Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

Reservaziun da plaz en in bus

In one of the trips I had planned to Graubünden in August, I wanted to use a bus that requires a seat reservation (free of charge) beforehand; the timetable had a number you could call for that purpose (no later than one hour before the bus departs at the first stop, though I would be getting on later).

However, I thought I'd try to get my seat reserved in advance already and to do it by email if possible, so I sent an email to the address of the bus company, which was also listed in the route table.

And because I'm a geek, I wrote the email in Rumantsch Grischun (or my best approximation thereto).

Partly because "I was being a nice tourist and using the language of the place I'm going to" (which is a bogus explanation, since Chur—and indeed much of Graubünden—speaks predominantly German, but one I pretended could be a valid reason), and partly because I was curious (a) whether I'd get a response (i.e. whether they have someone there who speaks Romansh) and (b) in which language it would be (Romansh or German).

I sent the message on Sunday evening, and this morning when I got to work, I had an answer!

And... it was in Romansh. Sursilvan, as far as I can tell[*], so not in the same written idiom I had sent, but I could understand it. (I'm just not sure whether they got it right since they confirmed my reservation for "Friday 4 August", so I wrote back inquiring whether they meant "Monday 4 August" or "Friday 8 August", the latter being what I needed. I suppose the fact that there's a Friday 4 July might have made them make a typo, but I thought I'd be sure anyway.)

The person who wrote back to me was in Marketing, according to his email signature, but I'm not sure whether it's significant. (As in, is Marketing the department who handles that sort of inquiries, or was the only person they could find who spoke Romansh in Marketing rather than in Reservations, or whatever the other department might be called.)

What I was very slightly annoyed at was that they sent the message to my Gmail account ("Sender:" header) rather than to the "From:" address I had specified when I sent it from Gmail, though I imagine it's their email program (presumably MS Outlook?) to blame rather than the user.


[*] Not that surprisingly, I suppose, since Sursilvan is one of the two most "lively" idioms, the other being Vallader. I'm not sure which of the two is more widely spoken, but it could be Sursilvan.


And while I was composing this entry, I got a reply back, apologising for the error and confirming that they had made the reservation for Friday 8 August, as I had requested.

The reply made me have to think a while, since he had written "Nus vein fatg la reservaziun", which I at first interpreted as "Nus vegnin far la reservaziun" (we will make the reservation), but after a bit of thought I realised it must be "Nus avain fatg la reservaziun" (we have made the reservation)—I remembered that Sursilvan sometimes drops off the first syllable of some verbal forms, so the "vein" is not RG "vegn" or "vegnin" (from "vegnir", "to come", also used to form the future and the passive, like "werden" in German) but RG "avain" (from "avair", "to have", also used to form the present perfect form). (I suppose "Nus vegnin fatg la reservaziun" would also be a possibility, but that would be "we were made the reservation", and probably makes about as much sense. Somebody set up us the bomb, etc..)

(RG also drops the first syllable in some forms, but not as widely as Sursilvan—presumably, it only does so where the majority or, preferably, all the written idioms do so. For example, "nus schain" and "jau scheva" for "we say" and "I said" instead of "dischain" and "discheva" or whatever it might have been originally—the infinitive is "dir".)

Tags: romansh
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