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Old 09.02.2013, 09:16
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Enjoying the Snow

Hello!
I'm new to the forum, but have been living in Berne for a few months now with a B visa. I came with very little preparation, and have just started learning some German.
Any tips on learning the language would be greatly appreciated!

I'm from the U.S. (southern California), so this is my first time experiencing a snowy winter.. It's beautiful, but the icy sidewalks are a terror!
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Old 09.02.2013, 09:20
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

Welcome to the forum, and tread carefully! (That's more real-world than metaphorical.)
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Old 09.02.2013, 10:11
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

Hi and welcome to snowy Switzerland!

In addition to signing up for a German course, I would suggest the following to help accelerate learning the language: First, buy a good English-German dictionary. I highly recommend "Langenscheidts Taschen worterbuch". It's small enough to carry in your handbag. Keep a small notebook when you are out and about, make sure to write down a few new words to learn every day.
Watch German T.V., watch your DVD's in English but always turn on the German subtitles. While watching, jot down a few new words in your notebook to learn later. Talk to as many native speakers of German as you can. This will help you to learn about the people and their culture. This has also been the greatest obstacle for me in learning the language here because many Swiss want to practice their English. Join a gym or any social group &make a friend with one of the native speakers in the class.
In your spare time, you can always learn online with a good program. I've tried many and recently found "duolingo.com". Now I've become totally addicted! Speak German as often as possible and don't worry about making mistakes. The Swiss people are very appreciative of any effort you make to communicate in their language.
Good luck to you in Bern and enjoy your weekend!
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Old 09.02.2013, 12:57
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

Thanks so much! Those are great tips. I'm married to a Swiss national, and we met in the states, so it's hard to break the habit of speaking in English all the time.
I'll check out the site you mentioned, and try practicing more with others.
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Old 09.02.2013, 13:08
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

The snow is the best part about living here - and not just because of skiing. I've been here for 6 years now and yet you can still find me with my nose pressed to a window when the the first snow of the year starts falling....
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Old 09.02.2013, 14:44
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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The snow is the best part about living here - and not just because of skiing. I've been here for 6 years now and yet you can still find me with my nose pressed to a window when the the first snow of the year starts falling....
Snow is one of the worst parts of living here as far as I am concerned....
"California Dreaming" is much more my cup of tea....remembering the fantastic time I spent in that State some time ago....should have stayed there!
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Old 09.02.2013, 18:08
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

I try to learn 2 new words a day. It helps too that where I work they speak 95%+ German so the added interaction helps a great deal.

The following phrases seem to diffuse frustrations some people have with foreigners' communication here.

Pardon, Ich bin Deutsch lernen - Pardon, I'm learning German (Better)
Pardon, mine Deutsch ist schlect. - Pardon, my German is bad (Casual)

Haben sie bitte, Gedult mit mir : Please have patience with me.
Kannst sie bitte sprechen Sie langsam : Can you please speak slowly.

Sprechen Sie Englisch? Do you speak English?

Es hilft mir zu lernen, sprechen Deutsch mit Handgesten. : It helps me to learn to speak German using hand gestures.

The Der, Die and Das is screwy.

If something is plural or feminine, it's Sie
If you don't know, it's Das
If you know it's masculine, then Der

Swiss are more lenient when it comes to addressing a stranger with Du and Sie. Formal German is strict about this and can become 'insulted' if you use Du without being "invited" to use it. It's weird.

I try to use Sie mostly but many times I've been told/hinted just to use Du with them. It's hard to explain. For some reason the word du is easier with most German words. When talking to children, always Du.

And then there's Swiss German. Don't get me started. Just about 99% (wild guess, if not 100%) of Swiss speak both Swiss German and High German. That's because everything in print is Hochdeutsch. Swissideutsch is verbal. It's what they grew up with so that's nice.

There are many words that almost sound like English. They are spelled the same, or pretty damn close, but are inflected and pronounced different. Picking up on those differences has gotten me by many times. Off the top of my head I can't give examples.

I use Rosetta Stone, have an iPhone app, take German classes and other stuff. And listen A LOT. Take it in doses.

It's better to practice and make mistakes than to not try. You'll find too that a lot of Swiss will find out you speak English and want to practice it with you. That helps at times.

The hardest part is putting my mind in German language mode. It gets easier, and I find it happens more and more, especially when I go to work.

Welp, there's some scrambled stuff from my pie hole to get you confused. I'm sure there's a correction or two coming up. Good luck!
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Last edited by Diego Knyte; 09.02.2013 at 18:09. Reason: typo
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Old 09.02.2013, 18:29
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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If something is plural or feminine, it's Sie
If you don't know, it's Das
If you know it's masculine, then Der
Good comments! Although it is "Die", not "Sie". But "she" is "sie" Yep, screwy is putting it lightly
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Old 09.02.2013, 18:43
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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I try to learn 2 new words a day. It helps too that where I work they speak 95%+ German so the added interaction helps a great deal.

The following phrases seem to diffuse frustrations some people have with foreigners' communication here.

Pardon, Ich bin Deutsch lernen - Pardon, I'm learning German (Better)
Pardon, mein Deutsch ist schlect. - Pardon, my German is bad (Casual)

Haben Sie bitte, Gedult mit mir : Please have patience with me.
Können Sie bitte sprechen Sie langsam : Can you please speak slowly.

Sprechen Sie Englisch? Do you speak English?
FIFY (Just got back from German school an hour ago )
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Old 09.02.2013, 19:03
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

I think you need a few more lessons, lol
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Old 09.02.2013, 19:34
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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Hello!
I'm new to the forum, but have been living in Berne for a few months now with a B visa. I came with very little preparation, and have just started learning some German.
Any tips on learning the language would be greatly appreciated!

I'm from the U.S. (southern California), so this is my first time experiencing a snowy winter.. It's beautiful, but the icy sidewalks are a terror!
Welcome to the forum! As for the icy side-walks, you need to buy proper boots.
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Old 09.02.2013, 19:40
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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Welcome to the forum! As for the icy side-walks, you need to buy proper boots.
And maybe even get a set of these: Yak Trax
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Old 09.02.2013, 20:20
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

You can get similar ones in Dosenbach shoe shops. They are brilliant - not much good with killer heels though

Last edited by Odile; 09.02.2013 at 21:28.
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:06
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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I'm from the U.S. (southern California), so this is my first time experiencing a snowy winter.
Did you never make it up to Big Bear in the winter?

...... and Mammoth was only a few hours drive.
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:27
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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You can get similar ones in Dosenbach shoe shops.
I noticed them in Migros xxx sport as well.
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:31
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

Welcome to one of the wonderful seasons of Switzerland. I find them all lovely and very differnt unlike the boring weather of Australia. All of the seasons here are wonderful for their own reasons but winter has to be one of the best folowed by fall and spring, the summer is one that I find the least desireable
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:40
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

welcome to Switzerland! the most important thing with the language - for me, anyway - is Patience. that and Persistence.



besides watching as much local tv as I can, I try to read Tagi and NZZ every day for an hour - www.tagesanzeiger.ch and www.nzz.ch. these are in high German and might give you a stress-free way to build vocabulary and see the grammar in the proverbial flesh. as you build your language skills they will also give you an entertaining view of the news out of the US.
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Old 09.02.2013, 23:05
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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Good comments! Although it is "Die", not "Sie". But "she" is "sie" Yep, screwy is putting it lightly
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I think you need a few more lessons, lol
Oh Yeah! Der, Die Das. . Meh, yes. MANY more classes and I'll be speaking gooder German.

Oh yeah, almost forget. Well I did forget...Welcome Tightropegirl!
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Old 13.02.2013, 08:42
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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And maybe even get a set of these: Yak Trax
Great idea! I made the mistake of wearing my regular flats a couple of weeks ago...still got the bruise on my butt!
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Old 13.02.2013, 08:50
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Re: Enjoying the Snow

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Did you never make it up to Big Bear in the winter?

...... and Mammoth was only a few hours drive.
Oddly enough, I haven't. But a few friends of mine have started snowboarding, so I'm sure I'll be making a trip to Big Bear the next time I'm in S.D. I'm a big fan of hiking and day trips. Loved places like Idyllwild, Joshua Tree, and Big Sur.
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