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  #101  
Old 23.05.2011, 16:18
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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English speakers of the world untie !
piff

Take that b@stards!
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  #102  
Old 23.05.2011, 16:21
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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piff

Take that b@stards!
I do not worry about threats I cannot pronounce.
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  #103  
Old 23.05.2011, 16:21
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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...and watch the world take a 3 hour long business lunch ?

Actually, not a bad suggestion.
Best siestas you'll ever have.


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  #104  
Old 23.05.2011, 17:11
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I do not worry about threats I cannot pronounce.
I cannot pronounce it either, but I believe it's icelandic for "I fart in your general direction".
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  #105  
Old 23.05.2011, 17:51
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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speak 3 national languages... what does this have to do with me?
Yes I do. Three out of four. It has to do with you that English is more important to you that it will ever be to any of us. As a friend of mine put it: English is very useful, but not important. (Helping people to understand my said challenging messages: important or not is an opinion, and every body is entitled to have one according to criterias that no-one has the right to dismiss with the sole goal to avoid learning languages oneself - whereas useful is a statement of judgement based on an objective experience of the usage of the said language in a said context and that is purely descriptive). Should I explain it more simply or is it all right now?
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  #106  
Old 23.05.2011, 17:53
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Yes I do. Three out of four. It has to do with you that English is more important to you that it will ever be to any of us. As a friend of mine put it: English is very useful, but not important. (Helping people to understand my said challenging messages: important or not is an opinion, and every body is entitled to have one according to criterias that no-one has the right to dismiss with the sole goal to avoid learning languages oneself - whereas useful is a statement of judgement based on an objective experience of the usage of the said language in a said context and that is purely descriptive). Should I explain it more simply or is it all right now?



I vote for more simply
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  #107  
Old 23.05.2011, 18:00
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I vote for more simply
I vote for a course book in rhethorics (Look up rhethorical question and irony, combine both and re-read my message).
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  #108  
Old 23.05.2011, 18:05
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I vote for a course book in rhethorics (Look up rhethorical question and irony, combine both and re-read my message).
That's cheating! That wasn't an option!
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  #109  
Old 23.05.2011, 18:18
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I cannot pronounce it either, .
Come on, it's pronounced like Grimswötten in the mouth of a Bayer or a Mecklenburger Hinterlandbauer.
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  #110  
Old 23.05.2011, 18:25
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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  1. We don't have native speakers to teach us non-native speakers English.
  2. A lot of people in this area would disagree that English is more important then German/French. Where is the biggest business connection? To England or to Germany/France?
  3. Languages are not everyone's strongest side, yet we are forced to learn 4-5 languages.
So that I speak for my self, I was very insecure with my English before I moved here, simply because I didn't use it on daily basis. And although it has improved a lot, I still make loads of grammar/spelling mistakes, and am very often confused with the meanings, especially since I have mixed friends of Americans and her-highness-English who speak totally different English.
But hey, since they so often don't even understand each other - why do I have to feel bad about my English?

YOU are the guest in this country, why don't YOU make the effort to learn the local language? Don't accuse others for being lazy if you are being lazy too.
I've lived a lot of places and I never imagined that I'd go to Germany for refuge in the English language when living in Switzerland. I'll forgive the movie and tv series dubbing in German, but one thing I feel rather strongly about is if you are a clerk in a major downtown department store, i.e. the tourist area of town, you probably should have command of shop English instead of looking terrified when someone doesn't speak Swiss German.

And just because we are native speakers of a very commonly spoken language (hey, if Eurovision is done in English out of Germany - I lost a bet they'd force us all to endure the talking heads in German) it's a good bet that English is a fine language to learn for business anywhere. I can speak German, but it's rough and because English is so useful as a common language, it's a bit too easy to fall back on it when things get tough.

One thing I don't quite get is that if so few people in Switzerland speak English (as has been my experience - though maybe I'm just unlucky) why is it all the music on the radio is about 80% or more from the US or the UK? It's interesting.

And don't worry about the Brits. The UK is soon to be the 51st state and will be akin to the South in terms of dialectical diversity and incomprehensibility.
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  #111  
Old 23.05.2011, 20:22
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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15th place in science...14th place in reading abilities..8th place in math....hardly "quite well" IMO.
It could be worse though. Imagine living in such places as the UK (28th in math, 25th in reading ability and 16th in science) or the US (30th in math, 17th in reading ability and 23rd in science). Man, these places are going down the drain as we speak
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  #112  
Old 23.05.2011, 20:46
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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I've lived a lot of places and I never imagined that I'd go to Germany for refuge in the English language when living in Switzerland. I'll forgive the movie and tv series dubbing in German, but one thing I feel rather strongly about is if you are a clerk in a major downtown department store, i.e. the tourist area of town, you probably should have command of shop English instead of looking terrified when someone doesn't speak Swiss German.
Well, they are no better at Italian, as my girlfriend and some of my co-workers have noticed.

I mentioned to one guy, "well, in Italy, there are areas where German is the primary language".

He said, "yes, but they also can speak Italian. Why can't they do that in Zurich?"

Good question.

Tom
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  #113  
Old 23.05.2011, 21:08
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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It could be worse though. Imagine living in such places as the UK (28th in math, 25th in reading ability and 16th in science) or the US (30th in math, 17th in reading ability and 23rd in science). Man, these places are going down the drain as we speak
Nah see, you're trying to compare 3 countries that have little to nothing in common. Switzerland being a solely service driven economy (sorta like Hong Kong or Singapore just less advanced), with a fraction of the population of both the US or the UK..you'd expect and much better organized educational system. Now take into consideration, that Switzerland doesn't nearly have the same socio-economical diversity nor a diverse population demography as the afore mentioned countries...and therefore, doesn't have to necessarily deal with politically correctness, catering to various needs etc. For instance, how many schools in Switzerland are not wheel chair accessible? This would be a no-go in North America..but here, it is simply tolerated. To get back to my point, if you need to produce people capable to benefit the service driven economy..why are the majority of the people simply educated with an apprenteship (focusing mainly on blue collar jobs), rather than facilitating a university degree that would eventually diminuish the dependency of such a vast amount of expats?
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  #114  
Old 23.05.2011, 22:23
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Nah see, you're trying to compare 3 countries that have little to nothing in common. Switzerland being a solely service driven economy (sorta like Hong Kong or Singapore just less advanced), with a fraction of the population of both the US or the UK..you'd expect and much better organized educational system. Now take into consideration, that Switzerland doesn't nearly have the same socio-economical diversity nor a diverse population demography as the afore mentioned countries...and therefore, doesn't have to necessarily deal with politically correctness, catering to various needs etc. For instance, how many schools in Switzerland are not wheel chair accessible? This would be a no-go in North America..but here, it is simply tolerated. To get back to my point, if you need to produce people capable to benefit the service driven economy..why are the majority of the people simply educated with an apprenteship (focusing mainly on blue collar jobs), rather than facilitating a university degree that would eventually diminuish the dependency of such a vast amount of expats?

As a very high number of foreigners live in Switzerland, Swiss schools have to accommodate many children whose mother tongue isn't German, French or Italian. E.g. in Zurich, in many classes foreign-language speaking children are even in the majority. Under these circumstances, I would consider the Pisa-results "quite good".

Your claim that Switzerland is solely a service driven economy is also wide off the mark. Unlike the UK, which has given up pretty much all of its industries, Switzerland still produces a lot of things (machinery, watches, drugs etc.). It's also not true that there is only a lack a blue collar workers. There's also demand for nurses, craftsmen, building workers etc. So companies employ people from abroad. And what's wrong with that? Switzerland is part of a globalized economy. Many Swiss work abroad, many foreigners here in Switzerland.
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  #115  
Old 23.05.2011, 23:26
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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And I'll bet that most Americans don't know that Puerto Rico IS part of the US!

I'll tell you, my nephew (from Vermont) was shocked when we went for an overnight motorcycle ride into Italy, and everything was in German!

Tom
Well, it ISN'T part of the U.S. It's a U.S. commonwealth, but it is not one of the 50 states.
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  #116  
Old 24.05.2011, 00:12
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

Switzerland's education system has to deal with a massive influx of immigrants that do not sufficiently speak the local language. If you factor this roughly 1/4 of students out of the Pisa results, CH performs as well as Finland. But anyway.. French may be more important for most jobs in in Germanic CH today, excluding jobs at multinational companies, but English is getting more important every year, and there are clear deficits. I just think that most expats overestimate the benefits of English in an average Swiss workplace. Most Swiss will only ever really use the language when travelling or speaking to a tourist, domestic companies still by far outweigh foreign companies in CH. But our French is really lacking as well, it's very difficult to teach English or French to kids that don't even speak proper German anymore.
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  #117  
Old 24.05.2011, 00:44
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If you only hear a foreign language from your teacher (who may not be a native speaker), and only read that foreign language when you crack open your textbook, is it any wonder if you pass the course with decent grades but aren't really fluent? This isn't an indictment of Swiss education because it's also the reason why most Americans like myself aren't fluent in another language.

Which brings me to another point. In the complaints forum, a expat poster said that he perfectly understood why police in Schwyz couldn't speak English, but he thought it was intolerable that none of them knew French. Nobody expects all Swiss to be trilingual, but theoretically most Swiss should be able to comminicate with a fellow Swiss in a non-native Swiss language. Are there any statistics which show what percentage of Swiss are unilingual?

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But our French is really lacking as well, it's very difficult to teach English or French to kids that don't even speak proper German anymore.
Arguably, the most important language in all of Switzerland is standard German. Do you think German language education, to both foreigners AND Swiss can be improved?

Last edited by MusicChick; 26.05.2011 at 07:28. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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  #118  
Old 24.05.2011, 00:51
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Switzerland's education system has to deal with a massive influx of immigrants that do not sufficiently speak the local language. If you factor this roughly 1/4 of students out of the Pisa results, CH performs as well as Finland.
Because Switzerland has a large influx of immigrants from where exactly? Check the facts: http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/d...k/data/01.html

From the 1.8 Million foreigners in Switzerland are over 1.1 Million from the EU. 293k Italians, 265k Germans, 94k French, 38k Austria. Saying that EVERY foreigner (25% of the students) cannot speak a local language is a bit ott even for Blocher standards.
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  #119  
Old 24.05.2011, 03:40
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Global standardisation.
Economics require a single language.
What else other than English could you back* ,confidently speaking ?

* Mandarin excluded.


English speakers of the world untie !

A) NOT only economics, but also international science and international transports and diplomacy
- BUT
B) Countries and individuals and culture need a bit more than a single language

This however does mean in practice that France and Spain had to drop their claim to have "global languages" (as they DO still ! ) and accept ranks 2 and 3 (what they do NOT yet).

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Spanish...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish...#Hispanosphere

Odd note: 1.7% of CH population is a native speaker WTF????
Followed very closely by Portuguese and Albanian

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I phoned ten GPs in Neuchatel and none of them spoke English or were willing to take me on as a patient since I wanted the consultation to take place in English. When my wife had an accident, the specialist burns nurse didn't speak English either.

People in general don't read the journal magazines anymore, rather they look at the website. I've looked at the Nature and Science website and can't see a link to a German or French version (or any other language for that matter)

If you could actually provide me with a link or somewhere which says that all the articles are translated into foreign languages then I would be more than happy to have been proved wrong.

It's even the norm for PhD thesis to be submitted in English in Switzerland and Germany to accommodate any international referees and to ensure that someone might actually care about the thesis afterwards.
A) Looks as if Neuchâtel/Neuenburg is as "Romand" as Romand can be. I suggest you go to Biel or Bern, ... or on the other side to Lausanne or Geneva, and I am sure that you find enough doctors for your requirements

B) here some medical information portals
http://www.tellmed.ch/
http://www.thieme.de/specials/im-op/
http://www.medknowledge.de/recherche...tschriften.htm

C) Here a compilation of medical magazines
http://www.gfmer.ch/Medical_journals...iem_Zugang.htm

D) Here some scientific institutes in F/G/CH
www.pasteur.fr/ip/easysite/pasteur/fr
http://en.sanofi.com/research_innova...ey_figures.asp
http://public.web.cern.ch/public/fr/...search-fr.html
http://www.usz.ch/Forschung/Seiten/default.aspx


**** You when looking through these links will see lots of English language links and contents. So that a doctor or scientist in Zurich can professionally hardly survive without a decent command of English and French and Italian (at least) as you also have to give consideration to the patients

**** If you however look at practical doctors in smaller towns or villages, then it is obvious that THEY rather need a knowledge of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Albanian, Turkish and Tamil, to care for their patients. Because they in case of doubt will TRANSFER their patients to the next hospital with the needed infrastructure.

= here we come to the problem with NE. NE before WWII was the CH city leading with international schools (EN/FR) and its university was renowned for top standards. After WWII, NE lost the schools business to Lausanne and the "Vaudois Lémanique" almost entirely and did shrink to provinciality. We in school-times (1964) once were (two classes) in Vaumarcus on the NE/VD border and made an excursion to Neuchâtel. In the evening, a shaken Dr Meier was very sorry, but declared that he had not been aware of that downturn of the city and said that we the next day would rather visit Murten/Morat, a small town on the way up. In the years between 1970 and now, you could see the gradual rise of Biel from a grey and shabby industry town to a fairly nice city of now.

In fact, the fate of Neuchâtel, in view of the nice downtown and its location is regrettable, and many initiatives in recent years have been taken to bring NE back "onto the map". I hope they in the end will succeed, but to "turn the tide" needs time. I suppose that NE doctors of the future, just like Bundesrat Didier Burkhalter, all will speak German and English and Italian


E) BUT here something else, you apparently are not aware of. Medical language even now is not English but Latin ! Yes, Latin. The medical expressions still are in Latin internationally. And you can hear your doctor here talking with an Italian colleague on the phone in Latin (here I refer to an oncologist of the Uni-Spital ZH).

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  1. We don't have native speakers to teach us non-native speakers English.
  2. A lot of people in this area would disagree that English is more important then German/French. Where is the biggest business connection? To England or to Germany/France?
  3. Languages are not everyone's strongest side, yet we are forced to learn 4-5 languages.
So that I speak for my self, I was very insecure with my English before I moved here, simply because I didn't use it on daily basis. And although it has improved a lot, I still make loads of grammar/spelling mistakes, and am very often confused with the meanings, especially since I have mixed friends of Americans and her-highness-English who speak totally different English.
But hey, since they so often don't even understand each other - why do I have to feel bad about my English?

YOU are the guest in this country, why don't YOU make the effort to learn the local language? Don't accuse others for being lazy if you are being lazy too.
1) "Native English teachers" by directives of the Cambridge University (who hands out the Proficiency certificate) only are to teach English language students up to "Lower Cambridge Level" , but not for advanced students
1-b ) I for a bit more than a decade took care of our apprentices, not least in regard to French and English. And in regard to English once was confronted by an awkward linguistic question. So I asked the girls and chaps whether any of their teachers was English or Irish. One was English, and so I noted down some questions in English. Two days later, one of our apprentices brought round the exact answers

2) most important business connection ?
CH in general = 1) Germany 2) France 3) USA 4) U.K. 5) Italy
Zürich Canton = 1) Germany 2) UK 3) USA 4) France + Italy
Geneva = 1) France 2) UK 3) USA 4) Germany
Zürich City + outer suburbs
= 1) UK 2) Germany 3) USA 4) Italy 5) France
= if you have done business or travelled in rural France you know that there is only ONE language people there understand; which to you means that your command of French is what matters. And the pattern is at least similar in Italy --- which means that at least some basics of Italian are essential, while the advantage in Italy is that qualified professionals even in rural areas usually have some knowledge of either German or French or maybe English

3) If you are not gifted linguistically do what my Grandmom did, marry a talented / gifted linguist

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Nah see, you're trying to compare 3 countries that have little to nothing in common. Switzerland being a solely service driven economy (sorta like Hong Kong or Singapore just less advanced), with a fraction of the population of both the US or the UK..you'd expect and much better organized educational system. Now take into consideration, that Switzerland doesn't nearly have the same socio-economical diversity nor a diverse population demography as the afore mentioned countries...and therefore, doesn't have to necessarily deal with politically correctness, catering to various needs etc. For instance, how many schools in Switzerland are not wheel chair accessible? This would be a no-go in North America..but here, it is simply tolerated. To get back to my point, if you need to produce people capable to benefit the service driven economy..why are the majority of the people simply educated with an apprenteship (focusing mainly on blue collar jobs), rather than facilitating a university degree that would eventually diminuish the dependency of such a vast amount of expats?
A) the organisation of the schools is NOT the problem, even if local politicians spend thousands of men-hours to chat, sorry, talk about it
B) diverse ? Singapore has ONE official language and so no (or since about 1980) linguistic diversity. The cultural divide by the St. Gotthard is a definite fact. I do not believe in the "political correctness" business, as the applied political correctness in reality cannot hide the actual feelings. I talked about such things with relatives in the US states of TX/LA/MS and when realising the game I was far more directly and on intention NOT politically correct, when telling some nephews that to integrate "ethnic" minorities into the mainstream economy and culture and life was essential to progress and that I did not care about racial differences. They were a bit shocked, but at times you have to break barriers and not circumvent them
C) while the USA has strict guidelines in regard to wheelchair accessibility, US state schools have their fair amount of problems as well (some relatives of me were/are teachers in TX, so that I learnt a bit from them). More important, most European countries including Switzerland and Russia, are working on improving the wheelchair accessibilty of the schools. But, as for example in Zürich, a majority of school-buildings are of pre-1950 vintage, this is not very easy. I some years ago talked about this with a Tunisian teacher and some years later with a Tunisian policeman, and it was interesting to learn how similar things really are. Just as in Switzerland, also in Tunisia, the right-wingers blocked social advance as too costly. Sure they in Tunisia on the rightwingers-side had Sir BenAli

D) because PRACTICAL usage is the requirement and not dry theory

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Because Switzerland has a large influx of immigrants from where exactly? Check the facts: http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/d...k/data/01.html

From the 1.8 Million foreigners in Switzerland are over 1.1 Million from the EU. 293k Italians, 265k Germans, 94k French, 38k Austria. Saying that EVERY foreigner (25% of the students) cannot speak a local language is a bit ott even for Blocher standards.
BUT, it is interesting to note that Italian speakers NO LONGER are regarded as foreigners, that French nationals in the Romandie and D/OE nationals in German speaking Switzerland NEVER WERE regarded as "foreigners" culturally.

Also interesting is to see that exactly young Tamils, Turks and Arabs are excelling in German language. The worst problem clearly is the legacy inherited from Marshal Tito ! His young folks, even if grown up here and in reality having German as their main-language, have a tendency to speak "Southern Slavic" with German words. Difficult to say anything about percentages, as quite many of those ex-YU youngsters are speaking German really well.

To me, to repeat what I stated earlier, the problem not so much is the schools system but the system of the local radio stations. A system which encourages provincialist local radio stations talking always in dialect, but DIScouraging any real competition for the union-owned radio-TV-corporation. A system where a few years ago even the weather forecast was changed from Standard German into dialect.

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Arguably, the most important language in all of Switzerland is standard German. Do you think German language education, to both foreigners AND Swiss can be improved?
It gets improved automatically. Why ? Because the anti-German WWII generation in recent years passed away. Getting replaced by a "new" generation of retirees who grew up in the "Adenauer-years", for sure still having some anti-German reflexes but no longer that deep-rooted DISlike coming from years of Nazi-rule just north of the border. It is not so much a technical matter as a psychological one. I still remember a D-teacher at the KV Zürich telling us about his wartime studies of Germanistik when they as Germanistik students automatically were accused as potential NSDAP admirers.

Last edited by MusicChick; 26.05.2011 at 07:27. Reason: Consecutive posts.Keep some good form, Wolli, this is hard to read. Decide what posts to quote and multiquote, please.
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Old 24.05.2011, 05:53
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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a expat poster said that he perfectly understood why police in Schwyz couldn't speak English, but he thought it was intolerable that none of them knew French.
Well, I can speak from experience to say that Zug, Uri and Grigioni police can speak Italian.

Tom
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