Swiss French

Map of the Arpitan language area, historical language spoken in Romandy, with place names in arpitan and historic political divisions.

Swiss French (French: fran├žais de Suisse) is the variety of French spoken in the French-speaking area of Switzerland known as Romandy. French is one of the four official languages of Switzerland, the others being German, Italian, and Romansch. In 2015, around 2 million people in the country (24.4% of the population) spoke French as their primary language, and around 29.1% of the population had working knowledge of French.[1]

The French spoken in Switzerland is very similar to that of France or Belgium due to historical French policy of education in Francien French only in schools after the French Revolution. The differences between the French of Switzerland and of France are mostly lexical, influenced by local substrate languages. This contrasts with the differences between Standard German and Swiss German, which are largely mutually unintelligible.

Swiss French is characterized by some terms adopted from the Arpitan language, which was formerly spoken widely across the alpine communities of Romandy, but has far fewer speakers today. In addition, some expressions have been borrowed from both Swiss and Standard German. Although Standard French is taught in schools and used in the government, the media and business, there is no uniform vernacular form of French among the different cantons of Switzerland. For example, some German terms in regions bordering German-speaking communities are completely unused in the area around Geneva near the border with France.[2]

Many differences between Swiss French and the French of France are due to the different administrative and political systems between Switzerland and France. Some of the distinctive lexical features are shared with Belgian French (and some also with Quebec French):