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How Many Languages are Spoken in Switzerland

Switzerland has been a fascinating place for its beautiful mountains, categorizing this country among the top tourist sights. Speaking of tourism, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is the country’s official language. Well, there is no single answer for this. That’s because Switzerland is a country made of multiple linguistic groups, due to which this country has four official languages.Switzerland is a country which has four official languages.The four languages spoken in Switzerland are French, German, Italian, and Romansh.

How many languages are spoken in Switzerland?

The four languages spoken in Switzerland are French, German, Italian, and Romansh. Each of these languages carries importance in specific cantons of the country. As for someone moving to Switzerland from the U.S., it’s a relief that English is gaining popularity as a non-linguistic language. 

Other foreign languages spoken in the country include Portuguese, Spanish, Croatian and Albanian. The difference of dialect or accent may vary from region to region within the country. Switzerland emphasizes multilingualism under the law to promote that multilingualism is necessary for people’s identity.

German

German is the most commonly spoken language across Switzerland. Including workplaces, German is spoken by 60 percent of the Swiss population in the country’s central, northern, and eastern parts. Swiss German is a combination of famous dialects known as Alemannic. Therefore, the standard German speakers may find the accent challenging to understand.

Dialects are something that is often overlooked in many countries. It is like the difference between British and American English. Similarly, German dialects are present in each region. But unlike other countries, dialects in Switzerland are much more important to establish communication.

However, the standard German language you’ll commonly find written in the newspapers and books. It’s the accent that makes it hard to understand. Differences of dialect vary in each canton. Standard German is taught as the official language in schools to communicate with Austrian and Germans without hesitation.

German is drastically gaining popularity as the most spoken language in Switzerland. Even on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, the German language is becoming the mode of communication across the Swiss region. Generally, if the occasion is formal, there are higher chances that Standard German is spoken at that point.

French

French is among the second most popular languages spoken in the Western region of Switzerland. Almost 20 percent of the Swiss population speaks French. In the popular Swiss areas like Geneva, French is the most commonly spoken language, and it seems like a little Paris there. 

Although Swiss-French differentiates from standard French, other Swiss cantons include Vaud and Jura, commonly spoken among the locals. Lausanne and Geneva are entirely French spoken cantons that are often attracting tourists. 

Swiss-French and standard French differ based on hearing. Or we can say the French accent the speaker uses to pronounce the language. There are some distinctions between Swiss and traditional French vocabulary and expressions. However, both accents are understandable in communication for both local and foreign French speakers. 

Italian

The Italian community is among the most recognized people spread across the world. Likewise, you’ll find Italians in Switzerland as well. The Italian community is located in the South of Switzerland near the border of Italy. The Italians stand as the third most commonly spoken group of people. 

In Switzerland, there are more than six hundred thousand Italian speakers. Under this number, Italian speakers carry only eight percent of the country’s population. The dialects are extracted from Ticinese and Lombard. Swiss Italian is no different from our friends’ standard version of Italian in Sicily. 

The dialect is easy to understand by Italian tourists and local Swiss Italian speakers. Swiss Italian differs from standard Italian based on calques representing phrases read like the literal world. These phrases sound like the literal translation from German and French words.

Romansh

Romansh is the least spoken language in Switzerland due to a limited Romanian community. Only 37,000 out of 7 million population speak Romansh, due to which it is often overlooked as an official language in Switzerland. Although in the south-eastern canton of Garrisons, Romansh is often expressed as the official language by the locals. 

Leaping back in history, Romansh caught influence back in 15 B.C. when Romans conquered Rhaetia province. Language spoken in the Romanian community and locals of Rhaetia influenced a mixture of a new language known as Romansh.

This language has survived to remain verbal in Switzerland as it hails from the remote regions of southern Switzerland and mountainous parts. The syntax of the Romansh language is similar to the German language. German sounds like the parent language to Romansh in dialect and vocabulary. 

Although this language has a limited number of speakers in the community, Romansh speakers carry five different dialects in daily speaking. The universal version for Romansh’ pan-Romansh’ has been extracted from mixed dialects.

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