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  #61  
Old 21.01.2021, 14:03
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Re: Swiss German in School

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I would not trust you.... I’ve been here for over thirty years and I’ve heard all the feel good excuses for expecting groups of locals to conduct business in a foreign language from people who have been here for the best part of a decade and could not be bothered to learn the language. It’s acceptable for a while, but if you are not making an effort, it becomes tiresome at best and many will just minimize there interaction with you.

I wasn't here for a decade! It happened quite some years ago. I was here only for a couple of years at that time and it was spectacular that I could attend that course in German (not without much struggle, mind) and not in English as many people would have chosen to. In fact people were like "wow, you already speak German quite well, that's not very common". They were very encouraging, some of them. I'm talking about education institutions not conducting business within a small company or other situations. I think we're talking about very different things. We were a relatively small group and everyone was free to speak whatever lingo during breaks.

And yes, the Swiss I know insist German is an official language here and there are situations when people can ask to be used.



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I‘m Swiss and I also think OP has every right to ask for German. Primary school probably differs by region. In districts with a high proportion of immigrants like ours, the primary school teachers absolutely insist on German. All ours did, though all but one were Swiss and more comfortable with dialect in private. It‘s doable and shouldn‘t be a pronblem.

Thank you.
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  #62  
Old 21.01.2021, 14:16
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Re: Swiss German in School

Lots of Romands have no choice for some Uni subjects but to go and study in the Swiss German parts. Although they have done High German at school- but in a very grammar based system rather than communicative- it is very hard for them too as they have never studied Swiss German. They seem to cope- tough- but they do it. Some lecturers spoke HG, some something in between, some in Swiss German.

When I did my B.Ed.Hons Degree in the UK, some of my lecturers were Geordies, one Irish, one from Dudley- I had to sharpen my ears, for sure. I don't think they would have taken kindly to me insisting they should only use RP.
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  #63  
Old 21.01.2021, 14:35
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Re: Swiss German in School

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Lots of Romands have no choice for some Uni subjects but to go and study in the Swiss German parts. Although they have done High German at school- but in a very grammar based system rather than communicative- it is very hard for them too as they have never studied Swiss German. They seem to cope- tough- but they do it. Some lecturers spoke HG, some something in between, some in Swiss German.

When I did my B.Ed.Hons Degree in the UK, some of my lecturers were Geordies, one Irish, one from Dudley- I had to sharpen my ears, for sure. I don't think they would have taken kindly to me insisting they should only use RP.
If there's a very strong Swiss German dialect one needs more than to sharpen their ears. I'm not sure it's comparable to English or French regionalisms. It's more like being told you'll attend a course in French and when you start the course all you hear it's Occitan. Now, of course you may get something/a lot if you're a French native speaker (I don't know, I'm assuming). But for people who have been studying HG for a short time...now of course it's different, I wouldn't have any excuse to ask for HG. Especially since I'm not really expected to speak the local dialect(s) only to understand.


Btw, JackieH, you also think the Swiss-Germans are particularly polite? I mean, yes, obviously they are because they are nice people in general, but that polite as to shield you from things they know you'll eventually encounter anyway?

Last edited by greenmount; 21.01.2021 at 14:51.
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  #64  
Old 21.01.2021, 19:07
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Re: Swiss German in School

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Lots of Romands have no choice for some Uni subjects but to go and study in the Swiss German parts. Although they have done High German at school- but in a very grammar based system rather than communicative- it is very hard for them too as they have never studied Swiss German. They seem to cope- tough- but they do it. Some lecturers spoke HG, some something in between, some in Swiss German.
I've yet to come across a university lecture in a Swiss dialect. A large part of the teaching body isn't Swiss anyways, at ETHZ 65% of full professors and almost 80% of assistant profs are non-Swiss, and at UZH 55% of Professors are non-Swiss. Just like with many of my friends/colleagues, I have learnt most of my subjects in English at ETH, and hence, I am more comfortable to also teach them in English.
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  #65  
Old 21.01.2021, 19:41
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Re: Swiss German in School

My spoken German is functional, as is reading..

Writing only if I really have to, which is mainly for dealing with our Heimatorts, as my wife speaks no German despite being very old family Zuri-oberland.

Meanwhile, I have a motorcycle friend from Einsiedeln who is always happy when I'm around as I am one of the 2-3 people who can understand him when he speaks his 'mundart', as he doesn't speak Italian and doesn't like to speak Schriftdeutsch. He told me that he doesn't give a shit that I have a crap accent, he can understand it and I can understand him, so all is good.

We used to have meetings at work with guys from the PTT (now called Swisscom), and things would start should we speak Berndeutsch, Zurideutsch, Schriftdeutsch, or English.

Tom
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  #66  
Old 21.01.2021, 21:32
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Re: Swiss German in School

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I've yet to come across a university lecture in a Swiss dialect. A large part of the teaching body isn't Swiss anyways, at ETHZ 65% of full professors and almost 80% of assistant profs are non-Swiss, and at UZH 55% of Professors are non-Swiss. Just like with many of my friends/colleagues, I have learnt most of my subjects in English at ETH, and hence, I am more comfortable to also teach them in English.
Even my eldest one who is in primary school at the moment and whose teachers are like 100% Swiss, is taught in German. Well at least for the most part. Between them kids always speak the local dialect. Or more informal conversations with their teachers.
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  #67  
Old 21.01.2021, 22:03
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Re: Swiss German in School

Of course there are degrees of Swiss German - and I'd imagine, most teachers even when teaching in Swiss German (and which one?) would do so in a toned down manner- and not as if they were on the shop floor or on the farm with old school mates.

I can assure you Geordie or Scouse speak, if not toned down- or Toulouse or Auvergne- could be just as hard. Generally speaking, I do not believe that anyone should lose their regional accent totally to teach. Our welcome lecture by the Dean concentrated on telling new students that anyone with a regional accent should lose it and fast, if they want to succeed- and he had the klippiest South African accent.

In Quebec or in Mauritius, if I joined a course taught in 'French', even I would struggle- but they would sincerely not accept their French is not ... French. So when they say the course is taught in German ... But yes, I understand it would be hard, especially for anyone who doesn't already speak some form of French.
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  #68  
Old 22.01.2021, 09:36
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Re: Swiss German in School

Teachers are required to speak High German at school so students can actually learn the language correctly. It's that simple.
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  #69  
Old 22.01.2021, 19:06
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Re: Swiss German in School

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When I did my B.Ed.Hons Degree in the UK, some of my lecturers were Geordies, one Irish, one from Dudley- I had to sharpen my ears, for sure. I don't think they would have taken kindly to me insisting they should only use RP.
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Of course there are degrees of Swiss German -

Generally speaking, I do not believe that anyone should lose their regional accent totally to teach.
I think you have really confused dialect with accent. Your lecturers didn't speak in a different language; they may have had a strong accent but they spoke English.

It's not a question of degree of Swiss-German-ness: the dialect differs quite considerably from region to region - for instance, the Luzern dialect is very different to the St. Gallen dialect.
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Old 22.01.2021, 19:20
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Re: Swiss German in School

Yes, agreed- and I did mention different dialects. The degree of Swiss German I meant is whether it is toned down and a mix of HG or not. I can assure you that some British accents are a lot more than just 'accent'.
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Old 22.01.2021, 21:07
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Re: Swiss German in School

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Yes, agreed- and I did mention different dialects. The degree of Swiss German I meant is whether it is toned down and a mix of HG or not. I can assure you that some British accents are a lot more than just 'accent'.
Tbh I find pretty much everything in GB pretty easy to understand. The hardest are deepest Scouse / Glaswegian, but I think I could usually cope. Northern Ireland however .....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuEJRSmRx0c

That guy must be as different from RP as Swiss German is from High German.

I find my own brother tricky to understand at times. We are both from Newcastle, but he's lived in NI since 18, whereas I moved down South. So he's got a Geordie/NI patois, whereas I am a bit Surrey.

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  #72  
Old 22.01.2021, 22:30
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Re: Swiss German in School

When we moved to Stoke, I had to translate for my Surrey boy
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  #73  
Old 23.01.2021, 11:48
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Re: Swiss German in School

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I had an English friend who went to live in Wales and totally refused to either try to learn or speak any, and would refuse to even try to understand when spoken to. She also complained bitterly that the Welsh were not very friendly!
All she had to do was to sharpen her ears

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Old 23.01.2021, 12:01
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Re: Swiss German in School

LOL, but the point I was making is that she did not want to learn and expected everyone to speak English - and then said they were not friendly. It is about this psychological/respect rapport about learning a language, even if the othr person can speak yours, and even if said language is not particularly 'useful' beyond those borders. It makes a massive difference.
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Old 23.01.2021, 12:04
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Re: Swiss German in School

In Ticino we have:

Italian

Railroad dialect (dialetto della ferrovia), basically simplified Lombardian with some Ticino-specific words that permits a common dialect that all can understand.

Local dialects


Work, schools, TV, Radio are all in Italian.

Stores, restaurants, etc. any of the three, or some combination.

I understand the first two, and OUR local dialect, but probably not some of the others.

Most people normally speak Italian or railroad dialect.

Tom
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Old 23.01.2021, 12:13
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Re: Swiss German in School

It's important for expats/immigrants to note that the government requires teachers and students to speak high German during class as part of their German schooling. Outside of class, students can speak whatever they want, but Swiss German will be the common denominator.
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Old 23.01.2021, 12:37
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Re: Swiss German in School

Yes, of course. But there are degrees of such. A Swiss German person can speak High German with no accent, a bit like RP in English- or can speak a form of High German which has a strong Swiss German accent and some words/expressions linked to Swiss German. Not sure I express myself very well here. Same as would happen in Austria or Bavaria, for instance.

text corrected, sorry

Last edited by JackieH; 23.01.2021 at 14:50.
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Old 23.01.2021, 14:48
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Re: Swiss German in School

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Yes, of course. But there are degrees of such. A Swiss German person can speak High German with no accent, a bit like RP in English- or can speak a form of Swiss German which has a strong Swiss German accent and some words/expressions linked to Swiss German. Not sure I express myself very well here. Same as would happen in Austria or Bavaria, for instance.
In my experience the Swiss speak High German with a very distinct accent. I like it more than other accents tbh, it feels more natural to me. Or perhaps it's because I'm more used to it.

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LOL, but the point I was making is that she did not want to learn and expected everyone to speak English - and then said they were not friendly. It is about this psychological/respect rapport about learning a language, even if the othr person can speak yours, and even if said language is not particularly 'useful' beyond those borders. It makes a massive difference.
No, absolutely agree. I also like regionalisms and dialects and wish people wouldn't lose them. For us foreigners it's a bit more difficult to "get" the local dialects in the beginning because one receives confusing info and advice "Start learning HG first! Master that first!" "You want to make local friends? Start learning the local dialect!" One can do so much in the beginning, especially if one wants to do everything right.
I have friends who survived with French for the first year here. And I mean the Swiss-German side. The Swiss-Germans' capacity of switching between HG/Schriftdeutsch and local dialects or other languages is phenomenal. It is very inspiring.
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Old 23.01.2021, 15:00
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Re: Swiss German in School

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In my experience the Swiss speak High German with a very distinct accent..
Yes.

As a former girlfriend once told me "you don't speak Swiss German. you speak Schriftdeutsch with a Swiss accent!"

Tom
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Old 24.01.2021, 13:02
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Re: Swiss German in School

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Yes.

As a former girlfriend once told me "you don't speak Swiss German. you speak Schriftdeutsch with a Swiss accent!"

Tom
Tomasso, how's your Sardinian?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HZU2TjmRGg
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