Marc Eberhard m.a.eberhard at
Wed May 2 07:30:27 UTC 2001

Dear Anne!

On Tue, May 01, 2001 at 01:15:35PM +0200, Anne POSSOZ wrote:
> Oh! Maybe some can learn from the others how some european contries
> are on the language matter.
> Switzerland has 3 official languages: German, French and Italian
> (there is a 4th, Romanche, language that is not official)

Romanche is offical as far as I know.

> So there, it is absolutely not the case that people speaks "the"
> official language as there is none... In that sense, it is different
> from local languages in countries like France or Spain...

There are also different languages in the UK, but almost everyone speaks
english. So even, if there are several different languages, one is typically
most spread.

Switzerland and Belgium are indeed an exception, I agree. But as far as I
know from friends in Belgium and Switzerland these countries already have a
lot of problems internally because of that. Belgium seems to be almost split
into two different countries with French and Flaemisch. That means, there is
no simple solution for such countries. Luckily concerning the FSFE, it will
be no problem to participate in whichever mailing list in whichever country
you want to be included. So it will probably evolve into a situation, where
the German speaking parts of Switzerland will be subscribed to the chapter
Germany mailing list, while the French speaking ones will be subscribed to
the chapter France one. I see no problem with that. And those who speak all
four official languages in Switzerland can then form the chapter
Switzerland and decide on a policy for that mailing list. I really don't see
a problem here.

> And so, there IS a problem to participate in discussions. It is not
> rare at all that english is the language to communicate, although
> english is not one of the official languages.

Well, there are two exceptions (two countries) that complicate the situation
a bit. But I don't see a real problem.

> That was all the reason of my language question.
> You can also read emails from Marc Schaefer on that matter.

He told me, that there are four official languages in Switzerland.


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