The German-speaking Switzerland is the German-speaking part of the Suisse. It covers approximately 65% of the country and owes its name with the Alamans, a Germanic tribe which settled in the area as from the 5th century.
The German is official language in 17 of the 26 Swiss cantons: Uri, Schwytz, Obwald, Nidwald, Lucerne, Zurich, Glaris, Zoug, Soleure, Basle-City, Basle-Countryside, Schaffhouse, Appenzell Rhodos-External, Appenzell Rhodos-Interior, Saint-Gall, Argovie and Thurgovie.
- Bern with German majority (84%)
- Freiburg and the Were worth, where German is in minority (nearly 30%)
Swiss German has relatively few affinities with their German neighbors of north, in spite of the linguistic relationship on both sides of the the Rhine. The reasons are primarily historical: the German-speaking Switzerland was separate de facto remainder of the German-speaking areas starting from the end of the Moyen-âge, and officially starting from the Traités of Westphalia in 1648.
An additional reason is due to the statute granted to the dialect. Although the Official language of the German-speaking Switzerland cantons is the German standard ( Hochdeutsch ), in the daily life, the population is expressed there almost exclusively in dialect Suisse German ( Schwytzerdütsch ). This one is also very present in the Swiss film production. Thus, Achtung Fertig Charlie! or Grounding is achievements in German-speaking Switzerland original version. In Germany, on the other hand, the use of the dialect is limited much more.
The Swiss Germanic ones do not feel like formant a uniform group: according to the areas, each one will rather feel Bernois, Zurichois, Bâlois, Lucernois, etc the very thorough federalism in Switzerland, where the political decisions are often made at the cantonal or communal level, still this attitude reinforces.
Culturally speaking, the German-speaking Switzerland consitue not either a homogeneous unit. With the Middle Ages already, marked differences existed between rural and urban cantons. After the Reform, cleavages emerged between the areas become Protestant and those remained catholic. Today, with the mixing of the populations and the retreat of the religious fact, denominational cleavages lost in importance; one on the other hand witnesses a renewal of the differences between the cities (progressists) and the campaigns (preserving).
Linguistic characteristicsThe dialects Swiss German ( Schwytzerdütsch ) are close to the Germanic dialects spoken in the adjoining countries (for example the Alsacien, speeches of old the Pays of Bade in Germany, those of the Liechtenstein and the Austrian Vorarlberg). They in particular maintained certain monophtongues of the Moyen high-German: cf ziit (“time”), huus (“house”), become respectively Zeit and Haus in standard German.
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