So they say over at Sawf News:
“It’s true we Swiss Germans are becoming more isolated,” Marianne Junger, a 30-year-old English language instructor from Bern. “I would not marry outside my language group for example and most of us are reluctant to take jobs in other Swiss towns.”
The break with standard German came after World War I when Swiss Germans wanted to separate themselves from what was going on in Germany, according to Roy Oppenheim, a former director at the Swiss national broadcaster SRG/SSR.
“This trend was only strengthened after the Second World War and later during the 1970s it became fashionable for radio and television programs to broadcast in local dialect.”
Standard German remains the written language for the federal government, banking, school instruction, newspapers and literature.
But now fewer Swiss Germans speak proper German and are increasingly turning to dialect even in written form. For young Swiss Germans dialect has become the language of text messaging, e-mail and even poetry and rap music…
Of course, they include the standard “on the other hand” balance: “But the Forum Helveticum report may be pushing the pendulum back toward standard German with educators insisting it once again be the language of classroom instruction beginning this year.” Not to mention the standard self-interested quotes (“‘Young people are limiting themselves in their contact with the outside world…,’ said Pablo Barblan, director of the Forum Helveticum, which encourages communication among Switzerland’s diverse language communities”) and idiotic statements about language (“Unlike high German, dialects have simple grammar”); furthermore, they say “to mark this year’s 60th anniversary of The Little Prince, a translation has appeared in Bernerdeutsch under the title Dr Chyl Prinz,” but I couldn’t help but notice that in the picture accompanying the story the title is clearly Der Chly Prinz. Still, an interesting piece; anybody have any thoughts on linguistic developments in Switzerland? (Thanks to Sidcup for the link.)