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Languages of Switzerland

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Swiss Confederation. 7,424,000. National or official languages: French, Standard German, Italian, Romansch. Literacy rate: 99%. Immigrant languages: Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Catalan-Valencian-Balear, English (73,000), Iu Mien (200), Kirmanjki, Northern Kurdish (35,100), Portuguese (150,000), Serbian (142,000), Spanish (117,000), Tai Nüa, Tibetan (1,430), Turkish (53,000), Western Yiddish, Yeniche. Information mainly from C. Buchli 1999; B. Comrie 1987; W. Moulton 1985; M. Stephens 1976. Blind population: 9,000. Deaf population: Estimates range from 7,200 to 426,835 (1998). Deaf institutions: 45. The number of individual languages listed for Switzerland is 12. Of those, all are living languages.
Franco-Provençal

[frp] 7,000 in Switzerland (1998). Valais, Fribourg, and Vaud French cantons. Alternate names: Patois.  Dialects: Savoyard, Neuchâtelois, Valaisan, Vaudois.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, Southeastern 
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French

[fra] 1,490,000 in Switzerland (2000 census). West. Alternate names: Français.  Dialects: Franche-Comtois (Jurassien, Fribourgois).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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German, Standard

[deu]   Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Middle German, East Middle German 
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German, Swiss

[gsw] 4,640,000 in Switzerland (2000 census). Population total all countries: 6,469,000. Central, south central, north central, northeast, and east cantons. Also in Austria, France, Germany, Liechtenstein. Alternate names: Alemanic, Alemannisch, Schwyzerdütsch.  Dialects: Bern (Bärndütsch), Zurich, Lucerne, Basel, Obwald, Appenzell, St. Gallen, Graubuenden-Grisons (Valserisch), Wallis. Most Swiss varieties are High Alemannisch and Highest Alemannisch (several in central Switzerland). Not functionally intelligible to Standard German speakers. Each canton has separate variety, many mutually unintelligible. Only a few of 20 to 70 varieties are listed above as dialects. Most similar to Schwäbian [swg] in south central Germany.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Upper German, Alemannic 
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Italian

[ita] 471,000 in Switzerland (2000 census).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Italo-Dalmatian 
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Lombard

[lmo] 303,000 in Switzerland (1995). Central southeast, Mesolcina District, Ticino Canton, and Graubunden; 2 districts south of St. Moritz. Dialects: Ticinese (Ticino, Tessinian, Ticines, Ticinees).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Italian 
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Romani, Sinte

[rmo] 21,000 in Switzerland (Johnstone 1993).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Northern 
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Romansch

[roh] 35,100 (2000 census). Southeast borders, Grisons Canton, Surselva valley (Vorderrhein), Hinterrhein valley; Engadine, Val Mustair. Alternate names: Rhaeto-Romance, Rheto-Romance, Romanche, Romansh.  Dialects: Vallader (Lower Engadine), Puter (Upper Engadine), Sursilvan (Surselva, Vorderrhein), Sutsilvan (Hinterrhein), Surmiran (Albula). Friulian [fur], Ladin [lld], and Romansch [roh] are separate languages (1978 R. Hall, Jr.). Lexical similarity: 78% with Italian and French, 76% with Catalan [cat], 74% with Spanish, Sardinian [sdc], and Portuguese, 72% with Romanian [rom].  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Rhaetian 
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Swiss-French Sign Language

[ssr] 1,000 (Van Cleve 1986).  Alternate names: Langage Gestuelle.  Dialects: Regional lexical variations in French area tied to specific schools. Local Swiss signs, imported French signs.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Swiss-German Sign Language

[sgg] 6,000 (Van Cleve 1986).  Alternate names: Natürliche Gebärde.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Swiss-Italian Sign Language

[slf] 200 (Van Cleve 1986).  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Walser

[wae] 10,000 in Switzerland (2004). Population total all countries: 22,780. Ethnic population: 21,900 (1980 C. Buchli). Canton Ticino, Bosco-Gurin; Wallis, Simplon; Graubünden, Obersaxen, Valsertal (Vals, St. Martin), Safiental (Valendas, Versam, Tenna, Safien), Rheinwald (Medels, Nufenen, Splügen, Sufers, Hinterrhein, Avers), Schanfigg (Arosa, Langwies), Albula (Mutten, Schmitten, Wiesen), Landquart (Davos, Klosters, Furna, Says, St. Antönien, Valzeina). 26 communities in Switzerland, and 7 former ones. Also in Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein. Alternate names: Walscher.  Dialects: Similar to but different from Schwyzerdütsch [gsw] spoken in Wallis Canton in Switzerland. Different from Cimbrian [cim], Mocheno [mhn], or Bavarian [bar].  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Upper German, Alemannic 
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