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  #21  
Old 20.12.2020, 21:04
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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In the armed forces, the conscripts are split by location and therefore by language. Dealing with the issue at higher levels isn't going to be that big a problem.

Well I don't know what it is like now, but in the past it certainly was due to a lack of men being willing to act as officers in the French & Italian speaking areas.


My father-in-law did all his service in the French speaking part rather than the German speaking area, simply because as a junior officer, he made the mistake offering to translate for a senior officer on one occasion.
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  #22  
Old 20.12.2020, 21:08
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Well I don't know what it is like now, but in the past it certainly was due to a lack of men being willing to act as officers in the French & Italian speaking areas.
Umm, the last Swiss general, Henri Guisan, was from the French bit.

Tom
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  #23  
Old 21.12.2020, 14:27
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

I still haven't met any high status Swiss that doesn't speak at least 2 national languages, DE & FR, FR & IT, or even the 3 of them. So, the people in charge of things can communicate. It would be easier to have a single language, but that is not the goal. In some sense, there's an elite that benefits from having a filter for people that cannot learn. I guess the rest of us also benefits, if speaking the 3 national languages is a filter.....all those backwards and ultra local politicians cannot rise to the top.

PS. I know there's Rumantsch but only 1 met someone personally in 7 years that speaks it.
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  #24  
Old 21.12.2020, 14:34
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

But in reality the four languages of Switzerland are the Swiss German dialects and then High German, then French and then Italian.

Thank goodness the politicians use high German and not their dialects.
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Old 21.12.2020, 14:36
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Even unilingual countries like Austria and France have regional dialects recognised in law.

This is news to me. What are the dialects in France?
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Old 21.12.2020, 14:41
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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This is news to me. What are the dialects in France?

Not a linguist but top of mind is Corsican in Corsica, Occitan/Catalonian around Carcassone, Basque in the Pays Basque Français (Bayonne), and whatever variant you find in any remote French Island around the world. I was once diving in Guadeloupe and it's a different language
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Old 21.12.2020, 14:44
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

Patois actually
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French is the only official language of France. However, France has many tongues that are native to its lands.

These languages are often referred to as patois (a regional form of communication, i.e., dialects, mainly of French), but the term usually has negative connotations.

Alsatian is a form of Swiss German, Auvergnat is related to Catalan, Breton is Celtic, and Basque is altogether a unique language.

Occitan is similar to Catalan, whereas Corsican is close to Tuscan-based Italian. Besides, French Flemish is also technically a dialect of German/Flemish, and Lorraine Franconian is another dialect of West Central German.
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  #28  
Old 21.12.2020, 14:53
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

And Italy has a bunch as well:

German in Alto-Adige and Trentino
Friuliano in Friuli-Venezia Giulia
French in Val d'Aosta
Ladin in Alto-Adige, Trentino, and Belluno
And a bunch of weird stuff in Sicilia

Tom
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Old 21.12.2020, 15:16
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Not a linguist but top of mind is Corsican in Corsica, Occitan/Catalonian around Carcassone, Basque in the Pays Basque Français (Bayonne), and whatever variant you find in any remote French Island around the world. I was once diving in Guadeloupe and it's a different language
german and alsatian in parts of alsace
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  #30  
Old 21.12.2020, 15:20
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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And Italy has a bunch as well:

French in Val d'Aosta

Tom
almost french .... also valdôtain.
sardu in sardegna.
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  #31  
Old 21.12.2020, 16:12
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

are any of these dialects legally recognised by the French state?
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  #32  
Old 21.12.2020, 16:22
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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are any of these dialects legally recognised by the French state?
What is legally recognized? A language for writing contracts? No. Road signs? Yes. Or an optional language course from elementary schools until baccauleurat? Yes. Spoken in public radio? Yes.

PS. Bilingual road signs in Pays Basque/Pais Vasco. For me it was really funny to see how useless are Latin roots in Donostia, I did not understand anything https://www.google.com/search?q=bili...w=1568&bih=874

Last edited by Axa; 21.12.2020 at 18:55. Reason: added the google images link
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  #33  
Old 23.12.2020, 20:15
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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And Italy has a bunch as well:

German in Alto-Adige and Trentino
Friuliano in Friuli-Venezia Giulia
French in Val d'Aosta
Ladin in Alto-Adige, Trentino, and Belluno
And a bunch of weird stuff in Sicilia

Tom
My friend's grandmother is from Piedmont, but has lived in London since about 1950. She's about 95.

She has dementia and first forgot how to speak English, then regular Italian. Now she only speaks Piedmontese - a highly divergent dialect somewhere between French and Italian.
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  #34  
Old 23.12.2020, 20:22
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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My friend's grandmother is from Piedmont, but has lived in London since about 1950. She's about 95.

She has dementia and first forgot how to speak English, then regular Italian. Now she only speaks Piedmontese - a highly divergent dialect somewhere between French and Italian.
It's similar to what we speak around here.

Tom
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  #35  
Old 24.12.2020, 02:29
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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And Italy has a bunch as well:

German in Alto-Adige and Trentino
Friuliano in Friuli-Venezia Giulia
French in Val d'Aosta
Ladin in Alto-Adige, Trentino, and Belluno
And a bunch of weird stuff in Sicilia

Tom
Ha!

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There are approximately 34 native living spoken languages and related dialects in Italy,[6] most of which are largely independent Romance languages. Although they are sometimes colloquially referred to as "dialects" or regional languages, they are almost all distributed in a continuum across the regions' administrative boundaries, and speakers from one locale within a single region are typically aware of the features distinguishing their own variety from one of the other places nearby.

The official and most widely spoken language across the country is Italian, which started off as a direct descendant of Tuscan. However, in parallel, many Italians also communicate in one of the regional languages that are indigenous evolutions of Vulgar Latin, however the use of regional languages is in sharp decline.

Other Italian languages belong to other Indo-European branches, such as Cimbrian, Arbëresh, Slavomolisano and Griko. Other non-indigenous languages are spoken by a substantial percentage of the population due to immigration.[7][failed verification]

Of the indigenous languages, twelve are officially recognized as linguistic minorities: Albanian, Catalan, German, Greek, Slovene, Croatian, French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian.[8] However, full bilingualism (bilinguismo perfetto) is legally granted only to German, Slovene and French and enacted in the regions of Trentino Alto-Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Aosta Valley, respectively.
As for France, there's also Breton, a celtic language that's developed independently of French.
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  #36  
Old 24.12.2020, 19:38
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

I lived in Alsace for a couple of years and noted the failed attempts of the centralized French state to impose French on the locals. They tried to impose French names everywhere and got things so wrong. There's a road in Strasbourg called "rue brulée" which you might think was the subject of a fire in times past. It was previously named after some rich guy who lived there and was called Brand.
The administrations were staffed by poor guys who were sent to Strasbourg by Paris but obviously spoke not a single word of Alsatian. It was so sad to see them attempting to communicate with clients, particularly with older people, many of whom at the time really did't speak any French.
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  #37  
Old 24.12.2020, 21:48
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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We normally speak French at work, and have had coworkers from all 4 lingustic regions, English was never an option as few spoke it.

Tom
Thats interesting - my work is about 1/3 british, 1/3 German or Swiss German (mostly the former) and 20% French.

I've only ever heard the native French speakers speak English with the native German speakers. Guess that's because they are French French not Swiss French.

Last edited by HickvonFrick; 24.12.2020 at 23:13.
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  #38  
Old 25.12.2020, 02:02
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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I lived in Alsace for a couple of years and noted the failed attempts of the centralized French state to impose French on the locals. They tried to impose French names everywhere and got things so wrong. There's a road in Strasbourg called "rue brulée" which you might think was the subject of a fire in times past. It was previously named after some rich guy who lived there and was called Brand.
The administrations were staffed by poor guys who were sent to Strasbourg by Paris but obviously spoke not a single word of Alsatian. It was so sad to see them attempting to communicate with clients, particularly with older people, many of whom at the time really did't speak any French.
tbh that situation happened in Switzerland as well, when the confederation sent swiss german cartographers who had studied italian to ticino and they tried to get names of places from the locals.
Some got properly translated from the local lombard dialects, some are just phonetic translitterations with misleading meaning.

It takes some political will and work with expert linguists to fix all these mistakes, but sometimes they are so ingrained in use that it's either not allowed to change them or the language itself changes to adopt them.

In Ticino we have some unlikely places like the valley of the croats or the mount greek as a result.

AFAIK Alsace is majorly french-speaking nowadays so it's not much of an issue anymore anyway.

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Thats interesting - my work is about 1/3 british, 1/3 German or Swiss German (mostly the former) and 20% French.

I've only ever heard the native French speakers speak English with the native German speakers. Guess that's because they are French French not Swiss French.
might be due to location, but german from germany often haven't studied French so that removes the option anyway.

In Ticino french is taught more years than English and many people study in it, but they don't really use English, so there is a fair amount of people who have bad English across age ranges really.
This use of French isn't possible as soon as foreigners get in the picture IME, mostly they just speak their own language and English.
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  #39  
Old 25.12.2020, 02:32
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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The federal councillors have to learn the 3 main languages.
Lol. The incoming President can barely speak his own mother tongue, let alone German or Italian (or, God forbid, Rumantsch).
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  #40  
Old 25.12.2020, 10:34
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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This use of French isn't possible as soon as foreigners get in the picture IME, mostly they just speak their own language and English.
I mostly speak French at work, also when I worked in Zurich.

Tom
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