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  #41  
Old 14.06.2015, 12:06
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Yes, this is what the Head of the Chamber of Commerce told my 6th Form students about 20 years ago in the UK. He told them that Germans were very happy to speak English if they needed something from you, as listed above- but would expect YOU to make the effort and speak German if you needed something from them...(be it a job, a contract, or whatever)- selling and buying games have totally different rules of engagement.

But even so- even when you are in a position of 'power' due to them needing something from you- it is still really arrogant not to make an effort yourself too.
Our eldest daughter works in a very international set up in the City and in English only- but when she does speak French to clients on a social basis- their personal attitude really changes and they are really pleased... and impressed too.

Last edited by Odile; 14.06.2015 at 12:25.
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  #42  
Old 14.06.2015, 12:18
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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FTFY

Doesn't look like your German has plateaued - in fact it looks like you're using it in English now
Haha yeah... it's amazing how your English starts to pick up quirks when constantly surrounded by non-native speakers too!
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  #43  
Old 14.06.2015, 12:21
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Has anyone else noticed that all the road signs here are written in "foreign" too?

How in the hell do people ever figure out how to get to where they want to go?
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  #44  
Old 14.06.2015, 12:42
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

You will have the Swiss' heart if you speak just a bit of Swiss German. All my inlays are Swiss and they cannot stand speaking high German.
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  #45  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:03
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

OP, since you list German as your native language, is it possible your colleagues think you understand what they are talking about? Maybe they misinterpret your lack of participation for lack of interest? It seems to me Swiss German speakers will just keep on going in Swiss German unless you specifically ask them to please use high German or English. It's not necessarily being snobby, it's just how they speak on an everyday basis with familiar people. Try starting a conversation in high German and see how that works.

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...The problem with people who speak English well or natively is that they become somewhat arrogant and expect other people to conform immediately...
Arrogant seems a bit too strong, but I see what you're getting at. Native English speakers are a tad spoiled in that virtually anywhere you go on the planet you'll find someone else that speaks at least a little English. Thus the motivation for English speakers to learn other languages diminishes as time goes on. This is very apparent in the U.S., where many school districts have eliminated foreign language programs as unnecessary expenses.
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  #46  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:14
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Arrogant seems a bit too strong, but I see what you're getting at. Native English speakers are a tad spoiled in that virtually anywhere you go on the planet you'll find someone else that speaks at least a little English. Thus the motivation for English speakers to learn other languages diminishes as time goes on. This is very apparent in the U.S., where many school districts have eliminated foreign language programs as unnecessary expenses.
I think arrogance is a justified term... as native English speakers we often assume that other people should use it simply because it is one of the worlds most common languages, and the fact that people complain about others not using English says it all. I do agree with the OP that it is a little insensitive of Swiss not to include him in their conversation, but in the end it is their native language and when they are in a group consisting of otherwise all Swiss people you can hardly blame them for reverting to their native language where they can laugh and joke and express themselves freely.

And obviously they know the OP doesn't understand German.... to suggest otherwise is unnecessary fluff.

Last edited by Richdog; 14.06.2015 at 13:52.
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  #47  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:20
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Arrogant seems a bit too strong, but I see what you're getting at. Native English speakers are a tad spoiled in that virtually anywhere you go on the planet you'll find someone else that speaks at least a little English. Thus the motivation for English speakers to learn other languages diminishes as time goes on.
It's understandable, I guess, languages can be hard to learn. But what makes me cringe is when I see Brits (especially) and Merkins just walk up to somebody and start speaking English without even a token "sprechen Sie Englisch?" (or even "Do you speak English?" would be a some sort of acknowledgement.)

To be fair to the Swiss, they generally take it in their stride if they do understand. In their place, I'd find it arrogant and ignorant. In the face of this, I find customer service here outstanding.
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  #48  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:23
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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.

When the same happens with a non-native speaking English, to me, making a small error, the correct word is guessed immediately.
The other day a guy asked my husband how old he is (66) and found it hilarious because his pronunciation (high German) sounded more like 'sex' than 'sechs' :
In future he will have to use the Swiss Geman pronunciation (more like 'zachs' ?) to avoid his blushes.
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  #49  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:28
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

BTW Migros Schule runs Swiss German courses for those who already have a good base or speak High German (eg separate from beginners, and to cover the basic changes from HG).
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  #50  
Old 14.06.2015, 13:42
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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As Gringo said, it might be a running gag with Germnas, but the commom language is and stays naturally German.
I also know Germans who have lived in Switzerland for several years, fully understand dialect, and who insist upon speaking only English with any Swiss person they do not know.

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  #51  
Old 14.06.2015, 14:41
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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That's a bit SCP ("Swiss" Chauvinistic ...), no? When it just takes you to speak English, a language you already know, to make people feel inclusive in a foreign land.
What reason did you give them to make the effort?

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Anyway, just speaking also on behalf of the other foreigner colleagues too..
No you're not. Talk about hubris.

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I'm not a German and they actually realised I could't possibly understand all their babbling no matter how hard I tried. Yes, some are that understanding. Plus obviously I am not perfect in German so it's a different thing...context is everything. I don't doubt they are far from being as accommodating with ze Germans. On the other hand a native speaker can understand (mostly) different dialects without too much of an effort.
Anyway, whatever functions in a situation (work related, meetings etc) and for a person, might not function in other situations or for other people...so.
That.

Trying is usually all it takes (actual success is of 2nd or 3rd priority) for people to accept the need to switch. See for instance:
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You will have the Swiss' heart if you speak just a bit of Swiss German. All my inlays are Swiss and they cannot stand speaking high German.
OP OTOH appears to take for granted that people are able and comfortable with using english. Reaction and result are quite predictable.
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  #52  
Old 14.06.2015, 16:51
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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, s.
I disagree and insist that Swiss claiming that they are better in English than High German are actually lying... They don't WANT to, but they CAN. I insist a lot because I spend my days with them and can assess their German. Why you chose to believe them is for you to decide,but I don't fall for it.

Me too, I 've heard many theories, all of them meaning actually that they make clear that they are not Germans, as if we didn't know.... I've been long enough here to have heard and seen it all. I don't believe their excuses, but that might be just me.
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  #53  
Old 14.06.2015, 16:54
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I also know Germans who have lived in Switzerland for several years, fully understand dialect, and who insist upon speaking only English with any Swiss person they do not know.

Ya, it's called an idiot. A German idiot.
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  #54  
Old 14.06.2015, 16:58
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I disagree and insist that Swiss claiming that they are better in English than High German are actually lying even unconsciously. I insist a lot because I spend my days with them and can assess their German. Why you chose to believe them is for you to decide,but I don't fall for it.
Proficiency and preference are not the same thing.
They may well be more proficient in high German than in English but they actually prefer to speak in English.
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Old 14.06.2015, 17:00
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I disagree and insist that Swiss claiming that they are better in English than High German are actually lying even unconsciously. I insist a lot because I spend my days with them and can assess their German. Why you chose to believe them is for you to decide,but I don't fall for it.

Me too, I 've heard many theories, all of them meaning actually that they make clear that they are not Germans, as if we didn't know.... I've been long enough here to have heard and seen it all. I don't believe their excuses, but that might be just me.
My Swiss spouse, born and educated in Zurich, speaks better English than High German.

Time required to speak HG = 5 minutes a week.
Time required to speak SD = 10 hours a week
Time required to speak & write English both at work and socially = rest of waking hours

Result better English (with accent) than High German (with accent)...
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Old 14.06.2015, 17:51
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I disagree and insist that Swiss claiming that they are better in English than High German are actually lying... They don't WANT to, but they CAN. I insist a lot because I spend my days with them and can assess their German. Why you chose to believe them is for you to decide,but I don't fall for it.
Nonsense, I know quite a few, in particular myself and my kids.

My wife as well. Despite being Swiss German, her almost non-existent English is MUCH better than her even less existent High German (she speaks no Swiss-German at all).

Tom
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  #57  
Old 14.06.2015, 18:25
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Still confused about the OP though- as his profile clearly says language German! so why would he expect people switch to English?
Because the OP is a troll, and the sharks have well and truly fallen for the chum.

En gueta!
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  #58  
Old 14.06.2015, 18:31
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Has anyone else noticed that all the road signs here are written in "foreign" too?

How in the hell do people ever figure out how to get to where they want to go?
Absolutely - apparently thinking it is a 100mph zone is not a good excuse.
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  #59  
Old 14.06.2015, 19:11
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I disagree and insist that Swiss claiming that they are better in English than High German are actually lying... They don't WANT to, but they CAN. I insist a lot because I spend my days with them and can assess their German. Why you chose to believe them is for you to decide,but I don't fall for it.
Speaking of language misunderstandings (more or less) isn't that what I (and the person you were responding to in the post I quoted) said? "Would rather speak English than German" does not mean "speaks English better than German".
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Old 14.06.2015, 20:35
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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...



Totaly agree with you
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