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  #21  
Old 07.06.2011, 21:22
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

Just don't take no for an answer. If people reply to you in English, just say you are trying to learn German (Swiss German- whatever) and could they please help you- most will respect that.
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  #22  
Old 07.06.2011, 21:26
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

Remember to learn the gender too. The little words der, die and das are extremely important later when you are trying to use adjectives.

And if you had signed up for tonight's curry in Bern you could have spoken English to me all evening! - yeah maybe that's why...
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Old 07.06.2011, 21:30
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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I get very cross when some people look at me with that 'what did he say' look, when my English OH speaks in his very clear and almost perfect French, but with a British accent.
I have had ex-girlfriends, etc., accuse me of deliberately speaking French with a "fake" American accent just to annoy them , as it wasn't commensurate with my use of the language (I use all the verb tenses, correctly, and have a large vocabulary).

It was only when I met some Alsatians (people, not what the Brits call German Shepherds, and which are called 'Berger Allemand' in French) at a bike meet in Mandello d. L., and was talking to one guy (who turned out to be a French professor in France) that it was pointed out that it's far better that I speak correct French with a crap accent, than crap French with a good accent!

Tom
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  #24  
Old 08.06.2011, 08:43
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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I have had ex-girlfriends, etc., accuse me of deliberately speaking French with a "fake" American accent just to annoy them , as it wasn't commensurate with my use of the language (I use all the verb tenses, correctly, and have a large vocabulary).

It was only when I met some Alsatians (people, not what the Brits call German Shepherds, and which are called 'Berger Allemand' in French) at a bike meet in Mandello d. L., and was talking to one guy (who turned out to be a French professor in France) that it was pointed out that it's far better that I speak correct French with a crap accent, than crap French with a good accent!

Tom
Please realize that "real" Alsacians (people) are generally perfectly BIlingual, speaking German dialect and officially "High"-French. This high level of linguistic culture may contribute to the quality of their wines but you cannot take them as being representative for eigther France or Germany. So that this professor most likely could continue to talk in German dialect within 5 seconds. And as a professor prefers a correct usage of language over some minor problems with accents. To my experience, mainland-France-French however detest accents which to them sound foreignish ! In the CH-Romandie, it varies .....
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Old 08.06.2011, 08:45
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Its been 2 weeks in bern and now its driving me Super Crazy.

there is not even a single person i have met speaks who speaks English. If you approach to anyone they might answer what u ask them but don't expect anything more then that.

At times I just think that i am the only one who doesn't know german. rest everyone is just born with it.

Have been trying to find a job and I believe this is thee most difficult country i have been for traveling and for finding a job too.
While I have no doubts about your command of English as such, I cannot spare you the three following questions :
- Does your English SOUND English ?
- Is your English understandable to people who learnt English in London ?
- At what speed do you speak, when speaking English ?
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  #26  
Old 08.06.2011, 09:03
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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While I have no doubts about your command of English as such, I cannot spare you the three following questions :
- Does your English SOUND English ?
- Is your English understandable to people who learnt English in London ?
- At what speed do you speak, when speaking English ?
Hey! What's that all about?!?
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Old 08.06.2011, 09:08
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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this professor most likely could continue to talk in German dialect within 5 seconds
Actually, he couldn't (he was originally from somewhere else in France, moved there to teach French). I knew a cop from Colmar, same thing (his wife could, though).

Tom
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Old 08.06.2011, 09:18
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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To my experience, mainland-France-French however detest accents which to them sound foreignish ! In the CH-Romandie, it varies .....
I agree, but think it is more a French thing. The Professor, however, is probably more pragmatic about such things, as it is, of course, much better to speak the (any) language well, but with a bad accent than vice-versa.

Indeed, the muscles around the vocal cords can sometimes struggle to make certain sounds if not trained/used regularly in that particular combination. I can speak French pretty fluently, to the extent that natives aren't sure where I am from. That said, I do sometimes stumble over certain words - although in my mind, I know exactly what they should sound like.

It is just that the French are particularly sensitive about "correct" French, which you see manifested whenever someone from Paris has to talk to someone outside of Paris, or, worse, someone from Canada...
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Old 08.06.2011, 09:43
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Actually, I know you meant it as a joke, but it could be the OPs accent that is difficult for people to understand. It's not one that is very common for the Swiss to hear.

Maybe s/he needs to try to speak with a more neutral accent, clearly & slowly.
So true.

Just had a phone call and thought "wow, look at how much Tagalog I've picked up" as I understood every 6th word the other person was saying.
But as I didn't quite get the whole context, I told her "sorry, could you repeat that in English please, as my Tagalog is lousy".
Her reply was " That WAS English!" ...

So, maybe OP just called me ..
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  #30  
Old 08.06.2011, 09:52
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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- Is your English understandable to people who learnt English in London
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Hey! What's that all about?!?
Probably means RP, old boy.
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  #31  
Old 08.06.2011, 10:11
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Probably means RP, old boy.
I realize this is a tad bit of a "slide" from the topic but as there is some question about the OP's accent / dialect when speaking English AND that link came up... I wonder if there is a similar term for what I call "TV English" when referring to American accents? The manner of speaking that American news anchors use is what I mean.


I would agree that certain "foreign" accents are more familiar and easy to understand for many than others, particularly if they include a fast speaking style on top of it. For me, because of the areas where I've lived, it is easier for me to understand someone with a Spanish-language background speaking English than it is some of the other accents.

Also, when speaking to my sis-in-law vs conversing with my husband, I can tell that she took some language classes which were taught by someone from the UK vs someone from the US because of the way she says certain words or because she uses different words than most Americans I know would use. Meanwhile, hubby "perfected" his English playing games (including VOIP) with Americans. Seeing how many people here learn English from UK-originating teachers, it makes sense to me that a lot of the Swiss folks would have an easier time understanding that "RP" style of diction from UK than from other places.
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  #32  
Old 08.06.2011, 10:13
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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I wonder if there is a similar term for what I call "TV English" when referring to American accents? The manner of speaking that American news anchors use is what I mean.
I understand that it's known as Hoosier.
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  #33  
Old 08.06.2011, 10:15
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

Uggh, preposterous thread title, btw...Do people go to Chicago and complain that no one speaks French?
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Old 08.06.2011, 10:20
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Uggh, preposterous thread title, btw...Do people go to Chicago and complain that no one speaks French?
To be fair to the OP, English is the current lingua franca of quite a lot of the world. It is a bit like a Victorian traveller complaining that nobody speaks French in Amsterdam, or a medieval scholar complaining that nobody speaks Latin in Lincoln: in context, not quite as preposterous as it might first appear.
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Old 08.06.2011, 10:59
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Probably means RP, old boy.
I'm sure he did...

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Uggh, preposterous thread title, btw...Do people go to Chicago and complain that no one speaks French?
No, but I often go to the US and wonder why no one speaks English there...

<ducks for cover>
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:09
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Is your English understandable to people who learnt English in London ?
Cor blimey! Apples and pears me old current bun innit. You wouldn't adam and eve it.
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:34
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

Alternative #1: Speak louder.

Alternative #2:

Alternative #3: After they say they don't speak English, ask "Islšndisch?". You'd be amazed how fast they can learn English after that question...
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Old 08.06.2011, 16:08
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

I thank you all for replying to my post.
I appreciate that some people have given me good advice and I think that its gonna help me a lot.
someone wrote that i should learn swiss german at migros school and I visited there, it really helped me a lot. sorry but as lot of people think that i am moaning about something and people do really speak english here.

sorry if u think so, i dont believe it. i have been traveling all around the europe and this is my 11th month of traveling and i have seen countries where people dont speak english but its not as bad as bern where you are trying to interact and people are not even interested.
I agree that there are all kind of people everywhere and maybe i have just met that one kind of people so far.

Anyways to live for 2 months in bern, i have realized that i have to learn some german to make my life a little easy.. btw..
Thank u everyone for replying once again..it really helped me..cheers
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Old 08.06.2011, 16:17
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

Ooooooooh this is a good subject! I've been here nearly 30 years, speak fluent Swiss German only because back in the early 80s I had a hard time finding anyone that could/would speak English to me. Even at the Bahnhof, definitely not in the Coop or Migro and at my local bank only one guy spoke English! My wife has been here nearly 5 years and everyone speaks to her in English (after she's attempted a few words of German that is)... in the Migro, Post Office, Coop, other dog walkers etc etc. It's really hard for her to practice any German at all. Times have changed.... now where did I put my Zimmerframe?!!!
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Old 08.06.2011, 17:32
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Re: No one speaks english in Bern

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Its been 2 weeks in bern and now its driving me Super Crazy.

there is not even a single person i have met speaks who speaks English. If you approach to anyone they might answer what u ask them but don't expect anything more then that.

At times I just think that i am the only one who doesn't know german. rest everyone is just born with it.

Have been trying to find a job and I believe this is thee most difficult country i have been for traveling and for finding a job too.
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I thank you all for replying to my post.
I appreciate that some people have given me good advice and I think that its gonna help me a lot.
someone wrote that i should learn swiss german at migros school and I visited there, it really helped me a lot. sorry but as lot of people think that i am moaning about something and people do really speak english here.

sorry if u think so, i dont believe it. i have been traveling all around the europe and this is my 11th month of traveling and i have seen countries where people dont speak english but its not as bad as bern where you are trying to interact and people are not even interested.
I agree that there are all kind of people everywhere and maybe i have just met that one kind of people so far.

Anyways to live for 2 months in bern, i have realized that i have to learn some german to make my life a little easy.. btw..
Thank u everyone for replying once again..it really helped me..cheers

Rathore, perhaps some of the responses you have received were based on your initial post stating that you've been here for a mere two weeks. Now this more recent post says two months, which still really isn't long when looking for a job here in Switzerland (even less long when compared to some of the areas of the world with higher unemployment these days!) as some people spent many more months actively looking themselves.

Two months or two weeks really isn't very long to live someplace new either anyhow, generally not long enough for someone who is "immersed" in a new language to learn it fluently and also, really not long enough to get a good look at what is truly around you.

So, my advice would be to be patient. My experience with interacting with the local people in Basel is to start off interactions in German, even if it is poor, it still is better than starting off giving the idea that they "should" speak English. Start off with "Entschuldigung (however it is spelled ), mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut" (Excuse me / I'm sorry, my German is not very good) as it goes a long way to helping the feelings brought when next asking "Sprechen sie English, bitte?" (Do you speak English please?)

Nine times out of ten, if I start off with that, the very polite Baslers tend to answer back with "I'm sure your German is better than my English...." and then we get on with things in English.
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