Up to 4,000 people are said to speak or understand ‘Patois jurassien’ and it is hoped that the government will now sanction funding for initiatives to help keep the language alive.
Made at the start of December, the decision follows a recommendation from the Council of Europe and its Charter on regional/minority languages.
The Swiss federal government already recognises the dialects in cantons Valais, Fribourg and Vaud as minority Swiss languages.
However, these are all said to be “Franco-Provençal” rather than “Franc-Comtois” like the Jura dialect.
All are derivatives of French, which is an official Swiss language and said to be the main language of nearly 25% of Swiss nationals.
Both “Franco-Provençal” and “Franc-Comtois” belong to the Gallo-Romance classification but “Franc-Comtois” is an oïl language – traditionally spoken in Northern and Central France, southern Belgium and, of course, Switzerland.
The Swiss government also recognises Romansh and Italian as minority languages, as well as Yenish and Yiddish as languages that are not territorially tied.
In March 2018, a report from the Council of Europe said that Switzerland must do more to protect its minority languages – in particular Romansh.
Said to be spoken by as many as 60,000 people in Switzerland, Romansch is a cantonal language in Graubünden alongside German and Italian.
Switzerland has four official languages; German, French, Italian and Romansh.