However, picking up two or three phrasebooks will certainly help you along the way. For more information see Affiliate Disclosure. The first three of those are also official languages of Switzerland at the national/federal level. Quick Facts About Switzerland Languages Spoken in Switzerland.
Even local business communication is made easier via English. The Swiss German speaking population has no written language of their own, there are just too many different idioms to agree on one only, therefore our written language is High German. Over the years, Catalonia was repeatedly repressed by governments who tried to quash it, seeing it as a threat to national unity. Contact Visiting Switzerland is the perfect way to flex your language muscles, while dipping into a bit of French, Italian, Romansh and German culture at the same time. That being said, English does not rank first in terms of the number of native speakers. How did this come about and why is there not a single, unified ‘Swiss’ language? Each canton decides which additional language is added to the curriculum and when. Although the French and Italian speaking population are culturally more influenced by their foreign neighbours than by the Swiss Germans, in the end, they cherish their otherness and independence too much to truly divide our nation. In this sense, Switzerland is a federation, rather than a nation.
The particular languages spoken by each canton represents both the geographical and cultural boundaries of Switzerland and the influence of the closest countries to them. The bible, and later newspapers, literature, schoolbooks, political statements and so on were meant to be read and understood by everyone - translating them into different dialects would have been an impossible task. So take it from me, if you speak standard German then you will have a hard time understanding Swiss German! Almost half of the world’s population claim one of only ten languages as their mother tongue.
Whereas in the private sphere, and between Swiss-Germans themselves, dialects win the day. Most visitors to Switzerland visit the alpine canton Graubunden, the only place where this language is spoken but also famous for its ski resorts, including St. Moritz. Though you won’t find any “Belgian” speakers, Belgium is home to a diverse bunch of national languages. What about the other languages spoken in Switzerland? The largest community of Rumantsch speaking people outside of Graubünden can be found in Zürich (Turidg in Rumantsch) due to migration for work. In Switzerland however, this didn’t happen, as it isn’t like other European countries and didn’t follow the same course. Babbel has got you covered when it comes to French, German, and Italian, all of which will serve you well on your Swiss odyssey! Want to hear how Rumantsch sounds? They are the most savviest when it comes to learning languages: They learn German already in Kindergarten and most of them easily pick up an accent free Italian and French as well. Want to learn a new language yourself? But you also find multilingualism in the smallest areas of daily life, such as when I entered a supermarket outside of Zurich only to be greeted by signs warning me in German, French, and Italian, that all shoplifters will be prosecuted. Moreover, as there is no universal written form of the various Swiss German dialects, all laws, books, newspapers and other forms of written communication are written in Standard German. Great news: you’ve got plenty of options. The cantons of Valais, Fribourg and Bern are also officially bilingual, speaking both French and German. But what exactly makes the Swiss tick language-wise? The more isolated the community, the more distinct the dialect, which is hardly understood by the Italians. Switzerland recognizes four languages as so-called “national languages,” and while speakers of these languages can be found throughout the country, the four languages are largely confined to specific regions. Written Italian in Switzerland is the same as in Italy, with a few exceptions.
If you buy a product I receive a small commission with no additional cost to you. Not everyone understands or speaks English in Switzerland. The differences between “Swiss French” and the standard form of French you hear in France are much less obvious compared to Swiss German and Standard German. There are also a great many Italians living in German and French speaking Switzerland who came as workers from Italy, some of them neutralized others still counting as migrants.
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