Across Continents

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Staying away

Swiss

Guessed they weren’t German. Most firm on this point. Swiss. Curiosity aroused. Did they still all have nuclear fallout shelters? Kept large arsenals of weapons in their homes? Ate Toblerone?

But instead enquired only after their language. All of them. Was it true that, depending on where you lived, you spoke a different language? Was there a single, unifying official one?

There were four languages, Simon and Tania explained. Swiss-German, French, Italian, and another dialect – something I didn’t quite understand. But too embarrassed to probe further. Most spoke just one. Choice depended on where you lived. You could see why the Germans stayed away.

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