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Benefits of multilingualism for Switzerland

Individuals and society at large (APSIS)
Project management
Team

Scientific partnership, regular consultation with: Federal Statistical Office (FSO); Institute for multilingualism (IOM)

Linguistic and cultural diversity is of particular importance to Switzerland and its residents, all the more because it is tightly bound with the long-term political, social and cultural history of the country. It is often referred to as an “asset” or even a “treasure”, with some going so far as to claim that it is essential to the very existence of the country.

Project management
Team

Scientific partner: Stefano Losa, Daniela Kappler, SUPSI-DFA

This research project performs a retrospective analysis of the challenges posed by Swiss multilingualism during the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuous communication with the population is necessary in times of crisis – indeed, communication is an essential aspect of crisis management, be it to provide information about the current situation, health issues and distancing rules, or to explain work-related rights and obligations, access to emergency financial aid, and even educational matters....

Evolution of patois in French-speaking Switzerland

Predictions regarding vitality, the linguistic system and language practices
Project management
In 2018, Switzerland recognized Franco-Provençal and Franc-Comtois (spoken in French-speaking Switzerland) as minority languages within the meaning of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Their varieties are designated under the term patois, up until now they have primarily been the subject of dialectological description.

Team

Bettina Blatter

The purpose of this project is to conduct a detailed analysis on language census issues in Switzerland since the 19th century and to better understand the role this tool plays in the Swiss political landscape. This project will also support the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in developing future census tools. This will ensure that actual sociolinguistic facts are taken into account when designing thematic questionnaires on languages.

Swiss Federal Administration and the representation of language communities

An analysis of processes and strategies for recruiting personnel
Team

In cooperation with the University of Zürich (UZH)

In Switzerland’s political dialogue, an adequate representation of Swiss language communities in the Federal Administration is considered to be a vital expression of multilingualism in Switzerland. Diverse legal bases and directives have been created and issued in the interest of reaching this goal.

Team

Vera Prosdocimo, Julia Valle, Yohan Bühler

In collaboration with the Federal Statistical Office (FSO)

Language courses for personnel in the Federal Administration

Evaluation and analysis of courses offered and their attendance
Team

Project conducted by the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

In the interest of advancing multilingualism in public services, the Swiss Confederation is legally bound to promoting federal employees' language skills in Switzerland's official languages. The divisions within the Federal Administration are obligated to ensure that all employees have sufficient knowledge of a second official language and that persons in a leadership role additionally have passive skills in a third official language. To implement these directives, the Federal Administration...

This literature review aims to present an overview of scientific research on the social, political and linguistic issues of language census by analysing international works conducted in various sociopolitical and sociolinguistic contexts. The purpose is to highlight the complexity of documenting languages as required for each census when quantifying information on respondents’ language practices.

Project management
The directors of the roughly seventy administrative units at the Swiss Federal Administration are responsible for ensuring that the prevailing rules regarding linguistic representation are upheld (in accordance with the Languages Act, the Languages Ordinance and directives on multilingualism). Persons in such influential positions have a certain amount of discretionary power and can thus have a major impact on the adequate representation of linguistic groups and the promotion of multilingualism...