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Old 06.08.2019, 22:55
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Regional Differences & National Unity

What do the German/French/Italian speaking parts of the country think about each other & what most unites the nation?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06.08.2019, 23:03
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

I think that German sucks as a language, and the French are a bunch of leftists.

Ticino and Grigioni are great, though.

Tom
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Old 06.08.2019, 23:15
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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What do the German/French/Italian speaking parts of the country think about each other & what most unites the nation?

Thanks in advance!
You should do your homework!

There is a 4th official one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romansh_language
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Old 06.08.2019, 23:39
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

As Tom's response shows, it's really only going to be clichés. Here goes for another dose of those.

The Swiss-German people think they run the country, own the country, and any bits that escaped their grasp ought to be firmly theirs, and are sure to sink into unadministered chaos. They see themselves as diligent, willing to work hard, law-abiding and sensible and the non-Swiss-German-speakers as lazy and perhaps foolish. The Italian-speaking Swiss resent the power of the Swiss-Germans and/or secretly envy it, so they send their children to Zurich to study. The French-speaking Swiss think that the Swiss-Germans are uptight, fastidious, pedantic and absurdly rule-bound.

The Italian-speaking Swiss people pride themselves on knowing how to enjoy life, on appreciating the value, not in money but in sensory pleasure, of a good wine, home-cooking and a superbly smoked sausage. They are perplexed by the Swiss-Germans' need to acquire all sorts of trappings of wealth, since they find hedonism natural, and would choose socialising any day over striving towards capitalistic, high-management burnout. They are written off by the Swiss-Germans as silly and ignorant.

The French-speaking Swiss people roll their eyes at Zurich's claim to being multicultural, thinking "you ain't seen nothing yet". They look down their noses a little at the Italian-speaking Swiss, for these French-speaking Swiss, though proud of being Swiss and resentful if mistaken for citizens of France, are still somehow connected in spirit to la belle langue, and a pride themselves in a taste the finer, sophisticated things. They are considered by the Swiss-Germans to have airs and graces, and to parade with their wordly sophistication. This makes the Swiss-Germans shudder and their toes curl, since they abhor boastful, showy behaviour, and that is why, in turn, the French-speaking Swiss and the Italian-speaking Swiss are united in seeing the Swiss-Germans as fuddy-duddy, dowdy and dull. Just unfortunately also as richer.

Those who speak rätoromansh are chameleons, adapting to their environments by hiding their mother-tongue and blending in as best possible. This has a historic origin of being treated as inferior, as the country bumpkins who knew nothing and could be exploited. They love their language though, and the land, and keep their circles tight, so are a target of mistrust and suspicion. And then, when the "others" visit Graubünden, they are amazed to find whatever they think of as "true Swiss hospitality" welcoming them, right there, in a little café serving nut-tart... to the nut-cases, i.e. the tourists from near (the other cantons) and far.

Last edited by doropfiz; 07.08.2019 at 00:20.
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Old 07.08.2019, 03:21
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Haha this is exactly what I told my husband in our most recent discussion about this

My apologies for leaving out Romansh! ��♀️

Thank you for the thorough description!! It’s interesting to me how the regions have such different cultures, yet all identify as Swiss

Last edited by 3Wishes; 07.08.2019 at 14:03. Reason: merging consecutive replies; please use the multi-quote feature so it's clear whom you're replying to
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Old 07.08.2019, 06:37
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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What do the German/French/Italian speaking parts of the country think about each other & what most unites the nation?

Thanks in advance!
Military service.

Mixing citizens from different cultural backgrounds and moving them around the country in a mixed team.
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Old 07.08.2019, 07:18
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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The Italian-speaking Swiss people pride themselves on knowing how to enjoy life, on appreciating the value, not in money but in sensory pleasure, of a good wine, home-cooking and a superbly smoked sausage.
Yes, we have the best food, the best wine, the best language, and the best weather!

The Swiss-Germans have the best women, though, which is why Ticinese men often marry them. The also have the best universities.

The Swiss-French are really just second-class Swiss-Germans.

Tom
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Old 07.08.2019, 07:23
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Military service.

Mixing citizens from different cultural backgrounds and moving them around the country in a mixed team.
Ah yes, that makes sense!

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Yes, we have the best food, the best wine, the best language, and the best weather!

The Swiss-Germans have the best women, though, which is why Ticinese men often marry them. The also have the best universities.

The Swiss-French are really just second-class Swiss-Germans.

Tom
And which region has the best men? :P

Last edited by 3Wishes; 07.08.2019 at 14:05. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 07.08.2019, 08:14
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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Thank you for the thorough description!! It’s interesting to me how the regions have such different cultures, yet all identify as Swiss



Regions............more like cantons or even some communes have their own peculiarities (synonym with "different culture" )
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Old 07.08.2019, 08:24
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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And which region has the best men? :P
The English Forum, of course!
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Old 07.08.2019, 09:01
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

National Unity: The language that has begun and will continue to unify the different cultural areas of Switzerland is English but it's the proud fact of identifying oneself as Swiss, in spite of language and cultural differences, that creates the unbreakable bond of brotherhood of Switzerland. It goes back to the old saying "One for all and all for one."

Last edited by olygirl; 07.08.2019 at 10:22.
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Old 07.08.2019, 09:22
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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The Swiss-German people think they run the country, own the country, and any bits that escaped their grasp ought to be firmly theirs, and are sure to sink into unadministered chaos.
There is a difference between "Swiss" and "Eidgenoss". Switzerland as a concept was shaped by the central Swiss cantons, soon joined by Lucerne, Zurich and Bern. The other folks are just newcomers…. Geneva had to apply multiple times (and was rejected multiple times) till it was finally admitted into the Swiss federation.
Ticino only joined when Napoleon made them choose to be either "free and Swiss" or part of a for them foreign kingdom, Lombardy. So hardly some sort of love marriage...
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Old 07.08.2019, 09:23
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

My Swiss neighbor has an interesting take on the subject: He says that 'Not' is the thing that unites the Swiss regions.

As in, the Swiss-Germans are proudly not-German, the folks in the Romandie are proud of being not-French, the Ticinese in being not-Italian. And the Romansch of being not-anybody else. Identifying as not the larger neighbor is a unifying part of the national character.


But then, my neighbour is proudly Eidgenoss (that is, Swiss German.) So with a pinch of salt, I refer you to Doropfilz's excellent post.
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Old 07.08.2019, 10:37
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

There's a BBC podcast called "How to invent a country". Generally interesting anyway, has a useful 3 parter on "The Alps" of which one part is called "The Alps - and why Switzerland exists". Worth a listen.
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Old 07.08.2019, 10:53
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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Ticino only joined when Napoleon made them choose to be either "free and Swiss" or part of a for them foreign kingdom, Lombardy. So hardly some sort of love marriage...
Actually, Ticino belonged to Switzerland since 1515.

In 1803, they and some other territories became cantons.

Tom
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Old 07.08.2019, 11:01
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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There is a difference between "Swiss" and "Eidgenoss". Switzerland as a concept was shaped by the central Swiss cantons, soon joined by Lucerne, Zurich and Bern. The other folks are just newcomers…. Geneva had to apply multiple times (and was rejected multiple times) till it was finally admitted into the Swiss federation.
Ticino only joined when Napoleon made them choose to be either "free and Swiss" or part of a for them foreign kingdom, Lombardy. So hardly some sort of love marriage...
Prior to Napoleaon and the Vienna treaties, Switzerland was an organically assembled place. It started off with the "Urkantone" gaining their independence through rebellion against the Austrians (although probably not quite in the way popular legend or even Schiller had it), and other cantons joing them for various reasons, but not really forming a consistently stable unit as sometimes they even went to war against one another. Borders changed and moved, both internally and externally. Some regions were also colonies of other cantons, being either conquered or bought and the people there having no say or voice. It was Napoleon who put an end to all that and placed all cantons on the same footing. Thus we have cantons like Aargau that didn't have any historical antecedent but were pieced together from leftover bits that didn't really have all that much in common and told to get on with it. Which, in view of the circumstances, they did remarkably well.
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Old 07.08.2019, 18:32
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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It was Napoleon who put an end to all that and placed all cantons on the same footing.
More importantly IMO he put the people on the same level by laying the groundwork for equal rights (IIRC you had to be male, not have debts, and have a domicile [which may have meant that you had to own land, not sure]), removed the Untertanengebiete as well as nobility such as the Patrizier. And did away with the ancient remaining privileges of the Catholic church, for instance what is Canton St.Gallen today was mostly ruled over by the St.Gallen monastery until then, with the abbot the ruler both in worldly and religious matters.
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Old 07.08.2019, 18:43
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

It has always amazed me how this appears to be a recurring topic of at least some significance, not just in the forum, but generally.

Overall, I spend extremely little (read: roughly no) time thinking about "the Swiss" from other parts of Switzerland, whether it's those from Romandie, Ticino, or simply those from Lucerne vs those from Berne, let alone do I spent any time on contemplating supposed differences. I'm Swiss.

I care about individual people, no matter where they're from, and that's about it.

I also don't know any Swiss who would really think about this to an unhealthy amount. And personally, I don't take pride in being "non-something or other". I generally don't take a whole lot of pride in where I was born as I had very little choice in the matter. But I can see how many people - Swiss or something else - do, and yes, there's probably some truth in some Swiss being pride of being something "non".
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Old 07.08.2019, 20:38
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

I've lived here for 35 years, becoming Swiss on the way and trying to explain Switzerland to non-Swiss visitors is fascinating. The nearest you get to it elsewhere is the USA, though the scaling is somewhat different.
Switzerland is what it is today, that is a highly decentralized federation, because in 1848, when the country ended much as it is today, it was a mish-mash of languages, religions and cultures. There was no way a centralized political system, such as that you have in France or the UK would work here.
Of course one major difference you have here over pretty much anywhere else is the notion of consensual, as opposed to confrontational politics.
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Old 07.08.2019, 22:59
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Re: Regional Differences & National Unity

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I've lived here for 35 years, becoming Swiss on the way and trying to explain Switzerland to non-Swiss visitors is fascinating. The nearest you get to it elsewhere is the USA, though the scaling is somewhat different.
Switzerland is what it is today, that is a highly decentralized federation, because in 1848, when the country ended much as it is today, it was a mish-mash of languages, religions and cultures. There was no way a centralized political system, such as that you have in France or the UK would work here.
Of course one major difference you have here over pretty much anywhere else is the notion of consensual, as opposed to confrontational politics.
Absolutely. We have many cultures and languages here in the states, but the big difference is that we aren’t divided by geography. And I wouldn’t say a centralized political system works very well anywhere
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