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Old 21.02.2015, 17:03
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Swiss German - resources for learning and practice

Hi everyone,

I learn Züritüütsch for a bit more than one year. My level at the moment is B1. I can speak on the streets with some errors now. From time to time I'm being asked for resources: classes, books, TV shows, podcasts, dictionaries. I decided to create a post with an up-to-date list of them.

1. Classes

Swissing - quite expensive language school. They have an office at Bahnhof Enge, Zürich, but most of their lessons happen in the offices of the companies. I work in quite a bit company, so that we have a few Swissing groups running at the same time. I spent 2800 CHF for 90 hours in 3 different groups. The lessons were worth the money. I heard stories from my colleagues that their group was not very strong and they did not learn as much, as they expected. Individual lessons are possible, but a few times more expensive than group of 4-6 people.

I didn't try other schools, please write if you have good experience with one of them.

2. Audio materials

For A1 and first half of A2 we were provided with complimentary audio materials from Swissing. It's possible that they will create them for A2/B1 in the near future. They were helpful, but I still wanted to listen more on the way to the office.

Regionaljournal Zürich Schaffhausen - This is an audiopodcast from SRF. There is a short (5-10 minutes) version in the morning and a longer one (25-30 minutes) in the evening. It's mostly spoken in Züritüütsch. There are similar podcasts for other regions and a lot of other podcasts on srf.ch/podcasts (beware, some of the podcasts in the list are in High German).

PodClub (Migros Klubschule podcasts club) - There have currently two podcasts in Swiss German: Andrea erzählt (Schwyzertütsch) and Typisch Helene (Schwyzertütsch). They are created for the people at the language levels A2/B1.

Schtärneföifi – die Band, die weiss, was Kindern gefällt - This is the music group from Zürich, Kreis 5. Their songs are targeted at school-age kids, but my 4-5 year old kids also love them. Good to listen/sing in the car. At first I used Züritüütsch isch aifach schön with translations of their texts into High German and English, but after a while I was able to translate them on my own.

3. TV Series

Fascht e Familie - The most popular local TV serie in German-speaking part of Switzerland. 99 series * 25 min. DVDs are available in SRF Shop, full series are also available on YouTube.

Best Friends 150 series * 11 min. Targeted for High-School kids. It helped me to master the language, but I would not like to watch another teenager series any time soon. You can watch them from Zambo.ch, or from the mobile/tablet app "SRF Player".

One of my friends recommended the new Der Bestatter, but I didn't watch it yet.

I occasionally watch some interesting stuff on srf.ch, e.g. Anno 1914 or Schweizer, die unsere Geschichte geprägt haben

4. Dictionaries

In book shops I have seen only very thin dictionaries with 1000 words, but later I discovered two good recent dictionaries:

Zürichdeutsches Wörterbuch - Updated 3rd edition from Nov 2014. 16k words Züritüütsch -> High German and index of words High German -> Züritüütsch. Very useful for reading.

züritüütsche grundwortschatz 2 books: the first is alphabetic, the second is thematic. Pure Züritüütsch, all the explanation use the same basic words from the dictionary. 3000 words from levels A1-B1 and (partially) B2. Very useful for language learners: verbs have all the forms, nouns have plural forms, etc.

5. Books

Even though most of the swiss authors write in High German, there are some books in dialect. So far I have read 7 books from Züri-Krimi serie written by Viktor Schobinger.

P.S. Please recommend other resources that were a great help for your learning of Swiss German.
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Old 22.02.2015, 23:55
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Re: Swiss German - resources for learning and practice

Hi, great helpful post! From your experience, would you recommend learning first high-German and then Swiss German, or go directly to Swiss German?
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Old 23.02.2015, 04:33
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Re: Swiss German - resources for learning and practice

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Hi, great helpful post! From your experience, would you recommend learning first high-German and then Swiss German, or go directly to Swiss German?

You should have some decent knowledge of Standard-German both for the language structure and to understand written matters
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Old 23.02.2015, 10:34
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Re: Swiss German - resources for learning and practice

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Hi, great helpful post! From your experience, would you recommend learning first high-German and then Swiss German, or go directly to Swiss German?
Eventually you will need proficiency in both spoken Swiss German (to talk to people around) and written Standard German (to read news, write occasional letters to the school, landlord, etc.).

I recommend to use whatever works for you. Some knowledge of High German (B1/B2) will speed up your learning of Swiss German. But if it would take you 2 years to bring it to this level, then I would rather start learning Swiss German from scratch - at least you will be able to hear it every day and practice it in your usual life.

I spend 30 hours in a Swiss German group without knowing of High German. Our progress was very slow, since the teacher needed also to explain all the common parts of German languages (Dat/Acc, genders, etc.). When I switched to a group with B1/B2 proficiency in High German, things went at least twice faster.

But your situation could be different. More important to learn things in a way that return your investments of energy: from talking to your neighbors in their native language, from being able to read letters from the school, from being able to participate in local communities, etc.
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Old 24.02.2015, 01:03
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Re: Swiss German - resources for learning and practice

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Eventually you will need proficiency in both spoken Swiss German (to talk to people around) and written Standard German (to read news, write occasional letters to the school, landlord, etc.).

I recommend to use whatever works for you. Some knowledge of High German (B1/B2) will speed up your learning of Swiss German. But if it would take you 2 years to bring it to this level, then I would rather start learning Swiss German from scratch - at least you will be able to hear it every day and practice it in your usual life.

I spend 30 hours in a Swiss German group without knowing of High German. Our progress was very slow, since the teacher needed also to explain all the common parts of German languages (Dat/Acc, genders, etc.). When I switched to a group with B1/B2 proficiency in High German, things went at least twice faster.

But your situation could be different. More important to learn things in a way that return your investments of energy: from talking to your neighbors in their native language, from being able to read letters from the school, from being able to participate in local communities, etc.
Thanks for the details. The challenge for me (and I think for lot of non-German expat speakers) is that at work you have English as accepted/official language and outside work almost everywhere you can use English as local people will be able to communicate with you. So I'm not "exposed" to German for day-to-day activity. I have started the high_german classes and will aim for 2/3 years to be able to have some acceptable management of the language. After will proceed to Swiss-German.
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