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  #21  
Old 22.05.2011, 15:46
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I haven't forgotten. I was talking about the English that was taught here, and the end result of a high school life ending in no ability to communicate in that language.

The question was, can people really speak English after High school etc, or do they feign not being able to ?
They are not able to. Why would they feign?
Most Swiss love practising languages, and will be happy to try their English on you.

Anyway, to answer your question;

In my times (I'm in my early thirties), English was only a mandatory subject taught at Gymnasium level - four years as a minor.

At Realschule and Sekundarschule English was a voluntary subject.

But it depends from canton to canton if/for how many years English was taught. These days though there is a tendency to introduce English from an earlier age, and as a mandatory subject in most cantons on all school levels.
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  #22  
Old 22.05.2011, 15:46
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In Kanton Schwyz:

- Children start as of the 3rd grade.
- They will continue through until the last secondary class (the 9th grade).
- In KV they will continue receiving English, even if they are sales assistants or office workers.
- the levels of English at KV will be different because priorities are different.
- in trade schools, usually English is not offered because it's not a priority. (However, in some schools, it is offered as a frei Fach)
- There are so many English courses available to the public (at a cost), that anyone can continue their education.
- Many students go abroad for a few months to learn English.
- Matura students, depending on their priorities, are taking the First, Becs Business or even Advanced exams.
So where does this atitude come from where it's not important to speak English to expats come from then?

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They are not able to. Why would they feign?
Most Swiss love practising languages, and will be happy to try their English on you.

Anyway, to answer your question;

In my times (I'm in my early thirties), English was only a mandatory subject taught at Gymnasium level - four years as a minor.

At Realschule and Sekundarschule English was a voluntary subject.

But it depends from canton to canton if/for how many years English was taught. These days though there is a tendency to introduce English from an earlier age, and as a mandatory subject in most cantons on all school levels.
Then why teach it if they don't learn it properly or don't use it?

Last edited by MusicChick; 23.05.2011 at 00:52. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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  #23  
Old 22.05.2011, 15:51
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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They are not able to. Why would they feign?
Given the fact some Swiss spoke to me in dialect from second one without asking if I can understand or not indicates that they chose to speak dialect rather than high German independently of my lanuage skills and independely of they skills in high German.... What does that tell us? Well... people have their own standards when it comes to multilingual communication.
Those people were in a sense feigning not talking high German and imposed dialect on me. I can only choose to listen or to leave them alone. I have no saying in their standards.
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Old 22.05.2011, 15:52
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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What's so amazing about the Swiss education system is that children are NOT put into boxes. There are so many options available, that's it's hard for many to decide which direction to choose.
There is not a high level of entrepeneurship in Switzerland, once people have chosen their path, that's pretty much it. Even in professional jobs here there is not very much outside the box thinking. They may be good at one particular job, but not very well rounded over all.
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  #25  
Old 22.05.2011, 15:53
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Then why teach it if they don't learn it properly or don't use it?
Why teach algebra? Why teach science? Why teach knitting?

You, my friend, are putting people in boxes and not the other way around.

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There is not a high level of entrepeneurship in Switzerland, once people have chosen their path, that's pretty much it.
Absolutely not. There are many ways to redirect their careers. One can do KV and continue to go on to University if they take the appropriate "linking" courses in between. I know many people who have done two apprentices or have redirected their careers by taking courses.

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Even in professional jobs here there is not very much outside the box thinking. They may be good at one particular job, but not very well rounded over all.
People are employed BECAUSE they are good at a particular job.

Last edited by MusicChick; 23.05.2011 at 00:54. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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Old 22.05.2011, 15:58
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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So where does this atitude come from where it's not important to speak English to expats come from then?
My wife is complaining about the opposite: as everyone is immediately switching to English for her, she can hardly practice her German. I heard the same from many expats who are actively trying to learn a local language here.

But if you on the other hand come across like an arrogant expat who insists on everyone in the room switching to your language to then continue to complain how bad all locals are at it... maybe people simply decide to practice English with another native speaker
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  #27  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:02
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Absolutely not. There are many ways to redirect their careers. One can do KV and continue to go on to University if they take the appropriate "linking" courses in between. I know many people who have done two apprentices or have redirected their careers by taking courses.



People are employed BECAUSE they are good at a particular job.
My education has nothing to do with my current job, but would not have changed it. Often times, Swiss will tend not to assist even shortly after leaving a particular position at a company because they don't do that job any more. That's real teamwork in my book

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My wife is complaining about the opposite: as everyone is immediately switching to English for her, she can hardly practice her German. I heard the same from many expats who are actively trying to learn a local language here.

But if you on the other hand come across like an arrogant expat who insists on everyone in the room switching to your language to then continue to complain how bad all locals are at it... maybe people simply decide to practice English with another native speaker
It really depends on the place and situation, if you are working for a global company in switzerland, and the official language is English, then yes I would expect people to communicate in English, and not start speaking Swiss German during a business conference call.

Last edited by MusicChick; 23.05.2011 at 00:55. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:06
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Often times, Swiss will tend not to assist even shortly after leaving a particular position at a company because they don't do that job any more. That's real teamwork in my book
So what does that have to do with learning English?
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  #29  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:09
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Absolutely not. There are many ways to redirect their careers. One can do KV and continue to go on to University if they take the appropriate "linking" courses in between. I know many people who have done two apprentices or have redirected their careers by taking courses.



People are employed BECAUSE they are good at a particular job.
Companies want more than that nowadays. May have worked in the past, but one has to be flexibile.

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So what does that have to do with learning English?
Nothing, so guess you have no answer for it then. It's just the way the Swiss are, I do my job, you do yours. 9-5/

Last edited by MusicChick; 23.05.2011 at 00:55. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:12
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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So what does that have to do with learning English?
It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. (Barack Obama)

rrs and the average Swiss were aparently a match made in heaven...
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  #31  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:13
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Nothing, so guess you have no answer for it then. It's just the way the Swiss are, I do my job, you do yours. 9-5/
If that's your only complaint, then you are reaching for straws.
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  #32  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:16
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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If that's your only complaint, then you are reaching for straws.
oh, I have a bunch of them
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  #33  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:18
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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oh, I have a bunch of them
Bunch of straws is good but bunch of languages would be better.

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Old 22.05.2011, 16:25
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Why all this hostility towards Anglophones??!? I feel like I'm hated everywhere I go because I speak English errr

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There is not a high level of entrepeneurship in Switzerland, once people have chosen their path, that's pretty much it. Even in professional jobs here there is not very much outside the box thinking. They may be good at one particular job, but not very well rounded over all.
I blame that on their chocolate

Last edited by MusicChick; 23.05.2011 at 00:56. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:28
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Why all this hostility towards Anglophones??!? I feel like I'm hated everywhere I go because I speak English errr
Tell that to someone from the Baltics living in here.
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  #36  
Old 22.05.2011, 16:38
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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As someone mentioned earlier, when youngsters leave high school their grasp of English is probably as good as my French was when I finished seconday education. ie, not great!

Yep - that's me. I had six years of French... American-style.

Back in my youth (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) one chose either French, German or Latin. Foreign languages were taught as a purely academic subject, completely unrelated to a living, day-to-day skill. We learned to read and write but we never spoke at all.

Afterall, why would one need to acutally speak another language? I mean, what were the chances of ever leaving the US? No, one studied a foreign language for one reason only: University entrance requirements.

So when I finally arrived in Paris some decades later, smugly dusting off my school-girl French...

Living in a glass house myself, I am hesitant to toss stones.
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:50
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

So, getting back on topic.

Is it reasonable , knowing the educational background, to expect a Swiss native to understand and speak English at a basic conversational level ?
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:54
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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So, getting back on topic.

Is it reasonable , knowing the educational background, to expect a Swiss native to understand and speak English at a basic conversational level ?
If we are talking about adults, then no. Many didn't learn English at school even if they had commercial schooling. It's just been in recent years that learning English has become priority.
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:55
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I mean , how is that possible ? Surely after 5-10 years all school leavers should have a basic grasp and understanding. Just read threads about host families and landlords not being able to utter even the basics.

Deliberate ignorance, plausible denial, embarrassment or truly not being able to ?

Mange tout, mange tout.
I didn't read through all the posts; I'm just replying the OP, and I doubt that I'll read any further replies. I'd just like to make a general comment.

I guess that most of these landlords are in their late forties or fifties or even sixties. Well, I'm in my early thirties, and when I was of school age, English in compulsory school was offered only as an *optional* course during the last two years. I'm sure that less than half of the students took the course; maybe a third. At least 80% of the people did not go to high school; out of that 20%, probably no more than 60% took an English course of two years; only half of them took a course for up to four years.

I'm quite sure that my canton had one of the worst English offers among all other cantons, but if that was the situation for me, imagine how bad the situation must have been 20 years earlier!

Incidentally, when I was a child and me and my parents would come to Zurich for a visit (without knowing a word of German), my parents would always be amazed at how many people spoke English... I suppose that the expectations of expats are much higher these days...
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Old 22.05.2011, 16:55
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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If we are talking about adults, then no. Many didn't learn English at school even if they had commercial schooling. It's just been in recent years that learning English has become priority.
Aha ! That explains a lot. Thanks.

How far do we have to go back ?
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