Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Language corner
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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 22.03.2007, 12:50
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Swiss German: just a dialect or almost a national language??

Hello once again, everybody!!!

As you can see, despite being a new-entry, I'm already being very active on this forum...that's due to the love I feel for this country, Switzerland, which means so much to me, also due to personal experiences.

I would like to start a conversation about Swiss German. I have noticed that it is present in every level of Swiss society (of course, in German speaking cantons), I heard also in schools and universities, while surprisingly not in churches, even on TV national programmes on SF. I think such a presence of Swiss German may cause some problems to those Swiss who speak other languages and learn German in schools or universities. On the other hand, I understand that Swiss German is one dinstinctive attribute do determine a kind of Swiss identity and maybe also to differentiate Swiss and Germans.
In my country, Italy, dialects are also widely spoken, but not in schools, not on national TV channels, not in everyday life but only in families.
So what is Swiss German? Is it a dialect? Is it a language? Why not consider it a national language instead of standard German? How to help those who learn standard German in Switzerland?
Thank you for your attention...Bye
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 23.03.2007, 01:02
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High German?

Despite the topic has been tackled several times on this forum, I would like to hear the opinion of all of you about it. Swiss German sounds so different, that it might be an official language. In Luxenbourg there is a new third official language, Luxenbourguese, which is very similar to an alemannic dialect. What do you think about it?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 23.03.2007, 02:36
Psyk's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Luzern
Posts: 89
Groaned at 5 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 7 Times in 1 Post
Psyk has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

It would never work... they all speak different versions of Swiss German depending on what part of the country you're in. If you've ever had a text msg or an email in Swiss German then you'll know what i mean.

Keep Hoch Deutsch, at least us foreign bods will be able to understand something.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 23.03.2007, 09:20
Jekyll's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aargau
Posts: 883
Groaned at 37 Times in 27 Posts
Thanked 1,175 Times in 473 Posts
Jekyll has a reputation beyond reputeJekyll has a reputation beyond reputeJekyll has a reputation beyond reputeJekyll has a reputation beyond reputeJekyll has a reputation beyond reputeJekyll has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

As Psyk worth, there are very good reasons why Swiss German is not an official language. With no standardised spellings or even vocabulary it would be impossible to use Sviitzerdüütsch as an administrative language.

Additionally, if the level of Hoch Deutsch knowledge declined then it would have a negative effect on the Swiss economy.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 23.03.2007, 10:00
gbn's Avatar
gbn gbn is offline
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kloten
Posts: 1,959
Groaned at 66 Times in 47 Posts
Thanked 847 Times in 486 Posts
gbn has a reputation beyond reputegbn has a reputation beyond reputegbn has a reputation beyond reputegbn has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
..., if the level of Hoch Deutsch knowledge declined then it would have a negative effect on the Swiss economy.
Genau

And I reckon it's why so many Swiss speak English...
Swiss-German is as much use as inner-city Scouse or Glaswegian...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 23.03.2007, 10:07
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Appenzell
Posts: 5,608
Groaned at 109 Times in 95 Posts
Thanked 2,220 Times in 1,324 Posts
DaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputation
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Can you say :

"got any car radios ?"

in swiss-german ?

dave

Quote:
View Post
Genau

And I reckon it's why so many Swiss speak English...
Swiss-German is as much use as inner-city Scouse or Glaswegian...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 23.03.2007, 10:27
PC_Advisor
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
Despite the topic has been tackled several times on this forum, I would like to hear the opinion of all of you about it. Swiss German sounds so different, that it might be an official language. In Luxenbourg there is a new third official language, Luxenbourguese, which is very similar to an alemannic dialect. What do you think about it?
Tell the entire coutry to speak the same dialect of it AND put it in a book so others can learn it.... otherwise, people would want to make their own language everyday. (de Yanks from Brooklin wanted to do de same in skoolz in de US). come on, get real! I think it is already too hard for people to learn languages, why make more? There is already a lack of communication in the world, we don't need more reasons.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23.03.2007, 10:27
ExoticLatic's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK - Manchester
Posts: 702
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 65 Times in 55 Posts
ExoticLatic has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Oh I like what GBN says there, next time I have a chat with a Swiss-German, I'll tell him "You really are just a more guttural version of a scouser you know..."

Exotic -- Swiss-French
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:01
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
As Psyk worth, there are very good reasons why Swiss German is not an official language. With no standardised spellings or even vocabulary it would be impossible to use Sviitzerdüütsch as an administrative language.

Additionally, if the level of Hoch Deutsch knowledge declined then it would have a negative effect on the Swiss economy.

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.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:09
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

I agree with all of the things you have written here. Yet, Swiss German, despite not being a unitary language, must be considered something more than a regional dialect. It's a "multi-regional" dialect, a "quasi-national" dialect. It is spoken on national TV programmes. Thus, it is in an ambiguous position. How can a dialect, which has different regional varieties, can be spoken in a national TV programme. Plus, it is spoken in every aspect of everyday life, and I think this is one requisite for it to be consiedered a language.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:14
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: St. Gallen
Posts: 21
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Usagi23 has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

With a world that is becoming smaller and smaller (with the help of communications and the internet) we need to find more easy ways to communicate with each other. The world being smaller in this respect is so good for so many reasons, like the issues of countries being humane or not. Instead of shrinking more and more into dialects its better to find a unified tongue. For example, English. However, with there being a few countries as German as their official language, they can only strengthen the language itself and encourage others to learn it by them all keeping it the official language. Otherwise they will be forced even more so to learn English.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:16
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perthia
Posts: 1,233
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 901 Times in 444 Posts
Yokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond reputeYokine has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
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.
Choose one type of Swiss German? He he. The Zürich version? Ha he ha ha.

You have yet to experience the idiosyncrasies of the Swiss Cantons. The thing they really agree upon is that they hate Zürich

Slowly, English will continue to take over as the unofficial Swiss second language. So many times now I've seen young Swiss French and German speakers try to communicate to each other in each others language, only to say "Should we speak in English?", "Yes". Which isn't helping me progress with my high German at all
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:21
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
Choose one type of Swiss German? He he. The Zürich version? Ha he ha ha.

You have yet to experience the idiosyncrasies of the Swiss Cantons. The thing they really agree upon is that they hate Zürich

Slowly, English will continue to take over as the unofficial Swiss second language. So many times now I've seen young Swiss French and German speakers try to communicate to each other in each others language, only to say "Should we speak in English?", "Yes". Which isn't helping me progress with my high German at all
Well, once it also happened to me to talk to a fellow citizen in English. I was in Alto Adige/Suedtirol, an Italian province on the border with Austria and people there hate Italians for historical reasons and refuse to learn Italian. So the only chance I had was speaking English
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:23
ExoticLatic's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK - Manchester
Posts: 702
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 65 Times in 55 Posts
ExoticLatic has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

You are correct about Rumantsch alessione, there was a fair bit of haggle to decide a common version as well...

My only way of communicating with Swiss-Germans who can't speak French is English. I suspect they even prefer that to talk in German and it's a neutral language, normally both interlocutors will be on equal footing. You expat chaps probably don't really realise how fraught it can be at times when dealing between Swiss French and Swiss German
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:25
vwlarson's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Zürich
Posts: 50
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
vwlarson has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

This is an interesting thread. When I first moved here I was fascinated by the varying dialects scattered through the german part of CH.

Think of it this way.....

Yes, there are many different dialects of Swiss German and yes, many of them sound so different from the others...and I know that there are some dialects, especially spoken in mountain regions, that are very difficult to understand for some Swiss...but I think it is safe to assume that the majority of the Swiss can understand (more or less) the varying dialects...not completely as there are different words for things but still making it quite easy to converse with anyone no matter which area they are from.

It is just like in the UK. How many different dialects/accents are present there!? So many, and some are easier or harder to undserstand than others...much like the situation here, but at the end of the day it is English. And in Switzerland, at the end of the day it is Swiss German.

So...I do think that Swiss German is an "official" unofficial language, but High German serves as this countries source for a written and grammatical language. Because Swiss German is loosely based on German fundamentals...i think it is ok to keep things the way they are.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:26
LordMonkey's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bern
Posts: 496
Groaned at 14 Times in 9 Posts
Thanked 99 Times in 66 Posts
LordMonkey is considered knowledgeableLordMonkey is considered knowledgeableLordMonkey is considered knowledgeable
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

It is possible to have common dialect!

Was it Norway or Sweden? Can't remember which but I know one of the Scandinavian countries did it.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:27
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
You are correct about Rumantsch alessione, there was a fair bit of haggle to decide a common version as well...

My only way of communicating with Swiss-Germans who can't speak French is English. I suspect they even prefer that to talk in German and it's a neutral language, normally both interlocutors will be on equal footing. You expat chaps probably don't really realise how fraught it can be at times when dealing between Swiss French and Swiss German
What you have just written is the very reason why I have started this thread. If Swiss Germans somehow "refuse" German as an official language, why not let them free to raise Swiss German to the rank of official language for the German-speaking part of Switzerland?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:31
Gav's Avatar
Gav Gav is offline
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 970
Groaned at 15 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 468 Times in 187 Posts
Gav has a reputation beyond reputeGav has a reputation beyond reputeGav has a reputation beyond reputeGav has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
Tell the entire coutry to speak the same dialect of it AND put it in a book so others can learn it.... otherwise, people would want to make their own language everyday. (de Yanks from Brooklin wanted to do de same in skoolz in de US). come on, get real! I think it is already too hard for people to learn languages, why make more? There is already a lack of communication in the world, we don't need more reasons.

If you are forced to speak a specific dialect, you might as well just speak proper German.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:35
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
It is possible to have common dialect!

Was it Norway or Sweden? Can't remember which but I know one of the Scandinavian countries did it.
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.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 23.03.2007, 11:37
alessione's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lugano
Posts: 45
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
alessione has no particular reputation at present
Re: Would you like to have Swiss German as an official language in place of High Germ

Quote:
View Post
If you are forced to speak a specific dialect, you might as well just speak proper German.
But, unfortunately, that's just what Swiss don't do!!
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
German Language Book - Pimsleur Language, Good??? Mavis Language corner 7 18.11.2010 15:04
[Learn] Swiss German or High German mark Language corner 134 01.06.2010 16:21
French or German -which is easiest to learn? litespeed Language corner 68 13.12.2007 23:24


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:39.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0