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Old 04.02.2012, 17:15
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Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I know that the the subject has been discussed over and over again but what are your thoughts about this?

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics...l?cid=32065104
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:23
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

They want foreigners to speak one of the national language so they can understand when insulted.
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:27
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

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I know that the the subject has been discussed over and over again but what are your thoughts about this?
I agree 100%.

Tom
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:34
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Ms. Sommaruga was talking about foreigners who are high earners (CEO etc.). Not the kind of people who are usually insulted.

Will she do anything about it ? highly unlikely. Just another sound bite
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:40
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I'm working on it! Unfortunately with a full time job which often requires a lot of overtime, it's hard to squeeze in as many lessons or as much study as I would like.
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:46
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Quote:
They send their children to international schools, speak English, write their letters in English
Heathens, they should be punished.

In German, or French, or Italian.. Wait, we can´t make up our minds...

Last edited by Sharkbait; 04.02.2012 at 17:51. Reason: Isn´t it obvious?
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Old 04.02.2012, 17:49
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Will the language police knock on Brady Dougan's door ?
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Old 04.02.2012, 19:13
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

not everybody who is willing to pay corporate income tax in Switzerland wants to learn one of the languages. those multi-national companies don't want to be Swiss any more than they want to be American, British or Chinese, they only want to make money. this article is a lot like ****ing in the wind.

that said, we come across more than our share of other gringos who seemingly go out of their way to ignore the local language and customs. it becomes almost a source of pride for them to behave as if they still live 30 minutes outside NYC. somewhere there is a middle ground, where Switzerland continues to benefit from its well-earned reputation as tax haven while us nasty Uslanders learn to respect Switzerland's history and languages. as I try to tell the folks who feel compelled to echo the sentiment in the article when I meet them on the street:

ob möchtet si mir wüssä, müend si mir lährä.
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Old 04.02.2012, 19:43
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Re: swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

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Ms. Sommaruga was talking about foreigners who are high earners (CEO etc.). Not the kind of people who are usually insulted.

Will she do anything about it ? highly unlikely. Just another sound bite
Indeed; I get the impression she is trying to score political points off her predecessor Widmer-Schlumpf - I think it will end in tears for Sommaruga
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Old 04.02.2012, 19:53
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I wish there were no nationalities
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Old 04.02.2012, 20:01
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I totally agree with her, although the way the article is written makes it seem like she's saying that coyly, as if she's just forced to say that but knows she can do nothing about it as the country needs the companies that bring those CEO's but she has to say it so that second-tier immigrants don't get offended by double standards.
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Old 04.02.2012, 21:03
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

the remarks would have more credibility with me if she had bothered to be inclusive. "managers and their wives" are the ones who should make an effort...I have a husband...does that mean he and I don't have to try?
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Old 04.02.2012, 21:04
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I think most people who come here make some kind of attempt at learning the local language - and for the most part the locals appreciate the effort.

Unless you are born here or arrived at age 5 or younger, how proficient you become depends on how much time you're able to spend studying - plus some people have more of an aptitude for these things than others. If you are a "CEO" you're probably here for a short stay anyway - in which case you also want to minimise the disruption to your kids' schooling hence the international schools being an option.

To gain a decent level of fluency, you need to be in an environment where you speak nothing else all day; or be able to socialise with local native speakers. When I lived in the Netherlands, I found the Dutch to be a naturally outgoing folk which made the latter a possibility. To be honest I find a lot of Swiss hardgoing - and this is after 10 years of living here and done things to integrate like the Fasnacht clique I am involved with.

And actually my command of High German - one of the official languages of Switzerland unlike Zuridytsch - is just fine.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 04.02.2012, 21:21
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

It isn't always the foreign residents taking the "Swissness" out of Switzerland.

I just wish the locals would quit speaking English with me sometimes. When I say 'Salut!' don't respond "Hello!". Sometimes my French is better than a neighbor's English, but they insist on moving into English, only to have the conversation revert back to French again when they can't find a word they want.

Maybe people are intending to be kind, I don't know. Or sometimes I think people like to show off their English when others around them can hear...

Oops! Sorry for the rant!
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Old 04.02.2012, 21:58
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

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Maybe people are intending to be kind, I don't know. Or sometimes I think people like to show off their English when others around them can hear...

Oops! Sorry for the rant!
I appreciate the kindness. I have found ( not just in Switzerland) that people switch to English as they are proud of being able to be helpful or because they relish the opportunity to practice the language - I currently have one young friend whom I am sure only made friends because I am the only English person he knows and can practise his years of classroom learning with.

I don't mind this at all - he, like many others, needs English to further his career, whereas I don't need German ( or the language of other countries I have lived in) to further mine. So, the local langauge tends to be just a part-time hobby for me, at most ( plus a courtesy with greetings, thanks etc) or something that makes life a little more convenient (understanding prices etc)

I certainly appreciate the language tolerance that most locals ( and those just over the border ) do show towards me as I pursue my particular interests. I am also grateful that my "integration" here has been possible through shared interests, rather than just a shared language.
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Old 04.02.2012, 22:23
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

I kind of agree, as immigrants we should try to learn the language (which ever one that maybe) and intergrate as much as possible... then again the swiss don't help, reverting to english even when my german is perfectly understandable, if not perfect..... speaking Swiss German with all it's variations. Oh and I seem to remember the SVP not liking the amount of foreign children in public schools. So kind of mixed messages there...

Also, I find the whole nationality thing a little odd. Having taken Cameron's Britishness test (and failed despite being english) how do you measure integration?

Maybe the true answer is to forget about nationality and live only as decent, law abiding human beings who try their best to get along. Nationality seems to put a rather large spanner in this type of idiology.
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Old 04.02.2012, 22:41
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Just to stir the pot, I wonder many people who agree with this policy here disagree with 'English only' proposals in their home country.

Disclaimer: over the years, I've studied Spanish, Swedish, Russian, French, and Italian. I'm not proficient at them, but I have studied them for at least 1-2 years each!
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Old 04.02.2012, 22:55
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Perhaps an expat should write to this woman and ask if she has her husband's permission to be writing such things.

Like you say, she seems to think expat couples move here only on the basis of the husband's job.

Cheers,
Nick

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the remarks would have more credibility with me if she had bothered to be inclusive. "managers and their wives" are the ones who should make an effort...I have a husband...does that mean he and I don't have to try?
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Old 04.02.2012, 23:10
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

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I know that the the subject has been discussed over and over again but what are your thoughts about this?

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics...l?cid=32065104
I agree, its important to speak the language and integrate. Perhaps reducing the number of years it takes to apply for citizenship would help. 12 years is a long way off, but 7 could be in reach for a lot of folks and give them a solid reason for learning the language.
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Old 05.02.2012, 00:02
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Re: Swiss justice Minister: Foreign residents should learn a Swiss language

Certainly one should speak the local language to the point of functionality.

However, integration is another matter altogether.

I am an expat - or (trailing spouse of a) guest worker if you prefer - but not an immigrant. My stay here is temporary; we came because my husband was asked to do a job. We will not stay beyond that job, however many years that may be. Switzerland is not my home.

I try to be a good Auslander. I speak German. I'm respectful, I know the laws and obey them. But true integration is a two-way street. If integration is really a goal, not only do Auslanders have to learn to be 'Swiss-like', but the Swiss have to be prepared to actually accept Auslanders as part of their society. And the latter part is very much missing.

Let's be honest - parallel societies are created because Swiss society is closed to outsiders. You can only bang your head against a closed door for so long before you give up and find another way.
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