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Old 26.05.2009, 23:46
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Help with a couple of sentences

I am writing a letter to an old aunt of mine; her father was born in canton Schwyz, so she learned to speak Swiss from him (whatever dialect they speak in that area). I know there is no written form of Swiss, but I am sure it should be possible to somehow convey in writing the following sentences:
  • Hello dear Aunt.
  • I am a Swiss! (or I have the Swiss citizenship!).
  • You are dear to my heart (or any sentence to that effect).
  • Good bye, love and best wishes.
Can anybody help me with these? Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 26.05.2009, 23:54
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

Hello dear Aunt. - Hallo liäbi Tanti

I am a Swiss! I bi en Schwiizer gworde

You are dear to my heart - Du bisch nöch a mi Herz

Good bye, love and best wishes. - Bis glii und en liäbä Gruess

Not perfect, but that won't get you a slap around the face either....
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Old 27.05.2009, 00:01
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Not perfect, but that won't get you a slap around the face either....
Excellent Rabina, thanks a lot. And from what little I know, this is not German but "real Swiss", right?

Best regards.
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Old 27.05.2009, 00:07
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

The Germans would have to dig out their Enigma decoding booklet from the last war to have a clue as to where to start with that.

Bear in mind, that most Swiss kids text each other in dialect and if you participate in any Swiss forums, then most of the younger posters write in dialect.

Note the difference though; in ZH you would say best regards as "liebi Gruess" and in BE it would be a "liäbä Gruess" - there's not really a right and wrong although there are actually quite a few published works in dialect if you look around. It's not too tricky to read, but it helps to know your dialects.
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Old 27.05.2009, 00:17
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Good bye, love and best wishes. - Bis glii und en liäbä Gruess
"Bis glii" might not fit the situation as it means "till very soon".
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Old 27.05.2009, 00:18
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

Try "Uffwiiderluege und en liäbä Gruess" in place of....
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Old 27.05.2009, 00:28
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Try "Uffwiiderluege und en liäbä Gruess" in place of....
That sounds better. While I am completly able to understand the dialect by now I have a complete block to write it or even think about how to say things by myself. I guess I am too German

Anyhow: "Uff Wiiderluege" will be two words for Grandma
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Old 04.06.2009, 11:58
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Hello dear Aunt. - Hallo liäbi Tanti

I am a Swiss! I bi en Schwiizer gworde

You are dear to my heart - Du bisch nöch a mi Herz

Good bye, love and best wishes. - Bis glii und en liäbä Gruess

Not perfect, but that won't get you a slap around the face either....
I'm afraid that was a bit too much of a word by word translation and albeit correct by form we wouldn't really say it in this way.

Hallo liäbi Tanti -> In Swiss-German you either use Hallo/Grüezi or Liebi/Liäbi, you hardly ever combine it. So a good introduction to the letter would be: "Liebi Tante XXXX", don't forget to mention her first name!

You are dear to my heart - No literal translation here. Much better would be "Ech ha di (fescht: means a lot) gärn" ---> I love you for non-lovers.

Uf Widerluege is mostly used when you've recently seen someone, not sure if that is the case here. Better would be "Bis Bald und ganz liebi Grüess".
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Old 22.07.2009, 09:45
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

yes, i would agree with the above post, we don't ever combine the two, and if it's to your aunt, i'd use "liebe Tanti."

As for "I am a Swiss!", the translation "I bi en Schwiizer gworde" sounds a bit strange, almost like, 'I became Swiss.' I'm assuming you recently were granted Swiss citizenship or identify yourself as Swiss, therefore I would suggest saying "I bi jetzt en Schwiizer!" or "I bi jetzt en richtige Schwiizer!" Meaning, I am now a Swiss/I am now a real Swiss.
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Old 29.07.2009, 16:05
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

Well, my Tanti (she is 98 years old!) answered back and it was a joy for her to see me writing a couple of sentences in Swiss German. Thanks again to those who helped.

In her reply, she said two things:
  • Never say "Jaib" to a Swiss, because this is an insult.
  • She said good-bye with the sentence "Uf! Wieder luoga!".
I am wondering what "Jaib" means exactly. And although I know the second sentence means "until I we see each other again", I am also wondering whether a native Swiss could deduce, by just these two sentences, where exactly in Switzerland her father (from whom she learned her Swiss German) came from. Is it possible to ascertain? I know the answer, I am just curious from a linguistic point of view.

Thanks and best regards.
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Old 29.07.2009, 17:32
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

Maybe it is "Chaib" and only hard to read? (My grandmother wrote in a "Süterlin" handwriting I could hardly read...)
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Old 29.07.2009, 17:55
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

My money is on Chaib/Cheib, too.

According to this website: original meaning: carrion. Nowadays an expletive for a person, not always negative (dumme/liebe Cheib = idiot/good lad/lass). Also a reinforcing adverb/adjective: cheibe (very)
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Old 29.07.2009, 18:03
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Well, my Tanti (she is 98 years old!) answered back and it was a joy for her to see me writing a couple of sentences in Swiss German. Thanks again to those who helped.

In her reply, she said two things:
  • Never say "Jaib" to a Swiss, because this is an insult.
  • She said good-bye with the sentence "Uf! Wieder luoga!".
I am wondering what "Jaib" means exactly. And although I know the second sentence means "until I we see each other again", I am also wondering whether a native Swiss could deduce, by just these two sentences, where exactly in Switzerland her father (from whom she learned her Swiss German) came from. Is it possible to ascertain? I know the answer, I am just curious from a linguistic point of view.

Thanks and best regards.
the chaib was well translated
and I would guess that your Aunt learned her swiss germann from someone living in Graubünden
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Old 29.07.2009, 20:18
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Maybe it is "Chaib" and only hard to read? (My grandmother wrote in a "Süterlin" handwriting I could hardly read...)
Here is that part of her letter:

It literally says (in Spanish):
No vayas a decirle a un Suizo Jaib, que es un insulto.
Uf! Wieder luoga! ¡Hasta verte otra vez! quiere decir.
Translated to English this is:
Don't you say Jaib to a Swis, because it is an insult.
Uf! Wieder luoga! Till I see you again, it means.
Since there is really no written Swiss German, perhaps it is perfectly fine to write this word as Jaib or Chaib?
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Old 29.07.2009, 20:20
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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and I would guess that your Aunt learned her swiss germann from someone living in Graubünden
She learned it from her father, who was born and lived in Galgenen, a small town in Schwyz. As far as I know, he never went to Graubünden...
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Old 29.07.2009, 20:54
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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Since there is really no written Swiss German, perhaps it is perfectly fine to write this word as Jaib or Chaib?
In case it isn't obvious to all, the "J" in Spanish is pronounced like the English "H" and seems like the closest thing Spanish can muster to simulate the throaty Swiss "ch"(?).
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Old 30.07.2009, 14:17
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

I think this is exactly what happened here

Chaib is used in several dialects.
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Old 05.09.2009, 00:32
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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In case it isn't obvious to all, the "J" in Spanish is pronounced like the English "H" and seems like the closest thing Spanish can muster to simulate the throaty Swiss "ch"(?).
The Spanish "j" is not pronounced like the English "h".That's just what Americans think because they cannot proounce it at all. Actually it's pronounced like the "ch" in German "acht", so, as you guys eventually concluded, "Jaib" is just about the best spanish translitteration for the Swiss-German "Chaib".

By the way, there is no influence from the Grisons. "Chaib" is "choga" in Grisun German, from Romansh "coga," which again means carrion, especially a dead horse (in Putèr and Vallader anway, the two main dialects in the Engadine; my knowledge of the other Romansh dialects is pretty limited).
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Old 05.09.2009, 01:06
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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The Spanish "j" is not pronounced like the English "h".That's just what Americans think because they cannot proounce it at all. Actually it's pronounced like the "ch" in German "acht"...
I am surrounded by native (Central- and South-American) Spanish-speakers, none of whom pronounce "j" anything "like the 'ch' in German 'acht'" — theirs is an unmistakable, if slightly throaty, "h", but nothing approaching a typical German "ch".

Your sweeping generalization concerning what "Americans" can and can't pronounce amounts to an abject falsehood, as I've personally known many Americans with the linguistic skills to pronounce multiple languages very well, if not like native speakers. Linguistic talent may not be a common American trait, but it is hardly absent from among the population.
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Old 05.09.2009, 01:18
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Re: Help with a couple of sentences

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I am surrounded by native (Central- and South-American) Spanish-speakers, none of whom pronounce "j" anything "like the 'ch' in German 'acht'" — theirs is an unmistakable, if slightly throaty, "h", but nothing approaching a typical German "ch".
It varies by country, but Captain Greybeard is right. At one end you have Spain, where J is pretty much exactly as the ch in German acht. On the other end, people from countries close to the Caribbean (such as Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela) do pronounce it as an H; in fact this is a quick way to distinguish someone from those latitudes, and also a quick way to mock them.

Chile is at neither end, but I would say we pronounce J more like in Spain than like in Cuba.

Best regards.
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