... after English?
And where do you come from?
Most Helpful Guy
I'm from Switzerland. We have four official languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romance (also called "Rumansh"). Ironically, we're possibly the only country in the world where the large majority of the population speaks a language that is not any of its official languages. In Switzerland, around 65% of the population speak Swiss. For many foreigners, this is very confusing. Swiss and German are not the same language. The difference between them is comparable to the difference between Dutch and standard high German. Most Germans don't understand Swiss, unless they come from the very south of Germany. The reason Switzerland doesn't recognize its own language as an official language has historical reasons but also linguistic ones. For one, there is no standard Swiss. There is only a large variety of different dialects. Compared to an outside language such as German, they make a sort of unified language because they have many similarities but there is no such thing as "standard high Swiss". More curiously and confusingly for most foreigners, Swiss is mostly a spoken language. Young people also use it to write text messages, chats and emails in Swiss but this a rather new trend. Originally, Swiss was only a spoken language while all written things (books, newspapers, street signs etc.) are in German. In school, teachers are obligated to teach in high German, although they are themselves Swiss and their students are Swiss too. Yet, apart from school, we exclusively speak Swiss among ourselves. This can make tourists very confused when they proudly realize that they understand all the street signs or newspapers because they've been learning German but when they hear Swiss people talk, they don't understand a thing.
Another rather strange thing is that the third most commonly spoken language, English, is also not one of our official languages.
So in short, the most commonly spoken languages are:
- Swiss (all natives of the German speaking area talk this language)
- High German (we have lots of German expats)
- English (almost all Swiss people are bi- or trilingual and almost everyone speaks pretty decent English. We also have a large foreign community who converse in English)
- French (in the French speaking area of Switzerland called "Romandie")
- Italian (in the Italian speaking are of Switzerland called "Ticino")
There are also others such as Turkish, Spanish, Albanian etc. but the ones above are the most commonly spoken ones ;-).0
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