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View Poll Results: Would you like Swiss German to become an official language, instead of High German?
Yes, I would 53 25.60%
No, I wouldn't 154 74.40%
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  #21  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:41
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

That's the issue answered in a nutshell, the Swiss-German dialects are very regional, a common one would be as artificial to the Swiss than Hoch Deutsch currently is.

Intriguing how there is no such issue in the French part, there are big differences in the accents, but aside from a few words, understanding each other has never been an issue.
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  #22  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:43
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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It is Norway, where there is the contemporary presence of Bokmal and Nynorsk as official languages, but where there is a de-facto official language, Standard Østnorsk (Standard East Norwegian), spoken by the upper class in Eastern Norway, which is also taught to foreign students.
So, yes, it's possible to have a common dialect. It's just a matter of political will and a trade-off between isolationist and internationalisationist choices.

How about we lobby for the Waliser dialect
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  #23  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:46
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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That's the issue answered in a nutshell, the Swiss-German dialects are very regional, a common one would be as artificial to the Swiss than Hoch Deutsch currently is.

Intriguing how there is no such issue in the French part, there are big differences in the accents, but aside from a few words, understanding each other has never been an issue.
Apart from very few words, there are practically no differences between Swiss Italian and standard Italian. I think it is even unproper to theorise the existence of a Swiss Italian.
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  #24  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:46
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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How about we lobby for the Waliser dialect

What about MASS SUICIDE?????
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  #25  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:49
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I agree. If they want to have a common dialect, then my vote goes to the Waliser.

It's a nice dialect.
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  #26  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:50
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of what Swiss-German is and what it means for its users. For a native English-speaker the concept is nearly impossible to understand.

There is no standard Swiss-German and the idea of imposing a standard form defeats the whole object of it. A Berner (zum beishpew) is deliberately saying 'I am not a Zürcher - and never want to be mistaken for one'.

Likewise, the whole so-called German-speaking region is saying the same about Germany ('We are not Germans - and never want to be mistaken for them'.)

Britain has a class system and accents say a lot - the moment Brits open their mouths other Brits know where they fit in the hierarchy. The USA has no class system so professors invent 'extensive on-going linguistic connotations to elaborate their distinctiveness'.

The Swiss Germans throw this concept out of the window and embrace the 'Oh-aaah' language of a farmer and it means nothing as far as status goes, other than saying 'I'm not from the next valley, but this one'.

As the world goes global and immigration as put the level of permanent non-Swiss living here up to 20%, their need to state the fact the 'I am still here' has made the multi-versions of Swiss German more important than ever for its speakers.

A universal version can never be adopted - that is self defeating. And every version of the dialect is laughed at - sometimes for its cuteness, sometimes for its ugliness - by those using a different version. Naturally their own dialect is the best.
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  #27  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:51
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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But, unfortunately, that's just what Swiss don't do!!


The Swiss that I know (and there are many) are perfectly happy to read, write and communicate in high German when dealing with foreigners
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  #28  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:56
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of what Swiss-German is and what it means for its users. For a native English-speaker the concept is nearly impossible to understand.

There is no standard Swiss-German and the idea of imposing a standard form defeats the whole object of it. A Berner (zum beishpew) is deliberately saying 'I am not a Zürcher - and never want to be mistaken for one'.

Likewise, the whole so-called German-speaking region is saying the same about Germany ('We are not Germans - and never want to be mistaken for them'.)

Britain has a class system and accents say a lot - the moment Brits open their mouths other Brits know where they fit in the hierarchy. The USA has no class system so professors invent 'extensive on-going linguistic connotations to elaborate their distinctiveness'.

The Swiss Germans throw this concept out of the window and embrace the 'Oh-aaah' language of a farmer and it means nothing as far as status goes, other than saying 'I'm not from the next valley, but this one'.

As the world goes global and immigration as put the level of permanent non-Swiss living here up to 20%, their need to state the fact the 'I am still here' has made the multi-versions of Swiss German more important than ever for its speakers.

A universal version can never be adopted - that is self defeating. And every version of the dialect is laughed at - sometimes for its cuteness, sometimes for its ugliness - by those using a different version. Naturally their own dialect is the best.

It is clear that Swiss German is a statement of identity for Swiss people. But, for example, what should a foreigner do when he enters Switzerland? Should s/he learn German, English or the Swiss German variety of the places where s/he decides to settle down?
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  #29  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:02
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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It is clear that Swiss German is a statement of identity for Swiss people. But, for example, what should a foreigner do when he enters Switzerland? Should s/he learn German, English or the Swiss German variety of the places where s/he decides to settle down?
Learn German. Accept that you will always be an Auslander. Try to pick up and understand as much Swiss German as you can.
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  #30  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:11
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Learn German. Accept that you will always be an Auslander. Try to pick up and understand as much Swiss German as you can.
Heh, that would be a nice suggestion...the problem is that it is difficult to learn German in a context where everybody speaks Swiss German. I mean, when you have to start from the beginning, it makes no use to be in Switzerland, because you listen to a different language all time.
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  #31  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:16
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Heh, that would be a nice suggestion...the problem is that it is difficult to learn German in a context where everybody speaks Swiss German. I mean, when you have to start from the beginning, it makes no use to be in Switzerland, because you listen to a different language all time.
And that's the trump card of the Swiss-Germans and their use of dialects...
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  #32  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:18
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Heh, that would be a nice suggestion...the problem is that it is difficult to learn German in a context where everybody speaks Swiss German. I mean, when you have to start from the beginning, it makes no use to be in Switzerland, because you listen to a different language all time.
I feel like we're going round in circles here.

It makes very little sense to start out learning Swiss German without a firm basis in German. High German is very widespread, especially in cities and generally also in the kind of work environment where foreigners are working. Swiss and German TV is mostly broadcast in high German. If you speak high German, you will (normally) get a reply in high German. Once you have your basic German skills, it's not a huge step to get a basic understanding of Swiss German.
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  #33  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:35
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Move to the French part, we are a lot less of a pain in the backside
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  #34  
Old 23.03.2007, 12:50
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Move to the French part, we are a lot less of a pain in the backside
Try calling it "the French part" with the locals and see how you get on...
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  #35  
Old 23.03.2007, 13:01
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Move to the French part, we are a lot less of a pain in the backside
ROMANDIE!!! (be careful, that is like calling a Swiss German a German)

Last edited by PC_Advisor; 23.03.2007 at 13:51.
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  #36  
Old 23.03.2007, 14:07
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Even in Germany, people by default speak Swaebi Deutsch or Bayern Deutsch or Koeln Deutsch or ... amongst their local communities rather than Hoch Deutsch. It's only when one needs to communicate with "outsiders" that the standardised language is needed.
It's not just Switzerland that has these issues...
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  #37  
Old 23.03.2007, 15:02
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I'm Swiss-French chaps but thanks for the concern, it is appreciated and Ab Fab is right, NEVER call us French...

Do me a favour though, don't ever think of changing that great habit of yours of calling "le Lac Leman", Lake Geneva, we like it that way in my parts
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  #38  
Old 23.03.2007, 18:59
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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Well, the first problem that you have mentioned could be solved by choosing just one type of Swiss German (maybe the one from Zurich) and impose it as a standard Swiss German. I think they have done the same with Rhaetoromanic, whose language there are different varieties spoken in the different areas, but only one used in official documents.
I completely agree with the second problem that you have pointed out.

This can never happen as all the SG speaking Swiss just love their own way of pronunciation. They wont give it up. Once we were sitting along one table and were writting just how to say "I love you" in various languages - we have found about 3-4 versions in spelling of "Ich liebe dich" in Swiss German and about 3-4 Swiss were sitting there. Swiss are proud of their diversity in pronunciation. This is also a reason why High German is important to stay as the official language apart from being easier to learn and pronounce than SG.

Even in a not named Swiss company there is a written rule pasted on the wall "In case you do not understand what your co-worker said in SG, speak HG to understand each other" Of course its written in German but that is reality
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Old 23.03.2007, 19:15
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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It is clear that Swiss German is a statement of identity for Swiss people. But, for example, what should a foreigner do when he enters Switzerland? Should s/he learn German, English or the Swiss German variety of the places where s/he decides to settle down?

I guess the best is to learn High German before you come to settle in Switzerland and then just pick all the possible pieces of the Swiss German in the region you settle in. HG helps to understand SG (do not know how others see it but it helps me ). I do learn it in the way of comparisons. Its quite helpful, although I do plan to learn the dialect of SG properly only when I really reach the point of moving to CH.

And BTW, there are few books that help to learn basic SG - one of them is HOI, YOUR SWISS GERMAN GUIDE (published by Bergli Books, Basel - avialable almost in every book shop in Switzerland). I think it was mentioned even here at English forum as I bought it upon the suggestion of a member of this forum.
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  #40  
Old 23.03.2007, 21:06
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

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This can never happen as all the SG speaking Swiss just love their own way of pronunciation. They wont give it up. Once we were sitting along one table and were writting just how to say "I love you" in various languages - we have found about 3-4 versions in spelling of "Ich liebe dich" in Swiss German and about 3-4 Swiss were sitting there. Swiss are proud of their diversity in pronunciation. This is also a reason why High German is important to stay as the official language apart from being easier to learn and pronounce than SG.

Even in a not named Swiss company there is a written rule pasted on the wall "In case you do not understand what your co-worker said in SG, speak HG to understand each other" Of course its written in German but that is reality
Many thanks indeed for the life-saving piece of information that you gave me...I feel much more relieved now
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