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  #81  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:59
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

When I went to the police station in the centre of Zurich, I had trouble understanding one policeman's attempt to speak High German, because he had such a strong Swiss-German accent.

Not sure where this is going, but it really doesn't help new people when there is not just one language to learn...
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  #82  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:02
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Also in UK, the city council and Police go out of their way to communicate with minorities, I have seen loads of leaflets, posters in Urdu, Hindi, Polish, Farsi, you name it and they pay freelance interpreters when needed starting from Heathrow all the way to the criminal courts ..And this in a country where the local language is at worldly as it gets. Respect!
Are you suggesting we all go to our Gemeinden and petition for an Anglo-Expat Outreach Task Force with our local Polizei? I think that's a brilliant idea!
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  #83  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:02
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

According to Alan Wicker, the correct method of dealing with non English speakers the world over was to talk loudly and wear a blazer, perhaps this is where the Op fell down? No blazer available?

Seriously though, regardless of whether the cop in question couldn't speak any English, he had a duty to be at least receptive to the OP's registering a complaint. Or is that something reserved for speakers of recognised officical CH languages only? Being sympathetic can be done in a non verbal way, tone of voice etc are universal, I suspect that the OP probably needed a cup of tea with sympathy almost as much as the paperwork being sorted.

@ Simplon - sorry but I have to ask, is it your turn to be duty-troll today?
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  #84  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:04
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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The vast majority of the third that is not Swiss is either German, Italian, French or Austrian - or, can you imagine - learned the language. So can we please stop the "we all don't know it" stuff - the "English only" crowd is in fact really small. An airport cop or one at the main station should speak English, one in Enge does not need to. As it looks, the one at the main station actually did... but that's absolutley not the point here - the point is that the cop was rude.
Well, but I've heard Italians and French both complain that folks in Zurich don't speak either Italian or french so, I get the part that you can't learn every language, but this is why so many Europeans know at least some English, especially if they live in cities and/or work in certain industries, e.g. Airports, sea transport, etc. The point isn't the English-only, but that it is the common language of choice for so many. I also speak German, swedish and finnish, but my German apparently doesn't cut it and the chances of a Swiss knowing the others is nearly nil so, english is a useful language not only for it's popularity but also for it's forgiving nature in getting the meaning across, even for beginners mostly thanks to the pervasive use of English.

The cop wasn't only rude, he neglected his job.
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  #85  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:14
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

I wonder why swisscom do things in English as a 4th language if it sso unpopular and other languages are more widely spoken here
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:16
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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I am so sorry about what happened. But I just do not understand 2 things. Why should it take longer for you to learn German if your husband is SWISS? And if your husband is SWISS, surely he should have known what to do and be there to help you and translate- or some of his family or friends if he was absent that day?

Ahh... the stories I could tell.


I'll just say it isn't as simple as that, not for everyone.
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  #87  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:23
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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I wonder why swisscom do things in English as a 4th language if it sso unpopular and other languages are more widely spoken here
Well, for one thing swisscom is a money-making enterprise and they are likely required to do things in the first three. It's like saying that English isn't popular in Finland since everything is done in Finnish and Swedish (both are official languages). And the influx of Russians who like to spend piles of cash speak Russia though they use English more.
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  #88  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:26
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

I would not expect a police man to speak English.

But usually this police staff have interpreters or can organise one

English is not the only language they need to understand sometimes. There are many living here who do not speak German (personally I know someone who speaks Turkish, who simply refuse to learn German - now for 30 years.

I simply assume that the police officer thought there is not much of a possibility to find the handbag again. Gone is gone, unfortunately.
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  #89  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:32
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Well, for one thing swisscom is a money-making enterprise and they are likely required to do things in the first three. It's like saying that English isn't popular in Finland since everything is done in Finnish and Swedish (both are official languages). And the influx of Russians who like to spend piles of cash speak Russia though they use English more.
There were some people saying some eastern European languages are more widely spoken than English in Switzerland...my first post wasnt clear apologies.

Last edited by porsch1909; 04.08.2011 at 19:08.
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  #90  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:34
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

With all the huge respect to the Swiss people and country organization where everything works (slow or fast), I have to say that every hospital and police station absolutely must have English (major official international language) speaking personnel on duty 24/7. Because the price payable is life and security!

Lugano is the same. Noone speaks English eben in the main police station (5 floors big building). I was sent back home to study Italian once, so could not report the crime seen. However, they have provided an interpreter for the next day. Looking at the interpreter's car, he makes a good living
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  #91  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:38
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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presumably you shouted louder in English? Usually works.. otherwise i find asking them who won the war anyway does the trick.
Yes, most of the policemen here only speak Swedish. It's an outrage. They should go back to making cuckoo-clocks. And while you're about it, remind them who won the war.
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  #92  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:39
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Anyway, thanks to the English forum I was established I needed to go to the police station and report it to get a new permit.
Are you for real? I can't imagine going into a police station in the US and people speaking German (might happen but highly unlikely). On the other hand if you try hard to speak German and get understood you might find that police officers might speak more English than they would like to admit.
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:47
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Odile, dear EF lady that I usually 100% agree, I have to put my spoon there. My husband is German. We have been together for 7 years. And my German sucks.
Agreed my husband is Dutch and I only speak Dutch with his parents and other family members...even when I keep trying to practice buahhh
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  #94  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:49
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

Dear co-forumers, Switzerland is a touristic country! Lots of Chinese, Brazilian, Russian, Japanese people come here for skiing, hiking etc. Do they need to speak German as well??? Non-sense!
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:50
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

But you don't LIVE in Holland, do you Angela?
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  #96  
Old 04.08.2011, 18:51
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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If they don't they will at least treat you with respect ... US police officers are always friendly & respectful
I respecfully disagree
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:52
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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But you don't LIVE in Holland, do you Angela?
So? I still want to practice, I am just making the point that being married to a native speaker does not guarantee anything. BTW I was married before I moved to Switzerland
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:54
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Dear co-forumers, Switzerland is a touristic country! Lots of Chinese, Brazilian, Russian, Japanese people come here for skiing, hiking etc. Do they need to speak German as well??? Non-sense!
Italy and France are also very touristy - and most cops do NOT speak English at all. Do you expect the cops here to speak Chinese, Brazilian, Russian and Japanese too?

Let's all go back to Esperanto and make it compulsory for all

There are 2 issues here. One that the cop was totally unsympathetic and unhelpful, bordering on the rude, it seems- which is INEXCUSABLE.

And one that the cop did not speak English, which is fair enough, really.
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Old 04.08.2011, 18:58
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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So? I still want to practice, I am just making the point that being married to a native speaker does not guarantee anything. BTW I was married before I moved to Switzerland
It's great that you want to practise and be part of your OH's family. I'd do the same- because I like languages, and as respect for my OH and his family. Just saying that if one lives in a country, and especially if OH is a 'native' there is more of an onus on a person to learn the language than if you just visit relatives from time to time.

My British OH and I only speak English together, but he has been making a huge effort to learn French since we arrived here. He is defo not a linguist, and it doesn't come easy to him - but he truly feels it is his responsibility to learn the language of the area he has CHOSEN to live in. For practical reasons, but also out of respect for the local population. He has made huge progress and has won the hearts of neighbours and locals.
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Old 04.08.2011, 19:00
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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It's great that you want to practise and be part of your OH's family. I'd do the same- because I like languages, and as respect for my OH and his family. Just saying that if one lives in a country, and especially if OH is a 'native' there is more of an onus on a person to learn the language than if you just visit relatives from time to time.
Fair enough, but even when I lived in the Netherlands, I got more practice from the rest of the family than my husband and I think significant others are more comfortable in speaking the language they are used to...(except when I am mad and I can only swear in Spanish)
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