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About Swiss (Italian) Language

Swiss Italian is the name given to the idiom spoken by about 500,000 Swiss in the canton of Ticino and in the southern part of Graubünden.

Despite being very similar to standard Italian, Swiss Italian presents some differences to the Italian spoken in Italy due to the presence of French and German from which it assimilates words. A clear example would be the driving licence. In standard Italian it is called "patente di guida" while in Swiss Italian it becomes "Licenza di condurre", from the French "Permis de conduire". Another example is the interurban bus. In standard Italian it would be "autobus" or "corriera" while in Swiss Italian it is the "Autopostale" (because nearly all interurban lines are run by the Swiss Post).

The Lombard language often predominate in older generations and in rural areas, and unlike in parts of Italy there is no social stigma attached to them. Ticinese is the largest of these. These are further subdivided into local variations, with the northern valleys speaking a dialect more closely aligned with Romansh, Switzerland's fourth official language. There is a certain amount of popular literature (poems, comedies, etc.) in Ticinese, and the national radio and sometimes televisions transmit program in Ticinese (mainly comedies).

Radiotelevisione Svizzera di lingua Italiana is the main Swiss public broadcasting network in Italian. The University of Lugano is the major university of Italian Switzerland.

Swiss Italians of Australia, (also Swiss / Italian and Swiss - Italian) are the Italian speaking Swiss and Italians that settled in Australia during the 1850s and 1860s. The Swiss Italians initially settled in the area around Daylesford in Victoria. The Swiss settlers were from the canton of Ticino and in the southern part of Graubünden. The Italian settlers were predominantly from the northern Italian Regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Liguria and Piedmonte.

Italian Switzerland (Italian: Svizzera italiana, French: Suisse italienne, German: italienische Schweiz) is the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, which includes the Canton of Ticino and the southern part of Graubünden. Italian is also spoken in the Gondo Valley (leading to the Simplon Pass, on the southern part of the watershed) in Valais.

The linguistic region covers an area approximately 3,500 km² and has a total population of around 350,000 inhabitants[8], with the number of Italophones residing in Switzerland being 470,000.

According to statistics, the percentage of Italian-speaking Swiss has been rapidly decreasing since the 1970s, after reaching an all-time record of 12 percent of the population during the same decade; however this is entirely because of the reduced number of immigrants from Italy in the country: the percentage of native Italian-speaking Swiss has been steady at 4 percent since the 1950s.


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