Unraveling common misunderstandings
Perhaps you recently thought how lovely it would be to own a property in the mountains and you started looking on the internet for a chalet for sale. The question is where? Switzerland sounds like a beautiful and secure country. You quickly find yourself at the initial phase of your search looking for real estate in different areas in Switzerland and realise there are different cantons. This leads you to the question, what language do they speak in Switzerland?
There still seems to be some misunderstanding on what language we speak in Switzerland. In case you didn’t know yet; no, Swiss is not a real language and therefore we do not speak it. So, what language do we speak in Switzerland? Well it is not just one, so let us help you out by putting the official languages in order.
FOUR LANGUAGE REGIONS
Switzerland has four language regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Multilingualism is an integral part of Switzerland’s national identity. With 63% of the Swiss population speaking German, we consider this the most spoken language in Switzerland. However, it is not the standard German, but rather a Alemmanic dialect that is also known as ‘Schweizerdeutsch’ (Swiss German). On the second place is French with 22.7% of the population speaking this language, followed by the language of Italian with 8.1% of the population. A small part of Switzerland still speaks Romansh (they even have their own tv channel) with 0.5% of the population. Several cantons are even multilingual, for example: Bern(French-German), Fribourg (French-German), Graubünden (German-Romansh-Italian) and Valais (French-German). Dreamchalet is mostly active in the French speaking part of Valais.
DO’S AND DONT’S
It is expected a Swiss person speaks all three languages as these (usually) are all courses on schools. However, the main spoken languages are German and French. Swiss are quite sensible trying to respect and only speak the language of their area, so don’t try to speak German in the French part of Valais or vice versa at for example the gas station. Show at least an effort in their language, even if it’s very poor! The Swiss will appreciate your effort and most likely switch to the language of your preference / skills to help you out. However, if you are not showing this initial effort, it is very likely they will pretend not to speak other languages.
WE HELP YOU OUT WITH LEGAL DOCUMENTS
Having German, French and Italian as official languages imply that any official document (including deeds of sale) must be written in either one of these three. But don’t worry if you do not speak any of these: we do speak them at our real estate agency and can arrange official translations for you if necessary.