Members of the Swiss parliament and civil servants are being invited to speak another language for a day in September next year, as part of efforts to promote diversity.
German, French and Italian are already spoken in the national parliament, but Helvetia Latina, the organisation that promotes cultural and linguistic diversity within the government administration, wants to boost multilingualism. German speakers could, for example speak French for a day, whilst francophones might speak Italian and italophones could speak German.
Helvetia Latina suggests that this take place on a voluntary, informal basis on the European day of languagesexternal link, September 26. The discussions should be mostly in French or Italian, because German normally dominates, says Helvetia Latina president Jacques-André Maire, a Social Democrat parliamentarian from canton Neuchâtel.
He said the idea already has support in parliament and awaits only a green light from the government. Maire expects this to be a formality since he says the idea came from incoming Swiss President Ueli Maurer.