Demography vs. Legitimacy : Current issues in Swiss language policy



English This paper discusses current language policy debates on national and immigrated languages in Switzerland. Problems with the principle of territoriality, which represents a locally monolingual regime in an officially quadrilingual country, and other issues related to the legal status of languages are discussed. The proportional representation of the national minorities and the use of their languages in particular contexts such as the federal administration or the army is discussed, as well as the current debate on which foreign languages should be given priority in compulsory primary education. Drawing on language ideology research, the contribution shows how specific aspects of linguistic diversity are focused and addressed in particular contexts (e.g. national languages, standard languages), whereas others are backgrounded, denied legitimacy or simply erased (e.g. immigrated languages, dialects). The discussion addresses also the demographic weight of the languages and varieties in Switzerland as well as in the world and uses census data to illustrate the stability and changes regarding the official and immigrated languages across time.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de plurilinguisme et didactique des langues étrangères
  • English
Language, linguistics
License undefined
  • RERO DOC 258490
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