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The majority of Switzerlands people live in cities and towns Bern is the countrys capital Zurich is Switzerlands largest city Other large Swiss cities include Basel Geneva and Lausanne Language The Swiss Constitution provides for three official languages and four national languages The official languages are German French and Italian As a result Switzerland has three official namesSchweiz in German Suisse in French and Svizzera in Italian All national laws are published in each of these three languages The Federal Tribunal Switzerlands highest court must include judges who represent each language groupThe four national languages are the three official ones plus Romansh which is closely related to Latin Romansh is spoken only in the mountain valleys of the canton of Graubunden by about 1 percent of the total Swiss populationAbout 70 percent of the people speak a form of German that is called Schwyzerdutsch Swiss German They live in the northern eastern and central parts of Switzerland Schwyzerdutsch is almost a separate language and even people who speak German find it hard to understand The language and its name vary from place to place For example it is called Baseldutsch in Basel and Zuridutsch in Zurich However wherever Schwyzerdutsch is spoken standard German is used in newspapers books television and church sermons French spoken in western Switzerland is the language of almost 20 percent of the people Italian is used by nearly 10 percent of the people in the south Both these languages as spoken by the Swiss are much like their standard forms in France or Italy One difficulty especially for visitors is that many place names in Switzerland vary by language The most complicated examplethe city known as Geneva to English-speaking peopleis called Genf in German Geneve in French and Ginevra in Italian English-speaking people know almost all other Swiss cities and towns by their French or German name Religion Switzerland has complete freedom of religion About
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