Open main menu

Wikipedia β

The Italian language in Switzerland (Italian: svizzero italiano) is the name used for the variety of the Italian language spoken in the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland. Italian is spoken as native by about 350,000 people in the canton of Ticino and in the southern part of Graubünden (Canton Grigioni).

Italian language in Switzerland
italiano svizzero
Native to Switzerland
Native speakers
545,274 (2011 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Switzerland (as Italian)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
Suisse italiene.png



Despite being like Standard Italian, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland has some regional differences from the Italian spoken in Italy (like Italy itself has within its borders) because of the presence of calques from French and German. An example would be the words for driving licence: in Italy, it is called a patente di guida but in Swiss Italian, it becomes licenza di condurre, from the French permis de conduire. Another example is the interurban bus: in Italy it would be autobus or corriera but in Switzerland, it is the Autopostale or posta since nearly all interurban lines are run by a subsidiary of the Swiss Post.[citation needed]

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


Some examples of Ticinese words that are different from Italian are:

Swiss Italian Italian English Translation Notes
azione promozione (offerta) offer from German Aktion
riservare prenotare to reserve from the French réserver
comandare ordinare to order (i.e. in a restaurant, bar, etc.) from the French commander
medicamento medicinale, farmaco drug, medicinal product from the French médicament
vignetta bollino (o contrassegno) tag (a label to exhibit, typically in a car) from the French vignette

As may be seen from this table, as well as the case with the driving licence described above, Swiss Italian has fewer false friends with English than standard Italian does, as calques from French in Swiss Italian match Latin-origin words in English more often than the original Italian words do.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung, Strukturerhebung der eidgenössischen Volkszählung 2011: Bevölkerung nach Sprache und Religion, Ständige Wohnbevölkerung ab 15 Jahren nach zuhause gesprochenen Sprachen, 2011" (XLS). (Statistics) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 2013. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.  External link in |website= (help)

External linksEdit