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Old 12.08.2008, 00:50
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I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

OK, imagine this situation:
3-4 people are sitting on a table having lunch at the company's canteen. One of them is me, the other 2-3 are Swiss or Germans. I'm the only one who can't speak German, and they know that.
So, what happens? They start to speak between themselves in German, putting automatically me out from the conversation (and I'm sure they are not talking about state secrets).
I'm sure they don't do this with a bad purpose, probably for them it's normal, but I really hate when they do that, because it's a bit like if they are saying:
"We are Swiss, you are the English-speaking foreigner. If you want to live here, first learn the language before coming in this heavenly land, otherwise remain in your ****ty country..."

What do you think, do I pretend too much? And no, I can't learn the language just by hearing conversations, I need books for that (and I'm doing it)...
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:04
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

They are in their own country. You are a visitor to their country. They have to concentrate to speak your language and cannot relax or express properly what they want to say in your language. Of course they are going to slip back into German in a relaxed conversation. Would you speak German if you where back home with your friends and one of them was visiting? Just listen and pay attention. You will not follow the conversation, but you will learn stuff without realising it. It will also give you more of an incentive to work on you German speaking skills.

I wish this would happen to me more. My German would probably be a lot better if it did.

You seem to feel that people are being rude if they are not speaking your language when you are around. I feel rude if I am forcing people to speak my language in their country.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:09
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Hey you are not alone!

I can tell you that Swiss-Germans are not only ones. French-speakers might also do the same to you if they simply don't want to "count you in" their company Ahh, I also know a small troublesome Post-Soviet nation which completely refuses to speak other languages except their own

I know how much annoying and disrespectful it is! What I usually do is that I:
1 - ask them very friendly to switch to one of the languages I know
2 - simply leave the company, since I am not "in" + it makes them uncomfortable with me
3 - retaliate against them if there comes any opportunity

R.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:10
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

You could do two things.

1) Leave the table and eat by yourself.

2) Listen to the conversation and try to join in. Otherwise, FFS, shut the **** up.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:12
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

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They are in their own country. You are a visitor to their country
You summed up what I was about to reply with, but you have put it more tactfully than I might have.

Rod
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:17
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

It is the same if you speek German, and find your self in a group with Swiss people that know that you don´t understand the dialect. They will not speak high German unless they are addressing you directly.*

I first found this incredibly rude, to leave one out like that, but then I realized that this would most likely also happen back home and this is your best shot at learning the language/dialect...

*This is only according to my expirience, and may not apply in general.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:19
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

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They are in their own country. You are a visitor to their country. They have to concentrate to speak your language and cannot relax or express properly what they want to say in your language. Of course they are going to slip back into German in a relaxed conversation. Would you speak German if you where back home with your friends and one of them was visiting? Just listen and pay attention. You will not follow the conversation, but you will learn stuff without realising it. It will also give you more of an incentive to work on you German speaking skills.

I wish this would happen to me more. My German would probably be a lot better if it did.

You seem to feel that people are being rude if they are not speaking your language when you are around. I feel rude if I am forcing people to speak my language in their country.

I have to admit that Woodsie is also making a very good point.
In any case, I can advise you the following:
1 - Though they speak their own language, they may be doing it without any intention to hurt you/show disrespect in any way. They may be doing so sub-consciously.
2 - Stay calm and try to observe their attitude towards you. I am sure that you will find out whether they do so intentionally or not after some time.

R.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:44
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

I really have to disagree with people who say that `you are in their country` so you have to not feel a certain way when everyone speaks in a language you do not understand...while I agree that there are no hard and fast rules for this, I think it is downright rude to not speak the common language of everyone at the table, regardless of what country you are in.

No, I do not expect the clerk at a store to speak to me in any language other than the language of the country I am in, however, when I have been invited to a meal or dinner or lunch, I expect people to try to facilitate a conversation that everyone can join in and I do the same when I find myself in the majority.

By the same token, I find it rude if invited to a gathering and a group of several people decide to have `shop talk` all night and dominate the conversation with endless boring discussions about work.
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Old 12.08.2008, 01:51
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

It might help to try to sit with just one other person for lunch...maybe you can ask someone to go get lunch someplace other than the regular place with all of the normal people. Or interrupt the conversation with a question or two that you have in English or high German, if you are feeling a little gutsy.

Read my signature and be very brave, because you are in the minority now.
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Old 12.08.2008, 07:26
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Please, do not generalize, you have rude people everywhere. I do not speak any German, and can remember many cases of being around Zurich and all the people there speaking either in French or in English to include me.

The best example was a training that I was attending at my company's office near Zurich, we were two French speaking and 4 Swiss-German speaking. The trainer was also Swiss-German speaking, but at the beginning of the session, the Swiss-Germans all decided to do the training ... in French ! I was really impressed, first by their French which is excellent (while in Romandie, speaking German/Swiss-German isn't that common) and by the openness they shown to us.

I am also spending some time in my GF's family near Lucerne, and same thing there, most of the time they'll switch to French to include me in the conversations.


In my previous company we had an unwritten rule of switching to English as soon as we had a foreign guest in a room, so that they would feel welcomed to join the conversation.
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Old 12.08.2008, 07:46
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

OMG....how selfish!

I went down that road years ago and that's what gave me the drive I needed to learn to speak German.

Get over it.
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Old 12.08.2008, 07:48
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Tweener, you're having some trouble here, aren't you.

First you "realized how closed-minded the Swiss are regarding sharing of their wireless connection". Now you "really hate [it] when Swiss people talk in German".

Of course Switzerland and the Swiss should change to accommodate you and your conservative ways. You really can't be expected to adapt in any way.

You have your location as Italy and do not mention any languages in your profile. But of course in Italy all your colleagues would be speaking English for you and were you a Swiss-German working in London or New York, everyone would speak German, probably Swiss-German just for you - grow up!
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:09
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

An interesting aspect of this is where the conversation slips in and out of English from German, almost indicating "this is the part of the conversation you are likely to be interested in", the rest not...

dave
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:26
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

When I was in Austria I also had a lot of Dutch friends. Some of the conversations there would be quite mind boggling as the language switched randomly between English, German and Dutch. Most of the time they didn't even realise they where switching.

I have also been invited to dinner with my neighbors and their friends. Quite often there is no common language with some of them being Russian or Hungarian and speaking no English and sometimes not even speaking much German.


I still had a lot of fun.
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:37
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

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<snip>
I'm sure they don't do this with a bad purpose, probably for them it's normal, but I really hate when they do that, because it's a bit like if they are saying:
"We are Swiss, you are the English-speaking foreigner. If you want to live here, first learn the language before coming in this heavenly land, otherwise remain in your ****ty country..."
if you are sure they aren't doing it on purpose, why post this?? and why with the title "I really hate when....."

Quote:

What do you think, do I pretend too much? And no, I can't learn the language just by hearing conversations, I need books for that (and I'm doing it)...
true, so maybe you should learn some German, no? or maybe just next time ask them to speak english, if they don't mind. It's not a big issue. one has to deal with this all the time, being a foreigner in any country
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:41
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Tweener,

I think that the aspect that is bothering you about this is that its making you feel left out.

You are a foreigner here and because of that you already feel different from the Swiss - language, culture etc. - that's normal.

But rather than expecting them to cater to your language, you have to try and take some responsibility for your own situation and help yourself a little.

Have you looked into some language lessons or bought a book? How about going to one of them and asking if they'd help you with the language? Make a joke out of it and tell them you want to learn all the curses first. In this way you are signaling a willingness to learn and at the same time reminding that you can't always understand everything that's going on. Maybe ask them to teach you one new word a day and get a little notebook and write that word down.

Good luck.....now go learn a new word!
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:50
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Tweener, thats exactly how I learned German, by listening in on the conversation flowing around me. It's hard in the beginning but you'll be surprised at just how much you absorb.
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Old 12.08.2008, 08:58
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

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I'm the only one who can't speak German, and they know that. So, what happens? They start to speak between themselves in German...
I can understand your feelings, but they are feelings and not necessarily reality. The way you phrase it, "so, what happens?" makes it sound as if you think they are deliberately speaking German because you can't.
You have Italy as your location. Is English your mother tongue? To me, it doesn't sound as if it is. It is tiring speaking a language other than one's mother tongue unless one has a great deal of practice at it. Talking in a second language to someone else who is talking a second language is even more tiring and often leads to misunderstandings. In a 'work break' in the canteen people prefer to relax and speak the language which comes easiest.
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And no, I can't learn the language just by hearing conversations, I need books for that (and I'm doing it)...
Why not? - that's the way children learn - the way all of us 'oldies' learned Swiss German - there were no books to learn it from, and no 'schools' either.
Keep up with the learning and soon enough you will be able to surprise everyone by joining in the conversation.
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Old 12.08.2008, 09:08
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

Tweener, I'm sorry to tell you, they just don't like you.
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Old 12.08.2008, 09:10
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Re: I really hate when Swiss people talk in German in front of me...

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Tweener, I'm sorry to tell you, they just don't like you.
Haha, Peachy thanks for the laugh mate.
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