Switzerland Languages

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Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The German speakers are 65% of the population while the French are 18%, Italian 10%, Romansh 1% and others 6%. Many Swiss speak more than one language. Romansh is an old Latin dialect spoken mainly in the mountains of Graubünden. French is spoken officially in six cantons: Fribourg, Vaud, Jura, Valais, Neuchâtel, and Geneva. Italian is spoken in Ticino and parts of Graubünden. German with a myriad of dialects is spoken in the other fifteen cantons: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden (consists of half cantons of Obwalden and Nidwalden), Glarus, Zug, Solothurn, Basel (consists of half cantons of Basel-Stadt and Baselland), Schaffhausen, Appenzell (consists of half cantons of Appenzell-Innerrhoden and Appenzell-Ausserrhoden), St. Gallen, Aargau, Thurgau, and in the rest of Graubünden. Major foreign groups are southern and Eastern Europeans. Records are written in the major languages and Latin which was used extensively in early records.[1]

Swiss Genealogical Word List[edit | edit source]

This is a list of commonly used words found in German Swiss church records, family registers and church census records. This list includes words found in dialect spellings. For further German words, please use the German Word List:

For the French speaking parts of Switzerland, see the French word list:

For the Italian speaking parts of Switzerland see the Italian Word List:

Abend, Abig evening
achtzehnhundert 1800
Abgestorben Died
Allerheiligen All Saint’s Day, Nov. 1
am on the
am ersten Tag on the first day
am letzten Tag on the last day
am Morge in the morning
angeblich presumed
Anno (Latin) year
ab of, from
ap of, from
Aprell, Aprellen, April April
Barbel Barbara
Bärn Bern
Bärnbiet area of canton Bern
beerdigt buried
begraben buried
Bernbiet area, canton Bern
Bünderland, Bünten Area, Canton Graubünden
Bevölkerung population
Bevölkerungsverzeichnis census
bin am
Brachet, Brachmonat, Brachmonet June
Bruder, Bruoder Brother
Bundesstaat federal state
Bub, Buob Boy
Bur farmer, peasant
Burger, Bürger citizen
Bürgermeister mayor
Chile church
Chilebuoch church book, parish register
Chind boy
Chinder children
Chirurg surgeon
chil, chlin, chlini little
Chnab boy, servant
Chrankheit illness
Christmonat December
Clewi, Clewy, Clöwy Nicolaus
Chreis district, county
Christliche Gmeind parish, Christian community
de the
dem the, to the
der the, of the
des of, of the
Deutsch German
die the
Dochter daughter
Donschtig, Donstag, Donstig Thursday
Dorf village
e, a, an
ebenda at the same place
e chlis Meitli a little girl
e chlis Meitli gtoufft a little girl was baptized
Ee marriage
Eelüt married couple
Ehe marriage
Ehefrau wife
Ehemann husband
ehelich legitimate
ehelich gsegnet legitimately married
Ein Kind getouff(e)t a child baptized
Einwilligung permission
Einwohner inhabitant
eiusdem, ejusdem (Latin) the same
Elsass Alsace
Elsbeth variation of Elisabeth
Elteren, Eltern parents
en a, an
en chlin(e) Buob gtoufft a little boy was baptized
eus us
Fasnacht Mardi Gras
Fater, Fatter father
Feber, Februar February
Feiertag holiday
französisch French
Frankreich, Frankrych France
Freni Verena, girl’s name
Fritag, Fritig, Frytig Friday
Frömde foreigners
Frühling Spring
Gänf, Genf Geneva
genannt named, called
getauft, gtouff(e)t baptized
Gfatter godparents
gheiss(e)t Called, named
ghörend belonging to
ghüratet married
Gote, Gotte, godmother
Göti, Götti godfather
Geschwüster, Geschwüsterti siblings
gsait said
gsi, gsin been, has been, were
gtoufft baptized
Gvatter godparents
Hans diminutive form of Johannes
Hansli form of Hans
Heiri variation of Heinrich
heist, heysst called, named
Hochzit, Hochzyt, Hochzyg marriage
hürate(n) to marry
Hus house, home
Husfrau wife
hüt today
ins Jenseits brerufen worden called to the other side, died
isch is, was, has
Jagli, Jägli, Jogli form of Jacob
Jänner January
Jar year
Kilche church
Kilchenbuoch church book parish register
Landsass / Landsässin Official resident, lacking full citizenship
lediges Kind Illegitimate child
Maitschi girl
Mäntig, Mäntag Monday
Meitli, Meitschi girl
mer we
mer gönd we are going
mer händ we have
Messmer sexton, sacristan
Mett middle
Mutter, Muotter mother
nempt named
Oschter, Oster Easter
Oschermäntig Easter Monday
Oschtersuntig Easter Sunday
Östrych Austria
Pur farmer
sächs six
Samschtig Saturday
Sangalla St. Gallen
Schorschli George
Schryber scribe
Schuol school
sin his
Stina Christina
Sun son
Sunntig, Sunntag Sunday
syn his
Thochter daughter
Töchterli Daughter
Torf village
Trina, Trini Christina
Tütsch German
uff on, at, upon
uff d’ Wält cho Came into the world, born
Ule, Uli Ulrich
undt and
Unkel, Unklen uncle
Uoroch, Urech, Urich Ulrich
unn and
Vrene, Vreni Verena
Weyb wife
Wittfrouw widow
Wolfmonat December
Wuche week
Wyb, Wyp wife
ygsegnet consecrated, married
zäh ten
zähn ten
zfrüe too early
Ziestag, Ziestig, Zinstag Tuesday
Zmittag noon
Zmorge In the morning, breakfast
Zügen witnesses
zu, zuo to, at
zvieri at four
zweh two
Zwo two
Zyt time
7bris September
8bris October
9bris November
10bris, Xbris December

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Switzerland,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1984-1998.