Languages of Switzerland

Switzerland Summer

 

When traveling to Switzerland, it is natural to ask at one point or another, “What language(s) is/are spoken in Switzerland?”

Four languages

There are four nationally recognized languages in Switzerland: Swiss German, Swiss French, Swiss Italian and Romansh. As Switzerland borders Germany, Italy and France, those languages make sense. But what about Romansch? Romansch language is primarily spoken by the 50-70,000 people living in the Swiss canton or region of Grisons, more commonly known in the states, as Graubünden. It is located in the Southern portion of Switzerland that borders Italy as shown in the picture below.

Switzerland language map
A map of Switzerland and the languages of the respective regions. Designed by Tessa Cramer.

Switzerland is a highly educated country, if you don’t know Swiss German, French, Italian or Romansch, you will be able to get by speaking English. However, it is customary in Europe to prepare for a trip by learning the local language of the place you plan to visit. Making the effort to learn a little of the local language will certainly help you enjoy your trip. At times, local Swiss citizens will recognize and appreciate your effort to speak their language(s).

Start at the beginning

Here are a few words to get you started:

English

Swiss German

Swiss French

Swiss Italian

Romansch

Hello

Hallo

Bonjour

Ciao

Cia, Tgau, Allegra

Goodbye

Auf Wiecersehen

Au revoir

Addio

Ade

Please

Bitte

S’il vous plait

Per favore

Per plaschair

Thank you

Danke

Merci

Grazie

Grazia

If you’ve got time before you leave for your trip, take five (5) minutes per day to review your destination language, doing so can build the excitement for your trip. We recommend language learning apps such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel. There are many language learning options! 

Test your skills

If you are going on an Alpenwild tour, here is a short list of our tours and what language regions they are in:

Trip

Swiss German

Swiss French

Swiss Italian

Romansch

Haute Route & the TMB

X

X

   

Scenic Alps by Rail

X

X

X

X

Cuisine Adventures

X

X

X

X

Bernese Oberland Traverse & Via Alpina

X

     

If you are not currently planning on joining us for an Alpenwild tour, pick a language that you think would be fun to learn and come celebrate your efforts in the Alps! We looking forward to having you join us!

Auf wiedersehn! Au revoir! Addi! Ade!

Emily Jones

About Emily Jones

Raised in Idaho (USA), Emily has always loved being out of doors. Her summers have always been packed with hiking, fishing, and extensive family road trips throughout the Western United States. Emily is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in advertising. In her free time, she loves to paint shoes, make shirts, and exercise.

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