately 500,000 in Friuli, a region of NE Italy.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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