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Old 14.11.2015, 12:08
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Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

Hi my name is Rachel , and Ive lived here now in Switzerland for about three years. I was told by my husband that I should first learn German , then Swiss German will come automatically. I have had such a stuggle to communicate "really" with the people. Im not sure if its because of the language , or because I am American and our ways of thinking are so different. Americans are "open" people and here I feel that the people are closed off. I feel like every time I speak High German ( with my Accent) they want to speak back to me in English. Alot of the people Ive met cant speak so much , so our conversations are filled with just meaningless BS. Just wish I could find a real Connection with someone here other than my husband.. Anyone else feel me???
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Old 14.11.2015, 12:16
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

Yeah, it's hard learning High German, when all you here is Swiss German. The Swiss are very capable of speaking High German, but many would rather speak English I have found. However, when you listen to a German speaking it's amazing to realise how much you actually know
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Old 14.11.2015, 13:58
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

I believe on Migros clubschule they use to have a Swiss German course
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Old 14.11.2015, 14:12
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

to generalize:

If you speak Hochdeutsch, the Swiss don't like it so much - they'd rather not speak it themselves, and would prefer to switch to English. If you speak Schweizerdeutsch, they think you are an imposter or something (like moving to the Bronx from Texas and taking up a Bronx accent). If you speak English, they'll tell you how important it is to improve your German. (sometimes after you've started the conversation in pefectly good Hochdeutsch and they've switched it to English!)

Basically, they don't like outsiders. Sad but true. You need to find some ex-pat friends.
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Old 14.11.2015, 14:36
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

Hi, I think your position is probably pretty representative. It is hard, but nowadays there are lot's of ways to tackle it (moved here over 20 years ago in the same position).

If I was doing it again today, I'd check-out meetup.ch.

Don't worry - I'm sure it will get better!
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Old 14.11.2015, 15:49
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

It takes time. Your spouse is correct. First learn high german. Watch only german tv shows. Swiss german will just be easy to understand afterwards. Give it time.
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Old 14.11.2015, 15:58
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

maybe they think you're struggling with german, if you were a german they would just answer in swiss german and you could have meaningful conversations (provided you understand swiss german obviously). Maybe it gets better as your german improves further, and also try to speak swiss hochdeutsch (with a swiss accent).
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Old 14.11.2015, 16:13
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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It takes time. Your spouse is correct. First learn high german. Watch only german tv shows. Swiss german will just be easy to understand afterwards. Give it time.
From the language perspective I'd also recommend to start with High German, and the rest will come. High-German is something you can use elsewhere in addition - you'll realise that if you only focus on Swiss German you won't be understood very well when speaking it outside of Switzerland.

At the same time, most Swiss would prefer to practice their English than speaking High German. It might be an added complication as the US / German accent is sometimes pretty pronounced, but you're not the only one in this situation!

On the other-hand, if your focus is only to integrate asap with Swissies, then I've met a couple of people in the past couple of decades who've found starting with Swiss German really great, and much easier.

As mentioned, there are so many groups on meetup.ch which might provide a space for you to meet like-minded people, and practice both ;-)
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:12
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

How good is your German? I ask because I speak decently, making occasional grammar mistakes and mixing up the articles fairly often. I have little problem communicating. And take into consideration the culture difference for what it is. It could be worse, you could have moved to Japan.

P.S. This American "openness" you mention is a turnoff for many folks from other parts of the world. Again, culture difference.
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:32
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

I totally agree with you about they are turned off with the openness . Thats why Ive toned mine down ALOT sence I got here, yet they think America is so great , and how could I leave there.


Anyways after a few Drinks everyone is more open to communicating , Thing is you cant just get up every morning and down a drink..
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:39
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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and how could I leave there.
Have you notice how often the Swiss confuse 'leave' and 'live'? ;-)
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:47
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

to generalize:

If you speak Hochdeutsch, the Swiss don't like it so much - they'd rather not speak it themselves, and would prefer to switch to English. If you speak Schweizerdeutsch, they think you are an imposter or something (like moving to the Bronx from Texas and taking up a Bronx accent). If you speak English, they'll tell you how important it is to improve your German. (sometimes after you've started the conversation in pefectly good Hochdeutsch and they've switched it to English!)

Basically, they don't like outsiders. Sad but true. You need to find some ex-pat friends.








Not sure if Im replying right , but you are SOOO right!!!
This is my first time learning a new language, and I FIGHT!
Really proud of the Progress that Ive made. But really sometimes my brain just hurts. I feel like Im avoiding peope whenI should be imbracing them ..
Im from Fl and we have so many immigrants there from Mexico. I always thought " why are they here? Why cant they speak English ?) And now Im really being humbeled..
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:50
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Have you notice how often the Swiss confuse 'leave' and 'live'? ;-)




Or Three and Tree?? I ask them every time they make fun of my Accent ... Please say ... Three Trees ..... Yea and I cant say MÄDCHEN:: lolOL
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:50
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Have you notice how often the Swiss confuse 'leave' and 'live'? ;-)
Also: beach and bitch.

In High German, they can't say durch properly, it sounds like duuchchch. But as long as they produce good chocolate, I don't mind the accent.
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:53
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

[QUOTE=Island Monkey;2484891]Yeah, it's hard learning High German, when all you here is Swiss German. The Swiss are very capable of speaking High German, but many would rather speak English I have found. However, when you listen to a German speaking it's amazing to realise how much you actually kNOW:




Yea sometimes I say " those are my People" course most Swiss dont really like the Germans, so I get crazy Looks... But at least I can understand them better..
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:55
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Also: beach and bitch.

In High German, they can't say durch properly, it sounds like duuchchch. But as long as they produce good chocolate, I don't mind the accent.


Dont Forget the cheese..
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:58
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

Chin up. After 46 years I still have my grandchildren in stitches when I attempt to say Chuchichäschtli.
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Old 14.11.2015, 17:59
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Hi my name is Rachel , and Ive lived here now in Switzerland for about three years. I was told by my husband that I should first learn German , then Swiss German will come automatically. I have had such a stuggle to communicate "really" with the people. Im not sure if its because of the language , or because I am American and our ways of thinking are so different. Americans are "open" people and here I feel that the people are closed off. I feel like every time I speak High German ( with my Accent) they want to speak back to me in English. Alot of the people Ive met cant speak so much , so our conversations are filled with just meaningless BS. Just wish I could find a real Connection with someone here other than my husband.. Anyone else feel me???

Rachel,
It takes a few years to get used to the unwritten rules. Anglophones are more open than the Germanic peoples - it isn't that they aren't capable of being open, rather that they don't open up within a few sentences. You are where you are: learn the norms and adapt.


I also learnt High German when I first arrived, from an english perspective, Swiss German is so closely related that you basically get it for free (We don't effectively differentiate between Ausweis and Uswies, just like Banana and Banana - pronunciation is much more strict in the Germanic languages).


In the case of people with whom you regularly communicate, tell them that although you answer in "Schriftdeutsch", you want them to speak their dialekt - when you do this two things happen: 1) they don't feel required to speak a foreign (to them) language, 2) they stop changing to english. Many Swiss, particularily men, are more comfortable with English than with German.



You will always have an accent - I've been here 26 years, and I still have an accent. You will find people with whom you can connect, but you will have to recognise and adapt to the fact that you are in a different world. A significant portion of emigrating is about leaving where you came from - until you manage to do that you haven't arrived yet.
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Old 14.11.2015, 18:01
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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Chin up. After 46 years I still have my grandchildren in stitches when I attempt to say Chuchichäschtli.
Just say "im Schrank".
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Old 14.11.2015, 18:04
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Re: Learning Deutsch and hearing Swiss German

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I totally agree with you about they are turned off with the openness . Thats why Ive toned mine down ALOT sence I got here, yet they think America is so great , and how could I leave there.


Anyways after a few Drinks everyone is more open to communicating , Thing is you cant just get up every morning and down a drink..
About America being great - I must confess I've never heard this from a Swiss (to the contrary). Canada on the other hand...

And yes you can. But not for long. But do try it. I heard rehab could be real good for improving your German language skills.
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