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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%
Voters: 207. You may not vote on this poll

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  #81  
Old 14.06.2007, 18:21
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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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At the rate the Germans are moving into Switzerland, Swiss German will eventually die out. <snip>
I thought one of the main reasons for Swiss German was so that the Germans could not understand it. On that principle, the more Germans there are here, the more Swiss German will be used...
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  #82  
Old 14.06.2007, 19:31
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

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So what is Swiss German? Is it a dialect? Is it a language?

According to wikipedia, it's a dialect, but I disagree. There is no Simple Past tense in any dialect of Swiss German, while it's extremely common in High German. Swiss German speakers use Present Perfect to indicate past tense.

eg. I went home

G: I ging nach hause
SW: Ech be hei gange (in German: Ich bin heim gegangen)


In my book, that's a closely related, yet different language.
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  #83  
Old 22.06.2007, 02:41
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I would agree with Gautsch here - if you look at it from the characteristics' point of view: As Deutschschweizer, we have two past tenses less - no imperfect, no past perfect - than whoever speaks German - and, with the exception of a few remaining pronouns, two cases less, no genitive, no accusative. If you look at it from the point of view of evolving languages, Swiss German has stopped in its evolution at the point where Middle German was - just as you could say of Scots - especially the Doric that is spoken in the Aberdeen area - that it has stopped at Middle English evolution level. Just two points, and there are more.

As to the question of what language - coming from the outside, I would prefer learning standard German, so at least I can read the newspaper and understand what the authorities write to me.

When I was in Aberdeen in 1980 I was glad I spoke English first, even if I did take the odd month before I actually understood an Aberdonian asking me: 'foo're ye deein?'

just my two rappens ...
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  #84  
Old 22.06.2007, 07:22
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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 would agree with Gautsch here - if you look at it from the characteristics' point of view: As Deutschschweizer, we have two past tenses less - no imperfect, no past perfect - than whoever speaks German - and, with the exception of a few remaining pronouns, two cases less, no genitive, no accusative. If you look at it from the point of view of evolving languages, Swiss German has stopped in its evolution at the point where Middle German was - just as you could say of Scots - especially the Doric that is spoken in the Aberdeen area - that it has stopped at Middle English evolution level.
Don't know what you're talking about. Simplification in language is the main sign of language development. The cases and the different tenses used to be there but have disappeared over the centuries because there was no need for them. There are strong parallels to this in English, btw - English, too, used to have a case system but by now, most case markers have entirely disappeared. Because there's no written language, Swiss German is developing much faster than other languages. Language evolution slows massively once a written languages is fixated.

It's true that some elements in Swiss German were retained from Middle German (for example parts of the vowel system - the word "brueder" for example still has its diphthong while the "ue" changed to "u:" in other German dialects) but that doesn't say much about language evolution - the languages simply took different turns.
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  #85  
Old 22.06.2007, 10:11
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

How comes we Swiss perfectly understand Austrian dialects and the dialects from southern Germany? It's the same... language.
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  #86  
Old 07.03.2008, 17:32
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I don't think that there is such a difference from canton to canton as to render it impossible to understand the various dialects. Ok, there are words here and there, but you have that in any language. I think it is best to learn High German and keep it as official language and then adapt it a bit, this can even hide some mistakes. That's what my husband does, and he sounds quite good. Swiss German is a very versatile language, because you are allowed to make up words. I thought of a word the other day we used to use as children when you came in from the cold and your fingers really ached: "Kuehnaegle". I just can't find an English word for that!
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  #87  
Old 07.03.2008, 17:37
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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 thought of a word the other day we used to use as children when you came in from the cold and your fingers really ached: "Kuehnaegle". I just can't find an English word for that!
I never had need of such a word until I came to Switzerland
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  #88  
Old 07.03.2008, 18:40
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Chuenagel is still a known word here! ("Cow's hoof for the non-Swiss Germans, because that's how your fingertips feel in this situation!)
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  #89  
Old 15.01.2009, 17:06
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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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Learn German. Accept that you will always be an Auslander. Try to pick up and understand as much Swiss German as you can.
Excellent advice, I doubt I'll ever learn to speak Schywzerdutsch fluently
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  #90  
Old 15.01.2009, 19:13
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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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Last edited by ElieDeLeuze; 08.07.2009 at 19:30.
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  #91  
Old 15.01.2009, 19:26
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

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Last edited by ElieDeLeuze; 08.07.2009 at 19:29.
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  #92  
Old 15.01.2009, 19:33
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Elie -
Actually, the diglossia gets even worse when you delve a little more deeply. There are Swiss who have a dialect that is by family heritage (say, because their family comes from Kt. Bern), but then they moved (say, to Basel or the Aargau) and therefore speak the local dialect - and *then* the kids go to school and have to speak High German.

But I'd agree with a number of the other posts about the impossibility of a 'high' Swiss-German. Actually, about 20 years ago there was a big debate about the flattening of regional dialects because so much of what people were hearing on radio and TV was Zürich dialect. So there was a backlash, one that went along with de-monopolizing the airwaves, with the result that you not only have a lot of regional radio programs (in the relevant dialect) but that you have more diversity among those who are announcers on the national TV channels (including some lovely Walliser and Bündner - who themselves have to make an effort to *not* use some of their favorite words and expressions because other dialect speakers won't understand...
In print as well - esp. odd because Swiss-German is not a written dialect/language - there has been a big upsurge in publications, some of which is almost impossible to read unless you try to sound out the words and figure out what the author might have meant.

Bottom line (and tough on non-Swiss): dialect diversity has become more prominent in the media than it used to be...

J.
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  #93  
Old 16.02.2015, 03:05
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Wow. Would you like to have Zulu instead of Africans?
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  #94  
Old 16.02.2015, 11:11
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

The dutch managed to agree on a common german dialect and turn it into a separate written language. The Austrians and Swiss did not.

The Swiss-german dialects are an integral part of a persons identity in a way that english dialects are losing - but then again Swiss-german seems to me to be just as much a liability, causing extreme frustration, not just in expats - the next generations in Switzerland will determine how it develops.
Remember rule Nr.1
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  #95  
Old 16.02.2015, 11:31
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

I don't know why this OLD post was bumped up, but this made me laugh:

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Hello once again, everybody!!!

As you can see, despite being a new-entry, I'm already being very active on this forum..
Posts: 49.

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  #96  
Old 16.02.2015, 12:06
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

This post was started three years before my first iphone. High German was still being used as the language of informal communication in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and George W Bush was still in office.

How times have changed.
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  #97  
Old 16.02.2015, 14:20
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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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Wow. Would you like to have Zulu instead of Africans?
And this insightful question/statement is a reason to dig out a thread that's been inactive for over 6 years?
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  #98  
Old 16.02.2015, 14:34
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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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And this insightful question/statement is a reason to dig out a thread that's been inactive for over 6 years?
I think she meant to write Afrikaans.
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  #99  
Old 16.02.2015, 14:47
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Re: Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

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I don't know why this OLD post was bumped up, but this made me laugh:

Posts: 49.

Keep in mind that stats update real-time. At the moment that post was made the user probably had far fewer than 49 posts.
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  #100  
Old 16.02.2015, 16:05
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Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Unless I buy an iphone in the next three years, the continuation of this thread is occurring more than three years before my first iphone.
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