In March, the 88 members of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF) celebrate the French language they share and the cultural and linguistic diversity they represent. We are proud to be part of this celebration and to collaborate throughout the year with the Groupe Francophonie UK to promote the French language and French-speaking cultures in the UK.
In the UK, Switzerland participates in the Groupe Francophonie UK, in partnership with the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Embassy of France, Embassy of Belgium, Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI), Embassy of Monaco, Embassy of Tunisia and the High Commission of Canada and the Québec Government Office in London.
In 2023, we are happy to celebrate the French language and the cultural and linguistic diversity of la Francophonie through the following activities organized by the Groupe Francophonie UK.
The Joutes oratoires lycéennes is a French debating competition open to all sixth formers in the UK. Running over the past decade, it has brought together several hundred young French learners, all sharing the same interest in practising languages in a creative and challenging way. The finals, usually organised at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni during the Mois de la Francophonie, bring several months of regional heats to a close.
The French Pop Video Competition has revealed many talented young singers and encouraged students to engage with French in a creative way. From the writing of a song to its singing (or rapping!) and video shooting, former participants have expressed how empowered the contest has made them feel. In 2022, 49 music videos were shot, gathering together more than 300 primary and secondary students from all over the UK.
The Grand Quiz de la Francophonie, with a focus on Tunisia in 2023, allows thousands of people in the UK to test their knowledge of the Francophone world in a fun way every year. This quiz is open to all learners and speakers of French in the United Kingdom and any person in the UK interested in the French language and French-speaking countries. The quiz will be available from Saturday 18 March 2023 to Sunday 26 March. Register.
Switzerland's four languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh – are integral to our national identity. Swiss multilingualism developed from cultural links with neighbouring Germany, Austria, France and Italy.
French is the official language of the western part of Switzerland. Every region has its own idiosyncrasies and accents, but the French that is spoken and written in Switzerland is largely the same as standard French.
Franco-Provençal dialects (patois) were still widely spoken right up until the mid-20th century, although they have all but died out today. Patois is still spoken – mostly by older people – in some parts of Valais, the Jura and the canton of Fribourg.
People from all over the world and ties with other countries have added to Switzerland's multilingualism and changed the linguistic landscape. Non-national languages have gained in importance while the proportion of speakers of all Swiss national languages except French has fallen. English is becoming increasingly vital in the international business world and as a lingua franca between speakers of the four national languages.
Learn more about Switzerland’s multilingualism