German, Swiss


A language of Switzerland

Alternate Names
Alemanic, Alemannisch

4,490,000 in Switzerland (2012 census). Total users in all countries: 5,724,200.



Language Status

5* (Developing).


Bern (Bärndütsch), Zurich, Lucerne, Basel, Obwald, Appenzell, Saint Gallen, Graubuenden-Grisons (Valserisch), Wallis. Most Swiss varieties are High Alemannisch and Highest Alemannisch (several in central Switzerland). Each canton has a separate variety. Only a few of 20–70 varieties are listed as dialects. Reportedly most similar to Swabian [swg] in south central Germany. Not inherently intelligible with Standard German [deu].

Language Use

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 Standard German [deu], the language of instruction in school. Used as L2 by Kabuverdianu [kea].

Language Development

Literature. Grammar. Bible: 2007.


Latin script [Latn].

Also spoken in:

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