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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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  #41  
Old 23.03.2007, 21:09
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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 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.
Thanks for your detailed information and your participation to he thread...I'll treasure your advice and will search in bookshops the next time that I am in Switzerland!
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  #42  
Old 23.03.2007, 21:56
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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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Thanks for your detailed information and your participation to he thread...I'll treasure your advice and will search in bookshops the next time that I am in Switzerland!
I am not sure if you just dont make fun of me but in case you are really into learning SG, then the book is avialable to purchase even through german amazon or you can order it directly from Bergli books. Go to following site and read it:
http://www.bergli.ch/catalog/product...roducts_id=126

Believe me, when I showed it to my Swiss colleagues they were quite surprised that the written form of SG can be got in a book... acctually they took it as SG dictionary . But everyone liked that I try my best and have found a way independently to learn their language. Or I felt so.

And according to my point of view... I would not worry too much about learning the language. I believe that if you want to get something really genuinly then you will do all possible or impossible, consciously or unconsciously to reach your goal at the end. So its just neccessary to start with it. That is all. Do not want to sound wise but that is what worked for me and I feel that it is going to work for most people.

Best of luck... nothing is hard enough not to be able to find a solution for. Or at least I believe so.
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  #43  
Old 23.03.2007, 22:02
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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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I am not sure if you just dont make fun of me but in case you are really into learning SG, then the book is avialable to purchase even through german amazon or you can order it directly from Bergli books. Go to following site and read it:
http://www.bergli.ch/catalog/product...roducts_id=126

Believe me, when I showed it to my Swiss colleagues they were quite surprised that the written form of SG can be got in a book... acctually they took it as SG dictionary . But everyone liked that I try my best and have found a way independently to learn their language. Or I felt so.

And according to my point of view... I would not worry too much about learning the language. I believe that if you want to get something really genuinly then you will do all possible or impossible, consciously or unconsciously to reach your goal at the end. So its just neccessary to start with it. That is all. Do not want to sound wise but that is what worked for me and I feel that it is going to work for most people.

Best of luck... nothing is hard enough not to be able to find a solution for. Or at least I believe so.
I'm not making fun of you at all . The problem is that I can't learn Swiss German yet, since I need to learn German before. I mean, my German is basic, I don't know if it's already fit for my survival ...So, there will be time for Swiss German, but not now.
And I agree with what you have written about people's will. I don't believe so much in destiny, but in people's good will and capability to make efforts and sacrifices...so I know what expects me in order to learn the language Thanks!
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  #44  
Old 24.03.2007, 10:24
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I think a lot of good points on this thread. Especially the point that there is no such thing as "standard swiss german". If you watch Zuri Fernsehen (SF DRS) then what you hear primarily is Zurich dialect but that is just a dialect and no one from the rest of Switzerland would ever accept that as a standard language.

I think the comparisson with Germnay is interesting where outside Bayern hoch deutsch is the first language people speak. I understand the socio political reasons why dialect is spoken here and the use of it has become more pronounced over the time I have been here but it just sounds like broken German to me quick a harsh sound. I always enjoy when I am in German and suddenly it is a like a fog lifts and it easy to understand what people are saying. I can understand some Basel dialect but I find it extremely difficult to speak without sounding like a total fool. So quite often I have conversations where I speak high german and the person replies in dialect which is not a problem.

Regards

Martin
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  #45  
Old 24.03.2007, 12:58
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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 a lot of good points on this thread. Especially the point that there is no such thing as "standard swiss german". If you watch Zuri Fernsehen (SF DRS) then what you hear primarily is Zurich dialect but that is just a dialect and no one from the rest of Switzerland would ever accept that as a standard language.

I think the comparisson with Germnay is interesting where outside Bayern hoch deutsch is the first language people speak. I understand the socio political reasons why dialect is spoken here and the use of it has become more pronounced over the time I have been here but it just sounds like broken German to me quick a harsh sound. I always enjoy when I am in German and suddenly it is a like a fog lifts and it easy to understand what people are saying. I can understand some Basel dialect but I find it extremely difficult to speak without sounding like a total fool. So quite often I have conversations where I speak high german and the person replies in dialect which is not a problem.

Regards

Martin
Yeah, I am sure that having German as a mother tongue is a trump card to understand Swiss German...several times I saw one high German speaker talking to a Swiss German speaker...
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  #46  
Old 27.03.2007, 23:01
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I think the comparisson with Germnay is interesting where outside Bayern hoch deutsch is the first language people speak. I understand the socio political reasons why dialect is spoken here and the use of it has become more pronounced over the time I have been here but it just sounds like broken German to me quick a harsh sound. I always enjoy when I am in German and suddenly it is a like a fog lifts and it easy to understand what people are saying. I can understand some Basel dialect but I find it extremely difficult to speak without sounding like a total fool. So quite often I have conversations where I speak high german and the person replies in dialect which is not a problem.

Regards

Martin[/quote]

This is not quite true...many regions in Germany besides Bayern have their own dialect (Saarland, Hessen and probably more up north) that is not quite like Hoch Deutsch, and presents many similar problems to those living in CH having to deal with CH-German when you´re trying to learn Hoch Deutsch.
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  #47  
Old 03.04.2007, 13:37
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

After some 12 years in Switzerland, the Swiss German dialects are still the biggest problem and barrier to full integration into community life. The trend towards more dialect in TV and in the churches presents an even bigger barrier to proper social integration which is made even worse when you live in one dilaect area and work in another. Even for the Swiss, moving to another community with another dialect presents a problem.. our Swiss neighbours took over a year to learn the (admittedly agricultural) dialect of our village. If like me, you learn by studying grammar and written text, there is no hope.. either marry a Swiss or sink yourself in a long audio-visual course.. if one exisits!

I think the French and the Brits were right to supress local dialects in schools and impose a standard language. Even the German dialects have a common thread and are decipherable to anyone who can speak High German... I always chuckle when I see sub-titles on Swiss programmes shown on German TV !
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  #48  
Old 03.04.2007, 13:47
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

For the swiss, swiss german is a language of its own...
actually the swiss germans can go to other cantons without any difficulty understanding and being understood...of course there are differences between the regional swiss german but its not really a big barrier....unless they find themselves in some remote village with a dialect that is extremely different....
coming from the swiss italian area, the variation in dialetto ticinese is also broad from leventina to mendrisio but there is a common dialetto "dialetto delle ferrovie" which facilitates being understood...
me personally, after having to learn high german because of work, i found myself in a working enviroment were swiss german is the official language. I didn't see it as a big problem just have to learn it...i can understand pretty well but to speak it....probably never....
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  #49  
Old 03.04.2007, 14:10
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

I would welcome a standard Swiss German, also a standard written language like the Romantsch have introduced, but in a modern society with need for mobility, the identification of a person with his/her dialect and place of upbringing can lead to discrimination when they move elsewhere and to overplayed rivalry between the main cities. A recent government report declared Switzerland to be now a mainly urbanised country... most people live in the Agglomerations.. an in my personal opinion, the continued strengthening of the old community dialects is a force for division rather than unity. Maybe I am biased because I live in an area where 3 distinctly different dialects come together and people are thought to be stupid if they speak the "wrong" dialect. At least we don't have this problem in the Romandie.
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  #50  
Old 03.04.2007, 16:16
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

This has been covered before but there are some interesting comments in the posts themselves.

Swiss German is a Language variation ie it is more than a dialect and less than a full language. The dialects that are spoken in Switzerland are dialects of this German variety.

The most interesting comment I have seen is this "I would welcome a standard Swiss German". This actually exists and is that spoken in schools etc. It is not high German and it is not spoken Swiss German...

Furthermore this statement " actually the swiss germans can go to other cantons without any difficulty understanding" is not true. Ask any proper Swiss German and they will tell you that Berner Deutsch and Walliser Deutsch are difficult if not impossible(the latter) to understand. This is rather similar to the situation in the UK where any person from the South of England will have problems understanding any of the northern English dialects - the converse is however not true.
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  #51  
Old 04.04.2007, 10:06
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Due to the appalling standard of written & spoken High German in Canton Bern, as of January this year, it has been mandatory for teachers to teach in Hoch Deutsch in all subjects in the classroom.
Quite timely too, my wife (Slovakian) has two Swiss German friends who are completely unable to cope with any type of official letter from the Gemeinde or the Bund. M has to translate this into Barn Deutch for them, they are in their 30's
Quick plug ... M is a freleance translator Czech/Slovak into German & vice-versa, not a huge call for it, but one nerver knows. Her standard is good enough that she works part time for the Kantonal Fremde Polizei & courts of Bern. Am now waiting to get fried .......
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  #52  
Old 14.04.2007, 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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How about we lobby for the Waliser dialect
I vote for the Walser dialect. It has the advantage that it's one of the few, perhaps the only, distinct swiss-german dialect spoken in three countries (Switzerland, Austria and Italy). And no-one would ever confuse it with High German. ;-)
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  #53  
Old 16.04.2007, 01:21
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I'd actually prefer Southern German, as what's already spoken in Austria.
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  #54  
Old 16.04.2007, 08:33
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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'd actually prefer Southern German, as what's already spoken in Austria.
Swiss-Germans would rather speak Chinese or stuff feathers down their throats first...
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  #55  
Old 16.04.2007, 09:55
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I come from the North West of England where, in addition to the many variants of Lancashire dialect, you have the Scouse accent of Liverpool. Until the 19th century, Liverpudlians spoke with an accent fairly similar to their "Woollyback" Lancastrian neighbours and it was with the influx of Irish and Welsh, along with global maritime arrivals that the unique sound evolved.

The accent or dialect of a place helps to define the character of the people and is a part of their heritage. Maybe the sounds are not pleasing to outsiders but there you have it. It is human nature that one "tribe" will endeavour to set themselves apart from outsiders - and language variation is one such method.

I don't really have a problem with Swiss German - or Baseldytsch which is my local version. I still find it difficult to tune in; my wife is Dutch and seems to have a better time of it as there are many similarities in syntax and intonation with "Nederlands" (trans: Dutch Language).

Tied in with Baseldytsch you have the whole culture of Fasnacht and the accompanying Ziidel (trans: paper sheets with satirical poems on handed out during the Fasnacht cortege) and Schnitzelbäängg (trans: satrical poems read or performed to music in cliquencäller (trans: clique underground meeting places)). If would be a shame if that were to disappear to satisfy some corporate requirement that everyone talks the same.

With so many variations in a language, of course you need to have some "standard pronunciation" for things like national television or radio programmes, so people in Glasgow and people in London can understand the same news bulletin. Hence the BBC newsreaders use a standard pronunciation. Of course you will still get newsreaders with regional accents but these will be "toned down". The same happens in Switzerland - the news reports will be in Schriftdeutsch (standard German) or some "commonly understood" version of Swiss German.

It is when you try to force people to give up their identity that they start to rebel - and speaking your dialect more strongly is one way of doing that.

Cheers,
Nick
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  #56  
Old 16.04.2007, 15:30
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

So you think that a first and inevitable step is to have a good basis of High German, in order to understand Swiss German, don't you?
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  #57  
Old 16.04.2007, 15:33
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

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I would welcome a standard Swiss German, also a standard written language like the Romantsch have introduced, but in a modern society with need for mobility, the identification of a person with his/her dialect and place of upbringing can lead to discrimination when they move elsewhere and to overplayed rivalry between the main cities. A recent government report declared Switzerland to be now a mainly urbanised country... most people live in the Agglomerations.. an in my personal opinion, the continued strengthening of the old community dialects is a force for division rather than unity. Maybe I am biased because I live in an area where 3 distinctly different dialects come together and people are thought to be stupid if they speak the "wrong" dialect. At least we don't have this problem in the Romandie.
I agree with you, completely...It's absurd to see dialect spoken on SF programmes...I mean, it's the national Swiss TV so either you consider Swiss German an official language or you just don't use it on national TV programmes!!!
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  #58  
Old 16.04.2007, 15:35
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Well at least we wouldn't have to learn Der, Die, Das .... in Bern Dootch, one does a very nice glotall gulp instead ....
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  #59  
Old 16.04.2007, 15:37
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Mmm, you're not the first to think so...you guys are almost convincing me to turn to Walliser ;-)
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  #60  
Old 16.04.2007, 15:41
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I agree with the mechanism impositions-->rebellion, but it's strange to watch Prime Time SF programmes or the Weather forecasts in Swiss German, don't you think?
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