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  #21  
Old 14.08.2011, 14:15
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

If you live here, you will need Schrift Deutsch for written communication. Writing and reading high German is a lot easier than Swiss German.

Personally, unless your partner is Swiss and you can immerse yourself in the Swiss culture on a daily basis, I'd learn High German. You just cover more bases that way.
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  #22  
Old 14.08.2011, 14:35
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

When I was learning English in the US, even though I had an AMerican accent and my grammar was pretty good, if I slipped and made one mistake I would be laughed at, not everyone did that but many did, that attitude was cruel and really stupid from people who could only speak one language.
I find actually that Swiss people try to understand me when I speak or try to speak High German and I am glad they do. But the fact that they go back to their own language is totally normal, after all everybody at your party spoke Swiss German but maybe not everyone spoke English??
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  #23  
Old 14.08.2011, 14:37
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

lerning Swiss German will help you to have conversations with the locals

but you will still be "social isolated", maybe forever.
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Old 14.08.2011, 14:46
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

While I disagree with AmericanGotWorkVisa on some of his details, I do have to agree with him on his overall analysis.

If he wants to be able to read and write, then learning German is absolutely essential. However, if he SOLELY wants to focus on verbal communication, then he may as well learn Swiss German first.

It is a fact that many native Swiss German speakers never learn to feel comfortable using German. We learn Swiss German first, it's our native tongue that we use to communicate whenever possible. German remains a foreign language, albeit one that is learned at a young age and speaking it feels forever awkward. We may switch to German to accommodate a non native speaker temporarily, but really can't wait to return to Swiss German.

There is a reason teachers constantly have to remind children to only speak German in the classroom. We don't want to, and avoid doing it as much as possible.

Just my two cents worth as a native Swiss German speaker.
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Old 14.08.2011, 18:11
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

I would also recommend learning High German before trying your hand at Swiss German. Besides, you'd require High German for writing and reading, and learning Swiss German once you have a foundation of a decent level of High German is a little easier.

Try watching some Swiss TV programmes here: www.videoportal.sf.tv
I'd recommend the news and the DOK - Die Bergretter series for example - which feature a mixture of High German commentary / speakers and Swiss German speakers in the shows. This could wet your appetite for Swiss German a little without taking you too far from developing your High German at the same time.
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Old 14.08.2011, 18:43
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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When I was learning English in the US, even though I had an AMerican accent and my grammar was pretty good, if I slipped and made one mistake I would be laughed at, not everyone did that but many did, that attitude was cruel and really stupid from people who could only speak one language.
I find actually that Swiss people try to understand me when I speak or try to speak High German and I am glad they do. But the fact that they go back to their own language is totally normal, after all everybody at your party spoke Swiss German but maybe not everyone spoke English??
I never expected anyone to speak English, I never said that. You missed the point, maybe you were too concerned about making a point about the U.S.


I'm really talking about High German and Swiss German, not English and Swiss German or English and German.
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  #27  
Old 14.08.2011, 19:46
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

I come from Valencia (Spain) and we also have "two" mother tongues... most of my friends will naturally spanish, but some others speak Valencian and is really hard to always remember to switch from one to the other when there is a person that is not fluent... I do not think people do it on purpose, is just that when you speak to a friend that you know from many years, and you always do it in your mother tongue, you automatically tend to speak as always... is a natural thing I would say.
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  #28  
Old 14.08.2011, 20:10
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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As others have said, we all learn differently. I am largely print-driven, so for me learning Hochdeutsch has been important. However, I live in the boondocks where only SG is spoken.

My immediate goal is to reach a level where I read/understand HD well, and speak/write HD functionally or at least with a minimum of embarassing mistakes. And that I learn to understand Swiss-German in an everyday context.

I'd like to reach fluency in HD, I'd like to pick up more SG - but I'll settle for practical at the moment.
This is me. I have to be able to read and understand HD and not being able to read SG really gives me challenges to learn the language. Plus I work in an office which has many Germans and other non-Swiss, so HD is second to English and SG is only for coffee chats.

Having a Swiss spouse is a huge benefit for learning the local dialect. Some of the students who were in the same German class eventually gave up due to the grammar, and concentrated on learning by ear from their husbands. This is enough for them.

Since I plan on staying here long-term and I don't have a Swiss spouse to translate for me, it is important for me to learn grammar, HD, etc. because SG is a limited language. It's great for conversations and understanding the news. But for legal and medical purposes, only HD will do.
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  #29  
Old 14.08.2011, 20:59
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

I have so much to learn....at the moment I can't even tell if someone is speaking High German or Swiss German!!
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Old 14.08.2011, 22:16
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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I know adults who have learned Swiss German, without learning High German. What some of them find irritating is that they speak dialect, the person assumes from their look/accent/whatever that they're not true natives... then switches to High German!

Migroschule will only offer Swiss German to people with a reasonable level of High German. My wife took the course in Basel. They taught Bern dialect, with some indication of what's spoken in Basel and Zürich.
About "My wife took the course in Basel. They taught Bern dialect"

Am I alone in finding that to be bizzare?

If you take an SG course in Basel then it is reasonable they would teach Basel dialect. Why would you want to learn Bern dialect in Basel???

About "To be honest with you, Swiss German is still (High) German but pronounced completely differently, plus a few odd words that are Swiss German only. "

Umm, interesting view.........
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Old 14.08.2011, 22:31
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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There is a reason teachers constantly have to remind children to only speak German in the classroom. We don't want to, and avoid doing it as much as possible.
I never had to do that ever. I am the teacher. Once the high German is switched on, Gymnasium students just go on with it. The occasional dialect joke aside, but even that does not interrupt high German as a classroom language. You may tell me that as German, my students have a huge respect and fear of me, you may . I have no idea in other types of schools and at younger age, though...
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  #32  
Old 14.08.2011, 22:39
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

Can we agree there is very little Swiss German written material, so a foreigner has to listen carefully and either work it out or be told the meanings.

So I am thinking, how do Swiss babies learn a Swiss dialect? I am fairly certain Swiss mothers do not teach them high German and then at two or three explain the secrets of Walliserdeutsch!

Why can't us furriners learn it at the breast, just like the babies?
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  #33  
Old 14.08.2011, 22:39
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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About "To be honest with you, Swiss German is still (High) German but pronounced completely differently, plus a few odd words that are Swiss German only. "

Umm, interesting view.........
it's true! english is also french, but with a few different words/pronunciation and slightly changed grammer. of course, the genders are also dropped.
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Old 14.08.2011, 22:48
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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I never had to do that ever. I am the teacher. Once the high German is switched on, Gymnasium students just go on with it. The occasional dialect joke aside, but even that does not interrupt high German as a classroom language. You may tell me that as German, my students have a huge respect and fear of me, you may . I have no idea in other types of schools and at younger age, though...
Only the minority of students go to Gymnasium or Kantonschule in Switzerland so your experience might not be applicable to Real, Sekundar or Oberschule. Also when I was in Primarschule and Grundschule I remember the teacher would have to remind the students to participate in class in High-German rather than Swiss-German.
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Old 14.08.2011, 22:50
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Can we agree there is very little Swiss German written material, so a foreigner has to listen carefully and either work it out or be told the meanings.

So I am thinking, how do Swiss babies learn a Swiss dialect? I am fairly certain Swiss mothers do not teach them high German and then at two or three explain the secrets of Walliserdeutsch!

Why can't us furriners learn it at the breast, just like the babies?
Some do I'm sure - but you have to find the breasts first Ittigen
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  #36  
Old 14.08.2011, 23:54
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Can we agree there is very little Swiss German written material, so a foreigner has to listen carefully and either work it out or be told the meanings.
Agreed

I have an app on my iPod called Swiss German that you can enter English words and it will show you the German and Swiss German translations. And vice-versa. But it doesn't do text-to-speech so it is almost impossible to tell if it is a word you have heard before. Or how to pronounce it

And some of the words are pretty dodgy. For example it lists the Swiss German word "schpudera" (umlaut on the last a) as being "eine nasse Aussprache haben" in German and "have a wet debate" in English! I put the German into Google Translate and it said it meant "have a wet pronunciation". Can someone please explain what "schpudera" means before I get slapped for using it incorrectly?
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Old 15.08.2011, 00:02
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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And some of the words are pretty dodgy. For example it lists the Swiss German word "schpudera" (umlaut on the last a) as being "eine nasse Aussprache haben" in German and "have a wet debate" in English! I put the German into Google Translate and it said it meant "have a wet pronunciation". Can someone please explain what "schpudera" means before I get slapped for using it incorrectly?
schpuderä = sputteren (Dutch) = sputter (English) = stottern (High German)

oder?
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Old 15.08.2011, 00:04
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

Google no help, "Your search - schpudera - did not match any documents".

Is it a runny nose? Or to stutter?
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  #39  
Old 15.08.2011, 00:06
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Agreed

I have an app on my iPod called Swiss German that you can enter English words and it will show you the German and Swiss German translations. And vice-versa. But it doesn't do text-to-speech so it is almost impossible to tell if it is a word you have heard before. Or how to pronounce it

And some of the words are pretty dodgy. For example it lists the Swiss German word "schpudera" (umlaut on the last a) as being "eine nasse Aussprache haben" in German and "have a wet debate" in English! I put the German into Google Translate and it said it meant "have a wet pronunciation". Can someone please explain what "schpudera" means before I get slapped for using it incorrectly?
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Old 15.08.2011, 00:32
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

Swiss-German is really easy. Consider 3 rules in mind (German-speakers)

the words with alphabet e or "a umlaut" has a pronunciation like <aa>
For ex-
Hoch deutsch-Gelb schweizer deutsch-Galb


2) stick with kgggggg sound...try to pronounce every alphabet starting and ending with alphabet "k" and "ch". if you really wanna sound like a typical
Swiss

3) Don't care about grammar...put the words where ever you want to put. It will definitely make sense

see it's so easy

1 additional question from my side- Isn't it possible to make Swiss-German an official language of Switzerland including other language (mostly in German speaking part where people have adopted it as a daily means of communication). It could have been so easy for foreigners to make a choice between hoch German and Swiss German. In contrast, Swiss local won't have to go through "switching between language" all the time. (just wanted to get this thing off from my chest from a while)
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