Swiss French

From Academic Kids

Swiss French (Suisse romand in French) is the name used for the different dialects of French spoken in the Francophone part of Switzerland known as Romandy.

The differences between Swiss French and French French are mostly difference in vocabulary and both languages are almost entirely mutually intelligible: a Swiss French speaker would have no trouble understanding a French speaker, while a French speaker would encounter only a few words unknown to him while listening to a Swiss French speaker. Swiss French does not differ from the French of France to the same extent that Swiss German differs from standard German (in Switzerland referred to as High German).

There is not one standardised Swiss French language: different cantons (or even different towns in some cases) will use different vocabulary, often derived from the local regional language or from German, since Switzerland is predominantly German speaking.

Many differences between Swiss French and French are due to the different administrative and political systems between Switzerland and France. For example:

  • The word canton has a different meaning in the two countries.
  • A post office box in France is called boîte postale (BP), whereas in Switzerland, a French speaker would call it case postale (CP).

Other examples:

Several notable differences are in common with Belgian French, such as the use of the word septante for seventy, as opposed to soixante-dix (literally 'sixty-ten') and nonante for ninety, as opposed to quatre-vingts-dix (literally 'four twenties and ten'). The words huitante or octante for eighty, are also sometimes (but not always) used, instead of quatre-vingts (literally 'four twenties'). The words déjeuner (breakfast) and dîner (lunch) are also used with the same meaning than in Belgian French and Quebec French, in opposition with the French usage of using them for lunch and dinner.

Swiss French is not to be confused with Franco-Provençal or Romansh.

Dialects of the French language

France French (français méridional, Orléanais, Bourbonnais-Berrichon) – Canadian French (Acadian, Quebec) – African French (Maghreb)

Belgian FrenchCajun FrenchCambodian French

français d'AosteSwiss French

fr:Français de Suisse
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