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  #21  
Old 13.06.2015, 12:28
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I thought I'd also mention French and Italian and of course the other lingo.....

Swiss Germans prefer to speak Swiss German and would often rather speak English than Hochdeutsch ;)
Not true in my experience. But of course it depends on where, who, when...


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Exactly, they probably think that if his language is German, he may not be able to speak Swiss German, but certainly can understand it. Why would they speak English with a German person anyhow?
I know so many Germans who speak High German but understand Swiss German dialects and never complain about this thing...or at least they don't go around openly about it..false issue here, IMHO. I understand there are historical reasons from Swiss part for this theoretical profound dislike but in real life both lots are able to get along together. Somehow.

Last edited by greenmount; 13.06.2015 at 12:40.
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  #22  
Old 13.06.2015, 23:38
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Hi all,

I don't know if you also have this problem with "some" Swiss colleagues at work. I've been working in a few countries, and meet nice people around the world who always try to include other foreigners in a conversation.

Just when I thought it's already a universal courtesy & good manners in 21st century, to speak a common language ( in this case English) in midst of your foreign colleagues, I am baffled by the behaviours of some immature colleagues who keep on babbling in Swiss German while in a close group conversations or even in a meeting, despite obvious hints!

I sometimes wonder if they were taught with a different code of manners here... just need to let out...
...how else will you learn?

my experience, if Swiss wants you in their conversation they usually switch to high german or english, if they keep ranting on their own dialect means not so much...

From where I come from, it is good manners to learn and understand the language where you live
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Old 13.06.2015, 23:51
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Exactly, they probably think that if his language is German, he may not be able to speak Swiss German, but certainly can understand it. Why would they speak English with a German person anyhow?
I know plenty of Germans who don't understand CHD, they are amused that I can translate it for them.
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Old 14.06.2015, 01:21
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This is Switzerland, they speak Swiss German, get used to it.
ANOTHER arrogant English Forum post that shows no sympathy ( sigh!!) shall I catalogue my experiences with 9 years of Swiss rudeness, despite me trying an " film : Amelie approach " My sympathies lie with the poster as I speak fluent german and can understand most Zuer D now....quit being so arrogant !: Bro!

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...how else will you learn?

my experience, if Swiss wants you in their conversation they usually switch to high german or english, if they keep ranting on their own dialect means not so much...

From where I come from, it is good manners to learn and understand the language where you live
Except Zuerich is becoming more and more international and YEAH ..you love us paying way too much for : everything !

Last edited by 22 yards; 14.06.2015 at 03:14.
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Old 14.06.2015, 08:27
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Hi all,

I don't know if you also have this problem with "some" Swiss colleagues at work. I've been working in a few countries, and meet nice people around the world who always try to include other foreigners in a conversation.

Just when I thought it's already a universal courtesy & good manners in 21st century, to speak a common language ( in this case English) in midst of your foreign colleagues, I am baffled by the behaviours of some immature colleagues who keep on babbling in Swiss German while in a close group conversations or even in a meeting, despite obvious hints!

I sometimes wonder if they were taught with a different code of manners here... just need to let out...
OP, if you want people to speak a different language around you, you need to make a honest and obvious effort to understand them first.

Being Swiss, if someone doesn’t speak a language which is generally spoken in CH (this being Swiss German, French, Italian or Rumantsch depending on the region), I really appreciate noticing that someone is making a conscious and serious effort to understand the spoken language. If the person makes many mistakes while trying to communicate in one of the four languages, that is perfectly OK, because the effort is what counts.


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I just found another bad-mannered person here

Nobody is stopping anybody from speaking their own languages. However, there is certain social etiquettes & manners about speaking the common language in a close group discussion.
If someone acts entitled and demands that I speak English here for a reason other than having actively tried to understand the spoken language and currently failing at doing so while continuing to make an effort, I won’t bother to switch to English.
Call me immature for speaking my native lingo in my home country, and you’ve just slammed the door shut on the possibility of me switching to English in conversation with you.

As for Germans, I expect them to be able to understand Swiss German from the get-go depending which part of Germany they’re from – if they don’t understand, they can ask me to please switch to High German or to speak slower.

To me, the courteous thing would be to make an effort to be included, rather than hinting that it might be hard to understand a regional language and acting entitled, prissy and condescending about people not speaking English. Ask, don’t whine and demand.

I recommend you attend a German course, get to know the language better and change your attitude towards your colleagues who are speaking a regional language here. Because acting like this won’t have you included in conversations no matter what language you speak.
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Old 14.06.2015, 10:50
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Swiss Germans prefer to speak Swiss German and would often rather speak English than Hochdeutsch
Not with Germans, hence speaking perfectly. I can understand that with non Germans, it is safer to switch to English in order to be sure to be understood, I do that too and I am not Swiss. As Gringo said, it might be a running gag with Germnas, but the commom language is and stays naturally German. I am actually not buying those urban myths about the alleged "language " Swiss German. Not from my students, not from anybody here either. And No, Swiss Germans are not that bad in German... you really need to learn to read between the lines when they tell you crap. I have straight A students who claim they German is bad, as if they would get good grades from me if that was true... Or parents who go all dialect the whole year and suddenly speak perfect High German when they want a favour from me in June...
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Old 14.06.2015, 10:52
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

When my wife is with Swiss German speakers, she speaks Italian, which usually works.

Doesn't usually work with Germans, though.

Tom
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Old 14.06.2015, 10:54
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Thank God for Swiss French being 99% identical to French French.
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  #29  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:00
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Thank God for Swiss French being 99% identical to French French.
Well, last time i wished Odile happy birthday, I hit the 1% so always be on you gard anyway!
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  #30  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:02
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Dont take it personal you have to watch them trying to talk when you have someone from Valis, Uri and another place seems they have hard time to understand each other also lol. Live long Regionalism!
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  #31  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:19
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Hi all,

I don't know if you also have this problem with "some" Swiss colleagues at work. I've been working in a few countries, and meet nice people around the world who always try to include other foreigners in a conversation.

Just when I thought it's already a universal courtesy & good manners in 21st century, to speak a common language ( in this case English) in midst of your foreign colleagues, I am baffled by the behaviours of some immature colleagues who keep on babbling in Swiss German while in a close group conversations or even in a meeting, despite obvious hints!

I sometimes wonder if they were taught with a different code of manners here... just need to let out...
If a group of swiss people isn't switching to english then it basically means that they don't care about talking to you... an actively polite person will take note of the group and switch to english if they want to include you in the conversation. Howfever, if you have an entire group of Swiss people then of course they will be hesitant to speak any other language than their native language... can you imagine in England if there was a group of english people who had to switch to French because of one French person? It wouldn't happen.

You basically need to join German lessons asap if you want to stay here long-term. The problem with people who speak English well or natively is that they become somewhat arrogant and expect other people to conform immediately without really taking into account that given the choice people will always seek to speak their native language that they can most freely express themselves and their emotions in. For a Swiss German person, that is Swiss German or High German.

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Here you go then: stop feeling sorry for yourself and take it as an opportunity learn dialect. The "common language etiquette" bit is just an excuse so that you don't push yourself through the pain of learning.

Sometimes they'll speak dialect. Sometimes English. And rarely, they'll even speak high German. Listen to it all and try to learn.
To be fair, any Swiss person will switch to high german when you ask them politely.

Last edited by Richdog; 14.06.2015 at 11:53.
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  #32  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:25
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Not with Germans, hence speaking perfectly. I can understand that with non Germans, it is safer to switch to English in order to be sure to be understood, I do that too and I am not Swiss.
Wrong, actually. I know quite a few Swissies who would rather speak English than high German, especially with Germans.

I've heard a few theories from the Swiss side, such as the cadence of the English language being more familiar, but my personal favorite is that they feel uncomfortable because they don't speak it as well and perceive that they're looked down upon by the Germans when they speak it.

Again, not my theory, espoused by a Swiss and may be total (watch the British here) bollocks.
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  #33  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:30
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Wrong, actually. I know quite a few Swissies who would rather speak English than high German, especially with Germans.
That has been my experience too.
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Old 14.06.2015, 11:34
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

I am so glad NO-ONE ever switched to French when I was first in London. Because at the end of the day, learning a foreign language is one of the first things that you do when in a foreign country. Yes, it's hard a first, your head hurts and at times feels like it's going to explode- and you do feel isolated at times in social siutations- but that is the most effective way to learn- total immersion and it is very fast, with the right mindset (I worked full time so never had a single lesson- full immersion was much better than any expensive fancy school).

Still confused about the OP though- as his profile clearly says language German! so why would he expect people switch to English?
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Old 14.06.2015, 11:37
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

I did a weeks beginner German course at the Goethe Inst. in London, over 15 yrs. ago and since then have had no further formal German lessons.

I've picked it up as I've gone along, but obviously this has been dialect. I actually struggle a bit when I hear German German, and when I go to Germany, despite my best efforts, they don't get what I'm saying, either.

The great thing about dialect, is that you only have to move 20km, from one side of the city to the other, and you almost have to start again from scratch.

What does piss me off, though - bearing in mind that dialect is quite lazy and colloquial compared to the mother language - is that sometimes I can be just a sound or phonetic difference out in the pronunciation of a word, and the oldies look at me without a clue. So I repeat the word a few times and eventually one of the oldies will go, 'ah, blahblah', with only the subtlest difference from my pronunciation. The fact that they couldn't guess it first time, from almost correct pronunciation or context, shows a real inflexibility.

When the same happens with a non-native speaking English, to me, making a small error, the correct word is guessed immediately.
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  #36  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:44
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Well we moved to the Potteries from London, and then to Leicestershire, and also visited lots of Northern and South West towns and villages where I had to repeat and have repeated- many words and expressions...Strangely enough though, they always understood me better than my OH who has typical Southern RP, lol.

Speaking to a Scouser, a Geordie, a Glaswegian or a farmer in deepest Devon or Norfolk can throw up some surprises ... lol - perhaps even more so 45 years ago...
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  #37  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:53
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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What does piss me off, though - bearing in mind that dialect is quite lazy and colloquial compared to the mother language - is that sometimes I can be just a sound or phonetic difference out in the pronunciation of a word, and the oldies look at me without a clue. So I repeat the word a few times and eventually one of the oldies will go, 'ah, blahblah', with only the subtlest difference from my pronunciation. The fact that they couldn't guess it first time, from almost correct pronunciation or context, shows a real inflexibility.
Good thing you didn't move to Asia then.
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  #38  
Old 14.06.2015, 11:54
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Wrong, actually. I know quite a few Swissies who would rather speak English than high German, especially with Germans.

I've heard a few theories from the Swiss side, such as the cadence of the English language being more familiar, but my personal favorite is that they feel uncomfortable because they don't speak it as well and perceive that they're looked down upon by the Germans when they speak it.

Again, not my theory, espoused by a Swiss and may be total (watch the British here) bollocks.
I will agree with this, with the caveat that it depends how good their English is. If a Swissie speaks very good English, they will switch to it unflinchingly and with relish. If their English isn't so good as to feel fully comfortable, they will prefer High German.

In general, I have never been in a country where the average levels of English are so good among non-native speakers, it really is a blessing and probably partly (ok, primarily) why my German has plateaued since a few years now.
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Old 14.06.2015, 12:00
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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OP, if you want people to speak a different language around you, you need to make a honest and obvious effort to understand them first.
or have something they need, like money, expertise or business contacts.



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In general, I have never been in a country where the average levels of English are so good among non-native speakers, it really is a blessing and probably partly (ok, primarily) why my German has plateaued since a few years now.
the level of English in Luxembourg is a multiple of what it is in Switzerland, even in the most rural parts of the country the English is nearly flawless. it is even more a multiple in just about any major urban area in Germany, particularly in the north.
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  #40  
Old 14.06.2015, 12:06
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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In general, I have never been in a country where the average levels of English are so good among non-native speakers, it really is a blessing and probably partly (ok, primarily) why my German has plateaued since for a few years now.
FTFY

Doesn't look like your German has plateaued - in fact it looks like you're using it in English now
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