Switzerland has four national languages but most of the population is fluent in only one of them. When politicians come together in Bern they generally speak in their home language assuming others present understand them, even if they cannot really speak the language spoken. This week, Pierre Nebel, a reporter at RTS, explored the level […]
German loses ground to French in Switzerland
Recently published data show a rise in the percentage of French speakers in Switzerland and a fall in the percentages speaking German, Italian and Romansh. Between 1970 and 2018, the percentage of Swiss speaking German or Swiss German as a primary language fell from 66% to 62%. Those speaking French as their principle language rose […]
Swiss fact: 44 Swiss municipalities have changed their official language since 1950
Language is a complicated matter in Switzerland. The nation has four official languages and numerous other languages and dialects. On top of this some Swiss have had to cope with shifting language borders. Between 1860 and 2000, 83 municipalities, known as communes (in French), Einwohnergemeinde1 (in German), comuni (in Italian) and vischnancas (in Romanche), changed their official […]
Could Switzerland break apart?
Christophe Büchi discusses the country’s language divisions and why we should worry about Italian-speaking Ticino. Long time correspondent in French-speaking Switzerland for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the journalist and writer is fascinated by the complex relationship between Switzerland’s French and German speakers. He spoke with Thibaut Kaeser of Echo magazine about Switzerland’s language divisions and […]