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  #21  
Old 27.07.2016, 21:25
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

very interesting indeed. I registered in a course starting next month and Im very determined to learn german. Its just that moment when I hear swiss german which breaks my heart knowing how long (if ever) will take me to understand them.

By the way, and Im not joking here - I work for a public body, and my coworkers are all swiss, and I was brought here on a "special" project, hence they waived the language requirement, EVERYTIME I try to speak german, almost all my colleagues start laughing or try to mock me. While I take it as funny and laugh back, a piece of me dies a little .. that did not stop me to be honest, but its an ego thing (ie they need you badly to help them in very complex thing, at same time they want you to feel that you are not a god, although I never, ever done that or tried to show off etc).

Today in a meeting: any questions or complaints? pause.. you, x person (me), if you have a complaint or question, you are only allowed to say it in swiss german.. me: isch guet.
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Old 27.07.2016, 21:38
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Today in a meeting: any questions or complaints? pause.. you, x person (me), if you have a complaint or question, you are only allowed to say it in swiss german.. me: isch guet.
Try not to learn German from juvenile dicks.

Also try to avoid getting into stupid arguments with idiots, idiots have a lot more experience in stupidity than you, so this is always a losing proposition.
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  #23  
Old 27.07.2016, 21:50
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Every time I read/hear a conversation about dialects, accents, etc., this video
comes to my mind :
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Old 27.07.2016, 22:12
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Today in a meeting: any questions or complaints? pause.. you, x person (me), if you have a complaint or question, you are only allowed to say it in swiss german.. me: isch guet.
At a meeting a couple decades ago:

"What shall we speak today? My Italian sucks, I'm not in the mood for English or Schriftdeutsch, Berndeutsch, are you crazy?, so it will be Zueri-deutsch!"

Said important client who could speak all of them fluently.

Tom
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Old 27.07.2016, 22:39
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Huere Uusländer. Mir sind doch uff em n'Schwiizerforum, oder?
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Old 27.07.2016, 22:57
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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EVERYTIME I try to speak german, almost all my colleagues start laughing or try to mock me. While I take it as funny and laugh back, a piece of me dies a little
That is because High German is a foreign language in Switzerland.

I think your perception of Swiss German is correct though. It is the language for social interaction in Switzerland, and it is the key to socialising with the natives. It does open doors, and there is a different reality on the other side of the door. On that side, you do realise the Swiss are human. They are more relaxed there.
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Old 27.07.2016, 23:06
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

If people are unwilling to communicate, it really doesn't matter if you both speak the same language - you won't get what you want. Morons are morons regardless of language.

I refuse to feel bad about being unable to speak a fluent dialect. I also find being an arrogant so-and-so remarkably useful.
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Old 27.07.2016, 23:16
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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very interesting indeed. I registered in a course starting next month and Im very determined to learn german. Its just that moment when I hear swiss german which breaks my heart knowing how long (if ever) will take me to understand them.

By the way, and Im not joking here - I work for a public body, and my coworkers are all swiss, and I was brought here on a "special" project, hence they waived the language requirement, EVERYTIME I try to speak german, almost all my colleagues start laughing or try to mock me. While I take it as funny and laugh back, a piece of me dies a little .. that did not stop me to be honest, but its an ego thing (ie they need you badly to help them in very complex thing, at same time they want you to feel that you are not a god, although I never, ever done that or tried to show off etc).

Today in a meeting: any questions or complaints? pause.. you, x person (me), if you have a complaint or question, you are only allowed to say it in swiss german.. me: isch guet.

Standard German not just is the language of correspondence and newspapers and lierature, it is the common language everybody understands

Last edited by Wollishofener; 28.07.2016 at 05:40.
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Old 27.07.2016, 23:22
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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That is because High German is a foreign language in Switzerland.

I think your perception of Swiss German is correct though. It is the language for social interaction in Switzerland, and it is the key to socialising with the natives. It does open doors, and there is a different reality on the other side of the door. On that side, you do realise the Swiss are human. They are more relaxed there.


NO it is NOT. ---- Bàrntüütsch, Wallisserisch, Baaseltiiitsch Schaffuserisch are foreign languages in different regions
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Old 27.07.2016, 23:26
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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That is because High German is a foreign language in Switzerland.

I think your perception of Swiss German is correct though. It is the language for social interaction in Switzerland, and it is the key to socialising with the natives. It does open doors, and there is a different reality on the other side of the door. On that side, you do realise the Swiss are human. They are more relaxed there.
I disagree, Swiss German is not the key to socializing. Unless they are absolute dicks (which the OP's colleagues seem to be), they'll respect the fact that you are new at speaking German all together and will speak slowly and clearly in High German.
At least that's my experience, being here for more than 7 years now.

Practice your High German, as much as you can, and as it grows your understanding of Swiss German will grow too. Don't worry too much though, Swiss German is only a dialect, even some Swiss will be honest enough to tell you that there are no rules nor one way to speak it.
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Old 28.07.2016, 00:10
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Standard German not just is the language of correspondence and newspapers and lieratuie, it is the common language everybody understands
However, it's NOT 100% the same as HochDeutsch.

Tom

Last edited by st2lemans; 28.07.2016 at 09:12.
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Old 28.07.2016, 00:28
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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However, it's NOT 100% the same as HochDeutsch.
Stop trying to make it sound like Switzerland was any different from Germany in regard to language variety: In Germany too, you have at least two varieties of High German even in written forn, south and north. Some argue there is a distinct eastern High German even 25 years after reunification. It's nothing formalized but a part of High German anywhere in the world, so Germany like Switzerland but also like Namibia etc.

There are even some words for which there is no official Prefered normalised version. Famous example is the last piece of the bread: Endstück, Knäusel, Knust, Kanten and a few more... I would never make a remark to my students using any of them. It's the same with quite a few expressions, some grammar details, vocabulary etc... It is NOT a purely DE vs. CH situation making Switzerland any special, but normal language variety everywhere where German is the official language.

To the OP: Keep up the good work, and if some locals don't want to turn off their dialect when speaking to you, they are not worth being spoken to. Do your best at work, there is no easy solution but trying to spend more time with Germans.
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  #33  
Old 28.07.2016, 00:48
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Standard German not just is the language of correspondence and newspapers and lieratuie, it is the common language everybody understands
However, it's NOT 100% the same as HochDeutsch.

Tom

the "Hochdeutsch" of München is very different from the one in Köln

Last edited by 3Wishes; 28.07.2016 at 18:10. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 28.07.2016, 01:02
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Today after 25 years here, I understand most Swiss German, but I always reply in High German, using Swiss nouns when I know them (Trottoir etc). If the natives get uppity I start speaking French, that stops them moaning.
This view echos my 15 years experience. Works fine, and often they actually think I'm a "Welshe" anyway due to my French accent when I speak German, although Im originally from the UK.

But yes, it's difficult because the Swiss Germans themselves have a difficult relationship with High German.
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  #35  
Old 28.07.2016, 05:01
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Today in a meeting: any questions or complaints? pause.. you, x person (me), if you have a complaint or question, you are only allowed to say it in swiss german.. me: isch guet.
my office in Zürich was a mix of Germans and Swiss. after 6 months they politely told me to pick either German or Swiss German, but no more English. I took the statement as encouragement for me to improve my language skills rather than as an offense - and it worked.



if you want to learn dialect, then I disagree with those who suggest that you should not learn it at the same time you are learning German. in my experience, that is the only way to learn it - at the same time. I found that, once I got through B1 in German, the Swiss German learning came much easier, since all of the decent Swiss German learning materials are written for Germans (I guess the Swiss actually have a pretty good sense of irony, after all).

also, I have never had a Swiss person switch to English on me when approaching them in (even bad) Swiss German. sure, I've been the butt of plenty of jokes like, "hey, you speak really good German, though maybe with a touch of a Swiss accent", but if you take it in stride you will find the response rate to be overwhelmingly favorable. if I approach a Swiss person in German, I invariably get a response in Swiss German, which of course is fine. the only time I get people who switch to English is when speaking German to a German, or when speaking Swiss German to people in Luxembourg.



the key is patience, whichever route you choose. it simply takes time and practice, there really is unfortunately no shortcut.
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  #36  
Old 28.07.2016, 05:59
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Hello

I will be in the same situation soon. I will be staying in CH with my Swiss partner for 3 months and I would like at this time to learn a lot more High German - as my intention is to eventually move to CH and to be able to work.

I know basic High German now and he and I have decided that we will only communicate in German for part of the time that I am there. I will also be enrolling into a German course. To be honest, my partner is very patient and well-spoken so it is enjoyable for me to learn from him. Except for the times that he switches to Italian instead of English I also know that I have helped him improve his English greatly - as he has been kind of 'forced' to speak it as it was my only language - so I know that this method will work for me too.

With regards to Swiss German - I can understand his dialect quite well (because I am used to him!) but I get very lost when others speak it. It is really frustrating when I am at a restaurant and he is speaking to the waiter and I am just lost - but all this does is convince me that I need to learn it better Don't be scared of making mistakes - and if someone is rude to you because you have made a mistake - ignore them - it isn't worth it to worry because it will knock your confidence.

My partner tells me it is more important for me to learn High German first and that whilst living in CH - I will absorb a lot of Swiss German because I will be immersed in it (I spent a month there recently and was amazed how much I could understand in Swiss German toward the end of my time).

Perhaps you could extend the time that you and your partner speak German - rather than switching back to English quickly - try to communicate in German every single day. It will come with time, and practice, lots of practice.

I know that I will run into trouble if I work there and people communicate in Swiss German in the office - and if I don't know it very well. But I accept this - as I am living in their country and want to make the best effort to try to speak the language. I am sure I will experience many frustrations and you will probably see me in the complaints corner every now and then

Good luck - and try not to be disheartened - you will get there
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Old 28.07.2016, 06:10
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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This view echos my 15 years experience. Works fine, and often they actually think I'm a "Welshe" anyway due to my French accent when I speak German, although Im originally from the UK.

But yes, it's difficult because the Swiss Germans themselves have a difficult relationship with High German.



most also have a difficult relationship with other dialects
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  #38  
Old 28.07.2016, 09:02
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Hi,

I have lived here for 27 years and one of the best decisions I made was to learn high German and I would strongly recommend anyone who is thinking of staying in the German speaking part of Switzerland to learn the language. It is very important to be able to be able to hear the difference between dialect and German. Once you have an understanding of German and understand some of basic dialect constructs then you will understand more and more dialect.

Everyone in the Swiss German part of Switzerland has learnt German. They have to as they and write German everyday. If you are speaking German and they either change to English or stay in dialect then just ask them politely to speak in German as you are trying to learn the language. Everyone here can do it.

I work for a Swiss company and so all the meetings are in either dialect or German but I just speak High German in the meeting and not says I have to speak dialect which I never speak.

Language is about communication and not perfection. If someone wants to build a barrier in a conversation that says more about them.

Even though I have been herea long I still prefer the sound of high German being spoken, maybe because I listen to it without having to translate into another language. With dialect I am always having to translate into German.

Have fun
Martin
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  #39  
Old 28.07.2016, 10:36
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Keep at the High German like the others have said, at least there is a standard set of rules for them. I'd say Swiss German is to High German what hardcore Geordie is to Standard English - you would not go to England with the intention of learning Geordie. But unlike the English example, most Swiss Germans with at least a minimum level of education (and dare I say sense) can actually speak High German, albeit with a more or less noticeable accent. I have noticed though that I speak a different kind of High German with non-German natives than with Germans, we refer to it as "Deutsch für Du", as opposed to "Deutsch für Dich", it's a kind of simplified German that mirrors how the non-native is speaking with us. It may be easier to understand but it's probably going to wreck your style, which is why I agree with whoever said that a proper teacher should be in charge of you learning German.
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  #40  
Old 28.07.2016, 11:09
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

Well no one keeps you from taking a stab at Swiss German, but there's a reason even Germans don't understand it, let alone ever really learn it (the exception being those from the border zone with their Alemannic dialect, which is quite comparable to SG in some respects). I have two German friends from further North, who've lived in CH for 10+ years - I still speak HG with both of them. They understand some SG by now, but by far not all. I can only imagine what a massive challenge it must be to learn SG when you have no knowledge of German whatsoever.

As others say, HG is the written form, SG the spoken one (except for casual conversation - I text/chat/e-mail mostly in SG with my friends/family). Even if you speak SG fluently, but have never learnt HG properly, you may not be able to understand HG, let alone speak or write it. The differences are quite substantial. SG for instance has only one form of past tense, some words are completely and utterly different etc. SG is also a bit more French-influenced, think Trottoir vs Gehsteig - no Swiss would ever say Gehsteig). You mention the girl you're dating cannot explain SG grammar/rules - that's because there isn't/aren't (m)any I'm an SG native and I couldn't for the life of me explain the logic of SG. In fact I can't even think of there being any logic

HG will get you everywhere. Absolutely every native SG speaker also speaks and understands HG. They may be reluctant to do so at times, but that is a different issue. Learning HG is therefore crucial as it will make your life here substantially more easily.

That all being said, I can understand how it can be frustrating to speak HG to a relatively decent level, yet still not understanding what's going on around you. I remember a Malaysian co-worker who had been going to HG classes for years, went shopping one day, yet almost broke down in tears while frantically looking for the word "Weggli" in her HG dictionary, to no success of course...

I also have yet to find anyone making fun of someone who tries to speak German. I work in a highly international environment with very few Swiss around and I always appreciate and enjoy if some of my non-German-speaking colleagues take a stab at speaking the language. At least it's much better than not giving a crap at all and expect everyone else to switch to English at all times. But apparently, that is just me and all other Swiss find these attempts lol-worthy.
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