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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.

HickvonFrick 06.04.2021 13:54

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

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293093)

Lol at that Hindi figure. Came up with by someone who has zero appreciation of Indias linguistic situation.

MusicChick 06.04.2021 13:55

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

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3293107)
Lol at that Hindi figure. Came up with by someone who has zero appreciation of Indias linguistic situation.

It is UN data.

st2lemans 06.04.2021 13:55

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
Been here 35 years, the lingua franca in every company/situation I have been in has ALWAYS been French.

But perhaps I only know educated people. ;)

Tom

HickvonFrick 06.04.2021 14:00

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

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 3293109)
Been here 35 years, the lingua franca in every company/situation I have been in has ALWAYS been French.

But perhaps I only know educated people. ;)

Tom

In my office, almost exclusively staffed my PhDs it's definitely English, to a lesser extent German.

Bossa Nova 06.04.2021 14:03

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

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3293113)
In my office, almost exclusively staffed my PhDs it's definitely English, to a lesser extent German.


I work in the French-speaking part and am also surrounded by PhDs, the language of communication is definitely English. Over the years I have been required to do trainings/certifications in Bern organized by an office of the Federal Government and the language for that has always been exclusively English as well.

Guest 06.04.2021 14:33

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
In my Swiss German youth it was kind of traditional after mandatory school to go to the 'Welschland' (Romandie) to perfect the French learnt at school, either as an Au-pair or like in my case nurses assistant in hospitals or retirement homes.
This 'custom' is on the decline for various reasons. I think this is sad, it was it a rite of passage.


I only speak High German with the German mates of the Pirate or when we're in Austria. As a Swiss, I hate that language with a passion!!

DarkHarlequin 06.04.2021 14:38

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

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293108)
It is UN data.

It’s still woefully off. Hindi is used by the central government and maybe half of India’s population. Then you’ll have Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu and I think at least another 10-15 official languages. Oh, and English of course as a second language :)

MusicChick 06.04.2021 14:47

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

Originally Posted by DarkHarlequin (Post 3293146)
It’s still woefully off. Hindi is used by the central government and maybe half of India’s population. Then you’ll have Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu and I think at least another 10-15 official languages. Oh, and English of course as a second language :)

Of course. Bunch of other sources band Urdu & Hindi together in their stats, at least they spell it out separately but that doesn't make it much better.

I assume the stats include Uyghur in Chinese numbers, too.

st2lemans 06.04.2021 15:00

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

Originally Posted by EastEnders (Post 3293144)
I only speak High German with the German mates of the Pirate or when we're in Austria. As a Swiss, I hate that language with a passion!!

All the Austrians that I know understand Swiss German just fine! :eek:

Tom

st2lemans 06.04.2021 15:01

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

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3293113)
In my office, almost exclusively staffed my PhDs it's definitely English, to a lesser extent German.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bossa Nova (Post 3293115)
I work in the French-speaking part and am also surrounded by PhDs, the language of communication is definitely English.

But are they Swiss companies, or multinationals? (I have never worked in a multinational)

Tom

Axa 06.04.2021 15:13

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

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3293113)
In my office, almost exclusively staffed my PhDs it's definitely English, to a lesser extent German.

I want to dream there's a life outside the job. That's why I left the university after PhD. Even if the life is in Swiss German :D

Jim2007 06.04.2021 15:59

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

Originally Posted by FCBarca (Post 3293008)
Long term, I do not agree it helps national cohesion simply because English is not part of the culture


But you don't get to define what the culture is, it's a living think. Are you going to tell us the an English man who does not know how to do Morris dancing or an Irish woman who does not speak Irish are not part of their cultures? The Swiss culture is a blend of several cultures and for young people speaking English is part of what defines them.

st2lemans 06.04.2021 16:09

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

Originally Posted by Jim2007 (Post 3293190)
The Swiss culture is a blend of several cultures and for young people speaking English is part of what defines them.

I know very few young (or old) Swiss who speak more than minimal English, for most it's about at the level of my Rumantsch.

Anyway, it seems to be a German and French thing:

"OLSI said the reduced presence of English at work and the relative importance of the national languages in the Italian-speaking area was “undoubtedly” due to the school system – especially in Ticino, where the other national languages have priority over English in compulsory schooling (first French, then German).

It explained that if you work in a minority language region – and if your work is at a national or interregional level – then the other national languages can’t be ignored.

“For this reason it can be said that in Ticino there is generally little need to use English as a lingua franca and skills in the national languages can be assumed.”

So English is not seen as a disruptive invader? “Even if in Ticino we note a certain importance of English in the professional world, we certainly can’t speak of a problem with English, for example in the sense of a real danger that English might supplant Italian.”"

Tom

Guest 06.04.2021 16:56

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

Originally Posted by FcBarca (Post 3293008)
Long term, I do not agree it helps national cohesion simply because English is not part of the culture

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim2007 (Post 3293190)
The Swiss culture is a blend of several cultures and for young people speaking English is part of what defines them.

You are both right and not so right, wouldn't go as far as to say wrong.

It is a fact, that we were (and most still are) very proud of the 4 national languages we have here and this was cultivated and promoted for a long time.
It was mandatory a long time to learn at least one other national language at school.

Quite commonly young lasses, occasionally boys too, went to another part of Switzerland to learn the language better. English was kind of reserved for the tourists.

With globalisation and influx of new culture, English suddenly rocketed among the youngsters and for the past 25-30 years established itself firmly as part of life.

Nowadays, other Swiss languages are not mandatory at schools anymore or English is favoured over them, e.g. English is taught earlier and longer than say French/Italian in schools in the Swissgerman speaking regions.

As much as I know that we have to go with the flow and times, I regret this development, because I feel it is a loss of our multilingual culture.

A particular bugbear of mine are unnecessary anglicisms in a German/French text ( I don't speak Italian so can't judge that).

Putting English words where there would be perfect original ones, or worse...germanising or frenchifying :) proper English words to make them fit ( and do anything but) :mad:

Axa 06.04.2021 17:13

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
So, that's why I get funny looks when I say keine souci! :(

st2lemans 06.04.2021 17:18

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

Originally Posted by EastEnders (Post 3293209)
A particular bugbear of mine are unnecessary anglicisms in a German/French text ( I don't speak Italian so can't judge that).

My wife HATES "OK", despite every Italian speaker that I know using it, including her kids! :eek:

Tom

MusicChick 06.04.2021 17:24

Re: Interesting SwissInfo article re English language usage here
 
People say it as [o:k] here. Took me a while to get used to it, too. :D

Axa 06.04.2021 17:29

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

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293221)
People say it as [o:k] here. Took me a while to get used to it, too. :D

That's pas des soucis, literally means no worries. But if you insert a kein (whatever the right form is) instead of pas des, people gets uneasy and I'm promptly corrected :rofl:

MusicChick 06.04.2021 17:33

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

Originally Posted by Axa (Post 3293222)
That's pas des soucis, literally means no worries. But if you insert a kein (whatever the right form is) instead of pas des, people gets uneasy and I'm promptly corrected :rofl:

I know. It sounds like "no saucisse" to me. But that's because I come from a Wurst region.

Axa 06.04.2021 17:40

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

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3293223)
I know. It sounds like "no saucisse" to me. But that's because I come from a Wurst region.

Sorry for the mansplaining :)


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