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  #21  
Old 05.10.2011, 11:31
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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I hear it all the time, but not only from Americans
Yes, you hear it in London-accented British English too, where it comes out sounding something like "if Ida known".
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  #22  
Old 05.10.2011, 11:32
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

There was a Yiddish linguist who once said that a language is a dialect with an army and navy. There are no objective definitions of a language and a dialect; at least that’s what I was taught at university.

Personally, I don’t believe the Swiss will ever decide to try and give Swiss German the status of a language. This would be a revolutionary undertaking and would take years to implement. I’m afraid that boat has sailed.
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  #23  
Old 05.10.2011, 11:36
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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Well, in case you didn't know, there are vast regional differences by the way people speak in the US and many words hold different meanings therefore, I am afraid, your comparison doesn't quite make sense. Also, why do you bring in Americans into this discussion to begin with...?
The OP brought up Americans already, don't blame AbFab.

The discussion of German vs Swiss German often is compared to "Queen's" English compared to American English. Funny thing is that there are some major differences in country-specific Spanish as well. I imagine such discussions on a Spanish-speaking forum would probably fall to that comparison rather than the English vs English that we have here.
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Old 05.10.2011, 11:36
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

The difference between Swiss German and High German is much bigger than the difference between Swiss French and French.

Because of cultural identity perhaps however, this difference is only in pronunciation. That makes it a different accent/dialect and NOT a different language.
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  #25  
Old 05.10.2011, 11:42
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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The difference between Swiss German and High German is much bigger than the difference between Swiss French and French.

Because of cultural identity perhaps however, this difference is only in pronunciation. That makes it a different accent/dialect and NOT a different language.
The difference is in vocab, pronounciation and grammar. It is a language (well et the moment they are several).
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  #26  
Old 05.10.2011, 11:55
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

Attachment 33438
Executive Summary(cont from p.94)
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect.
  • No, its a language.
  • No, it's a dialect. (cont p.94)
.

Last edited by weejeem; 14.10.2011 at 15:02.
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  #27  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:00
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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Well, in case you didn't know, there are vast regional differences by the way people speak in the US and many words hold different meanings therefore, I am afraid, your comparison doesn't quite make sense. Also, why do you bring in Americans into this discussion to begin with...?
I am aware of the regional differences in the USA, having been to most of it. However there is more difference in language between Basle and Zurich than New York and Los Angeles. Although you don't seem to have grasped this concept.

There is only one dialect of English - Pigeon or Pidgin English. The rest (Glasgow and Oxford have been referred to) are just accents and slight changes in use of vocabulary. However, English is pretty easy too "accent-ise", unlike German. You only need to hear, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester etc.

Swiss-German is a dialect with different grammar and major vocab. changes from High German. Swiss-German's base was established before High German by the way...
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  #28  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:08
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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There is only one dialect of English - Pigeon or Pidgin English.
This thread is for the birds.
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  #29  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:10
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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There is only one dialect of English - Pigeon or Pidgin English. The rest (Glasgow and Oxford have been referred to) are just accents and slight changes in use of vocabulary. However, English is pretty easy too "accent-ise", unlike German. You only need to hear, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester etc.

Oh dearie, dearie me - this paragraph makes me think of crime in a multi-story car park.


It's wrong on so many levels.
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  #30  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:12
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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Just like a guy in Oxford wouldn't understand a guy in Glasgow it is still ultimately the same language in a different dialect


You are getting dialects and accents mixed up.


cheers
SC
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  #31  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:12
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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Oh dearie, dearie me - this paragraph makes me think of crime in a multi-story car park.


It's wrong on so many levels.
And the correct answer is??
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  #32  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:19
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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The difference between Swiss German and High German is much bigger than the difference between Swiss French and French.

Because of cultural identity perhaps however, this difference is only in pronunciation. That makes it a different accent/dialect and NOT a different language.
About "this difference is only in pronunciation"

Ah so interesting - so when a High German speaker says "Guten Appetit" and a Swiss says "en guerte" this is only pronunciation?
or for other examples of pronunciation fahrad/velo, poulet/huhn, &&&&

The main reason Swiss German dialect will never become a language is there will never be overall agreement on which dialect version to "languagefy" - people cherish the differences between the versions.
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  #33  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:24
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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And the correct answer is??
Well, let's start with the first one, shall we?

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There is only one dialect of English - Pigeon or Pidgin English. The rest (Glasgow and Oxford have been referred to) are just accents and slight changes in use of vocabulary.
You pretty much machine-gunned most of your toes off by stating that "there is only one dialect of English", and then defining "the rest" as just "accents and slight changes in use of vocabulary", which is - jings, crivens, helpma'boab! - the definition of a dialect.
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Old 05.10.2011, 12:25
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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And the correct answer is??
... that there are hundreds of dialects of English.
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  #35  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:27
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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You are getting dialects and accents mixed up.


cheers
SC
Nooooooooo hoooo ooooo, everyone else is :-)

That's my point, accent/dialect is the same thing.

Swiss german has absolutely no grammar and same vocab as alemanic. And written swiss german is no diff than txt spk ok m8.

c ya!
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  #36  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:30
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

There are some very stupid people out and about today.
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Old 05.10.2011, 12:31
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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About "this difference is only in pronunciation"

Ah so interesting - so when a High German speaker says "Guten Appetit" and a Swiss says "en guerte" this is only pronunciation?
Exaclty! en guete = ein guten appetit in txt spk.

Exact same vocab just diff pronunciation.
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  #38  
Old 05.10.2011, 12:31
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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And the correct answer is??
Well, not being familiar with specifics of the languages / dialects in the British Isles, I'll point out what I see wrong

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However there is more difference in language between Basle and Zurich than New York and Los Angeles.
First, you picked the wrong two regions of the US to compare, if you're going to compare Standard / High German vs Swiss German, or even different regional dialects of Swiss German.

Due to the nature of societies in NY and LA, you're right, they are fairly similar (but not exactly the same), much like Zürich, Basel and Bern probably are more similar to each other in comparison to some of the other areas of German-speaking Switzerland.

Meanwhile, comparing NY or LA with say... New Orleans, Savannah or Birmingham (Alabama), now we've got some "dialect" differences rather than simple accent. To deny the "dialect" and simply call it an accent implies to me that you've only visited, rather than live as there definitely are "grammatical" and vocabulary differences, even if they're not considered proper grammar. I have been in conversation with my German neighbor when she pointed out how bad Swiss grammar is as well, I think the comparison is very similar.

The concept of it being"dialect" vs accent can be seen even more strongly if you consider the folks who live outside those major cities rather than right in them. I imagine the same is true here as well, although I personally have mostly only heard German or Baseldüütsch spoken.
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  #39  
Old 05.10.2011, 13:18
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

Have to agree with AbFab, there are no dialects in English, just regional accents withe the odd idiosyncratic word or phrase thrown in.
Just because Wikipedia says it is so, doesn't mean it's true.
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Old 05.10.2011, 13:24
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Re: Swiss German isn't a language...

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(spin-off from another thread)

Why isn't Swiss-German a language?! It ought to be. I know there are different words in different regions - but when I say pants I don't necessarily mean what you mean, and English is still a language. Likewise "coger" in Spanish (to catch/ to shag) and "pistolet" in French (small gun/sandwich bread).
I also know there are different spellings (like standardised and standardized?) and different grammar rules possibly, something like when Americans say "If I had of known" - which drives me up the wall because it's "if I had known"! And of course, different pronunciations - anyone been to Glasgow recently? My English family found my husband hard to understand when they first met him, and he's only from Leeds!

Does anyone seriously think language has to be controlled by a central agency? Anyone apart from the Académie Française, that is?

Where we live, which is admittedly in darkest Nidwalden, there are plenty of signs up in Swiss German. We get adverts in Swiss through the door - not just from the SVP, either! Sermons at our church were in Swiss-German until friends of ours asked for them to be in High German for our sake. This involves some sighing when visiting preachers are informed of the fact. Songs at church and at Kindergarten are roughly 50% local and the kindergarten teacher spoke in Swiss-German for the entire parents' evening last year. This year she spoke High German after asking me first - most but not all of the other parents followed suit. Swiss-German is available in (very small!) dictionary form, there are books teaching it, the Bible has been at least partially translated into it, and there are classes you can take if you have at least B1 in Hochdeutsch. From where I'm standing, that's pretty much a language.

There doesn't seem to be any good, long-term, unchangeable reason why Swiss-German should continue to be thought of as "just" a dialect of German. I speak Dutch and Danish, and a lot of the time those seem to be as close to High German as Swiss German is. Norwegian is almost identical to Danish, and they all get proper language status. So does Faroese.

I love hearing/reading Swiss-German, even though after 7 years here I still only understand about 5-10%. It gets right up my nose when people dismiss it as just some dialect. I wish the Swiss would say "right, this is our language, with a wide range of local variants, let's ditch the High German, standardise the spelling a tad, and all speak what we actually speak." And I wish they would teach it at language schools without requiring you to speak High German first. I would have started classes several years ago, instead of having to wait to get to B1 and signing up come January.

Sure this has all been said before, probably with greater brevity, but it is one of the things that really annoys me here. If I ever get Swiss nationality...

</rant>
i think the fact that swiss is still a german dialect is a great way to illustrate swiss consensus building and conferational thinking. indeed i use it as an example to illustrate swiss german national character all the time.

what is swiss german? you cant pick zuritüüsch as the national language, because then you offend the rest of the german swiss and deligitimise their dialects. they could never agree upon a national written standard, a requisite for a national standardized language.

so, in true collaberative consensus building swissyness, they decided to adopt the grammar of the "northern canton" for their written language; this is acceptable to the confederated swiss as no single canton is singled out and the "real" swiss or favorite.

swiss IS as different from german as dutch is. but the swiss never found a common national voice by throwing out the spanish over an 80 year process and building a mercantile empire together as far away as indonesia the way the dutch broke from the rest of the Holy roman empire after the treaty of westfalia in 1648. The dutch national identity was forged fighting the spanish.

The swiss have been alone and isolated and ignored for most of their history and never had a similar type of event which made them come together as a nation first, regions second. Hell they only even formed into a real nation state in the mid 19th century with any sort of federal power to guarantee border integrity and make sure their stronger neightbors didnt gobble them up.

this is why "they speak a language noone writes and write a language noone speaks".

as a german speaker, it took me about 6mos to really understand it decently, and now after 2 years i get 90%. Once your german falls into place, making the switch isnt hard. But i can concede learning it from scratch must be aggravating!
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