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Old 14.02.2008, 00:27
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Is Swiss French really different from French French?

The official wisdom (for example, the article Français de Suisse in the French Wikipedia ) is that, apart from the numbers for 70, 80 and 90, Swiss French is essentially identical to French French. Yet at the end of that article are links to four sites devoted precisely to those differences! The best (at least the most entertaining!) of them IMHO, is Topio, le site qui cause vaudois.

Actually, Le français de Suisse puts it in perspective: "The principle characteristic of Swiss French, as of Belgian French, is in the pronunciation of certain sounds and in the use of specific terms, such as:" followed by a long list.

I have just discovered the sites, and have bookmarked them for further study. But at this stage I have a question for any native francophone Swiss: do these sites describe the language as it is regularly spoken, or is it in reality a patois that is dying out?

Note that there is another thread (Italian language in Italy) that discusses to what extent Ticinese Italian differs from Italian Italian!
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Old 14.02.2008, 10:34
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

My impression is that the French in CH is no further away from standard French than say the French that is spoken in Gascony or Provence. France is a huge country and each region probably has it’s own jargon or slang words but apart from a limited number of vocabulary differences (Natel is another example), for all intents and purposes it seems to me that the language is the same. I live in Vaud, in the countryside and I’ve heard a few of the words on the list, but not many. One thing I have noticed in my area is people seem to use avoir with certain verbs that should take être eg J'ai passé chez vous instead of je suis passé chez vous.
Apart from regional influences in pronunciation, maybe there are also environmental influences on vocab and pronunciation eg town vs country vs mountains. I don’t think the differences in the French spoken here are big enough to be seen as a differenct dialect, let alone a patois (like the French spoken in Brittany). I grew up in Yorkshire so I’m not a native. But then again I do know a bit about dialects!
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Old 14.02.2008, 10:50
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

No, definitely not patois. If you want to hear french patois, you need to travel to the side valleys in Valais, Evolène being one of the most notable places where patois is spoken frequently.
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Old 04.03.2008, 10:17
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

Just had a quick look at Topio.ch - what a great site! I've lived in the canton de Vaud on and off for more than 20 years and whilst I certainly don't know all the words in the lexique, I've heard many of them and can vouch for their being current. I've also been amused many a time by the incomprehension of visiting French friends when exposed to the locals. So, yes, vaudois is different from 'french french' - as is valaisan, neuchâtlois etc.
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Old 04.03.2008, 10:57
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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So, yes, vaudois is different from 'french french' - as is valaisan, neuchâtlois etc.
If by vaudois you mean the everyday French spoken in Vaud I disagree. The differences you mention are relatively minor vocab differences plus maybe some accent differences with say Parisian French but as I said before my guess is you'll find similar regional differences all around France as well as in the different cantons in Suisse Romande. I learnt standard French outside Switzerland and have no problems understanding or being understood in Switzerland. Geneva is surrounded by France and since many commute into Geneva to work they don't appear to have any confusion understanding each other. Sure people in Paris whince when you say septante but they know what you mean. If you mean Vaudois as in the franco-provencale patois, I agree it is not the same but then again it isn't used in everyday communication.
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Old 04.03.2008, 10:59
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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Just had a quick look at Topio.ch - what a great site! I've lived in the canton de Vaud on and off for more than 20 years and whilst I certainly don't know all the words in the lexique, I've heard many of them and can vouch for their being current. I've also been amused many a time by the incomprehension of visiting French friends when exposed to the locals. So, yes, vaudois is different from 'french french' - as is valaisan, neuchâtlois etc.
You could say the same for someone going from Aix (possibly the clearest and nicest sounding French in, well, France) to Paris (has to be the worst).
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Old 04.03.2008, 22:15
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

French and Swiss-French often don't express a same idea in the same way. Maybe this has more to do with differences in (communication-)culture than in the proper language. The fact that the Swiss-French use the same grammar books at school (and in general) than the French in France tends to prove that.

For instance, if I read a letter, I can tell if the writer has a french or a swiss-french origin.

The difference is also noticeable when you watch the news on French and Swiss-French tv.

Personaly, I'm very happy with this difference
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Old 05.03.2008, 06:53
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

Try going to Quebec, the difference between Swiss German and German.

What is a "chien chaud"?

Yes it is literally a "hot dog", don't laugh, it is true.

Many more variations of other items too.
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Old 05.03.2008, 16:19
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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Try going to Quebec, the difference between Swiss German and German.

What is a "chien chaud"?

Yes it is literally a "hot dog", don't laugh, it is true.

Many more variations of other items too.
Or "bienvenue" instead of "de rien"
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Old 05.03.2008, 16:23
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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Or "bienvenue" instead of "de rien"
Bon Diou d Tabarnak
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Old 05.03.2008, 23:12
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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Or "bienvenue" instead of "de rien"

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Bon Diou d Tabarnak


yes indeed!
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Old 10.03.2008, 22:36
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

Please forgive me for returning to a topic that fascinates me.

Today (10th March, 2008) is the start of the "semaine de la francophonie", and SwissInfo has two rather different articles on the topic, in the French and English sections (different authors).

In the French section Miyuki Droz Aramaki writes Le français à l'honneur dans toute sa diversité, with some emphasis on specfic differences. In the English section Clare O'Dea writes French remains crucial to Swiss identity with less focus on words (which English readers mat not be familiar with) and more on general ideas.
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Old 11.03.2008, 07:19
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

If you want to read more, there's proper patois genevois here .
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Old 11.03.2008, 11:14
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

Nobody use chien chaud in Quebec.... This is all about the Office de la langue francaise. But in the reality, it's the good old Hot dog!

Bon Dieu de Tabarnak.... yeah, but I prefer the '' Ostie de Câlisse de Tabarnak''

Do not talk like that in front of older people.... ruuuuuuude!

Bienvenue is the exact translation of you're welcome ( well - bien) (venu, venir - come) It makes sense.

Nil
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Old 11.03.2008, 14:19
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

In comparing dialect and patois, first listen to the patois here:

http://www.patwe.ch/chavyeje/docs/parties/1.swf
http://www.patwe.ch/chavyeje/docs/conta-62/

then, assuming the dialect is as thick as the accent, try this parody of a certain sensibility paysanne:



Obviously there's some historical influence connecting the two, but to my ears one is clearly french while the other seems intermediate to italian ("je chante pas, je parle...")
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Old 13.04.2008, 12:52
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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Last edited by ElieDeLeuze; 09.07.2009 at 20:14.
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Old 13.04.2008, 22:50
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

1. Hats off to ElieDeleuze! I love language & have the Cambridge Atlas of world languages, but I don't get any where near your level of knowledge. Where do you learn all that good stuff? Chapeau!

2. I agree with the comments. MC Giroud, the valasian rapper, is almost perfectly understandable for someone with good french. Also hilarious: "alors j'ai choisi la moins moche....", whereas the patwe is heavy going even with the subtitles.

I got in a mess once by using what I thought was standard vulgar french: "les pattes" = clothes. e.g. "T'as des belles pattes aujourd'hui." I later found out that it was Chamonix patois and totally unusable elsewhere . I wonder if it isn't valaisain too, as the Chamonix accent is pretty much identical to the Swiss french, which is not surprising: the two are only separated by a pass and there has always been trade, more or less licit, between them.
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Old 13.04.2008, 23:43
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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I got in a mess once by using what I thought was standard vulgar french: "les pattes" = clothes. e.g. "T'as des belles pattes aujourd'hui." I later found out that it was Chamonix patois and totally unusable elsewhere . I wonder if it isn't valaisain too, as the Chamonix accent is pretty much identical to the Swiss french, which is not surprising: the two are only separated by a pass and there has always been trade, more or less licit, between them.
Add the Val d'Aoste to the mix! From Des hommes dans la montagne:
Quote:
Alptrekking propose au randonneur une grande boucle autour des Alpes valaisannes. Il l’invite ainsi à jouer à saute-mouton sur les frontières de trois pays, mais sans changer de région, car le Valais, la Savoie et la vallée d’Aoste ont en partage un paysage, un patrimoine et un passé communs.
Aussi loin que remonte la mémoire des hommes, les Alpes constituent un seul territoire.
Another quote from the same page:
Quote:
Dès le XIIIe siècle, une bonne partie du Valais et de la vallée d’Aoste dépendent des comtes de Savoie qui se veulent protecteurs des Alpes occidentales, du Mont-Cenis au Petit-Saint-Bernard, de la vallée d’Aoste à Saint-Maurice. Dès lors, une société aux rythmes et aux rites en apparence immuables se met en place pour plusieurs siècles. D’un versant à l’autre des Alpes valaisannes, les conditions de vie sont proches. Aussi, les réponses fournies par les populations sont-elles similaires à La Fouly, à Macugnaga ou aux Houches.
The whole of this page is worth reading, as is Naissance d’Alptrekking on the same site (OK, the latter is of more interest to hikers than to linguists!).
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Old 17.04.2008, 18:22
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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My impression is that the French in CH is no further away from standard French than say the French that is spoken in Gascony or Provence. France is a huge country and each region probably has it’s own jargon or slang words but apart from a limited number of vocabulary differences (Natel is another example), for all intents and purposes it seems to me that the language is the same. I live in Vaud, in the countryside and I’ve heard a few of the words on the list, but not many. One thing I have noticed in my area is people seem to use avoir with certain verbs that should take être eg J'ai passé chez vous instead of je suis passé chez vous.
Apart from regional influences in pronunciation, maybe there are also environmental influences on vocab and pronunciation eg town vs country vs mountains. I don’t think the differences in the French spoken here are big enough to be seen as a differenct dialect, let alone a patois (like the French spoken in Brittany). I grew up in Yorkshire so I’m not a native. But then again I do know a bit about dialects!

Hello I live in france perhaps i'm mistaken about this forum I don't know i'm a little annoyed =\ I wanna find an english people who want teach me how to speak english , how to improve my self about it , Do you know Somebody Who want that ? please I need your help .... it's very important for me . I'm looking forward to having from you soon Kiss by Alexandra
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Old 17.04.2008, 19:05
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Re: Is Swiss French really different from French French?

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