Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to be
The 1291 Bundesbrief (Federal charter)
The Old Swiss Confederacy from 1291 (dark green) to the sixteenth century (light green) and its associates (blue). In the other colors are shown the subject territories.
Language is the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics, questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated since Gorgias and Plato in Ancient Greece. Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought, 20th-century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. Major figures in linguistics include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky, estimates of the number of languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on an arbitrary distinction between languages and dialects. Natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary me
A mural in Teotihuacan
, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll
from his mouth, symbolizing speech