||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Languages_of_Switzerland#French. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2012.|
The Suisse romande (lit.: "Romance Switzerland") is a local name for the French-speaking districts of western Switzerland. The name Romandie (Romandy) is also used. The term "Suisse romand" is used to refer to Swiss French, the variety of French spoken in Switzerland. There are about 1.6 million French-speakers in Switzerland, about 20% of the total population.
The word "romand/romande" indicates the Latin or Roman origin of the French language and the general orientation of the region to the French-speaking cultural sphere and to Roman Law. It is used in contrast to "Suisse allemande" (German Switzerland) and "Suisse italienne" (Italian Switzerland), more commonly called "(le) Tessin" (Ticino).
The Suisse romande is not a precisely defined area, but in general includes the Cantons of Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, western Valais, Vaud and the northern part of Berne (known as the Jura Bernois or the Bernese Jura). The city of Geneva constitutes the largest urban area of the region.
German-speaking Swiss refer to the Suisse romande as Welschland and to the French-speaking Swiss as Welsches. This word, related to Walloon, Vlach and Welsh, refers in German to a foreigner of Celtic or more precisely Gallo-Roman origin.
Historically, most of Suisse Romande has been strongly Protestant, especially Calvinist, with Geneva being one of the earliest and most important Calvinist centers. There are a few Roman Catholic French-speaking Swiss, mainly in Jura, Valais, and Fribourg.
The expression "Suisse romande" or "Romandie" is best known in the English-speaking world through institutions such as the Geneva-based Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the annual stage race Tour de Romandie.
- the French suffix -mand is an adaptation of the German -mann (corresponding to English -man) seen in alemand, flamand, normand etc.; it was introduced unetymologically into romand. The French adjective romande is not usually capitalized in the name Suisse romande.
- Lüdi, Georges; Werlen, Iwar (April 2005). "Recensement Fédéral de la Population 2000 — Le Paysage Linguistique en Suisse" (Portable Document Format) (in French, German, Italian). Neuchâtel: Office fédéral de la statistique. Retrieved 5 January 2006.