What is the difference in learning to speak French in Switzerland, rather than in France ?
Apart from some minor differences in the french language, what sets Switzerland apart is the country and the people. Smaller than France in both population and geographical size, Switzerland has a high standard of living and some gorgeous mountain and lake scenery.
The french-speaking population in the country is generally speaking located towards the west with cities such as Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux. The other national languages are German, Italian and the Romance language that is specific to Switzerland.
Look out for a slightly higher budget if you are planning a trip or a vacation. Not only does the high standard of living come into play here, but you may also want to move around as you learn and practice your french. And if you visit some of the swiss-german towns and country-side, you may find yourself picking up a few words of German as well. Another souvenir that you will be able to bring back home, together with swiss chocolate and a cuckoo clock !
French "à la suisse" is very similar to the French spoken in any other country. Here are a few examples of differences.
- the swiss have a few words that you will not find in the french spoken in France, Belgium, Canada, etc. For example, whereas a french person would use the same word in french "gadget " for a gadget, the swiss have their own word "bibus".
- the swiss accent when speaking French. Although not particularly strong, if you learn french in Switzerland, you may pick up a slight accent. As swiss people are renowned for being honest, meticulous and clean (although they surely also have other virtues), you now know what you will have to live up to !
- swiss numbers are slightly different (and in fact more in tune with the way english numbers are defined). However, if you have already learnt the french numbers as the french would say them, you will probably be understood without any problems.
In conclusion, these aspects may tip off other french speakers that you learned to speak French in Switzerland, but they will not affect the good quality of the French that you learn.
Marc Dubois works in both English and French. From experience, he knows how to make your French learning fun, fast and successful. Find out more on how this approach to speaking French can help you by visiting http://www.speak-french-now.com
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