Talk:Swiss French (linguistics)

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I am not convinced by the following paragraph that I just removed (with a few changes) from the article:

There are also some differences in pronunciation, such as that of the word 'blanc' (white) which would be pronounced in Switzerland as 'blunk', (similar to 'trunk' in English), as opposed to 'blonk' (with a nasalised 'on') in standard French. ((??? F blanc ~ /blã/))

First of all, noone prononces the final 'c' in 'blanc', as the work 'blunk' seems to suggest. Furthermore, there are many different pronunciations and accents across Switzerland, and I don't believe that there is any uniformity. Any opinion ? Schutz 01:17, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The use of huitante or quatre-vingts depends on the area, but I'm pretty sure no one in Switzerland uses octante, whatever French lexicographers may claim. Does anyone have any evidence for its use in Switzerland other than dictionaries? Hedgehog 13:22, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I learned octante as being Swiss when in Belgium (though the Belgians don't use it, and many French think it's Belgian). I was just reading the Belgian French page and it's the first term I'd heard the awful term "huitante". page has some info, and interestingly google fight puts octante as the winner at 47k to 32k --belg4mit 17:27, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Octante is old French, it isn't used in Swiss French nor Belgian French indeed, no matter what some lexigraphers may believe. As for huitante being an "awful term", this is POV: translated into English, this would imply that "eighty" is awful whereas "four score" is good. Or did I misunderstand you? Matthieu Houriet 04:20, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Who cares how blanc(he) is pronounced. How much you may disagree or moan about Swiss dialects, it's still there and you can do absolutely nothing about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:17, 29 April 2005

Sorry, I don't see what your point is ? Schutz 09:01, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

His point is that you are a boob. (talk) 20:32, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


I used octante (and was taught it was the acceptable local form) when visiting Vaud and Vaucluse Valais in the late 1980s. Are you sure it's no longer used at all? I never heard huitante in all the time I was in Switzerland. — OwenBlacker 21:55, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Huitante is without any doubt the standard way of saying 80 in many parts of French-speaking Switzerland, and the only dictionary which I found which mentions octante says that it is rare. I have personaly never heard it, and all the people I've discussed with say the same, but I'll try to have a closer look at dictionaries. As for Vaucluse, it is not in Switzerland — maybe there is a confusion somewhere ? Schutz 10:10, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I am absoluty positive about the use of octante in Swiss French being a widespread, yet incorrect and ill-founded belief among non-Swiss French speakers. I was born and been living in French-speaking Switzerland for 25 years and never heard or read it a single time, just like Schutz says. I challenge you to find any occurrence of octante in contemporary Swiss French literature, newspaper, television or radio broadcast, movie, website, forum, chat, or any written or oral form of communication whatsoever. The only books where I read that octante was used in Switzerland were dictionaries published in Paris. The only time I heard it in a movie was a mockery of the Swiss by French people (Les Bronzés). The fact that you were taught octante was the acceptable local form doesn't come as a complete surprise to me, and I can understand you doubt, as the myth is kept alive by some Paris-b(i)ased linguists with poor knowledge of regional French variations in general. Traditionally, the Académie française (de jure reference institution for French in France, de facto in other French-speaking countries) has used a normative approach of the language, as opposed to the descriptive approach privileged by modern linguistics. It partly explains why many French linguists have so little knowledge about the realities of regional variations, which were regarded as undesirable alterations of the norms dictated by the almighty Parisian French Academy until recently. Although this has fortunately evolved over the last 20 years and regionalisms are no longer considered as mistakes, French lexicographers still have a long way to go to have their publications correctly reflect regional variations of the French language. Wikipedia can be a pioneer on that matter, for that reason I will, again, remove octante from the article, and will keep doing so until someone proves me wrong. Matthieu Houriet 05:33, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
You are a bit harsch with the Académie Française; the section of their FAQ about "Septante, octante, nonante" [1] looks pretty good to me (free translation): "These words are "official" in Belgium and Switzerland in common usage, education or legal texts, except for octante which has been superseded by quatre-vingts and huitante". Schutz 10:05, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I've restored the word octante but commented that its use is now defunct; does that work for everyone? — OwenBlacker 16:26, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Looks good to me. Schutz 16:37, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, I was a bit harsh indeed. The Académie has evolved a great deal and my unflattering remarks about the way it deals with regionalisms obviously no longer apply nowadays. The latest revision by OwenBlacker looks fine to me too. Matthieu Houriet 17:03, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I'll leave the editing to someone who knows more about the differences than me, but i remember when I was working as a waiter in Valais a pint/half litre of beer was called 'une choppe', and there were one or two other words that sometimes confused French people who stopped by. Wilston 17:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

"Une chope" is used in Belgium, too, and it's in this dictionary: [2], but it might be less common in France. I don't know. Lesgles (talk) 04:40, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Huitante / Octante...[edit]

Being of (swiss) french mother tongue, I never heard octante. I also rely on the (recent) reference dictionary: "Dictionnaire Suisse Romand, particularités lexicales du français contemporain", Geneva 1997-2004: s.v. huitante, p.458, col.1. This article mentions that the form "octante" was already mentionned as aged and out of use in 1926. On the other hand, huitante is extremely frequent, being the hugely preferred form in the cantons of Vaud, Valais and Fribourg, Geneva, Neuchâtel and the Jura preferring the standard french "quatre-vingt". Considering "octante" as defunct is therefore accurate. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:37, 5 February 2007 (UTC).

In all the time that I lived in Switzerland, I have never heard the term "octante". While at school in French speaking Switzerland, I was taught "huitante". So it is taught whilst learning to count.