Swiss French is the variety of French spoken in the French-speaking area of Switzerland known as Romandie. Try not to confuse it with Franco-Provençal/Arpitan or Romansh which are separate Romance languages in their own right.
The differences between Swiss French and Parisian French are minor and mostly lexical: a Swiss French speaker would have no trouble understanding a French speaker, while a French speaker would encounter only a few unfamiliar words. Swiss French, when compared with French of France, has a somewhat “sing-song” effect. You can almost hear a slight Italian influence in it also.
There is no standardized Swiss French language: different cantons and towns will use different vocabulary based on words borrowed from Swiss German (since Switzerland is predominantly German-speaking). Many Standard French terms are used in certain cantons such as Geneva due to their proximity to the French border.
Many differences between Swiss French and Parisian French are due to the different administrative and political systems. Some of its distinctive lexical features are found in Belgian and Quebec French:
septante for seventy
huitante for eighty
nonante for ninety as opposed to soixante-dix (literally ‘sixty-ten’)
quatre-vingts (literally ‘four twenties’)
quatre-vingt-dix (literally ‘four twenties-ten’)
The use of the word déjeuner for “breakfast” (rather than petit déjeuner), and the words le dîner and le souper for “lunch” and “dinner” respectively. Much like the varying uses of dinner and supper throughout the English-speaking world.
Other examples which are not shared with Belgian French are the word huitante used for “eighty” instead of quatre-vingts. In France, a post office box is called a boite postale (BP), whereas in Switzerland, it is called a case postale (CP).
Here’s some more examples of words that differ between Swiss and Standard French
|Swiss French||Standard French||English|
|dent de lion||pissenlit||dandelion|
|natel||(téléphone) portable||mobile phone|
|cornet||sac en plastique||plastic bag|
Here you have a discussion of some differences between Swiss and Standard French (sorry, the audio is slightly off)