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Multilingualism and English

The Canton of Zurich as a linguistic paradigm

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Agnieszka Stepkowska

This study examines the use of English in Switzerland from a multilingual perspective based on a corpus of 400 interviews collected in the German speaking Canton of Zurich. It presents a framework for explaining the linguistic interaction that arises as a result of the use of a «globalizing» language in a multilingual context. It has given the relationships that obtain between the various Swiss national languages a hierarchical character. The proposed Swiss framework indicates – viewed through a macro-sociolinguistic lens – that the present linguistic situation in Switzerland seems to reflect a growing symbiotic relationship between English and the Swiss vernaculars.

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