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Comparison of idiomatic expressions in Switzerland’s four national languages

Area: 
Teaching and learning languages, assessing and evaluating language skills
Project management:

Cooperation with Università della Svizzera italiana

Duration: 
01.2018 to 12.2019
Team:

Marine Borel, Laura Hodel, Corinne Hunziker, Verena Tunger

Status: 
In progress
Description: 

This project will culminate in a book in four languages that is designed for the general public. In the book, roughly 40 expressions in Rhaeto-Romanic (all idioms), Italian, German (including examples in Swiss German) and French are compared. The selected expressions have the same meaning in all languages yet employ different, sometimes amusing metaphors; humorous images from all linguistic regions are used to illustrate the expressions. A brief etymology of each expression provides additional information on its historical, geographic and cultural origin and draws parallels between the different languages. A short section is dedicated to “untranslatable” expressions, i.e. sayings that have no equivalent in the three other languages. The Institute is responsible for the expressions in French and (Swiss) German.