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Old 25.12.2020, 14:03
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

Many dialects very loosely based on French are spoken in Switzerland. Arpitan exists in several forms, for example. Several people in my wife's family still speak gruvérien (a dialect of the patois fribourgeois), the language of Gruyères.

I've never really understood why Rumantsch is an official language of Switzerland. There are plenty of other endangered, regional languages on this country, some of which have more speakers than Rumantsch.
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Old 25.12.2020, 15:14
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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?
The French government would like to pretend that perfect Parisian French developed via spontaneous evolution around the time of the Revolution and that everyone magically learnt to speak it perfectly—and if they still haven’t today, that they are rather backwards and anti-patriots or something of the like. It was under the French rule that most of the French patois disappeared in Switzerland (and in France) as there were heavy punishments in school for using divergent vocabularies much less grammar and accent. Despite their best efforts over the past centuries, they have had to accept the existence of other Frenches but these patois and even simply regional accents and differences are truly looked at as “divergent” rather than as the lovely diversity that makes human language what it is. There is not much patois left in Switzerland, though the valorisation the Swiss give to their varieties means it will probably always exist in one form or another, the likelihood of a truly native speaker monolingual community is rather low, not unlike Romansch or the various Celtic languages. Linguists have a hard time placing a language as well and truly alive on the scale of language live-ness if it doesn’t have or couldn’t have a native speaker monolingual community. It sort of begins to die in a way the day that there are no monolinguals as the push to “need” practically the language diminishes.
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  #43  
Old 25.12.2020, 15:19
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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I've never really understood why Rumantsch is an official language of Switzerland. There are plenty of other endangered, regional languages on this country, some of which have more speakers than Rumantsch.
It isn’t. Romansch is considered a National language but not official. There are three official Swiss languages: German, French and Italian.

Romansch is classified as a separate language. The other languages mentioned in this thread are actually mainly dialects or patois or variants that don’t have the same status as being a separate language. But I agree with you that they should all have recognition nationally (not officially) to protect them better. For perspective however, the Swiss are one of the best countries at putting value on all these dialects and variants with classes in universities that explore them and even in Bulle classes for the laymen in the patois of the Gruyères.
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  #44  
Old 25.12.2020, 21:02
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Many dialects very loosely based on French are spoken in Switzerland. Arpitan exists in several forms, for example. Several people in my wife's family still speak gruvérien (a dialect of the patois fribourgeois), the language of Gruyères.

I've never really understood why Rumantsch is an official language of Switzerland. There are plenty of other endangered, regional languages on this country, some of which have more speakers than Rumantsch.
Because the other ones are dialects whereas Rumantsch clearly is a distinct language
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  #45  
Old 25.12.2020, 21:31
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Because the other ones are dialects whereas Rumantsch clearly is a distinct language
It's not.

There are 4 legally distinct versions, plus the 5th fake one.

I studied it at school, did you?

Tom
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  #46  
Old 25.12.2020, 21:33
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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I've never really understood why Rumantsch is an official language of Switzerland.
Indeed, Italy has 10x as many Rumantsch speakers (500k+)

Tom
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Old 25.12.2020, 21:44
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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It's not.

There are 4 legally distinct versions, plus the 5th fake one.

I studied it at school, did you?

Tom
That may be completely correct but doesn't contradict what I said above. Yes there are 4 very distinct dialects, but ultimately the grouping of those four dialects is a language, or at least a language cluster that's very distinct from other major Romance languages (although perhaps closer to Ladin and friulian)
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  #48  
Old 25.12.2020, 22:17
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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That may be completely correct but doesn't contradict what I said above. Yes there are 4 very distinct dialects, but ultimately the grouping of those four dialects is a language, or at least a language cluster that's very distinct from other major Romance languages (although perhaps closer to Ladin and friulian)
Basically the same as Ladin, not just similar.

Tom
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  #49  
Old 25.12.2020, 22:19
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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?
an interesting question- must check the current situation.

It is not that long ago in France that Basque and Catalan were officially disallowed. Some French friends here from the Perpignan area (never lost their accent after 50 years + in Switzerland)- told me their parents and grand-parents were beaten at school for speaking Catalan at school, and even back home. And my friend's generation (born in late 40s) never learnt it- they knew kids who were even taken into care because their parents refused to stop speaking dialect.

The most studied dialect and culture in Romandie is that from Val d'Hérens/Evolène area. In the 60s and 70s, they said every family consiste of grand-parents, mums and dads, lots of kids and a couple of anthropologists.
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Old 30.12.2020, 13:46
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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PS. I know there's Rumantsch but only 1 met someone personally in 7 years that speaks it.
Maybe you hang out in the wrong places.

I'm hearing it on the tram or train quite regularly. I also have many co-workers who have at least rudimentary knowledge and will use it to make unflattering comments about our German boss.

Which I guess is what all minority languages are very useful for.
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Old 30.12.2020, 13:51
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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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.
If you go to Scotland or Wales you see something similar.
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Old 30.12.2020, 13:56
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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The French government would like to pretend that perfect Parisian French developed via spontaneous evolution around the time of the Revolution and that everyone magically learnt to speak it perfectly—and if they still haven’t today, that they are rather backwards and anti-patriots or something of the like. It was under the French rule that most of the French patois disappeared in Switzerland (and in France) as there were heavy punishments in school for using divergent vocabularies much less grammar and accent. Despite their best efforts over the past centuries, they have had to accept the existence of other Frenches but these patois and even simply regional accents and differences are truly looked at as “divergent” rather than as the lovely diversity that makes human language what it is. There is not much patois left in Switzerland, though the valorisation the Swiss give to their varieties means it will probably always exist in one form or another, the likelihood of a truly native speaker monolingual community is rather low, not unlike Romansch or the various Celtic languages. Linguists have a hard time placing a language as well and truly alive on the scale of language live-ness if it doesn’t have or couldn’t have a native speaker monolingual community. It sort of begins to die in a way the day that there are no monolinguals as the push to “need” practically the language diminishes.
Yup, and especially sad seeing the French like to play the victim card linguistically, bemoaning that French is in danger of losing ground against English and saying how linguistic diversity is such a good thing that deserves to be protected - yet failing to grant the same magnanimous spirit to the languages in danger of being supplanted by French.
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Old 19.02.2021, 22:31
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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I've never really understood why Rumantsch is an official language of Switzerland. There are plenty of other endangered, regional languages on this country, some of which have more speakers than Rumantsch.
What are these - for instance?
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  #54  
Old 20.02.2021, 01:08
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Because the other ones are dialects whereas Rumantsch clearly is a distinct language
That's gets into the argument about when a dialect becomes a distinct language. I'd argue that when one native speaker of a language can't get the gist of what another native speaker of the "same" language is saying, then we've moved past the point of dialect. I speak a reasonable amount of German and French and can understand a fair bit of written Italian, and armed with those languages, I can decipher probably 50% of written Rumantsch. I grant you, Rumantsch is a distinct language with its own dialects.

What do you make of this?
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That's Arpetan (Arpitan in English), a language that some would say is a dialect of French, with about a quarter of a million speakers distributed in France and Italy and about 7,000 in Switzerland. But it looks more Spanish than French, it's a recognised minority language in Italy, and it has its own dialects, including at least two used in Switzerland.

Last edited by 22 yards; 20.02.2021 at 12:00.
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Old 20.02.2021, 01:22
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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It isn’t. Romansch is considered a National language but not official. There are three official Swiss languages: German, French and Italian.
I should have phrased that better. You are correct that Switzerland has four national languages (including Rumantsch) and the country has three official languages. However, Rumantsch is an official language of Graubünden/Grigioni/Grischun (or Grischùn, depending on dialect), the only Swiss canton in which it is spoken. So Rumantsch is an official language within Switzerland.
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Old 20.02.2021, 01:37
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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What are these - for instance?
Lombard, for instance. There are hundreds of thousands of Lombard speakers in Switzerland, speaking several dialects. Compare that to less than 50,000 Rumantsch speakers.
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Old 20.02.2021, 07:23
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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That's gets into the argument about when a dialect becomes a distinct language. I'd argue that when one native speaker of a language can't get the gist of what another native speaker of the "same" language is saying, then we've moved past the point of dialect. I speak a reasonable amount of German and French and can understand a fair bit of written Italian, and armed with those languages, I can decipher probably 50% of written Rumantsch. I grant you, Rumantsch is a distinct language with its own dialects.

What do you make of this?
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That's Arpetan (Arpitan in English), a language that some would say is a dialect of French, with about a quarter of million speakers distributed in France and Italy and about 7,000 in Switzerland. But it looks more Spanish than French, it's a recognised minority language in Italy, and it has its own dialects, including at least two used in Switzerland.
I think if you hadn't told me, and as someone who knows no Romance languages I'd have guessed it was Occitan.

I imagine a Parisian would have significant difficulty with that in spoken form?

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Old 20.02.2021, 08:02
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Lombard, for instance. There are hundreds of thousands of Lombard speakers in Switzerland, speaking several dialects. Compare that to less than 50,000 Rumantsch speakers.
Isn't the issue that Lombard is evidently comparatively close to standard Italian, and Arpitan to standard French compared to how close Rumantsch is to Italian (presuming one accepts it is closer to Italian than French?). Can you understand Rumantsch as an Italian and French speaker Tom?

Obviously many Swiss German dialects are pretty hard for a high German speaker to understand so if you promoted Lombard and arpitan you'd also have to consider Wallser German etc.

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Old 20.02.2021, 09:06
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Indeed, Italy has 10x as many Rumantsch speakers (500k+)

Tom
With no thanks to Napolean.
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Old 20.02.2021, 12:14
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Re: How does Switzerland manage four national languages?

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Isn't the issue that Lombard is evidently comparatively close to standard Italian, and Arpitan to standard French compared to how close Rumantsch is to Italian (presuming one accepts it is closer to Italian than French?). Can you understand Rumantsch as an Italian and French speaker Tom?

Obviously many Swiss German dialects are pretty hard for a high German speaker to understand so if you promoted Lombard and arpitan you'd also have to consider Wallser German etc.
Agreed, Lombard dialects in Italy are much closer to standard Italian than Arpitan is to Parisian French, yet the Italians regard Lombard as a separate language. And Lombard in Switzerland is quite far removed from Lombard in Italy, in fact it's considered much "purer" than its Italian cousin(s).

Parisian French speakers do indeed have a lot of trouble understanding spoken Arpitan dialects, hence my contention that Arpitan should be regarded as a separate language.

I'd definitely elevate Wallisertiitsch to the status of separate language. It's classified as a Highest Allemannic dialect of German but it and standard German are virtually completely mutually unintelligible. It's about as similar to German as Portuguese is to French.
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