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 (Alemannic), France (Alsatian), Germany (Alemannic), Liechtenstein (Alemannic).
Appenzell, Basel, Bern (Bärndütsch), Graubuenden-Grisons (Valserisch), Lucerne, Obwald, St. Gallen, Wallis, Zurich. Most Swiss varieties are High Alemannisch and Highest Alemannisch (several in central Switzerland). Each canton has a separate variety, many mutually unintelligible. Only a few of 20–70 varieties are listed as dialects. Most similar to Schwäbian [swg] in south central Germany. Approximately 40% inherent intelligibility with Standard German [deu].
Varieties have strong social function in maintaining borders of regions, cantons, and villages. They also distinguish between German, Swiss, and Austrian nationalities. 93% of German speakers in Switzerland speak a variety of Swiss German; 66% only use Swiss German and no High German in the home (1990 census). 72% of Switzerland speaks Schwyzerdütsch daily (1990 census). Some in schools and churches. Also use German [deu], language of instruction in school.