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View Full Version : People from Belgium & Switzerland please explain!


rhz
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:14 PM
In countries such as yours where the official languages are 2 or more, what is actually the language being spoken amongst each other (or being displayed on the streets, taught at school, etc), or do everyone speak all the official languages???

Thanks for the explaination

Josh
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:26 PM
Okay get ready for a complicated explanation!

Belgium is divided in 4 language zones. Dutch in the north (Flanders), bilingual Dutch/French in the centre (Brussels Capital Region), French in the south (Wallonia) and German in the east (East Cantons). In Flanders schools teach in Dutch, but French and English are also compulsory courses while German and Spanish are optional. In Brussels you have schools funded by the Flemish community which offer education in Dutch and schools funded by the French speaking community which offer education in French. Schools in Wallonia offer education in French and there's also other language classes that are compulsory but the students can pick those classes themselves so some might not choose Dutch but German or Spanish instead. In the German part education is offered both in German and French.

Flanders is Dutch speaking so all street signs are in Dutch alone, in Brussels everything is written in both Dutch and French, in Wallonia everything is in French and in the East Cantons everything is in German or both in German and French. Both in Flanders and Wallonia there are a few towns which offer so-called "facilities" to people from the other language community which means that people living there can ask for their documents in either Dutch or French.

Josh
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:34 PM
http://www.visit-ypres.be/images/taalkaart.gif

rhz
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:19 PM
thanks, what about switzerland?

Lord Nelson
Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:46 PM
Switerland has 4 official languages, German (the main one by far), French, Italian (mostly in one state Ticino) and Romansch which actually is spoken mainly in St. Moritz and nearby towns. So in reality 2 of those languages are spoken in more then one state. The Swiss Germans tend to be more conservative then Swiss French and prefer to speak English which is an anglo saxon langauge like German, then French and Italian. Usually in Switzerland there is harmony between indigenous populations, more then in Belgium. The main friction is actually with Albanian immigrants who are the most numerous foreigners who are not French or German (non Swiss).

Philip
Apr 22nd, 2007, 02:03 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/Swiss_languages.png/800px-Swiss_languages.png

:)

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:48 PM
That is so neat... that seems like it would never work out in the US..

Lord Nelson
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:57 PM
That is so neat... that seems like it would never work out in the US..
What do you mean? It has worked out very well in the U.S. What country as big and as diverse as U.S. is there in the world which is as successful? There is no independance movements like there would be with such diverse populations. If anything U.S. is the most successful diverse society regardless of what some would say. Swiss society is a success and so is Belgium but the Wallons and Flemish people are more divided then Romands and Swiss Germans so the success stories are different in these 2 nations. Belgium is far from being a failure like Yugolsavia and other communist states with diverse populations. The monarchy has unified the nation. In sum, U.S., Switzerland and yes even Belgium are success stories in this domain.

gentenaire
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:42 PM
but the Wallons and Flemish people are more divided then Romands and Swiss Germans so the success stories are different in these 2 nations.

The division in Belgium is more economical and political than actually about the language itself or the differences between people.

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:13 PM
What do you mean? It has worked out very well in the U.S. What country as big and as diverse as U.S. is there in the world which is as successful? There is no independance movements like there would be with such diverse populations. If anything U.S. is the most successful diverse society regardless of what some would say. Swiss society is a success and so is Belgium but the Wallons and Flemish people are more divided then Romands and Swiss Germans so the success stories are different in these 2 nations. Belgium is far from being a failure like Yugolsavia and other communist states with diverse populations. The monarchy has unified the nation. In sum, U.S., Switzerland and yes even Belgium are success stories in this domain.

People are too poisoned by politics... what I meant is that such proposition would never go through congress, or referendum through the population...

To them English the is only language, and it shall stay like that... Logistically, they got it right because it would be expensive to do the transition to be more community oriented, plus it may decrease the unification, because the areas that would have to change their official language, they would become more Mexican oriented, or Cuban oriented, rather than America oriented. There is elemental synergistic values that would make our country explosively better... but we have dumb problems like racism, and glass-ceiling issues... To them it would be like ceremonially losing a handle of areas... afterall, we are a federalistic country, and apartheid seems to work as well as it did in Rwanda...

I would love it to see it in action... but it is highly unlikely it will ever go through...

mandy7
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:35 PM
brussels is hardly bilingual anymore
the walloons are taking over

Josh
Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:48 PM
^^French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.

polishprodigy
Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:57 PM
In Canada, the idea of the "Belgian model" was put out there as a solution to ease and solve French-English relations, but it was roundly dismissed! :o (Apparently the Belgians have the Flemish provide services for Flemish people and the French provide services for the French people - could some one clarify this?)

Josh
Apr 22nd, 2007, 10:32 PM
In Canada, the idea of the "Belgian model" was put out there as a solution to ease and solve French-English relations, but it was roundly dismissed! :o (Apparently the Belgians have the Flemish provide services for Flemish people and the French provide services for the French people - could some one clarify this?)

Well it's not that simple....
Belgium is divided into 3 communities and 3 regions. Communities basically take care of issues like health care, education, culture, etc... basically everything that's related to one's personal needs. Regions take care of issues like urban planning, environment, infrastructure etc.... basically everything that's related to the regional needs.
On the Flemish side community and region are merged into one and the Flemish parliament and government resides in Brussels and are competent for regional issues for the whole of Flanders and community issues for Flanders and (Dutch speaking) Brussels. On the French speaking side, the Walloon parliament and government (resides in Namur) are competent for the regional needs for the whole of Wallonia while the Parliament and government of the French speaking community (resides in Brussels) are competent for community issues in Wallonia and (French speaking) Brussels.
The parliament and government of the Brussels Capital Region is competent for regional issues in the Brussels Capital Region. Like I said before, concerning community issues the Flemish and French speaking communities are responsible but they've delegated their powers to the Flemish Community Commission for the Dutch speaking Brusselers and the French Community Commission for the French speaking Brusselers. Concerning certain institutions that are bilinguel, like museums, concert buildings etc..., either the federal government is responsible if they are of federal importance (royal museums) or the Combined Community Commission (Flemish + French Community Commissions) if they are of importance only to Brussels.
The parliament and government of the German speaking Community (resides in Eupen) is competent for community issues in the German speaking East Cantons but also certain regional competences that have been transfered from the Walloon parliament/government since the East Cantons are located in Wallonia.

There's also so called 'facilities' which means that certain towns or villages in Flanders or Wallonia offer administrative facilities to their inhabitants who don't speak the local language. There are 4 such towns in Wallonia that offer facilities for Dutch speakers and 2 that offer facilities for German speakers, 12 towns in Flanders offering facilities for French speakers and all towns in the German speaking East Cantons also offer facilities for French speakers.

*JR*
Apr 22nd, 2007, 11:18 PM
Swiss society is a success...
So how did Hoffy get in? :devil:

mandy7
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:53 AM
^^French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.
t'hat's not what i said though :)
and if you move from a walloon part of belgium, to brussels
you don't stop being walloon

if i oneday move to belgium, i'll still be dutch :shrug:

Martian Jeza
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:18 AM
brussels is hardly bilingual anymore
the walloons are taking over


Go and say this to a Brusseler, he/she won't appreciate it.


For the people who still don't know it i'm a French speaking Belgian : not a walloon.

mandy7
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:22 AM
Go and say this to a Brusseler, he/she won't appreciate it.
can't say i can be bothered :shrug:

For the people who still don't know it i'm a French speaking Belgian : not a walloon.
that's the same :p
;)

-Ph51-
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:33 AM
So are Ajax and Feyenoord. :angel: :p

mandy7
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:35 AM
So are Ajax and Feyenoord. :angel: :p

That's so funny :rolleyes:

-Ph51-
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:42 AM
Just pointing out what Brusselers and Walloons have in common.

mandy7
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:43 AM
Just pointing out what Brusselers and Walloons have in common.
I can point one thing out.
Most of them speak French and live in Belgium.

Martian Jeza
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:47 AM
So are Ajax and Feyenoord. :angel: :p

Good one, Ph51 :haha: :haha:

Come-on-kim
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:27 AM
^^French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.

I am French speaker in Brussels and I am Walloons :p

-Ph51-
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:41 AM
I am French speaker in Brussels and I am Walloons :p

Les exceptions confirment la règle. :p

mandy7
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:52 AM
Les exceptions confirment la règle. :p
Of voor het betere deel van België
De uitzondering bevestigt de regel.
:angel:

-Ph51-
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:54 AM
Of voor het betere deel van België
De uitzondering bevestigt de regel.
:angel:

Daar kan ik je geen ongelijk in geven. :lol: :tape:

Josh
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:07 PM
t'hat's not what i said though :)
and if you move from a walloon part of belgium, to brussels
you don't stop being walloon

if i oneday move to belgium, i'll still be dutch :shrug:

Yes but it's not like there's a massive emigration from Wallonia to Brussels so Walloons are not taking over as you implied. The vast majority of French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.

-Ph51-
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:10 PM
Yes but it's not like there's a massive emigration from Wallonia to Brussels so Walloons are not taking over as you implied. The vast majority of French speakers in Brussels are not Walloons.

nope, they are flemish.;)

LefandePatty
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:48 PM
Hmmm do I have to add anything about Switzerland ??

I'm a French speaker but I also speak German. And a lil' bit Swiss German.

Pengwin
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:50 PM
Hmmm do I have to add anything about Switzerland ??

I'm a french speaker but I also speak German. And a lil' bit Swiss German.

And English non?

LefandePatty
Apr 24th, 2007, 04:14 AM
And English non?

Right I guess.