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Old 30.05.2007, 10:58
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Remo Remo is offline
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Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

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I just moved out of the Reusstal area of Aargau -- they *always* spoke to me in Swiss German regardless of my ability to speak and / or understand it. I had to live with my wife's grandmother for 10 months. She could not speak High German even if she had to (i.e. if she was dropped in Hamburg she would have serious problems). Beyond her, my wife's relatives never bothered to speak High German with me, they automatically spoke Swiss German. There was only one person -- the grandmother's sister (also around 80 years old) who even put the effort to speak High German with me. The rest have always spoken Swiss German. Some of them just helped us move into our new apartment -- no High German involved.

Beyond the family, many of the locals back in the Reusstal could not understand my High German, although they could understand High German on television (the people in Munich never had problems understanding me). Anyway... This was not the Bernese Oberland, but whatever. I'm done with it now -- Thank God. Regardless -- the Swiss expect you to speak "their" language if you plan to remain here.

I know how you feel, I have been in Switzerland for 10 years now and the Swiss do expect you to speak Swiss German point. It's very frustrating going to High German lessons and coming out of lessons still not understanding anyone around you. If you or anyone plans on staying here for any length of time ignore what the Language teacher says and put some effort into learning Swiss German. When you find yourself with your Swiss Wife/Husbands friends they will speak High German for about 2 minutes then all forget and go on chatting in Swiss making you still feel excluded from the conversation. I was ok as I worked with Swiss people for about 5 years and just got to pick up the dialect just by listening and asking "what did you say ?"
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