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  #61  
Old 16.08.2011, 00:32
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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There's a standard written Swiss-German?

NOOOOOOO !
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  #62  
Old 16.08.2011, 00:48
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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A German linguist even wrote a book "Der Dativ ist des Genitivs Tod"
Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod - Bastian Sick

Genitive is inexistant in the entire low-German area, absent of most of the Oberdeutsch area and rare in the middle-German area. Without written norm made at a time where Genitive was heavily used in Saxon clerc language (Kanzleisprache), there would be no trace of it now.

Two main alternative to Genitive:
- Preposition von (acceptable in normative grammar)
- Dative + possessive structure (not accepted in normative grammar)
The latter is the one used in the title of Sick's book just for fun. It is also the only accepted form in hanseatic low-German. But nobody wants to listen to that lecture so that's it for now.
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  #63  
Old 16.08.2011, 01:02
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod - Bastian Sick

Genitive is inexistant in the entire low-German area, absent of most of the Oberdeutsch area and rare in the middle-German area. Without written norm made at a time where Genitive was heavily used in Saxon clerc language (Kanzleisprache), there would be no trace of it now.

Two main alternative to Genitive:
- Preposition von (acceptable in normative grammar)
- Dative + possessive structure (not accepted in normative grammar)
The latter is the one used in the title of Sick's book just for fun. It is also the only accepted form in hanseatic low-German. But nobody wants to listen to that lecture so that's it for now.
Thanks for giving the correct title . But far more amusing is to see that in London, those Continentals most often using the genitive where even the "genitive-prone" Brits abstain are people from Switzerland and Southern Germany. I in favour of all of them admit that to find a balance is far from easy.

Bastian Sick is really good. Being really good in regard to language but blessed with humour and with flexible views
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  #64  
Old 16.08.2011, 01:22
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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blessed with humour and with flexible views
That's Hanseaten as I know them. (Lübeck, then Hamburg).
His name is often pronounced with short -i- but it should be "zeek" with a long -i- even if it doesn't look like it. I know, you all die to learn more about the history of low-German orthography.
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  #65  
Old 16.08.2011, 09:45
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Sure there is. It looks the same as standard written German-German, but without the Eszett (ß).

ahhh you're refering to "standard swiss german". Understood.
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  #66  
Old 16.08.2011, 10:56
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Bastian Sick is really good. Being really good in regard to language but blessed with humour and with flexible views
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That's Hanseaten as I know them. (Lübeck, then Hamburg).
I think he is quite the opposite of flexible and overall an obnoxious smart-ass with a spleen for grammar. A comedian for teachers and wannabe-teacher...

I am sure he could be really big in Switzerland with his general attitude, but the Swiss German language barrier and the inability of Swiss to take criticism will prevent that.

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  #67  
Old 16.08.2011, 11:17
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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I think he is quite the opposite of flexible and overall an obnoxious smart-ass with a spleen for grammar.
There is nothing in the way of having different opinions about life in General and northern Germans in particular.
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Old 16.08.2011, 11:32
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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There never was a "Swiss language" (Luxemburgers speak Lechteburgisch and no other dialect) and NOBODY in Zürich would ever have been ready to "standardize" with Baaseltüütsch. And unlike the Dutch who blocked their link with German culture, German speakers in Switzerland wanted to continue with the participation in German culture (poetry, literature in general, newspapers, theatre, TV+films, etc). I think that the Dutch in this aspect made a heavy mistake.

To me, Standard German up from class nr 2 put me up into the top for all of school-time (from the bottom) in regard to German, so that I would oppose your suggestion above always and thoroughly
Well, until 150 years ago, there was no "Italian language" either, but there is now, so it can be done.

Tom
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Old 16.08.2011, 11:38
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Ok so what you are saying is that you want two people who have swiss german as mother tongue (and are in a swiss german speaking country), to switch to english or high german (which they may not feel comfortable talking in) so that you, a foreigner (who complains about their traditions ie wedding duration) can undestand?
Hell, we don't even do that at home!

I always speak to my kids in English, and they to each other, even when there are non-English speakers present (such as my girlfriend, or most of their friends)

Meanwhil, my daughter is in the US for a couple weeks with one of her Italian-speaking friends. I asked my sister how the friend was getting on with her lack of English, sister responded "oh, she speaks perfect English!" (I've just never heard it)

Tom
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Old 16.08.2011, 11:42
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Well, until 150 years ago, there was no "Italian language" either, but their is now, so it can be done.

Tom
of course it can but they don't want to. The Romansh did it but they are not sure whether they want it. It takes all kinds...

Painful was the language unification question in Norway so even the Swiss situation is quite peaceful in comparaison.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:00
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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I went to a wedding yesterday in Eastern Switzerland and it was TOO LONG (10-12 hours...not sure because we left early, risking the displeasure of those who invited us, but I really don't care about that, if they aren't reasonable people they aren't my friends or people I would like to associate with anyway, but that is another story)...
Am I the only one that fines this a very arrogant statement? Sounds like a perfectly normal Swiss wedding to me, at least for the East - they typically start around early afternoon with the church, on to somewhere nice for an apero mid afternoon (vineyards/wine cellars are quite popular for that) and then on to a good restaurant for the evening running to midnight or later, all the while being very nicely chauffeured about, fed and watered and wined and entertained....

The couple probably spent a great deal of thought and money in making a special day for themselves and their friends and you can only complain that is was TOO LONG and you don't care if you annoyed them on their wedding day. Sounds like you are the unreasonable one and they are better off without you.
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  #72  
Old 16.08.2011, 13:05
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

And that coming from a "bastardo" ! I can only imagine how mad you'd get if you were nice.
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Old 16.08.2011, 13:21
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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And that coming from a "bastardo" ! I can only imagine how mad you'd get if you were nice.
I'll show you after work today....
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  #74  
Old 17.08.2011, 13:04
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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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.
What was her verdict on the class? What level did she do?
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  #75  
Old 17.08.2011, 13:44
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

Well, I've been gone for a while. It's nice to see not much has changed here at the EF. So, back to the topic:

I agree with the people who say it is best to have some High German under your belt before you attempt to learn Swiss (whichever dialect), but you are already that far. If you are going to be staying here in Switzerland, then you need to make a decision: learn the local dialect or continue with High German. I chose High German but I have no problems understanding dialect (Appenzell may be an exception), which means that Swiss Germans can comfortably talk in their dialect and I am part of the conversation although I speak High German. This is the same situation for many Germans that I know here. It works.

If you want to learn Swiss or just have more exposure to it, here is my suggestion: learn to play Jass. This is the Swiss national card game and it is quite fun. My OT made me learn before I came and I was able to spend time with people in bars, ski huts, apartments etc. being a part of the group even though I understood not a word of what was going on around me. Almost everyone plays so it would be easy to find some 3 other Swiss to join you in a regular game during which you would be exposed to lots and lots of Swiss dialect. (Here is an introduction to the game in English: http://www.pagat.com/jass/swjass.html. They even play it on Swiss TV, which is about as exciting to me as watching chess, golf or Formula 1 racing.)
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  #76  
Old 17.08.2011, 15:46
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

Ive learnt to switch off at social events and family meeting. I find it very zen to zone out.. sometimes I try and think back to my very first memory... Quite difficult if you havent ever tried it I reccomend it next time your bored out of your mind.
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Old 18.08.2011, 10:28
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Am I the only one that fines this a very arrogant statement? Sounds like a perfectly normal Swiss wedding to me, at least for the East - they typically start around early afternoon with the church, on to somewhere nice for an apero mid afternoon (vineyards/wine cellars are quite popular for that) and then on to a good restaurant for the evening running to midnight or later, all the while being very nicely chauffeured about, fed and watered and wined and entertained....

The couple probably spent a great deal of thought and money in making a special day for themselves and their friends and you can only complain that is was TOO LONG and you don't care if you annoyed them on their wedding day. Sounds like you are the unreasonable one and they are better off without you.
I didn't know this before hand obviously, if I did I would not have went at all. Not even my Swiss partner thought to explain this. She apologized to me, because she had forgot that American weddings tend to be shorter (she has been to a wedding in America).

This is not the point of the topic though.

In reality it was nice of them to invite me, but I was only invited due to my partner, I don't know these people. They also know me personally somewhat and know I don't speak Swiss German at all. So would they reasonable expect me to sit there for 12 hours or something? Is that reaonsable?

I have Chinese friends, and speak pretty good Mandarin. Would it be reasonsable to expect them to sit for 12 hours while everyone is having a good time in a language they can't understand?

Maybe where you come from...
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Old 18.08.2011, 10:32
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Ok so what you are saying is that you want two people who have swiss german as mother tongue (and are in a swiss german speaking country), to switch to english or high german (which they may not feel comfortable talking in) so that you, a foreigner (who complains about their traditions ie wedding duration) can undestand?
No that is not what I am saying.

Please read the first post again.

I'm not saying Swiss should not do what they do. I simply stated THIS IS WHAT THEY DO, and no one on this post has seemed to disagree with that reality.

I am simply asking if there is a better way that I (as a foreigner) can communicate with them.

What is not clear about that?
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Old 18.08.2011, 10:49
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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Regrettable, but nobody here will speak in Standard German with another dialect speaker, but because a foreigner is around



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So that Shanghainese is the Züritüütsch of China



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NOT spoken ? It IS spoken not too far away anyway PLUS in the city and Canton parliaments of Schaffhausen



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Swiss people from the Romandie and from the Ticino may rather try to speak with you in High German than in dialects.



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Learning High German gives you the basics common to the many German dialects between the North Sea and the San Gottardo




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If in Zürich, it is Züritüütsch




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No, Züritüütsch and Schaffuuserisch are much closer to the dialects right north of the border than to Baaslerisch or Bärnerisch.




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NO NO NO NO NO. There never was a "Swiss language" (Luxemburgers speak Lechteburgisch and no other dialect) and NOBODY in Zürich would ever have been ready to "standardize" with Baaseltüütsch. And unlike the Dutch who blocked their link with German culture, German speakers in Switzerland wanted to continue with the participation in German culture (poetry, literature in general, newspapers, theatre, TV+films, etc). I think that the Dutch in this aspect made a heavy mistake.

To me, Standard German up from class nr 2 put me up into the top for all of school-time (from the bottom) in regard to German, so that I would oppose your suggestion above always and thoroughly


Thank you for your answers. It seems you actually read the post, unlike many people who obviously made comments not understanding what was being said.

1) I'm not sure how the Dutch have hurt themselves socially or economically. The Netherlands seems to be a vibrant culture culturally and economically.

What you said is a similar argument to what I've read about Haiti, some said that Haiti should have kept French as their linguistic standard and not Kreol. I might agree with that, due to their situation, but the Netherlands??

It seems to me the Dutch solution is more practical for daily life. I'm sure they don't have children sitting in church (the few that go) having no idea what is being said until they are older and have learned enough HIgh German. lol It also lowers the barrier to foreign integration quite a bit.

It is obviously easier to learn one language, even if the spoken language is only 80% similar to what is in a text book, then to learn something that is not in the text book at all.

France at one time and Italy also did not have standard langauges. They invented them. France, probably more than any nation in Europe really really tried to enfore this standard. This even affected Romande some, as I'm sure you know, real dialect in a lot of areas is really dying, and what is spoken (as was explained to me by a French speaker) is stardard French with some dialect words mixed in. IT was not like that 200 years ago, that was a conscious cultural choice.

I'm not saying Swiss should change, they should do what they want. I'm strictly talking about what is practical, but often people don't do what is practical for various reasons they find far more important (tradition, their feelings, nationalism, relgionalism, pride, etc). That's fine.

2) In China the rule is pretty simple.

The further you are from Beijing the more dialect there is but the northern plains are generally some dialect of Mandarin (so think the difference between American English and British English)...maybe slightly more in some areas...Scots English and American English, but that's it.

Once you get near Shanghai and move South, the dialects are more like different languages. Guangdong Hua (Cantonese), Shanghainese, Fujianese (all the types of it), and many more unmentioned tend to be as different from Mandarin as Italian or Portuguese is from French. This has to do a lot with geography, there is no flat plain, there are more river divides and mountain ranges, all serve to keep people separate. Much like Switzerland, people historically did not move very far, so dialects formed.

Anyway this is all off topic, but it is interesting that the language closer to "Middle Chinese" that is still spoken in China is probably Cantonese (Guangdong Hua) not Mandarin. They know this because when you pronounce the middle Chinese poetry in Mandarin it rarely rhyms, but Cantonese does.

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Old 18.08.2011, 11:14
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Re: Social Isolation of Foreigners

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I have Chinese friends, and speak pretty good Mandarin. Would it be reasonsable to expect them to sit for 12 hours while everyone is having a good time in a language they can't understand?

Maybe where you come from...
I have Chinese friends and speak very mediocre Mandarin, I was invited to a wedding in Yunnan and it took 3 days! Even though I sometimes had to drive around for hours and hours in a cramped car so the couple could take hundreds of pictures in different locations it was still fun after all, and in slightly more tiring moments I told myself that it isn't about me, but the couple that marries.
So no, I don't know where you're coming from...
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