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  #121  
Old 24.05.2011, 06:54
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Arguably, the most important language in all of Switzerland is standard German.
Well, that depends where you live. Here, and in some other parts, it clearly isn't.

Tom
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  #122  
Old 24.05.2011, 07:45
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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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
Singapore has 4 national languages...just sayin'.
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  #123  
Old 24.05.2011, 10:05
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

My landlord doesn't speak MY language. So what?

He speaks Farsi. I don't.
Luckily he has a son, who speaks another language: Urdu. I'don't.
Luckily the guy in their office speaks Urdu and Tagalog. I'don't.
Luckily the delivery guy who brings water to their office speaks Tagalog and ENGLISH.

So, there we were....sitting under a lazy fan, attacked by flies, drinking lots of tea. Translating from one guy to the next. Smiling a lot. And sweating a lot, too.

Besides that, the rental contract was in Arabic ... so I still had to have our agreement translated by an official translator....

Next week I will have to tell him that I will be relocating to Switzerland. Hopefully the water delivery guy will be around ... otherwise I will have to fetch the shopgirl next doors.

And this being an everyday situation here, I still don't get why the OP should be upset with the Swiss for not speaking his language in their own country?

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  #124  
Old 24.05.2011, 12:43
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Singapore has 4 national languages...just sayin'.
According to business visitors from Singapore it just has ONE, even if languages like Chinese, Malay, Hindi and Urdu have some importance. Chinese WAS official until somewhere in the 80ies but was dropped out of the school timetable accordingly.
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  #125  
Old 24.05.2011, 13:02
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There is a small article in todays Zurich 20minuten about how the Swiss are lacking English skills, trailing behind Austria..

I would post more details but it was in German

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And this being an everyday situation here, I still don't get why the OP should be upset with the Swiss for not speaking his language in their own country?

No one is upset. I was questioning why people do not appear to want to speak English after having been taught it in school.

Last edited by MusicChick; 26.05.2011 at 08:24. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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  #126  
Old 24.05.2011, 13:25
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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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.
I didn't claim they didn't speak the local language at all, I said they don't speak it well. I doubt that anyone would dispute that, it's perfectly understandable after all.
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  #127  
Old 24.05.2011, 13:47
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

This thread is on a road to no wheresville.

It boils down too...the below paragraph

(Un)Fortunately for us native speakers, English has become a "Business + Bridge" language worldwide. Which means a lot of lazy native english speaking expats expect to have their cake and eat it.

Rather than doing the correct thing and try to integrate and learn the local language.

I couldn't give 2 poos if the Swiss have poor English, why should I?

Last time I looked at the mail in my postbox I'm sure I wasn't living in Surrey, New York, or Melbourne.

I have to add in the last two days I have managed to direct x2 lost Frenchmen in the Hardbrucke area to their required destinations, so something must have stuck, either that or I'm being integrated on the sly <oh no!>

PS. WTF Wally!? You drunken posting at 4.30am again?

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  #128  
Old 24.05.2011, 14:31
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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According to business visitors from Singapore it just has ONE, even if languages like Chinese, Malay, Hindi and Urdu have some importance. Chinese WAS official until somewhere in the 80ies but was dropped out of the school timetable accordingly.
it doesn't matter...Singapore has officially 4 national languages. I really don't know where you're trying to get to with your post.
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  #129  
Old 24.05.2011, 15:35
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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There is a small article in todays Zurich 20minuten about how the Swiss are lacking English skills, trailing behind Austria..

I would post more details but it was in German
It was in the 20min of 23rd May. But praising Austrian English-skills is too exotic to be read further. Talk with Austrians about the topic and you will share a good laugh.

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  #130  
Old 24.05.2011, 15:51
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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it doesn't matter...Singapore has officially 4 national languages. I really don't know where you're trying to get to with your post.
Link
http://www.parliament.gov.sg/languag...ces-department
shows that Mandarin, Tamil and Malay are "familiar" languages in Singapore but neither of them, as you can see from the text is official language. Somebody speaking in parliament HAS TO speak English. Sorry, somebody speaking in either house of parliament in Bern can speak German or French or Italian.

THIS link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore
may satisfy your claim about the four "official" languages, but would French be treated as "official" as Malay is in the RS here in Switzerland, the Romands would secede right this evening !

Reality shows that my contacts were right. They are NOT state officials but businessmen oriented at realities.

In Singapore schools, all lessons are only done in English. All information is done exclusively in English. THIS of course is what my business contacts meant. One of them is Half-Malay and rather joked about the role of Malay in Singapore. He did not use the word "official" to describe that role. In Singapore, you at the other hand can speak about different races assembled in one city. It may be large, but is clearly a city-state. But different races are not necessarily a problem.

And over to Hongkong. It is one city, but BIlingual Chinese-English. Not the western part Chinese and the eastern part English. And not different ethnics involved in reality.

What I am getting it is that we have to make a difference between theory and reality. For example, the "official language" of the Irish Republic is Gaelic, but ever checked up how many Irish people speak Gaelic in reality ?
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  #131  
Old 24.05.2011, 16:04
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Link
http://www.parliament.gov.sg/languag...ces-department
shows that Mandarin, Tamil and Malay are "familiar" languages in Singapore but neither of them, as you can see from the text is official language. Somebody speaking in parliament HAS TO speak English. Sorry, somebody speaking in either house of parliament in Bern can speak German or French or Italian.

THIS link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore
may satisfy your claim about the four "official" languages, but would French be treated as "official" as Malay is in the RS here in Switzerland, the Romands would secede right this evening !

Reality shows that my contacts were right. They are NOT state officials but businessmen oriented at realities.

In Singapore schools, all lessons are only done in English. All information is done exclusively in English. THIS of course is what my business contacts meant. One of them is Half-Malay and rather joked about the role of Malay in Singapore. He did not use the word "official" to describe that role. In Singapore, you at the other hand can speak about different races assembled in one city. It may be large, but is clearly a city-state. But different races are not necessarily a problem.

And over to Hongkong. It is one city, but BIlingual Chinese-English. Not the western part Chinese and the eastern part English. And not different ethnics involved in reality.

What I am getting it is that we have to make a difference between theory and reality. For example, the "official language" of the Irish Republic is Gaelic, but ever checked up how many Irish people speak Gaelic in reality ?
Are you this afternoon's drunk poster?

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2798.htm says that:
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Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.
thus making all 4 languages official.
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  #132  
Old 24.05.2011, 16:12
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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And over to Hongkong. It is one city, but BIlingual Chinese-English. Not the western part Chinese and the eastern part English. And not different ethnics involved in reality.
I wouldn't consider HK bilingual, many natives, even younger ones, don't speak English very well. Still far better than elsewhere but bilingual certainly not.
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  #133  
Old 24.05.2011, 16:16
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Are you this afternoon's drunk poster?

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2798.htm says that:


thus making all 4 languages official.

Just as official as Romansh in Switzerland

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I wouldn't consider HK bilingual, many natives, even younger ones, don't speak English very well. Still far better than elsewhere but bilingual certainly not.
THIS here is an official link
http://www.csb.gov.hk/english/aboutu...scsd/1470.html
declaring
Chinese and English are the official languages of Hongkong

No doubt that your remark however is correct. It only highlights the vast difference between theory and reality

There of course also are such things here in Switzerland. That the education ministries of the CH Cantons in recent years in regard to French/English started to look at realities however was and is positive.

I at lengths talked with GR colleagues in military service about whether Romansh could be rescued and most of them with two exceptions from the Val Müstaïr clearly told me NO, there is no chance. The language is going extinct.

Last edited by MusicChick; 26.05.2011 at 08:22. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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  #134  
Old 25.05.2011, 11:08
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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It was in the 20min of 23rd May. But praising Austrian English-skills is too exotic to be read further. Talk with Austrians about the topic and you will share a good laugh.
I would but they're too busy in their cellars, jacked up on red bull
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  #135  
Old 26.05.2011, 01:05
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Just as official as Romansh in Switzerland
You said it. I didn't.
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  #136  
Old 26.05.2011, 01:43
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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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.



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.
In trade-schools (both economic + technical), both English and French are inclusive part of education. If I remember back I envied my older brother, a car mechanic, in so far as his teachers at Gewerbeschule were really tremendous chaps while those figures at KV were up for the Museum. Except the French teacher, who was formidable, and the English teacher who looked like a 1920 teacher, behaved in that way, but whose qualities I only got to learn about two years later in London by my English teacher there ! . Top notes in oral French and English in fact helped me through the "Lehrabschluss-Prüfung". I quite on intent had done my holiday right before the examinations on a travel trip to Brussels, London, Dublin, London and Paris. It was a risky gamble, I admit, but it played off.
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Old 26.05.2011, 08:56
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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.
Not put in boxes is not exactly what I call early streaming. A lot of people have their career chosen when they have no idea what their calling is. Unfortunately. Not many actually know how to get out of that. Foreign kids are often disadvantaged. I know there is this flexible system of intern.school/local school combo, but not everyone has 35000fr to give their kid a chance to succeed. Some communes are very supportive, some aren't, some schools are, some aren't, some teachers are, some aren't.

I'd say, to answer OP, if people are lucky enough to have a good English teacher at school, they happen to excel. If they have a teacher who, without any quality control of his/her work whatsoever, just comfortably relies on whatever book comes in his/her lap and follows passively exercises without pushing kids actually speak, then you end up with years of poorly taught English. It's all about motivation, too.

Better highschools here do not have teachers who teach absolutely everything, gymnase teachers are specialists, so you are more likely to have some good classes there. If you are taught by generalists, ie teachers who are not specialized, the chance of that prof being motivated to teach you well in EN is lower, since this teacher can be teaching you another 3-4-5 subjects. It's an institutionalized form of jack of all trades (again, how efficient it is really depends on the teacher's involvement). I think it works in certain scenario, with certain kids, but honestly, if anyone wants to be good at a language, do not rely solely on school.

If you have kids and want them to be good at a foreign language, get them a private tutor, too, speak with them yourself, have them mingle with kids and friends who are multilingual, travel to that language area, make that language count.

I have met some people after a decade of learning not being able (probably due their perfectionism) to open their mouths, then I met some kids with fantastic level of knowledge (usually a combo of enlightenened parents, good teachers and themselves being invested).
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Last edited by MusicChick; 26.05.2011 at 09:16.
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  #138  
Old 26.05.2011, 09:21
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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Not put in boxes is not exactly what I call early streaming. A lot of people have their career chosen when they have no idea what their calling is. Unfortunately. Not many actually know how to get out of that. Foreign kids are often disadvantaged. I know there is this flexible system of intern.school/local school combo, but not everyone has 35000fr to give their kid a chance to succeed. Some communes are very supportive, some aren't, some schools are, some aren't, some teachers are, some aren't.

I'd say, to answer OP, if people are lucky enough to have a good English teacher at school, they happen to excel. If they have a teacher who, without any quality control of his/her work whatsoever, just comfortably relies on whatever book comes in his/her lap and follows passively exercises without pushing kids actually speak, then you end up with years of poorly taught English. It's all about motivation, too.

Better highschools here do not have teachers who teach absolutely everything, gymnase teachers are specialists, so you are more likely to have some good classes there. If you are taught by generalists, ie teachers who are not specialized, the chance of that prof being motivated to teach you well in EN is lower, since this teacher can be teaching you another 3-4-5 subjects. It's an institutionalized form of jack of all trades (again, how efficient it is really depends on the teacher's involvement). I think it works in certain scenario, with certain kids, but honestly, if anyone wants to be good at a language, do not rely solely on school.

If you have kids and want them to be good at a foreign language, get them a private tutor, too, speak with them yourself, have them mingle with kids and friends who are multilingual, travel to that language area, make that language count.

I have met some people after a decade of learning not being able (probably due their perfectionism) to open their mouths, then I met some kids with fantastic level of knowledge (usually a combo of enlightenened parents, good teachers and themselves being invested).
My teacher in the 3rd class of Secondary School, happy to have the chance to teach English, was exceedingly motivated, and oriented towards practical language. Based on his up to three travels per year to England.

You however have to see that the "school inspectors" are not professionals but volunteers out of the population, either retirees or concerned fathers of school-children who took 2 hours off to do an inspection.
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Old 26.05.2011, 10:22
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Re: Leaving the Swiss schooling system and unable to speak much English...

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You however have to see that the "school inspectors" are not professionals but volunteers out of the population, either retirees or concerned fathers of school-children who took 2 hours off to do an inspection.
I thought so.
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