My Language Journey -Geneva

This post is written in both French and English. It’s a format I’m trying out to get to practice the language(s) of the area while interesting potential readers as well.

Today I’m going to Geneva, the famous Swiss city by the lake. On Google Maps I saw that the runway runs just next to the border with France. interesting to realise that when we land it’s EU soil on the left.

Confédération suisse(de) Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft(it) Confederazione svizzera(rm) Confederaziun svizra(la) Confoederatio Helvetica

Looking at the language situation in the Communitat Helvetica there are four official languages: Swiss French Swiss German, Swiss Italian and Rhetoroman. The national hymn.

As I’m staying in Geneva, in La Suisse Romande, I’ll be focusing on Swiss French.

La Suisse romande au sein de l’aire linguistique franco-provençale

As is often the case, country borders do not coincide with language borders. In fact, bordering languages within the same language group often flow over from one to the next in a so called dialect continuum.

The French spoken in Switzerland or le Français de Suisse is part of the francoprovençal language which apparently has the following dialects: vaudois, genevois, fribourgeois, neuchâtelois, valaisan, et franc-comtois.

Carte des dialectes arpitans. Les parlers valdôtains font partie du domaine linguistique francoprovençal, également appelé arpitan.Usage

I suppose they speak Genevois in Geneva.

Gotta run now.

Röstigraben is a term used for the the difference between the Romand and Allemanic Swiss people.

I hear quite a lot of Russian and French on the streets, as well as Italian.

Le Pays romand est un chant populaire composé par Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Ecoutez ici.

There was even a Mouvement Romand.

next time I’ll define specific goals. Well no, except for that I’ll just try to enjoy it, that works better. But it could help to have a format or something or some assignment because when I visit a new city like this I’m just not going to speak the language a lot.

Awkward realization

Only yesterday I wrote an article motivating blog visitors here to speak the language they want to learn, regardless of feara. Today I came to the hard realization that I blocked speaking French myself, even though I’ve had it in school for five years and heard it now and then, living in Holland, just in the Dutch neighboring language area. In Geneva I heard a lot of French of course and spoke some when it made sense, like at the reception, in the store and to ask for directions. But I noticed a fear that I don’t have when addressing people in Spanish. Actually, I told a couple of friends from Honduras and Spain that the cathedral had a guide in Spanish too, which they couldn’t seem to find. I had a small chat so I wonder if it’s their openness or my higher level of Spanish over French or more frequency of speaking or just my perception or any of this. In any case, I’m going to think about ways to encourage myself to speak the local language more on next destinations, at my level of course. Am I still motivated? I should check my own list of requirements I wrote yesterday. If so, is it mostly fear that prevents me from engaging into meaningful conversations? Or is it not the right environment or lack of structure? As your motivational language learning blogger I need to deep dive into this! And one second after writing this I’m drawn in het another convo in Spanish. A woman who shares me her life story simply begins to talk to me and the waiter in Spanish. I guess it’s also a cultural aspect!

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