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  #161  
Old 21.06.2015, 08:56
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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He seems like he's making some valid points here and some people keep babbling just for the sake of it, because we have our likes and dislikes on EF and most of the time we write half-baked things to get "thanks" from our gang.
It is not so much a question of likes and dislikes as confusing opinion with fact.
By the way, I think that deutsche Standardsprache or in Switzerland as some say Schriftsprache is a better way of describing "High German" even tho`many Germans are also unaware of the difference.
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  #162  
Old 21.06.2015, 11:35
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I am yet to meet
- a Swiss-German that cannot/is unwilling to speak High German (well, the Swiss version of it) when needed/required
You haven't met my wife.

Of course, she can't speak Swiss-German either, only Italian!

Tom
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  #163  
Old 22.06.2015, 13:33
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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I am yet to meet
- a Swiss-German that cannot/is unwilling to speak High German (well, the Swiss version of it) when needed/required;
- a Swiss-German who makes a huuuge fuss about him not being able to speak HD and how much (s)he hates it. (I don't say they couldn't actually nurture these sentiments, especially in the lower or less formally educated social strata, mind)
I am just beginning to meet

- Swiss Germans who is willing to speak High German when needed/required
- Swiss-Germans who don't make a huuuge fuss about him not being able to speak HD and how much (s)he hates it.
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  #164  
Old 24.06.2015, 22:54
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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It is not so much a question of likes and dislikes as confusing opinion with fact.
By the way, I think that deutsche Standardsprache or in Switzerland as some say Schriftsprache is a better way of describing "High German" even tho`many Germans are also unaware of the difference.


If your mother language is English, then you don't even notice the difference between Uswiis, and Ausweis - this is like the difference between Noel Cowards "Some say Bananas, some say Bananas". In the Germanic languages the listener doesn't actually decipher what the Speaker has said, so the listener cannot transliterate Uswiis to Ausweis. This is deep within the culture and syntax of the language.


Many Swiss People, men in particular, would rather speak English than Hochdeutsch. If you speak Hochdeutsch, nearly all Swiss will automatically Switch to either Hochdeutsch or English. In 26 years here, even repeatedly reminding employees and close friends that, although I _speak_ Schriftdeutsch, I fully understand Dialekt I have only managed to convince about 10 People to speak their mother tongue with me. (I learned Hochdeutsch when I first arrived and picked up Swiss German for free, so to speak). Some say "It gives me a chance to practice my English", which is fine by me, but some say "It gives me a Chance to practice my Hochdeutsch" which always makes me snigger, because although my vocabulary is pretty good, my pronunciation is painful even to my own ears!


Andrew
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  #165  
Old 24.06.2015, 23:35
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Many Swiss People, men in particular, would rather speak English than Hochdeutsch. (...) my pronunciation is painful even to my own ears!
A well known experience, many people here can relate to that... but for mother tongue German speakers, the experience is usually rather different. Swiss Germans speak to me in German all the time, Hochdeutsch or dialect, never in English, because this is our common language after all. I do not have a painful pronunciation, so there is no signal to the locals to change language. It plays a huge role and I can not emphasize enough how hugely the experience of foreign language speakers, especially when identified as English speakers, and the experience of "real" (sorry for the wording) German speakers differ. Swiss people don't react the same to everybody speaking High German. It is not really about the German, it is about the feeling of having a common language or not, even if it might be unfair to your real level of German and unfair of some locals to overestimate their level of English. But the switch to English doesn't happen with Germans. Nobody ever switched to English with me or Germans I know.
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  #166  
Old 25.06.2015, 08:47
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Hi there

These are just my early days here but there's one thing that's nagging me.

Would I get by speaking decent German (and English of course) in Switzerland? I got a hankering to put down my roots somewhere around Bern which seems to be a German-speaking city.
I've been there numerous times as a tourist. This is why I'm inquiring about it - daily life is a totally different kettle of fish.

Or would it be better for me to pick up some French/Italian?
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  #167  
Old 25.06.2015, 08:50
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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...Would I get by speaking decent German (and English of course) in Switzerland? I got a hankering to put down my roots somewhere around Bern which seems to be a German-speaking city.

I've been there numerous times as a tourist. This is why I'm inquiring about it - daily life is a totally different kettle of fish.
You'll get by fine in Bern with English and a little German, at least for most daily activities. The only frustration you might encounter is that almost all contracts are in an official language, so if you're not fluent in the language it can be confusing. Fortunately you have a Forum here full of folks that speak plenty of languages, so you can get help with bits you don't understand.
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  #168  
Old 25.06.2015, 09:02
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

Sounds fine Thanks very much

And there's another thing - aren't employers a bit biased against people speaking "foreign-sounding" German?

I mean, I'd be looking for a job as an ESL teacher anyways but I'm wondering whether a prospective boss of mine cares about my German...

Back in the days I was teaching English in Odesa (Ukraine), people looked down at me for speaking very poor Russian (I managed to polish it ever since ) so that's why I'm asking.
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  #169  
Old 25.06.2015, 16:10
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Sounds fine Thanks very much

And there's another thing - aren't employers a bit biased against people speaking "foreign-sounding" German?

I mean, I'd be looking for a job as an ESL teacher anyways but I'm wondering whether a prospective boss of mine cares about my German...

Back in the days I was teaching English in Odesa (Ukraine), people looked down at me for speaking very poor Russian (I managed to polish it ever since ) so that's why I'm asking.
Welcome to the forum

If I were you I'd join a conversation group in German (EF member Sbrinz organizes one IIRC, or go to Klubschule or similar) to practice your German. In Bern I'd say German and French are equally important, so trying to actively join into French and German discussions with friends will be viewed very positively. Don't bother worrying about the possible errors, making an effort is what makes an impression, not how perfect the language is. And that'll keep you motivated until you're proficient in German and French

Good luck!

Last edited by glowjupiter; 25.06.2015 at 16:37.
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  #170  
Old 26.06.2015, 10:52
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Hi there

These are just my early days here but there's one thing that's nagging me.

Would I get by speaking decent German (and English of course) in Switzerland? I got a hankering to put down my roots somewhere around Bern which seems to be a German-speaking city.
I've been there numerous times as a tourist. This is why I'm inquiring about it - daily life is a totally different kettle of fish.

Or would it be better for me to pick up some French/Italian?
A language teacher calling his knowledge "decent" probably means "good" on a laymans' scale. And you seem to learn languages easily, so yes, you'll do fine.

As for regions, the german speaking area/population is 60-70% of Switzerland. I would guess that Bernese dialect is considerably more difficult to understand than the dialect spoken in east Switzerland, including Zürich area.
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  #171  
Old 26.06.2015, 13:50
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Excellent post- and this is much more prevalent perhaps in rural areas than in towns- and in rural/labourers groups than (youngish) 'intellectuals/white collar workers/teachers, etc'. Some of us live in much more mixed communities than others, perhaps.

What about Bern versus Zurich and vice versa?
Most Bernese understand Züritüütsch and High German and speak (a kind of ) High German, but people ffrom east of the Reuss-Aare line and from Germany may find it difficult to understand some of the heavier Bernese dialects
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  #172  
Old 26.06.2015, 14:01
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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Hi there

These are just my early days here but there's one thing that's nagging me.

Would I get by speaking decent German (and English of course) in Switzerland? I got a hankering to put down my roots somewhere around Bern which seems to be a German-speaking city.
I've been there numerous times as a tourist. This is why I'm inquiring about it - daily life is a totally different kettle of fish.

Or would it be better for me to pick up some French/Italian?
Bern is 100% German speaking, and few people bother about "foreign sounding" German
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  #173  
Old 26.06.2015, 14:51
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Re: Speaking swiss german in presence of non-Swiss

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people ffrom east of the Reuss-Aare line and from Germany may find it difficult to understand some of the heavier Bernese dialects
They understand it fine. They just get bored and wander off for dinner half way through the first sentence.
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