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308475.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:10 pm Reply with quote

It's all a bit confusing, and to a certain extent more a matter of labels than actual status. But yes, Low German is recognised by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. (Which does at least mean that Europe accepts it as a language distinct from both German and Dutch.)

Each Land of Germany is at liberty to declare official languages in addition to German to apply in that Land, and for instance Brandenburg so declares Sorbian. No Land declares Low German so, although Schleswig-Holstein comes close.

The position is similar in Austria - Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovenian each have official status in one Land. Conversely, nowhere in Liechtenstein does any language other than German have any kind of status or recognition. Since Liechtenstein is without the EU, the ECRML doesn't apply. In fact, most Liechtensteiner speak German anyways - or rather, they write in German; they speak a divergent form of Low Alemannisch which a person from northern Germany would struggle to understand.

308771.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:42 am Reply with quote

well, divergent forms of low allemannisch still come under german dialects, don't they? at least they did when i was an undergrad, please let me know if that has changed since. it's a bit like letzebuergisch for all i can see, call it a language of its own and assert your cultural independence.

interestingly enough, however, business once again appears to be ahead of academia in that regard, given that the call centres around dublin hire seperate staff for german and swiss german teams. appropriate, too, we were all able to understand each other when we made an effort to speak stage german, but on the phone the swiss were sometimes rather scary to listen to. for the same reason, 3sat, the german-austrian-swiss public service tv channel, subtitle all their swiss programmes.



309019.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:17 am Reply with quote

Yea, it's German to most people's ways of thinking. Some American organizations (SIL International, in particular) wouldn't agree that it's the same language, but few laypeople are with them.

SIL reckons that the family tree of living German languages looks like this, and considers each to be a different language.

Whether one considers that little lot to be one language, two (probably what I'd go for), five, or nineteen is really a matter of definition / personal choice.

Very sensible of those call centres to hire German and Swiss German speaking staff as separate entities though - whether or not one considers them the same language, it's undoubtedly true that a speaker of schoolbook German won't easily understand a speaker of an Upper German dialect.

Tis a shame that call centres catering for the English speaking market don't do similarly; people in Britain and North America just don't readily understand speakers of West African or South Asian varieties of English. (Sure, that's more to do with accent than dialect - but the end user isn't especially interested in why he doesn't understand the operative, just that he doesn't.)

309040.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:30 am Reply with quote

so german and yiddish? i'd agree there, given how

a) yiddish has evolved from a form of german that's no longer spoken

b) has picked up influences from all over the place along the way.

to me it definitely has the feel of a different language. i can make sense of it if i listen carefully, but i would never try speaking it.

as far as call centres are concerned - yes, the joys of calling sky. either you get groundskeeper willie or you get apu nahassapemapetilon.



430167.  Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:50 pm Reply with quote

Oh stop skirting around the obvious. Franz Burgmeier, son of Vaduz and Liechtenstein International footballer is currently playing for Darlington FC, and is proving to be the sole source of fame of his tiny country. It is fair to say these principalities are not a fair match for others 100 times the size, but battle on they do. I look forward to Berwick, Calais and indeed Rockall to send out football teams to compete. Should they day come when real inhabitants are involved in sport the USA will lose out, being made up from so many races. The Rose Bowl may be won by the New York Irish against the Milwaukee Scandinavians....

627780.  Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:45 am Reply with quote

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the fact that they're the largest manufacturer of false teeth in the world.
By the way, why was female suffrage introduced so late? Switzerland left it til 1973 too, thinking about it. Why did it take so long? I can't imagine the women of Liechtenstein were apathectic to their lack of voting rights.

627786.  Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:15 pm Reply with quote

I'm sure they weren't, but it wasn't up to them.

For a start, the Fürst (i.e. King, approximately) of Liechtenstein gets much more involved with politics than does the Queen here - if the Fürst is opposed to something, well in Liechtenstein that means it doesn't happen.

The current Fürst Hans Adam II came to power in 1989 upon the death of his father Franz Josef II, who had been in charge since the 1930s. Franz Josef was a Nazi sympathizer (although the country was officially neutral in WWII), and in general he had rather old fashioned ideas. Although retaining the title of Fürst until his death, Franz Josef more or less retired in 1984 and handed over to his son, and one of Hans Adam's first acts was to order a referendum on the matter of votes for women.

And of course, only men could vote in referendums. Franz Josef had allowed a referendum on the matter once per decade, and each time the men had voted against votes for women. Only when Hans Adam got his turn and basically set "let's stop being so medieval about this" did the men vote for female suffrage.

Not that Hans Adam stuck to the non-medievalness, as you'll see upthread!

627789.  Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:29 pm Reply with quote

And there's a summary of the Swiss suffrage here. Referendums in which only men voted again seems to have been part of the problem, combined, it would seem, with some profoundly conservative social attitudes surviving for a surprisingly long time. But it certainly strikes me from that that Swiss women were indeed not apathetic to their lack of voting rights, and started agitating for them at much the same time as women elsewhere.

Incidentally, not that it makes much of a difference to anything, but Fürst is usually rendered in English as "Prince", and that, rather than King, is the usual English title for the Liechtensteinian monarch.

627796.  Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:56 pm Reply with quote

Ah, that explains it. Thanks ;-)
Though what make me more curious is why there are organisations denying people the vote from the actual group that want representation, such as "Federation of Swiss Women against Women's Right to Vote" from the link above.
I remember Churchill's mother (and himself) were anti-suffragist...

846720.  Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:50 am Reply with quote

I read somewhere (tm) that there was one Swiss Canton - Appenzell Innerrhoden, I think - that didn't give women the vote until the 1980s or even 90s. Apparently, this was to do with the place being so tiny that referenda were carried out by means of all the men turning out into the town square, and there physically wasn't room for the women too...

846721.  Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:06 am Reply with quote

On the subject of Liechtenstein...

- Its main industry is financial services and as a tax haven it has more registered companies than inhabitants; the only such country in the world.

- Its second main industry is the manufacture of false teeth, of which it is Europe's main producer.

- It is the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire due to its rather convoluted history.

- During the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, Liechtenstein fielded 80 soldiers on the Austrian side. They did not take part in any fighting, and returned home with an extra member, having made a friend. After this, Liechtenstein realised how stupid this was and disbanded the army. It remains one of the few nations with no armed forces. [Edit: citation needed - I got this story from a Bill Bryson book]

Last edited by Brickie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:01 am; edited 1 time in total

852588.  Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:00 am Reply with quote

Oh, and it's one of only two doubly-landlocked countries in the world, the other being Uzbekistan.

(A doubly-landlocked country is one which is entirely surrounded by landlocked countries - in this case, Switzerland and Austria).

863581.  Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:59 pm Reply with quote

Costa Rica, Grenada, Kiribati, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the strangely governed Nauru have no army or para-military forces.

Some former US Pacific Trust Territories accept US military protection.
1246580.  Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:32 pm Reply with quote

Equally on the subject of Liechtenstein:

In 1798 it became the first country in the world to abolish its death penalty

In 1892 two women once duelled topless there on the advice of a trained medical professional

It is the only country in the world named after the people who purchased it.


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