Switzerland is a state where more than one language is spoken. In addition, depending on the area in which we are, the inhabitants use one language or another. In this article, we give you useful information about the different languages.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
In Switzerland we find four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. They are not all spread out in the same way throughout the territory, but each one predominates in a different area.
The most widely spoken language is German, as it is used in 19 cantons. In this map we can see how the four languages are divided. In the pink zone the main one is French; in the gray one, German; in the yellow one, the Italian; and in the green one, the Romansh:
Likewise, the following table shows the percentage of the population that speaks each one and the areas in which they predominate:
|German||63,5%||north and center|
|Romansh||0,5%||Canton of Grisons|
German is spoken in a dialect known as swiss german. Also, depending on the city in which we are, it varies in some aspects. For example, it is not the same in Zurich as in Bern. The same goes for Italian.
As for Romansh, it is a retro-Roman language, that is, it comes from Latin and is spoken in the Alpine area, which is only used in a part of the canton of Grisons. Although it is official, public documents are only written in Romansh if you are sued.
The cantons in which French is spoken are Geneva, Vaud, Neucastel and the canton of Jura. Italian occurs in Ticino and southern Grisons. On the other hand, Bern, Freiburg and Valais are bilingual (German and French); and the canton of Grisons trilingual (German, Romansh and Italian). In the rest, the main one is German.
In education, you study in the official language of the canton in which you live and, in addition, it is mandatory to learn another of the country's languages.
Due in part to the immigrant population in Switzerland, 6,6% of the country's inhabitants have a mother tongue other than their nationals. In addition, some languages such as Spanish are becoming increasingly fashionable.
Furthermore, the English It is quite widespread, since it is compulsory to take it at school. Also, in some university degrees, it is the language in which it is studied.
Therefore, if you travel to Switzerland, you can defend yourself in English. However, when working, with the exception of some large companies, you will be required to know the official language of the area.
Also, if you want to travel to Switzerland to learn a specific language, there are many companies that are dedicated to organizing language courses in this country.
Questions from users
Can I look for work in Switzerland without knowing any of its languages?
Although it is not impossible, for any qualified job you will need to know the language spoken in the area or, in the case of some large companies, English.
Does the Swiss language exist?
Swiss does not exist as a language, since, as we have explained, in this country the national languages are German, French, Italian and Romansh.
What language is spoken in Basel? And in Lucerne?
In Basel the official language is German, as in Lucerne. However, a large part of its inhabitants can also speak English, as well as some of the other national languages.
Fecha: 02 / 06 / 2017
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