Ethnologue: Areas: Europe

Switzerland

6,552,000 (1995). Swiss Confederation. Literacy rate 99%. Also includes English, Kurmanji 13,000, Portuguese 86,000, Serbo-Croatian 142,000, Spanish 117,000, Tibetan 1,500, Turkish 53,000. Data accuracy estimate: B. Christian, secular, Muslim. Blind population 9,000. Deaf population 7,200 (1986 Gallaudet Unitersity). Deaf institutions: 45. The number of languages listed for Switzerland is 10.

FRENCH (FRANÇAIS) [FRN] 1,272,000 in Switzerland, 19.2% of the population (1990 census); 72,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance. 33% of the population of Switzerland speak French every day (1990 census). National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1530-1986. NT 1474-1980. Bible portions 1483-1987.

GERMAN, STANDARD [GER] 98,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Main language used in education. National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1466-1982. NT 1522-1983. Bible portions 1522-1987.

ITALIAN [ITN] 195,000 in Switzerland (1990); 40,000,000 in all countries. Mainly in Italy. Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Italo-Romance. All in the Italian cantons speak Italian as first or second language. National language. Braille NT. Bible 1471-1985. NT 1530-1981. Bible portions 1531-1984.

LOMBARD [LMO] 303,000 (1995); 8,671,000 in Italy (1976); 8,974,000 in all countries. Ticino Canton and Graubunden in the Mesolcina District and two districts south of St. Moritz. Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance, Lombard. Dialect: TICINESE (TICINO). Ticinese is the form of 'Italian' used in the home. 14.5% of the population of Switzerland speak 'Italian' every day (1990 census). No intelligibility with Standard Italian. Ticino may be separate from Lombard. Dictionary in progress in Ticinese and a radio program once a week. Bible portions 1859-1860. Survey needed.

RHETO-ROMANCE (RHAETO-ROMANCE, ROMANSH, ROMANSCH, ROMANCHE, RUMANTSCH, RHAETIAN) [RHE] 40,000 in Switzerland, 0.6% of the population (1990 census). Borders of Austria, Italy; Graubünden (Grisons) Canton. Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance, Rheto-Romance. Dialects: LOWER ENGADINE (GRISONS), UPPER ENGADINE, OBERLAND. Friulian, Ladin, and Romansch are separate languages (R. A. Hall, Jr., personal communication 1978). 78% lexical similarity with Italian and French, 76% with Catalan, 74% with Spanish, Sardinian, and Portuguese, 72% with Rumanian. National language. Bible 1679-1953. NT 1560-1954. Bible portions 1562-1964.

ROMANI, SINTE [RMO] 21,000 in Switzerland (1993 Johnstone); 200,000 in all countries (1980 UBS). Also in Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Northern. A Gypsy language. Christian. Bible portions 1875-1930. Work in progress.

SCHWYZERDÜTSCH (SCHWYTZERTUETSCH, SWISS GERMAN, ALLEMANNISCH, ALEMANNIC, ALSATIAN) [GSW] 4,215,000 in Switzerland, 63.6% of the population (1990 census); 300,000 in Austria (1991 A. Schmid). Also in southeastern France. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Dialects: BERN (BÄRNDÜTSCH), ZURICH, LUCERNE, BASEL, OBWALD. Not intelligible with Standard German, but all speakers are actively or passively bilingual in Standard German. Each canton has a separate variety, many of which are unintelligible with each other. Only a few of the 20 to 70 varieties are listed above. They have a strong social function, being used to maintain the borders of regions or cantons, or even to keep one village different from another. They also draw the line between Germans, Swiss, and Austrians. Called 'Allemannisch' in Austria, and 'Alsatian' in France. Close to Schwäbish in south central Germany. There is an important literature, grammars. Used in some schools and churches. 93.3% of German speakers speak a Swiss German dialect, and 66.4% speak dialect only, and no high German (1990 census). 72% of the entire population of Switzerland speak Schwyzerdutsch every day (1990 census). NT 1984. Bible portions 1936-1986.

SWISS-FRENCH SIGN LANGUAGE (LANGAGE GESTUELLE) [SSR] 1,000 (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Deaf sign language. Some regional lexical variations in the French area are tied to specific schools. There are local Swiss signs and imported French signs. The status of signing has been low, but is now improving. Sign language is now taught in a bilingual program in Geneva, and there are TV programs. French Sign Language is used some in the French area. Survey needed.

SWISS-GERMAN SIGN LANGUAGE (NATÜRLICHE GEBÄRDE) [SGG] 6,000 (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Deaf sign language. Some regional lexical variations in German areas are tied to specific schools. The status of signing has been low, but is now improving. In schools in the German area there is a strong oralist tradition. Survey needed.

SWISS-ITALIAN SIGN LANGUAGE [SLF] 200 (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Deaf sign language. The status of signing has been low, but is now improving. Survey needed.


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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
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