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Old 25.01.2008, 18:22
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Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

All right, this is a list of resources i.e. books, language software, classroom courses and so forth for learning Swiss german (Schweizerdeutsch, Schwiizertüütsch, Schwizertitsch). Of course, feel free to tell us about your experience with any of these materials or add resources that aren't already listed here.

This thread isn't the place to rehash whether it is better to learn high german (Hochdeutsch, Standarddeutsch) or Swiss german. For the purposes of this thread, we will assume that you have already made a conscious decision to study Swiss german. For the benefit of those who might have stumbled into the room accidentally though, let me briefly elaborate on the difference between the two languages. If you say that you are going to learn german, your intention is a bit ambiguous, as there are different varieties of german. In Germany and much of the german speaking world, 'german' would be interpreted to mean 'high german' (perhaps better described as 'standard german'). There are regional variations (dialects) in how german is spoken in Germany, but most or all of the dialects would be generally understood by a native speaker.

In Switzerland though we have a different situation. High german is used for writing and some official purposes (legislature, schools). Actually, it's Swiss standard german, but this is very similar to high german. However, what is usually spoken by most Swiss in day to day life (in the germanic speaking cantons) is Swiss german, which is quite a different thing. A native high german speaker e.g. someone from Germany would have considerable difficulty understanding Swiss german. Swiss, east of the röstigraben learn Swiss german as their mother tongue and then later learn Swiss standard german (high german) in school as a second language. Therefore, a Swiss can and usually will switch to high german for the benefit of those in the conversation that don't understand Swiss german. But a Swiss will consider high german to be a foreign language and much prefer to speak Swiss german. Just to make it a bit harder, you should know that there isn’t just one standardized Swiss german. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that there is a different dialect in each valley, certainly differences between cantons are readily apparent. Most Swiss will readily understand another Swiss speaking a different dialect of Swiss german, but it does result in occasional confusion. Not to mention that it is practically a national sport for the Swiss to poke some fun at how that person from [insert other canton] says that!. Or how hard it is to understand [insert dialect that is furthest from theirs]. In contrast to Germany or the UK, dialects in Switzerland do not infer a lower social or educational status, but are rather much cherished in Switzerland and are used in all walks of life.

The standard advice that is usually thrown about is to stick to high german. And for an expat who is here for a 1 or 2 year contract that is probably sound advice. It may not be the preferred language in Switzerland. In fact it probably ranks something along the lines of Swiss german, english, french, italian, high german (i.e. dead last). But almost everyone will understand you. It’s arguably easier to learn and hey you can use it when you travel to Germany too. But if you married a Swiss or especially if you intend to be a long term resident in Switzerland and want to participate /be accepted more into daily life, then learning Swiss german will pay dividends. If you are here for the long haul, then you are really doing yourself a disservice by not trying to learn the local language. FWIW, I (native english speaker), studied Swiss german before high german and am glad that I did it in that order. This is the order that native Swiss usually learn it as well. However, this opinion is the minority view & lots of people will be quick to suggest the reverse. Caveat emptor and if you can manage it, it would be useful to learn both.

For those of you who haven't already fled in fear, here are a few resources that I have run across. Keep in mind that Swiss german is a spoken language. There is no standard written form and most people (teenagers & children’s books excepted) will write in high german. As with any language, practice is everything, so you should give serious consideration to co-opting Swiss spouses, friends, co-workers, et al into your efforts. You may also find other expats who will practice speaking with you or native speakers that will help you with your Swiss german in exchange for english practice.


Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]
listed in no particular order


1. Audio materials & interactive CDROM software

Pimsleur compact Swiss german (audio language course CDs)
A good, if basic introduction. Listen & repeat type audio materials (10 x 30 minute lessons)
http://www.simonsays.com/content/boo...=9780743538480
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=2958343

Züritüütsch Schweizerdeutsch (2 audio CDs & textbook)
Zurideutsch audio course
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=6567515

Talk the talk Schwytzertütsch (CDROM)
ISBN 1846064899
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=6848545

Talk business Schwytzertütsch (CDROM)
ISBN 1846062896
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=6848520

Eurotalk language courses (CDROM)
From a google search, I have not used these myself
Eurotalk Learn Swiss
Eurotalk Talk more Swiss
Eurotalk Talk business Swiss
http://eurotalk.com/en/language.php?languageID=089
http://www.languagequest.com/home/pr...ISS&lang=Swiss

Victor Ebner TV series
Another google find. They're pretty sparse with details on their website, but these appear to be videos of everyday life, with Swiss german dialog
TV learning Schwytzerdütsch with Victor (20 lessons on 3 CDs + 6 booklets)
Scenes from the everyday life on DVD (DVD + booklet)
The complete learning Schwytzerdütsch with Victor on video (6 videotapes, 3 CDs, 7 booklets)
http://www.victor-ebner.com/US/index.html
http://www.victor-ebner.com/Us/Shop/en-gb/dept_12.html

Eric Carle: Die kleine Maus sucht einen Freund. Schweizerdeutsche Ausgabe (audio CD)
7 childrens stories in Swiss german
ISBN 3833718757
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=6255803

Schwyzerdütsch mit The Grooves - Local Grooves mit Emil Steinberger (audio CD)
Jazz and pop grooves; Swiss dialect, words and lifestyle
ISBN 389747722X
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=7124531

http://www.linguatec.net/products/tr/pt/pt2008pro
Linguatec personal translator pro
Translation software, incorporating a text to speech engine (TTS) that seems to do a credible job of pronouncing words. Certainly not a substitute for a genuine teacher or native speaker, but might be especially helpful for those brave souls trying to learn Swiss german outside of Switzerland. It’s a bit pricey, so try the free demo here first –
http://www.tik.ee.ethz.ch/~svox/
http://www.linguatec.net/products/tr/pt/pt2008pro


2. Movies with Swiss german dialog

Die Schweizermacher (1978)
Satirical comedy about becoming (gaining Swiss citizenship) and living as a Swiss. You might recognize a few Swiss *cough*foibles*cough* here. Dialog in Swiss german, with english subtitles. There is also a book of the same name that provides an english transcript to follow the movie with
http://www.swissmade.com/en/web/index.php?id=242
I've also seen it at Orell Füssli (Bahnhofstrasse 70, Zürich)

Other Swiss german movies /TV shows
http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Languages/SwissGerman/


3. Classes

Migros school
http://www.klubschule.ch/framedef_1....R&sparten_id=1

Swissing
http://www.swissing.ch/swissg.html

Inlingua
Offers courses in various dialects, e.g. Berndeutsch
http://www.inlingua.ch
http://www.inlingua.ch/index.php?&ac...anguage=OTHERS


4. Books

Hoi
Highly recommended. An excellent introduction to Swiss german for english speakers. Includes a basic Swiss german – english dictionary
ISBN 3-905252-13-9
http://www.bergli.ch/catalog/product...roducts_id=126

Die Schweizermacher: A Swiss German Tutorial. Harald Fox, Paul Schreier
English transcription /translation of the popular movie (which has Swiss german dialog).
ISBN 3034402422
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=2637756

Barndutsch (le bernois sans peine). Ursula Pinheiro-Weber & Jurg Weber
Narrative in french
ISBN 3-85654-949-8

Schwyzertüütsch. Praktische Sprachlehre des Schweizerdeutschen mit "Grüezi mitenand". Arthur Baur
ISBN 3857010029

Kauderwelsch, Schwiizertüütsch, das Deutsch der Eidgenossen. Isabelle Imhof
ISBN 3894162619
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/productDetails;?aUrl=90007790&artiId=2252842

Züritüütsch isch aifach schön (Zurich German is simply beautiful). Harry Fuchs, Paul Schreier
Children’s songs & some vocabulary
ISBN 3833418885

Was ist eigentlich Schweizerdeutsch? Arthur Baur
ISBN 3857010711

Grüezi mitenand. Arthur Baur
ISBN B0000BPNF9


5. Dictionaries

http://www.dialektwoerter.ch/
Online Swiss – high german dictionary (various dialects)

Berndeutsches Wörterbuch
ISBN 3-305-00255-7

Baselbieter Wörterbuch
Grammatiken und Wörterbücher des Schweizerdeutschen
ISBN 3-85616-129-5

Schweizerdeutsch für alle. Die 1000 gängigsten Wörter. Redensarten. Urs Dörig:
1,000 word Swiss german – high german dictionary
ISBN 3259032916 (1996)
ISBN 3952037001 (1993)

Wie sagt man in der Schweiz? Kurt Meyer
Swiss german – high german dictionary
ISBN 3411041315

Neue Schweizer Wörter. Christian Scholz
ISBN 3719312127

Schweizerisches Idiotikon. Mit etymologischen Bemerkungen untermischt
Swiss german – high german dictionary
Franz J Stalder
ISBN 3794136519

Schwiizertüütsch - Schweizer Slang. Isabelle Imhof
1,500 word Swiss german – high german dictionary

Grammatiken & Woerterbuecher des Schweizer Deutschen. Alber Weber
Out of print
ISBN 0828866481

Wörterbuch Schweizerdeutsch – Deutsch
Slim, Swiss german – high german dictionary
ISBN 3852246032
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=5764956

The alternative Swiss german dictionary
An unabridged online dictionary concentrating on rude expressions & profanity
http://www.notam02.no/~hcholm/altlang/ht/Swiss_German.html

Schweizerisches Idiotikon: Wörterbuch der schweizerdeutschen Sprache
Definitive, 17-volume academic Swiss german – high german dictionary. Very expensive. Found in many university collections & may be useful to those with easy access to a local university


6. Miscellaneous websites

http://www.tik.ee.ethz.ch/~svox/
A text to speech demo. Type a word and have it spoken aloud. I did a straw poll with half a dozen native Swiss speakers and the majority thought that it did a credible job of pronouncing Swiss german words. Useful when your genuine Swiss (spouse/friend/teacher/co-worker) is not at hand. The TTS engine is also incorporated in the Linguatec personal translator pro software

http://www.language-exchanges.org/
http://freelanguage.org/all-site-content/swiss-german
Find a native speaker for ‘tandem’ study. You learn Swiss german, they learn english, usually on a 1:1 basis.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Swiss-German_phrasebook
Some Swiss german phrases

http://www.pro-zurituutsch.ch/Site/PodCast
Zurituutsch podcasts

http://zuri.net/slang
Zurich slang

http://www.sprachtrainer-schweiz.com/
Online Swiss german course (for fee), based on current events




Last edited by itinerant; 25.01.2008 at 19:19.
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  #2  
Old 26.01.2008, 14:35
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

Another teacher of Swiss German;

Harry Fuchs is an excellent teacher who teaches one to one or small groups in Swiss German. I would recommend him highly, he also taught my sons the necessary survival phrases .. "don't hit me", "my turn" etc

http://www.softlanding.ch/
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Old 26.01.2008, 15:29
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

I'm going to make this thread sticky. It's very helpful stuff. In the future we might want to re-do some of this into a slightly different format, but I think this is great right now.

This thread should be primarily for resources. If you have something that is applicable to the numbered points in the first post, and adds something new to it, it would be appropriate to post it in this thread.
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Old 27.01.2008, 11:33
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

here's an online dictionary for those who want to look up bernese dialect expressions

http://www.berndeutsch.ch/de_CH/home.welcome.xml
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Old 27.01.2008, 17:49
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

Here are a few more websites to add to our list;


Dictionaries

http://www.walser-alps.eu/mundart/woerterbuch
Online dictionary for Walser area Swiss german dialects - high german

http://gaby-paul.freepage.de/woerterbu.htm
Online Zurideutsch - high german dictionary

http://www.ktai.ch/de/portrait/kultu...urappezoeller/
Short, online dictionary of Appenzell (I) Swiss german - high german

http://www.edimuster.ch/baernduetsch/woerterbuechli.htm
http://www.berndeutsch.ch/de_CH/lexikon.search.db
Online Berndeutsch - high german dictionaries

http://www.iff-faes.ch/html/Baseldyt...ish_dytsch.htm
Online Baseldytsch - high german dictionary


Miscellaneous websites

http://www.all-about-switzerland.inf...-dialects.html
Online radio shows in Swiss german (DRS1; Swiss national radio)

http://www.linguistik-online.de/20_04/rash.html
Socio-linguistic study of Swiss german. Useful for the annotated list of greetings, not to mention an interesting read

http://www.eldrid.ch/swgerman.htm
A brief introduction to Swiss german; numbers, days of the week

http://www.dialekt.ch/english.htm
Recordings of native Swiss speakers from various cantons


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Old 27.01.2008, 19:47
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

i picked up a childrens activity book about the cantons (about my german reading level) and inside it gives cute multi choice quizzos about the dialect from the region when relevant . . . i dig mishap information getting
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Old 30.01.2008, 16:23
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

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4. Books

Barndutsch (le bernois sans peine). Ursula Pinheiro-Weber & Jurg Weber
Narrative in french
ISBN 3-85654-949-8
I've just bought this book:

Bärndütsch (mit Spass). Ursula Pinheiro-Weber
ISBN: 3-7225-0010-9.

It comes with a CD and there is a separate exercise book to buy as well. Uses High German as the explaining language.

Zebipod is a daily podcast featuring a gymnasium student from Thun nattering away in Bernese dialect.
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Old 30.01.2008, 16:41
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

A couple of years ago i went to the migros school to learn swiss german, as i had been here for several years had gone to school to learn high german when i first moved here. Im sorry to say after 3 times going i had to give up (i wasnt the only one) the books were all written in swiss german my homework was written in swiss german cd also well everything. I had so many problems to try and read the book well basically i couldnt read a word when i asked my swiss husband to help me read it so i could do the homework he couldnt understand it i asked my neighbours and other family members who are all swiss and not one person could help me understand it. Im now slowly learning with my husband and children. I can understand my husband when he speak swiss german, but when we have a frien that comes to visit sometimes who lives 25 minutes away i cant understand a word its so different to what my husband speaks. Goodluck to all that are learning or going to have a go at learning swiss german.
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Old 05.02.2008, 21:05
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Buying Pimsleur CD at amazon.com (US)

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1. Audio materials & interactive CDROM software

Pimsleur compact Swiss German (audio language course CDs)
A good, if basic introduction. Listen & repeat type audio materials (10 x 30 minute lessons)
http://www.simonsays.com/content/boo...=9780743538480
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=2958343
Any Americans planning to buy it before going to Switzerland should note that amazon.com sells two seemingly identical versions at very different prices: one at $32.97 described as
Quote:
Pimsleur Swiss German: Learn to Speak and Understand Swiss German with Pimsleur Language Programs (Simon & Schuster's Pimsleur) by Pimsleur (Audio CD - Feb 27, 2006) - Audiobook
and the other, at $77.05, described as
Quote:
Swiss German: Learn to Speak and Understand Swiss German with Pimsleur Language Programs (Pimsleur Language Program) by Pimsleur (Audio CD - Sep 13, 2004) - Audiobook
Since the descriptions seemed identical I opted for the cheaper one (both qualify for FREE Super Saver Shipping).

I have just received it and played the first lesson. This one is very basic; I wonder how much will be covered in ten lessons.
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Old 06.02.2008, 01:31
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Re: Buying Pimsleur CD at amazon.com (US)

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amazon.com sells two seemingly identical versions at very different prices..
You bought a newer edition than I have. As far as I can tell, both products are the same or very nearly identical, save for different coloured boxes. They both have 10 x 30 minute audio lessons & I don't see any disadvantage in choosing the lower priced version. The pimsleur course is basic and best suited to absolute beginners. But considering the scarcity of any materials on this subject, it's a decent way to get your feet wet.
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Old 13.02.2008, 10:51
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

Zürich University's WhiteBoard website is a good resource, too.

I recently posted an ad for a German teacher and received several promising responses offering competitive prices for private tuition.

Although I can't make any personal recommendations, just yet, I have a few contact details for students with teaching experience in languages. Simply PM me if you'd like some emails/phone numbers.

Cheers!
Chris
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Old 19.02.2008, 09:48
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

http://userweb.port.ac.uk/~joyce1/di.../obschwyz.html

and another hopefully helpful link with english explanations to where the various links lead
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Old 28.04.2008, 20:00
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

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Die Schweizermacher: A Swiss German Tutorial. Harald Fox, Paul Schreier
English transcription /translation of the popular movie (which has Swiss german dialog).
ISBN 3034402422
http://www.books.ch/shop/action/prod...artiId=2637756
I have enjoyed watching this film and reviewing the dialog with this book. These guys (Fuchs and Schreier) have also published another book that is also a lot of fun. It's title is Züritüütsch isch aifach schön (Zurich German is simply beautiful), and just like Die Schweizermacher, it contains the German and English translations of many of the songs by the popular Swiss children's group called Schtärneföifi:

http://www.expatsolutions.ch/index.p...nfo&reg=&lang=

While the music of Schtärneföifi is supposedly for kids, it's still great entertainment for "big kids" and it makes learning the language much more fun than it might otherwise be. These are first class musicians and the writing is very clever. The Schtärneföifi CDs can be purchased at:

http://www.schtaerne5i.ch/shop/index.php

Note that their latest album ("Zvorderscht i de Loki") is the only one NOT covered by the book.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 13.08.2008, 12:19
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

I've just been given a very useful pocket Swiss German / High German / English dictionary called "Chuchichäschtli" The publishers are Swissboox

ISBN is 3-905761-06-8
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Old 22.08.2008, 13:44
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

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I've just been given a very useful pocket Swiss German / High German / English dictionary called "Chuchichäschtli" The publishers are Swissboox
I've had a look at one of these, and my only 'complaint' is that it appears to be peppered with regional peculiarities (e.g., uniquely Bärner terms and/or pronunciations) without identifying them as such. (Could cause some confusion.) But for the price, it's a handy little item.
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Old 22.08.2008, 13:55
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

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I've had a look at one of these, and my only 'complaint' is that it appears to be peppered with regional peculiarities (e.g., uniquely Bärner terms and/or pronunciations) without identifying them as such. (Could cause some confusion.) But for the price, it's a handy little item.
True, some word I have learnt and resulted in a blank stare from my GF and not because of my usual terrible accent.
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Old 06.12.2008, 10:51
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

Here is a paper (in English) that describes the differences between Standard and Swiss German:

http://www.nthuleen.com/papers/130paper2.html

I'm a beginner (A2-B1ish) in German and speak no Swiss German. So, no comments on its accuracy or usefulness, although it's written by a professor of German. Any comments by people in the know?
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Old 06.12.2008, 11:08
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

A thread that is relevant to this one: Swiss German TV on the Internet.
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Old 24.02.2009, 13:13
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

As far as I am concerned, I would have started by the very Swiss German vs. German rehashing this thread argues against, for its conclusion can hold in one short paragraph and make a very strong case on behalf of using those links.


That little trick is just that Alemanic people, be they from Switzerland, Vorarlberg, Schwaben or elsewhere, truly have a problem when hearing that standardized German language known as hochdeutsch - or 'German'. The concrete result therefrom is that whoever starts speaking school - learned German with these people will promptly be interrupted in French, English or whatever language those folks suspect you may speak. So to speak with Zurich, Bern, Basel locals : either speak your native English or French ; or learn the Alemanic language known as Swiss - German.


regarding the links found here, a number are great, and here are two more that I find great too :


1. The Alemanic - written website of Wikipedia :

http://als.wikipedia.org


2. A community website where young Swiss-Germans translate everything they can from German - written texts submitted to them by other community users :

http://firenze.pauker.at/pauker/DE_DE/SC/fo/18/


regards
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Old 20.06.2009, 16:27
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Re: Resources for learning Swiss german [all dialects]

A surprisingly accurate explanation! Are you a linguist? I especially liked these two sentences because they are best describing what it is about with our language:

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..But a Swiss will consider high german to be a foreign language and much prefer to speak Swiss german...

In contrast to Germany or the UK, dialects in Switzerland do not infer a lower social or educational status, but are rather much cherished in Switzerland and are used in all walks of life...
There is a little objection, however: Instead of saying Swiss German, you should use the lingustically correct expression Alemannic. That's the language spoken in the (French) Alsace, in Baden-Württemberg, some regions of Bavaria (Germany), Vorarlberg (Austria), in the Southern part of Liechtenstein - and Switzerland. Using this expression would avoid plenty of misunderstandings. But I know, the Swiss will come up soon and oppose. They think Alemannic is only spoken in (Southern) Germany - and no Swiss wants to be confused with a German. Another old story...
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