Swiss German

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Swiss German (German: Schweizerdeutsch, Alemannic German: Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizertüütsch, Schwizertitsch) is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy. Occasionally, the Alemannic dialects spoken in other countries are grouped together with Swiss German as well, especially the dialects of Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg which are closely associated to Switzerland's.[citation needed]

Linguistically, Swiss German forms no unity. The linguistic division of Alemannic is rather into Low, High and Highest Alemannic, varieties of all of which are spoken both inside and outside of Switzerland. The reason "Swiss German" dialects constitute a special group is their almost unrestricted use as a spoken language in practically all situations of daily life, whereas the use of the Alemannic dialects in the other countries is restricted or even endangered.

The dialects of Swiss German must not be confused with Swiss Standard German, the variety of Standard German used in Switzerland.

Contents

Use

Unlike most regional languages in modern Europe, Swiss German is the spoken everyday language of all social levels in industrial cities as well as in the countryside. Using dialect conveys no social nor educational inferiority and is done with pride.[1] There are only a few specific settings where speaking Standard German is demanded or polite, e.g., in education (but not during breaks in school lessons, where the teachers will speak in dialect with students), in multilingual parliaments (the federal parliaments and a few cantonal and municipal ones), in the main news broadcast or in the presence of German-speaking foreigners. This situation has been called a medial diglossia since the spoken language is mainly the dialect whereas the written language is mainly Standard German.

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