Behind the scenes of language quantification
The purpose of this project is to conduct a detailed analysis on language census issues in Switzerland since the 19th century and to better understand the role this tool plays in the Swiss political landscape. This project will also support the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in developing future census tools. This will ensure that actual sociolinguistic facts are taken into account when designing thematic questionnaires on languages.
It will draw on historical sources but also on ethnographic and interactional data collected for a former project conducted by the RCM while collaborating on FSO’s “Language, religion and culture survey” (LRCS) in 2014. It will analyse the origin and the history of language census in Switzerland particularly the LRCS (section “langue”), linguistic issues and categories considered as well as the way the political and academic scenes and the general public received the results.