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Old 18.05.2006, 19:49
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Just one point - it is not legal for a position to be advertised as swiss-german or mother tongue. This is a bit of an academic point for you since your german isn't up to the level anyway, but employers can ask for good German skills, but they can't ask for mother tongue, or insist on Swiss German.

They can however practice age and gender discrimination by openly advertising that they want a male or female or want to hire only a younger worker. Personally I think that's outrageous, but like many things which I find outrageous here they aren't considered a big deal by most of the (voting) population.

German isn't a simple language, but it isn't a difficult one either. It can get very frustrating until you get to the point where you have enough to manage simple conversation. Believe me, once you reach that point things will take off very fast (assuming you can find people to speak to in High German where you are!!).

I got to that point after about 4 months of private lessons of 2 hours per week. I was living in London at the time so didn't get a chance to practice much, but when I went to Germany things got easier very quickly. I think one of the biggest issues for English/Americans speaking German is actually their pronunciation, and it is something I worked on the hardest when I learnt German.

You were probably put into a class with a whole lot of other people who had terrible pronunciation. I also attended a group class once I arrived in Germany and found I progressed at about 20% of the speed as I did with private lessons, in the end I stopped group classes and just went out and talked with people. But I had a solid grammatical foundation at that point, so was just able to build the vocab I needed and pick up slang etc.

Finding a good private teacher is tough, but will give better results. Paying for it might be another problem though.

I have private Japanese lessons (4 hours per week), but I found a good way to reduce the cost. My teacher is in Cape Town and we do the lessons via skype. This means I end up paying about 20 francs per hour - which is a damn site cheaper than the 100+ I'd have to pay here - and I get a really well qualified professional teacher/translator into the deal!

So don't give up on the German - you just have to find a way that works for you.
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