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What Is The Language Of Switzerland

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The Languages Of Switzerland 2000

Languages of Switzerland – A Polyglot Paradise?


The language map of Switzerland reflects the independence and self-governance of its 26 cantons, which have not been subjected to a centralized government or the imposition of a nationwide official language. Language distribution within Switzerland is influenced by proximity to other nations. The most common language in Switzerland, spoken by about 60% of the population, is German, and approximately four-fifths of German-speakers speak Swiss German. The term Swiss German is a generic term for a number of regional dialects that belong to individual cantons, but native German-speakers are also taught Hochdeutsch . In addition Walser German refers to a German dialect that was brought by emigrants from the Valais region. French is next most commonly spoken language and French-speakers refer to their part of western Switzerland as Romandy. The cantons of Bern, Fribourg and Valais are officially bi-lingual, French and German. Italian-speakers can be found in Ticino and southern Grisons . The Swiss census of 2000 confirmed that 235,095 people were Romansh-speakers, who can be founded in south-eastern Switzerland, especially Grisons where Romansh has an official status, alongside Italian and German. Romansh is descended from the spoken Latin of the Roman Empire and has been strongly influenced by German vocabulary and syntax.

English And Swiss German

Another peculiarity of Swiss German is the frequent use of the suffix li as an ending of nouns. This diminutive form is used to indicate smallness. Etymologically, -li is related to the English word little, which has not survived in German except for this suffix in Alemannic dialects. For example instead of Zug , Zügli is often used instead .

In addition to this English suffix, Swiss Germans have also adopted some English words and have slightly modified them:

English root
food foodä
google googlä

While in other countries it is considered somewhat uncultured to use dialect, Swiss Germans are very proud of their regional dialects. In fact, it is used as a spoken language in practically all situations of daily life. Standard German is normally used only for written language and for the national broadcast news. Yet many Swiss also write in Swiss German to each other, spelling the words the way they pronounce them. But there is no official Swiss German written language.

Here is the bottom line: Even though German is one of the four official languages of Switzerland, for Swiss Germans it is not their mother tongue in a strict sense, as they have to learn how to use it once they start school and as they do not communicate in German with each other.

Division By Jat Reflex

A series of crosscuts the main dialects. The modern reflexes of the long vowel , usually transcribed *, vary by location as /i/, /e/, and /ije/ or /je/. Local varieties of the dialects are labeled Ikavian, Ekavian, and Ijekavian, respectively, depending on the reflex. The long and short jat is reflected as long or short */i/ and /e/ in Ikavian and Ekavian, but Ijekavian dialects introduce a ije/je alternation to retain a distinction.

Standard Croatian and Bosnian are based on Ijekavian, whereas Serbian uses both Ekavian and Ijekavian forms . Influence of standard language through state media and education has caused non-standard varieties to lose ground to the literary forms.

The jat-reflex rules are not without exception. For example, when short jat is preceded by r, in most Ijekavian dialects developed into /re/ or, occasionally, /ri/. The prefix pr- when long became pre- in eastern Ijekavian dialects but to prije- in western dialects in Ikavian pronunciation, it also evolved into pre- or prije- due to potential ambiguity with pri- . For verbs that had -ti in their infinitive, the past participle ending -l evolved into -io in Ijekavian Neo-tokavian.

The following are some examples:

e in root, not

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What Is The Language Spoken In Switzerland

Switzerland is a fascinating country for many reasons. Did you know that it has topped the Global Innovation Index for ten consecutive years? Or that it is home to 7,000 lakes? When it comes to how many languages are spoken in Switzerland, the country also provides an interesting study.

As a translation agency, Tomedes has been working with the languages spoken in Switzerland for well over a decade. What language is spoken in Switzerland? Read on to find out! You can also explore our translation services to find out more about our linguistic expertise.

What do they speak in Switzerland? In fact, there isnt just one official language spoken in Switzerland, but four! German, French, Italian and Romansh are all part of the Switzerland language map. Some 62.6% of the Swiss population speaks German 22.9% speak French 8.2% speak Italian and 0.5% speak Romansh.

In this article, well look at each language spoken in Switzerland in turn, as well as the history behind them. Lets dive in!

What Are The National Languages Spoken In Switzerland

Languages of Switzerland [1526x1079]

German, French, and Italian are the most widely spoken languages with about 63 percent, 23 percent, and 8 percent, respectively, whereas just about 1 percent of the population speak Romansh.

Apart from the official status, all four national languages can by right be used to address the federal assembly.

The four national languages of Switzerland by population .

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English As The Inofficial Fifth Language

As almost everybody in Switzerland learns English at school, tourists and foreign business people may express themselves in English,however, and have a good chance to get answered. Though only 1% ofthe Swiss population declare English as their mother tongue,everybody is aware how useful English is when traveling abroador surfing the internet. Therefore English has become the first foreign language kids learn in most regions of Switzerland and most of them are eager to getat least elementary skills. So younger people usuallyunderstand and speak English better than a second national languagethey have to learn at school, too.

In the offices of some multinational companies in Switzerland English has even been declared as corporate language, especially if most of their customers speak English anyway. Sometimes even native Swiss people with different mother tongues will use some English words as a common basis if neither of them canremember a direct translation.

Nevertheless, as an expat living in Switzerland you will definitely not be wellinformed about things going on in Switzerland as only a small part of the information available in German, French or Italian is ever being translated intoEnglish.

How Does This Translate For International Students

As an international student, you can use the multilingualism of Switzerland to your advantage.

For starters, there are numerous Swiss banks, companies, and political organizations looking for people fluent in one of the official languages.

If you are more comfortable in English, then we also have good news for you! The Swiss are taught to be multilingual from an early age, and most of them are fluent in English. Not only can you pick programs in different languages from prestigious Swiss universities, if you ever get lost on your trek in the Alps, dont worry – chances are someone will be able to help you out in a language you understand.

If the fantastic nature and the fact that language is not a problem has put Switzerland on your study destination list, make sure to check out the admission requirements so you can adequately prepare.

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French: The Language Of Romandie

The second most popular language in Switzerland is French. It is spoken in the western part of the country, from Geneva and Lausanne to Valais and the Jura region.

The Swiss use the anecdotal concept of Röstigraben to draw the language barrier between French and German. This imaginary border symbolizes the cultural and political differences between German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. Supposedly, the Swiss German dish of Rösti is only eaten on the northern side of this trench…

Swiss French used to have dialects, known as the Patois. Unlike Swiss German dialects, French in Switzerland has been standardized over the centuries due to a higher social prestige of “French-French.”

As a result, the French language in Romandie has fully switched to standard French. Nowadays, only about two percent of the French-speaking Swiss in some parts of Valais, Jura, and the canton of Fribourg still know this dialect.

There have been some adaptations in the Swiss French language, such as simplified numbers. Instead of soixante-dix, quatre-vingts and quatre-vingt-dix , you can use , huitante and nonante in Romandie.

Learn more about the Swiss French language and .

Which Languages Should You Learn If You Were To Stay In Switzerland

What language do they speak in Switzerland?

When you plan to visit a country, its only polite to pick up a little of the language before you arrive. If youre planning to visit Switzerland, however, which language should you learn? Surely you cant be expected to pick up phrases in four different tongues before you visit?

The answer lies in which region you plan to stay in while youre in Switzerland. If youre going to a German speaking region, then its time to brush off your German dictionary. If French Switzerland is your port of call, then French is the language to practice before you go. Of course, a decent translation app on your phone could also come in very handy.

Its also worth bearing in mind that around two thirds of Switzerlands population speak English as a second language, though with varying degrees of proficiency. If youre planning to stay in Switzerland, therefore, as an English speaker you will at least be fairly well equipped to communicate with those around you.

Interestingly, English, just like Latin, is often used to bridge linguistic divides. This applies not only to verbal communication but also to official matters, with much Swiss documentation available in English as well as the countrys four official languages.

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Which 4 Languages Are Spoken In Switzerland

Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. English, though not an official language, is often used to bridge the divides, and a significant proportion of official documentation is available in English.

Is there a Swiss ethnicity?

The Swiss people are the citizens of Switzerland or people of Swiss ancestry. The number of Swiss nationals has grown from 1.7 million in 1815 to 7 million in 2016.

The Languages Of Switzerland

Switzerland is famous for many things, from its policy of neutrality to its chocolate and watches. However, its location in Europe between so many huge European powers has influenced the culture of the country in ways that make Switzerland unique. One of these ways is the fact that it has four national languages, along with the many minority and immigrant languages spoken there as well.

Nestled between France, Italy, and two German-speaking countries , three of the official languages of Switzerland are French, German, and Italian. They all have a Swiss twist to them, however, and differ from the dialects spoken in the neighboring countries. The fourth official language is unique to Switzerland and spoken only in certain zones. Lets take a look at each of Switzerlands official languages:

1. Swiss French

The French-speaking area of Switzerland is to the west, along the border with France. Standard Swiss French is basically the same as the Standard French of France, but there are some differences in terms of vocabulary mostly. However, the vernacular of the area is more like a mix of the langue doïl and Occitan, making it and Standard French much less mutually intelligible. This Swiss French vernacular is mostly spoken by the older generations, with the younger generation tending towards a dialect more similar to Standard French.

2. Swiss Italian

3. Swiss German

4. Romansh

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What Are The Smallest Languages Spoken In Switzerland

Last but not least, Switzerlands smallest national language is Romansh. Unsurprisingly, with only 37,000 speakers, this language is often overlooked by international travelers to Switzerland.

How many people speak Kosraean in Micronesia?

Approximately 8,000 citizens of Micronesia speak Kosraean and mostly in the Kosrae state. Just like the other indigenous languages, school going children between grades 1-3 use this language for instruction and thereafter at grades 4-5, they use Kosraean and English for instruction in school.

Public Use Of Languages In Switzerland

Switzerland Language : File:Top 10 languages of Switzerland (en).svg ...

In public, using one of the many non-official languages has practical limits.Immigrants to Switzerland come from a broad variety of countries with verydifferent cultural and language backgrounds .

Therefore none of these non-official languages is understood by more than 2% of the resident population . So for most immigrants the use of the official Swiss language of the region is the only practical wayto read product declarations in the supermarket, to stay informed about important events in Switzerland and to communicate when talking to native Swiss people or to immigrants from other countries.

Many immigrants do not even know some key words they use in theirprofessional life in their mother tongue since these are related totechnologies not used in their native countries. So there are lots of practical reasons to the fact that immigrants use the official regional language in everyday life.

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Languages In Switzerland: The Multilingual Alpine Nation

HomeEducationLanguage Learning15/07/2022Gayatri Bhaumik

Find out which of the four official languages of Switzerland you should be speaking and where to learn them with this helpful guide.

Switzerland has not one, but four official languages, and depending on where you live in the country, you might hear German, French, Italian, or Romansh or a combination of them. Although English is the lingua franca among expats living in Switzerland, learning a local language can be useful. That said, it is important to realize that each Swiss canton has its own dialect of German, French, Italian, and Romansh. These can also differ from the standard language you would hear in France, Germany, or Italy.

To help you navigate the various languages of Switzerland, this guide covers the following topics:


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What Is The Currency Of Switzerland

What is the currency of Switzerland?

The Swiss currency is the Swiss franc. It is the currency used in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Swiss franc, released by the Swiss National Bank, is the single and last franc currency in Europe after the transition to the euro. The international short code is CHF, which stands for Confederatio Helvetica Franc. Swiss francs symbol is F.

The Swiss franc is also used as the reserve currency in the world. The share in reserve currencies in 2007 was 0.2%. The Swiss franc has been seen as a safe haven by investors throughout history. The reason for this is the large gold reserve in Switzerland.

The lower currency of Swiss franc is Rappen. Switzerland is not a European Union country and does not use Euro because it is not included in the European Union. Swiss franc, which is famous for its banks, is one of the most valuable currency in the world. With one of the worlds most valuable currencies, Switzerland is also one of the most expensive countries in the world.

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Without Language You Will Lose Many Aspects Of The Culture

Language exists to convey a peoples culture to the next generation, so it makes sense that each area is protective of its unique dialect. When the world loses a language, as it does every two weeks, we collectively lose the knowledge from past generations.

Language is a salient and important expression of cultural identity, and without language you will lose many aspects of the culture, said Dr Gregory Anderson, Director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

Without the Romansh language, who is to say if customs like Chalandamarz, an ancient festival held each 1 March in the Engadine Valley to celebrate the end of winter and coming of spring, will endure or if traditional local recipes like capuns spätzle wrapped in greens will be forgotten.

Romansh contributes in its own way to a multilingual Switzerland, Telli said. And on a different level, the death of a language implies the loss of a unique way to see and describe the world.

But the number of Romansh speakers continues to dwindle as Graubünden residents place a bigger value on more mainstream languages.

Interesting Facts About Languages In Switzerland

A Quick Guide to the Swiss German Language
  • The number of French speakers in Switzerland is increasing, while the number of German, Italian, and Romansh speakers is decreasing.
  • Non-official languages are becoming more in vogue for instance, English and Portuguese are especially popular.
  • Although not everyone in Switzerland is multilingual, multilingualism is an important part of the nations identity. In fact, the country even has a law that governs official languages and promotes multilingualism.
  • Four cantons and two cities are official multilingual. These are the cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Valais, and the cities of Biel/Bienne and Fribourg. Graubünden is officially the only trilingual canton.
  • Spanish, Serbian, Croatian, and Albanian are becoming increasingly common in Switzerland.
  • English is the lingua franca of Switzerlands business community and the canton of Zurich is debating whether to make it an official language.

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Foreign Relations And International Institutions

Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in 1515. Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.Swiss neutrality has been questioned at times. Only in 2002 did Switzerland become a full member of the United Nations and it was the first state to join it by referendum. Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as an intermediary between other states. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. However, Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area.

Many international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Geneva Conventions and, since 2006, hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to have joined the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York. Switzerland was a founding member and home to the League of Nations.

On June 9, 2022, Switzerland was elected as a member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2023-2024 period.

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