Things you always thought about Switzerland that are wrong! 1

All Swiss speak (the) 4 (national) languages.

Wrong! There are 4 linguistic regions of different geographic dimensions (see map above), but the average Swiss only speaks her / his mother tongue.

Those with a higher education level will (probably) speak French if they are from the German speaking region of the country (Zurich) and Standard German if they are from the French speaking one (Geneva). The fact that the German Swiss speak dialects you cannot learn at any language school in everyday life should be taken into consideration.

Some Swiss learn English later in life, but never expect proficiency levels like those found in Scandinavia or the Netherlands, since this language is not taught at school.

Nevertheless, there are some cities (like Biel/Bienne or Freiburg /Fribourg), where German and French are official languages and where it is common to see people involved in bilingual conversations. I mean conversations, in which German speakers use German (dialect) and French speakers use French but yet understand each other. And during the sessions of parlament in the capital Bern all languages are allowed.

Read more about the “Languages of Switzerland”:

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