Language – facts and figures

Switzerland has four language regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Multilingualism is an integral part of Switzerland's national identity.

Newspapers in different languages at a kiosk
Newspapers in different languages at a kiosk. © Christoph Baldinger

  • German is the main language of around 63% of the population. However, they do not speak standard German but rather various Alemmanic dialects that are collectively known as “Schweizerdeutsch” (Swiss German).
  • French is the main language of around 22.7% of the population.
  • Italian is the main language of around 8.1% of the population.
  • Romansh is the main language of about 0.5% of the population.
  • Several cantons are multilingual: Bern (German-French), Fribourg (French-German), Valais (French-German) and Graubünden (German-Romansh-Italian).
  • Swiss German is the most widely used language in the workplace (66%), followed by standard German (33,4%), French (29,1%), English (18,2%) and Italian (8,7%).
  • Over 42,6% of the population over the age of 15 regularly use more than one language.
  • Foreigners living in Switzerland also contribute to the country's linguistic diversity. English and Portuguese are the most commonly  spoken foreign languages.
  • Other commonly spoken foreign languages include Spanish, Serbian, Croatian and Albanian.