Swiss Organization Holds a Competition for a New National Anthem

October 13, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. rousing /ˈraʊ zɪŋ/ (adj.) – referring to something that is exciting or moving
Example: The rousing song has made the athletes cry during the ceremony.

2. aspiring /əˈspaɪə rɪŋ/ (adj.) – determined to be successful in one’s chosen career
ExampleAspiring singers will have a chance to sing before the president.

3. anthem /ˈæn θəm/ (n.) – a song of a particular group or country
Example: Students are required to memorize and sing the national anthem.

4. liken to /ˈlaɪ kən tə/ (v.) – to tell that someone or something is similar to the other
Example: The voice quality of the singer is likened to a famous soprano.

5. entry /ˈɛn tri/ (n.) – a thing that qualifies a person to be part of a competition
Example: All entries for the competition should be submitted before Friday.


Read the text below.
The Swiss Society for Public Good is currently running a competition to replace Switzerland’s hymn-like national anthem with a more rousing one. More than 200 aspiring songwriters have joined the competition. 

The current Swiss national anthem, The Swiss Psalm, was composed by a Swiss monk Alberich Zwyssig [AHL-buh r-ikh ZWAY-sig] in 1841. The organizers are looking for a song fitted for a modern-day Switzerland.

The lyrics of the anthem, which is originally a church song, are difficult and not relatable, according to Lukas Niederberger [LOO-kuh s NEE-der-BUR-ger], director of the Swiss Society for Public Good. It was evident in the recent World Cup in which the Swiss team composed of multi-ethnic players hardly knew the lyrics while the French players sang La Marseillaise [mar-se-YEZ], their national anthem. Furthermore, the anthem is also likened to a “Swiss weather report” for its mentions of the Alps, the skies, and the valleys. Only a few citizens can sing the anthem by heart.

According to the guidelines, the lyrics for the new anthem must reflect the values specified in the Swiss constitution: democracy, acceptance of diversity, freedom, peace, and solidarity. The entry can be similar to the tune of the current anthem or can be an entirely new melody.

The entries submitted include compositions in German, French, Italian, and Romansch [roh-MANSH], Switzerland’s four official languages.

The top 10 best submissions will be selected by a panel consisting of 30 judges who have different expertise. The winning entries will then be posted online so the public can choose the top three finalists.

The final entries will be performed at a music festival next year, in which the winner will be decided. The winning song will be submitted to the government for further consultation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the Swiss national anthem should be replaced? Why or why not?
·         Is it a good idea to select Switzerland’s national anthem based on popular demand? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Aside from the national anthem, what other things can boost one’s nationalism?
·         If you could change one of your national symbols, what would it be? Why?

October 13, 2014