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Living with languages: the contemporary Swiss model

Charnley, Joy and Pender, Malcolm (2003) Living with languages: the contemporary Swiss model. Occasional Papers in Swiss Studies . Peter Lang Pub Inc. ISBN 978-3-03910-019-4

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Abstract

Study of linguistic diversity in Switzerland, including the sociocultural and political issues. In 2002, Expo. 02 - the Swiss National Exhibition - celebrated the modern identity of the Swiss Confederation and the electorate approved a historic change in relations with other countries by voting to join the United Nations. Yet, despite bilateral agreements regulating areas of common interest between Switzerland and the European Union, there are still strong fears that Swiss identity could be jeopardised by full membership, and that, within a wider framework, her quadrilingual composition could not be sustained. The experience which the Swiss have accumulated in dealing pragmatically and largely peacefully with different languages is detailed in the six essays of this volume. The special contemporary characteristics of German, French and Italian within Switzerland, the pressures on Romansh, the role played by Switzerland in integrating gender-neutral language into standard usage and the dominance of English as a means of communication between different language groups are amongst the topics discussed.