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The German Language in Switzerland

Multilingualism, Diglossia and Variation


Felicity Rash

This book offers a broad survey of issues relating to the German language in Switzerland. The initial focus is on the German-speaking community's relationship with the French, Italian and Romansh language communities. Consideration is then given to the complex issue of diglossia within the germanophone Swiss community, and the maintenance of both the Swiss German dialects and the Swiss German standard language as co-existent codes of equal status. The Swiss German dialects, the Swiss variety of standard German, and the influence of various foreign languages on both of these language forms are described in some detail. Finally, sociolinguistic issues affecting the German language in Switzerland are considered: the connection between social variation and linguistic change; language variation stemming from differences of age, sex and ethnic origin; and linguistic behaviour and phatic communication.
Contents: Multilingualism – Diglossia – Regional variation – Social variation – Language planning.