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Old 05.08.2016, 10:33
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Im not as smart as you Urs. Im not designed to act like robot and on assumptions and prejudgements. call it pettiness.

which school you gone to? To make sure not to send my kids to.

If it was petty, sbb wouldnt have apologised?
Trainspotter,

From a purely practical standpoint, when you are on a tram, and a number of people get in, wait for the doors to close, take out some form of id, utter some sentence, then proceed to check all the passengers tickets one after the other it is fairly trivial to guess what is going on. They might be aliens searching for the ruler of a rival planet, or some weird group of performance artists, but in all likelyhood they are VBZ controllers doing a spot check. A robot might not be able to figure this out, but for a human being equipped with even a modicum of cogniscience it is a relatively trivial exercise.

Are you certain you are not confusing your annoyance at having been dinged for riding without a valid ticket with some different evaluation about language usage?

My bet is that if you had had a ticket with you:
a) You wouldn't have needed any verbal communication.
b) If you had asked some question in HG the controller would likely have answered in HG, or his best approximation thereof.

The takeaway message is:
1) Don't ride the public transit without a valid ticket.
2) Learn enough SG to understand "Gruezi mitenand, Billet Control" and similar sentences.
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  #82  
Old 05.08.2016, 10:39
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

I live here for a while and go to work daily by public transport so sure I have abo. Its actually provided by my employer as part of my package so certainly I have one and your assumption that I dont have one is just invalid.

Your rational post above is pure right - excluding not having a ticket -. It just didnt occur to me that I would be handing my ticket (this is very first time in a year to see them actually! And i was standing by the door and he came from behind me so I was taken by surprise especially when he didn't identify himself, i only knew they are controllers when the other guy started to walk around for others. He held a mobile size device which looked exactly samsung device or so, hence it was a baffling situation that I told him in english and german to speak in either.

Im waiting for the official letter from sbb (directed at my work) and then will share it here so you can read and then decide if I was at fault. If i was at fault, i will apologise publicly here to all of ye
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  #83  
Old 05.08.2016, 10:50
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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2) Learn enough SG to understand "Gruezi mitenand, Billet Control" and similar sentences.
OH my.. This one!
You should have read my first post which is totally relating to that.
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  #84  
Old 05.08.2016, 10:53
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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I live here for a while and go to work daily by public transport so sure I have abo. Its actually provided by my employer as part of my package so certainly I have one and your assumption that I dont have one is just invalid.

Your rational post above is pure right - excluding not having a ticket -. It just didnt occur to me that I would be handing my ticket (this is very first time in a year to see them actually! And i was standing buly the door and he came from behind me so I was taken bu surprise especially when he didn't identify himself, i only knew they are controllers when the other fuy started to walk around for others. He held a mobile size device which looked exactly samsung device or so, hence it was a badfling situation that I told him in english and german to speak in either.
But you must have the abo WITH YOU, particularly if you are at a linguistic disadvantage.

Really, it isn't all that baffling. Particularly from the inspector's perspective. He asked you to prove that you had paid for the ride, you didn't, then started messing about with calling people and expecting him to do something or other to suit your desires. Did you actually get a Büsse?

Yes, he probably should have tried to accomodate you. Should he learn every single language represented in the foreign population of Zurich just so that he can explain the contents of:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/vbz/de/...hrausweis.html
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  #85  
Old 05.08.2016, 11:08
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Update..
Got stopped by ticket controller in tram today in front of my work and and the crontoller was speaking swiss german so I asked him to speak either high german or english to which he refused and insisted in swiss german.. With no help feom his colleague or anyone at tram to translate to me what he wants, I immediately phone called head of my department and told him what happened and I need translater to which the issue was sorted in 3 mins and we got a formal apology from sbb and they assured us that the 2 actually also speak french and english." But decided unprofessionally not to speak either or at least high german - they are looking into the matter (well, that only happened because my employer is powerful public body).. Whats interesting was the follow up with my employer on why they took advantage of me at tram.. The brutal honesy was a bit upsetting but I appreciated an honest justification (from locals at least) so I know in future what drives such thing shall I fall in trouble in future with authorities.

Apologies for the typos - as usual mobile walking and writing!
really?
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  #86  
Old 05.08.2016, 11:13
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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really?


YES.. And got an apology on spot

They wouldnt have reacted if I was at fault (another )
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Old 05.08.2016, 11:19
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Im waiting for the official letter from sbb (directed at my work) and then will share it here so you can read and then decide if I was at fault. If i was at fault, i will apologise publicly here to all of ye
I'm not sure I understand why you feel a need to groan me. Nor do I await or expect an apology.

Is your desire to figure out how to most easily get through day to day life here in Switzerland linguistically, or are you shooting for something else?
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Old 05.08.2016, 11:22
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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I'm not sure I understand why you feel a need to groan me. Nor do I await or expect an apology.

Is your desire to figure out how to most easily get through day to day life here in Switzerland linguistically, or are you shooting for something else?

Not at all Jag. You made non true assumptions and ignored the main point so I groaned at your post - i believe you deserve it.. Nothing personal.

I came to EF looking for advice and help and I have got by far very, very helpful comments until you and couple of others dragged the post into alliens and ticket dodgers.

Im in true trouble due to lack of language skills and Im learning german but cant get use of it or practice it because people generally speak swiss german and hence I came here for valuable advice, which is of course very appreciated
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  #89  
Old 05.08.2016, 11:31
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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Not at all Jag. You made non true assumptions and ignored the main point so I groaned at your post - i believe you deserve it.. Nothing personal.

I came to EF looking for advice and help and I have got by far very, very helpful comments until you and couple of others dragged the post into alliens and ticket dodgers.

Im in true trouble due to lack of language skills and Im learning german but cant get use of it or practice it because people generally speak swiss german and hence I came here for valuable advice, which is of course very appreciated
From the inspectors viewpoint you weren't able to prove that you had a valid ticket. If your abo is a personal one (i.e. the non transferable type) then you won't get a fine.

Just what linguistic advice were you seeking for this concrete experience?
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Old 05.08.2016, 11:45
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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From the inspectors viewpoint you weren't able to prove that you had a valid ticket.

To be honest: No. From the inspectors view is there some foreigner who clearly tells him that he does not understand dialect but offers to communicate in standard language as well as English - two options he would probably be able to use to do his job. Instead he got some power rush and thought he'll show trainspotter who is in charge... and failed.


So both had their five minutes today where they could feel all big and strong. I think my life isn't that exciting, but I don't think I ever got wound up that much about a ticket inspection...
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  #91  
Old 05.08.2016, 12:14
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

trainspotter: I would hate to sound like I'm blaming the victim, but are you sure there isn't something about your attitude that is causing a bad reaction from some Swiss people? I have been living in Zürich for 3 months now and I don't speak a single sentence in German or Swiss German (I know, I'm not proud of it), but still I've never been anywhere near the level of discomfort you've been describing in this thread.

The worst situation I've been through was having to use mimic at a shop to explain what I wanted, which was a received by smiles from a very helpful attendant, so not really unpleasant at all.

Also, I can't imagine why you would see a person - no matter how official their clothes look - checking everyone's tickets and not just show your ticket/abo by default! It's not about blind assumptions, this is a normal practice all around the world! Happens in the Tube in London, in Alitalia trains, in touristic train rides in Brazil... anywhere!

Yes it was bad they couldn't communicate to you in High German or English, but being that inflexible when you're a foreigner living abroad just makes your life way harder than it has to be.
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Old 05.08.2016, 12:36
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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YES.. And got an apology on spot

They wouldnt have reacted if I was at fault (another )

no official or Controller refuses to speak Standard German, so that it clearly was a misunderstanding
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Old 06.08.2016, 04:13
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

I've never been to Switzerland, but I want to echo what Felipe said. A couple of years ago, renowned Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald died of cancer. He was not just beloved in the United States, but also in France. (I believe Jacques Chirac came to visit him on his deathbed.) The reason I mention this is that after his death, his friends mentioned how TERRIBLE Buchwald's French was. Although the French are notorious for not being hospitable to people who don't speak French well, there was something about Buchwald that made the French overlook his poor pronunciation. I think Buchwald's attitude and behaviour endeared him to the French, and there may something in trainspotter's attitude and behaviour that is rubbing the Swiss the wrong way.
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Old 06.08.2016, 05:04
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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...I came here for valuable advice, which is of course very appreciated
my survival tips for you:

1. ALWAYS start by greeting the person to whom you are speaking. "Grüezi" is always nice, but your accent will give you away no matter how hard you try and a simple "Guten Tag" or "Hallo" will be perfectly fine.

2. ALWAYS ask permission to speak English. "Darf ich auf Englisch?" is all you will need.

3. If the person to whom you are speaking declines (either because they are unable or unwilling), simply move on to the next person.

4. NEVER take body language, smirks or grimaces personally.

5. NEVER expect the other person to be able to count in English. this is what cash registers with digital displays are for.

6. ALWAYS end with a simple farewell. this can be as simple as "ciao" to "en schöne tag no" to whatever your heart desires. just like the greeting, the content is far less important than your recognition of the importance of the formality.

7. ALWAYS make direct eye contact.

remember, it is great that you want to practice your German but the typical store clerk / waitress / SBB employee is not interested in being your practice partner. just like you, they are more often than not simply trying to get through their day with the minimum number of hassles. also remember, the typical store clerk / waitress / SBB employee (ok, maybe not so much the SBB employee) is almost without question an immigrant just like you, and standard German may not be a comfortable place for them. this doesn't make these people a-holes, it just makes them people.

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Old 06.08.2016, 08:35
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

OP, you cannot deal with a person controlling your ticket without losing it and feeling the need to post about the "incident" on EF. Do you have somebody in your office who does the shopping for you, somebody who orders in a restaurant, etc?

Another important word (or two): "zum mitnehmen".
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Old 06.08.2016, 11:21
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Re: Whats the point of High German?

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after his death, his friends mentioned how TERRIBLE Buchwald's French was. Although the French are notorious for not being hospitable to people who don't speak French well, there was something about Buchwald that made the French overlook his poor pronunciation.
I had a parisian girlfriend who accused me of having such bad pronunciation solely to annoy her, as it 'just wasn't possible that I spoke so correctly, but with a blantant American accent'!

(back in '82, I was with a friend from Lausanne at a fest in Zurich, and we met a couple girls from GE, and one asked my friend why I always insisted on speaking with 'a fake American accent'. My friend replied that it wasn't fake.)

Tom
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