Switzerland is a multilingual country made up of 26 small administrative states with different identities and cultures.The Federal Confederation habours some 8,544,034( Eight Million, Five hundred and forty-four thousand, and Thirty-four people in 2018.
The country has four official languages; German, French, Italian and Romansch. These languages directly refer to the largest Swiss ethnic groups.
Switzerland has succeeded to enhance and maintain Multilingualism amongst the different populations, thereby justifying the multilingual character of most citizens.
The Swiss government encourages cross-cultural interactions and people are free to move from one canton to another, and thus facilitates the acquisition of new languages.
Article 70 of the Swiss constitution spells out the responsibility of the cantons with respect to promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.
“The cantons shall designate their official languages. In order to preserve harmony between linguistic communities, they shall respect the traditional territorial distribution of languages and take into account indigenous minorities”
The government has further prescribed native language as the language of instruction in schools.
Swiss consider language as an asset and this fosters Multilingualism.This justifies the creation of the Swiss Delegation of Multilingualism in 2013.
Globalization has led to a growing national interest in English which has become a threat to the Swiss long-standing Multilingualism.Switzerland now has the challenge of integrating English in a way that enhances its Multilingual character.
Kathy Neba Sina