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Old 13.04.2011, 08:04
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Re: English as an Official Language

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I really don't want English as an Official Language in Switzerland and I am English. I hear enough of it at work, on the TV, and socialising. I'm glad that the offical forms I have to complete are in German as is the daycare and the staff where my daughter attends. I came here with no language skills whatsoever and I managed to survive and wouldn't have learnt a word of Deutsch if I hadn't been forced to on some occasions. If I can get by then so can all the other expats as I am the biggest dumbass when it comes to learning

I can now speak relatively ok Swinglish mixed with High German which allows me to communicate well enough with most people and I've finally got to the point where I no longer have to ask "sprechen Sie Englisch?" at the start of every phone call or conversation.....that for me seemed highly rude when I am certain that if the reverse were asked to a cashier in England then there would be little chance of them speaking German

My tuppence worth.
You live in one of the Cantons of Basel, where official language simply is German. If you however have to deal with civil aviation, then the legal language in many many ways, even including BAZL, is English.
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  #362  
Old 13.04.2011, 08:44
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Yes, I got them right. The difference is that Switzerland has the unhealthy habit to INCLUDE many of the more important laws and regulations into the constitution, which in the USA is not the case, at least not to that extent. An additional matter which adds thousands of pages is that in Switzerland, the relationship between union and Cantons is precisely defined. Do not forget that the Swiss constitution was fixed AFTER the Civil War and not a century before.
After the SWISS civil war, yes.

The US civil are was 1861-4, AFTER the Swiss constitution of 1848 (ok, it was revised in 1866 and 1874, but that's revision)!

Tom
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Old 13.04.2011, 11:23
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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After the SWISS civil war, yes.

The US civil are was 1861-4, AFTER the Swiss constitution of 1848 (ok, it was revised in 1866 and 1874, but that's revision)!

Tom
Abraham Lincoln wished you were right---our civil war ended in 1865. Also, as a result of the Civil War three important ammendments to the U.S. Constitution were adopted, so our constitution was revised as well.
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Old 13.04.2011, 19:43
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Abraham Lincoln wished you were right---our civil war ended in 1865. Also, as a result of the Civil War three important ammendments to the U.S. Constitution were adopted, so our constitution was revised as well.
The difference is that the Swiss constitution was revised as a whole (reformulated, rewritten, adapted etc.) in 1874 and 1999 and not (simply) amended. Thus, it has changed considerably since the first version and directly (sometimes) reflects modern times.

A good example is the division of power (does the federal state have the power to legislate on this or that?):

In the US, the federal legislative competence very often derives from "general-abstract" norms.

In Switzerland (in most of the cases) the federal competence to legislate regarding matter X or Y is clearly stated in the constitution.

Example: In the US, the "individual mandate" (forcing people to buy health care) in the new health care law is based (a heavily challenged viewpoint) on the commerce clause which grants Congress the "power to regulate commerce among the states".

In Switzerland, art. 117 of the constitution directly states the following:

Art. 117 Health and accident insurance 1 The Confederation shall legislate on health and accident insurance.
2 It may declare health and the accident insurance to be compulsory, either in general terms or for individual sections of the population.
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  #365  
Old 14.04.2011, 02:12
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Re: English as an Official Language

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You live in one of the Cantons of Basel, where official language simply is German. If you however have to deal with civil aviation, then the legal language in many many ways, even including BAZL, is English.
As far as the legal language of civil aviation, I am assuming that English is used mostly for air traffic control and communication between airports. If Mimi is going to the airport most of the people in the airport itself should speak French and German. (The airport that services Basel is in France, right?)
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  #366  
Old 14.04.2011, 09:45
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Re: English as an Official Language

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As far as the legal language of civil aviation, I am assuming that English is used mostly for air traffic control and communication between airports. If Mimi is going to the airport most of the people in the airport itself should speak French and German. (The airport that services Basel is in France, right?)
And at the Basel airport, most people you encounter that work there also speak English, particularly at the check-in desks and in duty free. It is the default foreign language for people who don't speak French or German.
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Old 14.04.2011, 11:34
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Re: English as an Official Language

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And at the Basel airport, most people you encounter that work there also speak English, particularly at the check-in desks and in duty free. It is the default foreign language for people who don't speak French or German.
One exception I've heard about is this airport in the Flanders region of Belgium where officials are required to speak to everybody in Dutch---even if they understand you in your native language. (I'll try to post a reference later.)

That's one thing which Switzerland has managed to get right. Not every German-speaking Swiss can speak French or Italian, nor can every French or Italian speaking Swiss speak German, but enough know the other languages (or are willing to learn English as a lingua franca) to get along. More importantly, Swiss accept countrymen who do not speak their native language (yet) AS their countrymen. That's why Switzerland isn't Belgium.
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Old 14.04.2011, 19:14
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Re: English as an Official Language

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As far as the legal language of civil aviation, I am assuming that English is used mostly for air traffic control and communication between airports. If Mimi is going to the airport most of the people in the airport itself should speak French and German. (The airport that services Basel is in France, right?)
You assume wrongly as English by the BAZL is used for fields like the registering of aircraft, the air cargo security program. Communication with German airports however is conducted in German. English also is THE language for the regulations for maintenance and for flight operations. The ATC in Switzerland in fact is supervised by BAZL but conducted by Skyguide, a state-owned but privately incorporated company, generally conducting business in English.

Basel-Mulhouse is officially German-French speaking 50/50 but here again, both the BAZL and the DGAC do most of their work in English. Basel-Mulhouse in regard to customs laws is 50% Swiss, 50% French. Traffic is conducted some 50% by the Swiss side, 40% by the French side, and 10% by the German side. Therefore the name Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.
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  #369  
Old 27.04.2011, 15:12
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Am I the only one who does not find that funny? Humour is supposed to be funny, when it does not work, that's just a fail.
yes, it is quite racist actually
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