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Old 09.04.2011, 22:37
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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It only implies a better cummunication among a global community ...
How about Mandarin then? Why your language exactly?
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  #82  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:38
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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You see, THAT's the point: I never expect that the entire world has to adapt to me. English speakers on EF frequently complain that their rural Swiss RAV advisor, postman, traffic cop or city hall clerk dared to not speak English fluently... Just imagine! He doesn't! The world language! I do not see why the entire world needs to be able to communicate with one language anyway. And find it pretty arrogant to expect everyone to make your life easier.

English has close to zero importance to easily 90% of all Swiss. Just because most expats work in banking, IT or ideally banking IT - where everyone works entirely in English as the imported programmers don't manage to learn German and the users are all over the planet anyway - they expect the rest of Switzerland to be the same. It really really isn't.

I think Switzerland has more than enough official languages and really doesn't need to introduce English in order to comfort some expats that right now already seem to do just fine.
Being able to speak English opens up for more opportunities globally than any of the Swiss official languages.
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  #83  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:44
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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How about Mandarin then? Why your language exactly?
What's the most important foreign language that the Chinese teach in school.... English. It will be the most important language to learn for quite some time.
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  #84  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:44
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

Agreed, but that does not mean it should become a national language. Should English become a/the national language of every country?

The above ethnic groups were mentioned, because during my 40 years in the UK, a vast number/proportion of English people constantly complained that these groups (and many others btw) - do not make sufficient effort to learn English, and 'expect' everything to be translated for them, translators made available, etc, and are 'transforming' some areas into 'ghettos'. I personally never felt this- and feel that indeed the groups mentioned on the whole make a great deal more effort to learn English, than many Brits abroad. The reason I mentioned these ethnic groups is that many Brits think of themselves as expats of value, rather than 'immigrants'. Many British abroad consider themselves to be a 'better/different' class of immigrant- and that rules that they would like to apply to immigrants in the UK do not apply to 'them' here. Not all, but too many, sadly.

Last edited by Odile; 09.04.2011 at 22:55.
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  #85  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:46
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Agreed, but that does not mean it should become a national language. Should English become a/the national language of every country?
Yes if the people of that country agree.
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  #86  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:48
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Having a language as an "official language" for the administration is a totally different story. We'd need thousands of native speakers for that. And those native speakers would have to be able to understand legal texts in at least one of the other languages on a very high level. Not gonna happen anytime soon.
Recently, Switzerland passed a law mandating that all "important" laws and documents be translated into English. I am not arguing that Switzerland should adopt English as an official language, but if you are arguing Switzerland can't because there aren't enough native English speakers or Swiss fluent enough in English to translate the laws, I'm just pointing that this is already happening.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/ger/index/En...ml?cid=2586260

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Make_Eng...ml?cid=7224750 (View 9th paragraph)
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Old 09.04.2011, 22:48
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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English has close to zero importance to easily 90% of all Swiss.
It's important for anyone looking for a higher degree education, anyone wanting to travel to more than just the neighboring countries, anyone wanting to socialize with people, anyone liking to watch movies or read books, anyone wanting to have good job qualifications, etc.

One could say it has a certain degree of importance to easily, say, 90% of all Swiss.
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  #88  
Old 09.04.2011, 22:53
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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...Short version: one only need the languages that go with one's life.
Agreed.

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In Swiss context, I just don't use English ever.
Liar you're writing to us in English and you're on Englishforum.ch...

Kidding of course...

But yes, I see your point. Somebody could be living in the amazon and not need any English at all but it was his decision to live in the Amazon...There isn't a day where I would talk in Basel and not see English around me, whether on walls, in banks, in restaurants etc...

I'd compare English to computer literacy. You can choose to stay computer illiterate and miss on all this wonderful stuff that goes on in the world-including englishforum.ch (moderators hello? i need some extra points)- but then you'd be swimming against the current, and yet, no one would dare stop you if you deem it suitable.
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Old 09.04.2011, 22:59
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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I never expect that the entire world has to adapt to me.
Faltrad isn't you, and she is not English and if a Japanese replies to her in English he would not be adapting to you

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English speakers on EF frequently complain that their rural Swiss RAV advisor, postman, traffic cop or city hall clerk dared to not speak English fluently...
Simply non-true. I never complained.

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English has close to zero importance to easily 90% of all Swiss...just because they work in banking...IT...
Have you been to a nightclub in Switzerland? can you tell me how many Swiss songs they play? that's neither banking nor IT.

Last edited by Lejoker; 09.04.2011 at 23:43.
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  #90  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:05
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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No one has a responsibility to learn a language of the place they move too.
I speak from experience---this quote will make you very popular with both Swiss and expatriate members of this forum.

Not everyone has the time to become perfectly fluent in a new language, and some people simply do not have the ability to do so. But if you are going to live in an non-English speaking country for a substantial amount of time, you should TRY to learn the native language.
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  #91  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:06
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Recently, Switzerland passed a law mandating that all "important" laws and documents be translated into English. I am not arguing that Switzerland should adopt English as an official language, but if you are arguing Switzerland can't because there aren't enough native English speakers or Swiss fluent enough in English to translate the laws, I'm just pointing that this is already happening.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/ger/index/En...ml?cid=2586260

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Make_Eng...ml?cid=7224750 (View 9th paragraph)
English translations are not official translations. If something is wrong in them, then they accept no liability. That's very different from official translations, which are much more time consuming and require the efforts mentioned earlier.
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  #92  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:16
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Recently, Switzerland passed a law mandating that all "important" laws and documents be translated into English. I am not arguing that Switzerland should adopt English as an official language, but if you are arguing Switzerland can't because there aren't enough native English speakers or Swiss fluent enough in English to translate the laws, I'm just pointing that this is already happening.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/ger/index/En...ml?cid=2586260

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Make_Eng...ml?cid=7224750 (View 9th paragraph)
Err yes, I know about that. BUT:

The translations are extremely limited and are not legally binding.

In order to really make a difference, English would not only have to be the fifth national language but an "administrative language", on all levels of government, throughout Switzerland. Now thats a totally different ballgame. Not even the national languages have that status= when you (legally) deal with a cantonal or communal office in Zürich the language is German and only German (not talking about customer service here).

Declaring English as an administrative language for the whole country would mean that every single service in every cantonal or communal administration would have to assure that they can deal just as well with matters in English as they can in the administrative language they use now.
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  #93  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:19
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Dear English mother tongue speakers, I give you a secret that the world is keeping from you:

Just because we, non-English mother tongue, speak English, does by no means mean that we want to make it our language. We are just good and sometimes even excellent at a foreign language that stays foreign. Yes, dear readers, here is the secret within the secret: one can speak a foreign language at excellent level but it stays foreign.

Just because speaking English means that English is your language does not mean that speaking English means that English become our language, even if our level, us foreign speakers, can be certified C2. Do people comprehend the difference here?

P.S. If you like to get personal: I am English B1 ,perhaps B2 on a good day, with no intention to change that. I have other serious language business to attend.


EDIT: I find very important to get the comment about sich verständigen and sich verstehen. If one does not comprehend the difference, one misses any language debate totally, not only in CH.
I`m surprised your English is not a C1, your written English strikes me as nearly native,
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  #94  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:20
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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You see, THAT's the point: I never expect that the entire world has to adapt to me. English speakers on EF frequently complain that their rural Swiss RAV advisor, postman, traffic cop or city hall clerk dared to not speak English fluently...
You know all those EF posters who complain about that? They may consider themselves lucky.

I stumbled onto something else while cruising the net. It's an article about a campaign by the Dutch government to get foreigners to learn Dutch.

http://www.expatica.com/nl/education...st__13707.html

What's interesting is that several of the expatriates posting in the comment section have commented that it is extremely difficult to learn Dutch for the opposite reason that some EFers are complaining about. In other words, even when outsiders TRY to use Dutch, the Dutch insist on responding in English. That ironically makes Dutch more difficult to learn than Swiss-German.

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I have had long stays in many places, on three different continents, using six different languages. Of all the places that I have stayed, the only two places that I have found where people were difficult, prickiish, guarded and cantankerous about their language was in The South of France, and in the Netherlands.

One of the great joys of visiting MOST places in the world is the challenge of sharing thoughts and needs using a new and different set of words. Not so much in the Netherlands. While living there I was pretty much discouraged from learning Dutch by everyone except the government, and my crazy neighbour. (He was convinced that if he used his Dutch slower, and especially at a higher volume, with more emphasis on important words, then I would get it. He really wanted me to learn. He had this shining pride in his native toungue. Bless his 90 year old heart, he tried. But he was almost deaf, so he had no idea just how I was struggling to reply in Dutch). Few others in the Netherlands seemed to want to SHARE their language. It seemed to me that the Dutch are more apt to use their language as a fence to keep people out, rather than as a gate through which to let them in.

I can order lunch, tell a girl that she is pretty, ask a child if he needs help, or report a crime or ask for help in every language of each country that I have stayed in. Except the Netherlands. Tough languages, like Mandarin, Japenese, Urdu, and easier ones like French and Portuguese. Every language except Dutch. I stayed the longest in the Netherlands of any assignment, and loved it there the most! But the language barrier never came down.

Tip of my cap to the genius that decide that the best way to communicate with non-Dutch speakers was by using the Dutch language. Brilliant.
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Old 09.04.2011, 23:26
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Being able to speak English opens up for more opportunities globally than any of the Swiss official languages.
The point is that most of us (in CH) do not need English nor global opportunities to have a good life, even financially. You, the English speaking expats, you need English to get global opportunities (by definition, you are English speaking), not me. I teach French and German language and litterature in Switzerland, I have plenty to do and a full teacher wage to earn without a single word of English and still speak those or my other three languages beside English in my hollidays. I am here on EF for no reason whatsoever, I am just here in English, that's it. Nothing global, nothing professionally opportunate and nothing I have to do either. I can live and make money without English, you can't. Who needs the world to speak English the most? Not me, you.


EDIT about Dutch: Dutch people speak English, German and often Frech. I do to. With three languages in common, you would think that I had no change to ever speak Dutch with the Dutch. Well, it took me one year to get the full Dutch language Certificaat II. When one gets to work, one works, and it works.
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  #96  
Old 09.04.2011, 23:29
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Have you been to a nightclub in Switzerland? can you tell me how many Swiss songs they play? that's neither banking nor IT.
It is a real joy that I can at least zoom out English lyrics (better than German or French ones). When it comes to these "texts" ignorance is pure bliss...
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Old 09.04.2011, 23:31
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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I can live and make money without English, you can't.
Faltrad, I can't speak for myself but there ARE expatriate members of the EF who can and do earn a living in non-English speaking environments, so they also make money without English.
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Old 09.04.2011, 23:31
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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The point is that most of us (in CH) do not need English nor global opportunities to have a good life, even financially. You, the English speaking expats, you need English to get global opportunities (by definition, you are English speaking), not me. I teach French and German language and litterature in Switzerland, I have plenty to do and a full teacher wage to earn without a single word of English and still speak those or my other three languages beside English in my hollidays. I am here on EF for no reason whatsoever, I am just here in English, that's it. Nothing global, nothing professionally opportunate and nothing I have to do either. I can live and make money without English, you can't. Who needs the world to speak English the most? Not me, you.
The global economy which affects everyone ... including ... you ... would fall apart without English as the global language.
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Old 09.04.2011, 23:36
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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The global economy which affects everyone ... including ... you ... would fall apart without English as the global language.
I and all of Europe would fall apart without the German economy. US would fall apart without Chinese and Japanese finance/economy. That's numbers, nothing linguistic.
The only thing UBS did in English is to loose billions in the US.
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Old 09.04.2011, 23:37
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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The global economy which affects everyone ... including ... you ... would fall apart without English as the global language.
Nope, it would simply be replaced.
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