Thursday, 21 September 2023 02:14 GMT

Development Of 'Swiss' Languages On Show At National Museum

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) The entertaining audio and visual tour explores the historical and cultural development of Switzerland's national languages and dialects.

Historical events have had a major impact on the development of language, the National Museum wrote on Thursday. During the Reformation, for example, the Alemannic figurehead Ulrich Zwingli translated and published the Bible in“Landspraach”, a written language close to the German spoken in the Zurich region. In what is now western Switzerland, the Reformers did not speak the regional dialect, but the French of the middle class in northern France.

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Several centuries later, the regional dialects of French-speaking Switzerland have all but disappeared, while Swiss German dominates everyday life across the River Sarine and in the Upper Valais. Several factors explain these developments: repression, prohibition, romanticisation, delimitation and mythification.

Even today, language remains a political and emotional issue, from the Rösti Divide to the Jura Question, from language teaching to the language of young people.

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On an audio tour scripted by the Vaud-based humourist and political scientist Vincent Kucholl, visitors to the exhibition will discover explanations, details of objects, recordings and audio tracks taken from videos.

Two fictional characters, a tourist guide (dubbed by presenter Vincent Veillon in the French version) and his companion Beat (played by Vincent Kucholl), present the content of the exhibition through entertaining dialogue.

The floor is also given to people living in Switzerland whose mother tongue is not a national language, but Albanian, Arabic, Portuguese or sign language. These different perspectives show that language can be a resource as well as an obstacle and is sometimes ignored.


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