Mailbag

Known all over the world

Look at how the modern world works. Without a common language – at least a basic knowledge of the second major national language – it will be difficult to explain to future generations how Switzerland works. We Swiss are also well known for our linguistic skills all over the world. And I’m not referring to English here because that is now spoken by many people. Let us not give up this advantage through being idle!

Stephan Bernhard, by email

Early English is superfluous

(Almost) everyone will learn English sooner or later because it is an omnipresent, prestigious and useful language. Early English learning is therefore superfluous. Our children and young people should learn French (or German) first. The minimum requirement is a passive knowledge. The call for Swiss German to be spoken in French-speaking Switzerland is absurd. We write our readers’ letters and comments in High German without any problems.

Andreas Ernst, by email

“Home advantage” of linguistic diversity

The Swiss should make the most of their home advantage to start learning French as early as possible. They will learn English at some point anyway. I am extremely grateful for having “home advantage” with French in my new home in Belgium, both professionally but also privately and culturally. Switzerland should maintain its cultural and linguistic diversity, otherwise it risks being diminished. The German-speaking Swiss, even if they make up the absolute majority in Switzerland, should not become idle. The example set by the people of Ticino and the Romansh speakers should be followed! 

Grazia Berger, by email

Can the people also get it wrong?

I holiday in Switzerland every year. It is the most wonderful country on earth. The natural environment is perfect, the food is of the highest quality, transport is readily available, and the Swiss people generally are a pleasure to deal with. The most wonderful thing of all about Switzerland is that, through direct democracy, the Swiss have the power to stop government from destroying their society, and that is why Switzerland is the envy of the world. Naturally, there will be an element within Swiss society who resent the fact that they cannot force their views on everyone else, but, fortunately, the Swiss democratic system prevents this from happening. In contrast, in my home country, Australia, we truly have a “tyranny of the minority”. The media, academia, the public services and the institutions of the country are predominantly leftist and they tightly control the political agenda, ensuring ordinary people have little or no say in national policy. As a consequence, our society and our economy are in decline. So, be thankful that you have the power to stop politicians from making self-serving decisions that cause great harm to your country. 

Barry, Australia

Comments (4)
  1. Rguiti Rguiti at 30.01.2015
    Je salut l'effort consenti par la suisse et les suisses pour les langues ce qui m'a permis d'avoir des contactes positifs et fructueux jusqu'a que ce formidable pays est devenu ma vrai patrie a telle point que je n'ai que mon passe et carte Suisse sur moi et pourtant je vis dans mon pays d'origine (MA).Que la Suisse continue sur la voie de la liberté démocratie et du contact a l'international.R.M
  2. Patrick JENNY, expat suisse aux Philippines Patrick JENNY, expat suisse aux Philippines at 01.02.2015
    Je reponds a Barry, Australie...

    Oui c'est vrai, notre democratie directe est un exemple de ce que devrait etre une vraie democratie... Bien des pays se targuent de l'etre, alors que l'immense ecart entre ce que leur population pense et ce que decident leurs elus est pour le moins different !
    Maintenant, je constate depuis quelques temps que notre gouvernement commence lentement mais surement a tenter de rogner notre systeme, pour obtenir plus de pouvoirs. L'annee derniere, une etude "secrete" diligentee par notre Conseil Federal cherchait comment limiter notre droit d'initiative (qui a ce jour est notre principal moyen de controle du gouvernement...). Puis tout dernierement, la Banque Nationale Suisse a decide de supprimer le bloquage du taux de change du franc suisse, provoquant ainsi un veritable raz-de-maree economique et financier qui est entrain de plonger la Suisse dans la recession. Maintenant, et quoi qu'en disent certains conseillers federaux, la BNS est la main armee financiere du gouvernement federal, et aucune de ses decisions ne se prend sans l'aval discret du Conseil Federal.... Que cette decision unilaterale arrive juste au moment ou la BCE a lance son rachat de 1000 milliards d'euros de dettes gouvernementales, force la Suisse a participer a ce veritable hold-up economique europeen. Le Conseil Federal cherche depuis des annees a forcer la main du peuple suisse en ce qui concerne l'adhesion a l'Union Europeenne, ceci malgre plusieurs refus secs du peuple suisse, et une fois de plus par des moyens detournes, le Conseil Federal cherche a nous obliger a accepter cette adhesion. Ce n'est plus de la democratie directe, c'est du viol en bande organisee...
    Je prie pour que notre cher petit pays ne se laisse pas faire et qu'une fois de plus les urnes forceront nos gouvernants a plus de retenue...
  3. Peter Schoeffel Peter Schoeffel at 21.02.2015
    Müssen jetzt die Primarschüler umsverworgen eine Sprache lernen, deren Grammatikregeln und Orthographie nicht komplizierter sein könnten - Landessprache hin oder her. Oder, um realistisch zu sein, die ganze Francophonie ist nun einmal ein Auslaufmodell. Mit Englisch haben unsere Schüler ein Erfolgserlebnis, das jeder,der Sprachen lernt, dringend braucht.
  4. Peter Schoeffel Peter Schoeffel at 21.02.2015
    Müssen jetzt die Primarschüler umsverworgen eine Sprache lernen, deren Grammatikregeln und Orthographie nicht komplizierter sein könnten - Landessprache hin oder her. Oder, um realistisch zu sein, die ganze Francophonie ist nun einmal ein Auslaufmodell. Mit Englisch haben unsere Schüler ein Erfolgserlebnis, das jeder,der Sprachen lernt, dringend braucht.

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