The sound of language as an echo from the mountains: uber dür!
The people of Vals, who began to immigrate over the mountains from Oberwallis to Vals from about 1250 onwards, spoke German. However, Romansh people also lived in Vals. As new groups of Walser people kept immigrating and kept spreading themselves out into the valley, the Romansh people issued a blocking statute in 1457 and in doing so, not only confined the Walser people but also their language. In this way, Vals became a German language enclave in Val Lumnezia.
Words capture the moment. Almost everything that is discussed across the world every day serves the purpose of contact and exchange with other people. Stories entertain, jokes cheer us up, gossip and tittle-tattle create a feeling of solidarity, chit-chat gets us through the day. "Hello Mrs Schmid, how are you?" - "Mario, long time no see..." Language breaks the silence. We often instinctively pull out a linguistic parallel for the silent reality. Then we say, as everyone already knows: "Nice weather today." However, language is also something personal and is constantly different in every place. In Vals, for example, it doesn't rain. It rägnat and schmeizt, schüttat and läärt acha, tägglat, wätterat, schmättarat and schwinat [Swiss regional dialectical variations of the standard German word 'regnen', meaning 'to rain']. And just as the Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow, the people of Vals have an astonishing number of words for hay [in standard German: 'Heu']: Stock, Bissa, Wüsch, Lock, Halma, Määli, Tuoch, Bünder, Chnolli, Trischta, Egga, Mada, Mettel, Schocha, Wätterschocheli, Heinza, Strütschli... The lexicon "Valserdeutsch" [Vals German] by Ruedi Vieli and Peter Schmid brings together a collection of over 4,500 words of the Vals dialect on 250 pages, together with their meanings.