|Is it necessary to speak a Swiss language to live in Switzerland?|
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It is neither a legal requirement, nor a practical necessity to speak any Swiss language to become a Swiss resident. Many expatriates live here for decades and speak only English without any problem. The Swiss are great linguists and many speak English very well.
When people sometimes tell us that "I don't speak Swiss", we can only reply that "Neither do we". In fact, Switzerland has four national languages.
French is used in the Western part of the country. The french spoken in Switzerland is the same as the one spoken in Paris with some accents and a few local words.
Italian is used in the Southern part of Switzerland. It is the same language as in Italy.
Swiss german is spoken in the greater part of the country (North and Eastern Switzerland). This is a variety of unwritten dialects, which change quite a lot from area to area. For any written communication German, the same as in Germany, is used.
Rumantsch is spoken by only about 30,000 speakers in Graubünden. This is a very interesting romance language and the closest living offspring of latin, but to some ears it sounds like an unholy mix of Swiss German and Italian. The language has no practical importance for foreigners but is recognized as an offical language for the sake of federalism.
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