English, national language of Switzerland?
_Hustle and bustle in the country of multilingual Alps: the first of confederal duties – that of learning thelanguage of other communities – is seriously questionable. The _lingua franca_ of the economy and the internet is chosen as the first foreign language where everything takes place in Switzerland: Zurich._Well sheltered from the clichés which we dress it with the rest of the world, Switzerland has for a long time prospered in a confederal happiness which joined (often to the first person of the verbto gather) discretion, neutrality and discipline. The latter implied namely the priority of learning the other national languages. Clearly, the little Romands (French-speaking) learnt from their veryyoung age the Goethe language and the little Alemannic Swiss, that of Voltaire. The people of Tessin are such minority that it never came in their mind to claim more, for their own language(Italian), than the facultative character of its teaching in the schools of the other two communities. Adding to that, the unlimited taste of the Helvetians for the silence and we will understand thateverything went on fine as in the best of the worlds.
But, it was without considering the entry of the modern Switzerland in the era of information. We started to notice, after more than seven thousandyears of shared life, that the German studying with great effort (8 years of study for an average schoolboy) could not help communicate with his Alemannic brothers who speak the _schwyzertütsch_: acombination of dialects which are to the Germans what the Yiddishis to the Spanish! Communication was possible only thanks to the goodwill of the Alemannics who were learning French with discipline andpleasure, cultivating an accent which characterize, even in present days, French also known as ‘federal’ (pronounce_ fêtêrrrale_) practiced in the ranges of power in Bern.
We should therefore expect...