Faculté des lettres

19. Multilingualism in Switzerland

Grünert, Matthias

In: Manual of Romance Sociolinguistics, 2018, p. 526-548

This chapter deals with the two Romance languages which are officially recognized as minority languages of Switzerland, Romansh and Italian, and with Francoprovençal and French dialects spoken marginally in the francophone area of Switzerland. Romansh, the language that has gained new recognition in the process leading to the quadrilingual Swiss Confederation, is considered in most detail. The... More

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    Summary
    This chapter deals with the two Romance languages which are officially recognized as minority languages of Switzerland, Romansh and Italian, and with Francoprovençal and French dialects spoken marginally in the francophone area of Switzerland. Romansh, the language that has gained new recognition in the process leading to the quadrilingual Swiss Confederation, is considered in most detail. The comparison of the Romance minorities shows the different starting conditions from which they have developed and the various initiatives undertaken to organize them at private and state levels. The last decades have been characterized by concerns about maintaining language territories, development of mass media in minority languages as well as promotion of minority languages in education. The trend towards a more ethnolinguistic conception of Switzerland has recently been counterbalanced by the greater attention paid to the promotion of minority languages outside their traditional areas.