History of ethnicities, peoples, nations
Zhuravleva A.M. —
Language Conflicts and Their Resolutions: the Case of Switzerland
// History magazine - researches. – 2017. – ¹ 2.
– P. 1 - 13.
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Review: The article focuses on language conflicts in Switzerland, the main factors behind them and how they were resolved. Despite having four official languages, Switzerland is comprised mainly of territories with one official language with only a small number of bilingual cantons and communes. The main conflicts occurred between the French- and German-speaking populations, but the article also examines the situation concerning the Italian and Romansh languages. By analyzing the term Röstigraben, the Franco-German conflicts in the cantons of Bern, Jura, Fribourg and Valais, as well as the Italian and Romansh parts of Switzerland’s linguistic diversity, the author has singled out the common characteristics of these conflicts and the principal means of their resolutions. The conclusions are the following: the language conflicts in Switzerland always had political or socio-economic reasons. Among the resolutions implemented, the most significant are the referendums for self-determination, the quotas of representation prescribed by the law, the principle of territoriality, and federal subsidies. A leading role was played by the self-identification of the Swiss as citizens of a multi-lingual state, including the constant support of the Italian and Romansh languages. The article’s novelty lies in its comprehensive description and analysis of the history and modern state of Switzerland's linguistic diversity on the federal and cantonal levels.
Keywords: language policy, language legislation, Switzerland, minorities, language law, cantons, polylingualism, principle of territoriality, language conflicts, multilingualism
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