When words and bodies speak together

August 30th 2023
Eastern Switzerland
Picture: Zocla, Zila, Zepla - Text and Picture: Alois Carigiet
Sound dynamics of a language
Soundscape studies
Acoustic Ecology
Social studies
Listening as activism
Human footprint

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mira, a five-year-old little girl

She, her parents and siblings live in German-speaking Switzerland.

I was given access to observe her experience with the Romansh family tradition, its security and the new event of her attendance at the German speaking kindergarten. 
Within her family, her mother and father, she speaks often Romansh. Outside of the family, she hears and speaks mostly German. Whenever she visits her grandmother in Grisons, she enjoys hearing and speaking Romansh, even outside of the family circle.

Together we looked through a traditional Romansh children’s book, which we were both familiar with. We immersed ourselves in the story, we looked at the impressive pictures and exchanged our views of the story in Romansh. she used words from both languages, Romansh and Swiss German, to express her thoughts.

Afterwards she spontaneously began to re-count the story in song, making up her own lyrics. She stood up, sang the melody and danced all around the room. I asked her whether she wanted to draw a picture to go with the story. So she selected one from the book and traced it with clear strokes.