Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Of the cantons of the country, in 17 German is spoken, four are francophones and one speaks Italian. Three cantons are bilingual and one, that of Grisons, is trilingual. That is the source of some friction, admits Christophe Büchi, author of a book on the history of invisible linguistic borders: “But the pragmatism with which Swiss politics moves can deal with that.” The true Swiss national language, he said, is that of reconciliation.

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