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-   -   Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here (https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-life/303496-interesting-swissinfo-article-re-english-language-usage-here.html)

Medea Fleecestealer 05.04.2021 22:55

Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
"It’s not unusual to hear Swiss people from different parts of the country chatting away in English. Not everyone is happy about this, but does using English as a lingua franca – a bridge over the Röstigraben, the country’s main linguistic divide – benefit national cohesion or harm it?"

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/english...blem-/46494332

Rather than dividing the country I could see it bringing it together more, given that most German speakers never visit the French part of Switzerland and vice versa. Maybe it could become a real bridge over the Röstigraben for all Swiss.

Jim2007 06.04.2021 01:29

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Ireland has spent a 100 years trying to get people to go back to speak Irish and the motivators included additional points for subjects taken Irish on college entry, scholarship for college attendance, grants for home extensions to Irish speaking households. And the result - Polish is the second most widely spoken language in the country!

People learn and use languages they find useful to them and for Swiss kids that means the local language plus English. Every time my kids went to a national gathering such as scouts etc, they always ended up speaking English. The kids just wanted to communicate and it was easier to do it in English.

Medea Fleecestealer 06.04.2021 06:48

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Indeed Jim2007. Husband works for an international company with employees from around 55 different countries so English is often the only way they can communicate with each other. Official office languages are French and English.

Susie-Q 06.04.2021 08:13

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
My Swiss German friends openly admit that they would rather speak with me in English than high German or French. Therefore my German is a mix of Swiss German gibberish and high German. Very confusing ...

Jim2007 06.04.2021 10:30

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Susie-Q (Post 3292959)
My Swiss German friends openly admit that they would rather speak with me in English than high German or French. Therefore my German is a mix of Swiss German gibberish and high German. Very confusing ...

Swiss people don’t like speaking High German and neither do I for that matter.

- On one team, I was regularly invited to business department meetings in preference to my boss, who was German and when I suggested it might be an idea to invite her I was told the dept. head did not want to speak High German.

- On another occasion, the Swiss guys would ring me up and ask me to pass messages on to by to German colleagues.

FCBarca 06.04.2021 10:44

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
This is a long running topic obviously. As a naturalized Suisse but native English speaker, I do not like the trend tbh despite recognizing the ease of resorting to english

Long term, I do not agree it helps national cohesion simply because English is not part of the culture

curley 06.04.2021 10:58

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim2007 (Post 3293002)
Swiss people don’t like speaking High German and neither do I for that matter.

- On one team, I was regularly invited to business department meetings in preference to my boss, who was German and when I suggested it might be an idea to invite her I was told the dept. head did not want to speak High German.

- On another occasion, the Swiss guys would ring me up and ask me to pass messages on to by to German colleagues.

That is a crass generalisation. I'm Swiss and High German is a natural language for me to speak, considering the omni-presence of Germans here.

I do not speak High German to people when I know their original language. That is very difficult for me even if they ask me to. I know they want to learn but I'm no language teacher, I just want to communicate :D.
But I automatically switch to it, when I realize the other person is from somewhere I don't speak the language of and struggles with my Swiss German. Just happened again 30 minutes ago with someone I suspect was Eastern European (definitely no chance that I would speak their language).

Axa 06.04.2021 11:05

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
At least in my little bubble of science/engineering I see a lot of German as mother language speaking French badly, and very few French speaking as mother language speaking German badly.

When we first arrived in Aargau we knew nothing of German but it was nice to find at least 1 person speaking French in the pharmacy. In other times we saw people speaking English in the pharmacy being treated as 2nd class citizens. Then, we were the next auslanders in line, saying Grüezi and then asking help in French. The dramatic change in attitude from the people at the pharmacy revealed that they see French as a Swiss language. Even if they not excel at it.

Same when getting the car, I just said Grüezi, sprechen Sie Französisch oder Englisch? and we made the whole process in French in Aarau.

Anyone has the experience of speaking Swiss German on the French speaking cantons?

olygirl 06.04.2021 11:37

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
I'm sitting here in a local Swiss company that has factories in the French part of Switzerland. English has become the lingua franca of communication, simply because German speakers are much better at English than French. In addition, English is being taught in schools from a young age, which logically creates English as a common ground in communication.

MusicChick 06.04.2021 11:57

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
All my Swiss German friends speak excellent French. Almost none of my Swiss French friends speak Swiss German and some Hoch Deutsch. While English is logical to communicate in, I still hope that people continue communicating together in local languages and making efforts, it makes understanding local life, local issues and politics much easier. And mobility and integration, too, if one moves from one region to other.

Belgianmum 06.04.2021 12:08

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293050)
All my Swiss German friends speak excellent French. Almost none of my Swiss French friends speak Swiss German and some Hoch Deutsch.

They don’t teach Swiss German in schools here so unless they have Swiss German family members or make the effort to learn it most Swiss french don’t actually learn Swiss German.
Most if them speak some high German but that’s not actually very useful to them if a lot of Swiss German speakers refuse to use it.

I get that communicating in English is practical but I would find it a huge shame if it became the dominant language here.

MusicChick 06.04.2021 12:17

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Linguists have been trying to quantify the damage that the use of English brings to vocabulary and terminology of local languages, it is invasive, pushes local terms out. Philo Dept in Vienna campaigns a lot to save Europe's local languages.

Axa 06.04.2021 12:31

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 3293055)
I get that communicating in English is practical but I would find it a huge shame if it became the dominant language here.

I don't think so. As consultant I usually work for an work with Swiss that speak 2 if not the 3 main national languages. These men and women rule the place. I don't see how they let English take away their hard earned positions of being bridges across cantons.

Guest 06.04.2021 13:05

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293050)
All my Swiss German friends speak excellent French.

The only Swiss Germans I've known who spoke French also spoke very good English.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293050)
Almost none of my Swiss French friends speak Swiss German

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 3293055)
They don’t teach Swiss German in schools here so unless they have Swiss German family members or make the effort to learn it most Swiss french don’t actually learn Swiss German.

Many of them don't learn German at all, since it was dropped as a mandatory subject across Romandie, staring with Geneva around 20 years ago. They see it as largely irrelevant in normal life, and prefer to focus on what they perceive as the much more important English.

So I think English as a intra-CH lingua franca is not that unlikely in the future, but it will probably take a few more generations to get there.

speakeron 06.04.2021 13:10

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Axa (Post 3293063)
I don't think so. As consultant I usually work for an work with Swiss that speak 2 if not the 3 main national languages. These men and women rule the place. I don't see how they let English take away their hard earned positions of being bridges across cantons.

Planck's principle has got you covered there:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Of course, this aphorism was pushed to breaking point by postmodernists like Thomas Kuhn to bring us to the post-truth society we're in now, but it's generally useful at least in social terms.

Belgianmum 06.04.2021 13:21

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:


Many of them don't learn German at all, since it was dropped as a mandatory subject across Romandie, staring with Geneva around 20 years ago. They see it as largely irrelevant in normal life, and prefer to focus on what they perceive as the much more important English.

Where on earth did you get that idea from?
German is still very much mandatory in Romandie and is the second language after French at school. English (or Italian) are learned after German.

Axa 06.04.2021 13:30

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by speakeron (Post 3293079)
Planck's principle has got you covered there:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Of course, this aphorism was pushed to breaking point by postmodernists like Thomas Kuhn to bring us to the post-truth society we're in now, but it's generally useful at least in social terms.

Of course. But these people is teaching their children the same. I'd expect the next generation to profit from the same knowledge. One professor I met here in Aargau lived a few years in Fribourg so his elementary school age kids learned French. The locals know a thing or two about elitism. Don't think they'll give up that easy.

MusicChick 06.04.2021 13:33

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by speakeron (Post 3293079)
Planck's principle has got you covered there:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Indeed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-ap...3GKQ.jpg&w=916

Axa 06.04.2021 13:46

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293093)
Indeed.

The numbers don't add. There are currently 400+ million Spanish speakers in Latin America. So, is it expected that some countries will leave the emerging- economy status by 2050? Bravo!

Then, another 50 million or so Spanish speakers en los Estados Unidos de América.....fastest growing population of Spanish speakers :D

MusicChick 06.04.2021 13:53

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Axa (Post 3293101)
The numbers don't add. There are currently 400+ million Spanish speakers in Latin America. So, is it expected that some countries will leave the emerging- economy status by 2050? Bravo!

Then, another 50 million or so Spanish speakers en los Estados Unidos de América.....fastest growing population of Spanish speakers :D

I don't mind you hacking the chart, just scribble yourself in - probably under Hindi. By that time my language will become UNESCO dino.


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