Switzerland Feature

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Speaking the Language(s)

The Swiss are champions of multilingualism: at least one foreign language is mandatory in most schools from the primary level. And lucky you: these days, the foreign language of choice is English.

A large percentage of the population speaks at least a little English, especially in cities and large towns or tourist regions. Don't forget to be polite, however: ask first before launching into English. That small bit of consideration will get you a lot further, especially with natives suffering from tourist overload.

Local languages are German, French, and Italian.

Although the homegrown variants of German and Italian are difficult to understand by those who speak the standard versions, Swiss Germans and Swiss Italians also speak High German or Standard Italian, which are the official written languages in those parts of the country.

Swiss French differs only slightly from Standard French and won't pose a problem.

Switzerland's fourth official language is Romansh, but is very rarely an individual's only language.

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