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Old 12.04.2012, 23:40
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How much German should I know?

Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
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Old 12.04.2012, 23:50
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Re: How much German should I know?

The more the better

But A1 will be useful!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_..._for_Languages

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Resources: http://www.englishforum.ch/language-corner/
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Old 12.04.2012, 23:54
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Re: How much German should I know?

Some people have been here a lifetime with a knowledge of German close to zero, but as said above the more the better.
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Old 13.04.2012, 14:11
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Re: How much German should I know?

How can anybody live in a country for 20+ years and not speak the language, wherever?
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Old 13.04.2012, 14:38
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Re: How much German should I know?

Depends on whether they're mute or deaf, I guess. Half-jokingly.

Strangely, I'd have never normally thought of that response, if we hadn't had the issues with our sons hearing that we have. We have the very real possibility that sign language is on the cards.
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Old 13.04.2012, 16:55
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Re: How much German should I know?

What sort of internship are you talking about. Without knowing this how can you expect an informative answer?

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Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
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Old 13.04.2012, 17:21
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Re: How much German should I know?

Concentrate on learning standard German (Hochdeutsch) to make yourself understood, but if you get the opportunity it's also worth getting used to hearing a few of the most common phrases in Swiss German so that you can understand others.

Unfortunately, the words you hear the most every day (hi, thank you, bye) won't be in your German textbook, even though everyone understands the versions you've learnt.

I'd get hold of a copy of "Hoi - Your Swiss-German Survival Guide" and have a look through the first few chapters - although I'm not a great fan of the book as a whole, it's probably the best to get you started.
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Old 13.04.2012, 17:25
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Re: How much German should I know?

Go to the BBC website (www.bbc.co.uk), go to the bottom of the page (Learning/ Education, select languages then German) Lots of video courses for free, that target specifically the level of German you'll need. Do bear in mind that Swiss German and German are not at all the same thing, but you'll be fine in Zurich. Alles gute!

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Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
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Old 13.04.2012, 17:45
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Re: How much German should I know?

enough to get by, but not so much that you start preaching to other expats about learning german.
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Old 13.04.2012, 17:50
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Re: How much German should I know?

From what I hear from little bit experience, B1 is probably a something one should target. After that you will have good skills to talk, write, understand or read German. I think A1/A2 is not sufficient
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Old 13.04.2012, 20:09
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Re: How much German should I know?

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From what I hear from little bit experience, B1 is probably a something one should target. After that you will have good skills to talk, write, understand or read German. I think A1/A2 is not sufficient
"not sufficient" ? Not for what ? It depends on what the O.P. wants. Just to ask for the way, to do shopping, to get a hotel room, to get a ticket for something, and thelike, a certain minimum is sufficient, but if the O.P. wants to have some minimal discussions, something more may be required.

As in many languages, the "standard language" is something not spoken by too many people but understood by most. Your "standard...... " will automatically get "printed" a bit by the dialect of where you are staying within days.

In short, the more German gets learnt the better
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Old 13.04.2012, 20:16
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Re: How much German should I know?

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What sort of internship are you talking about. Without knowing this how can you expect an informative answer?
I will be carrying out my Bachelor Thesis at ETH Zurich and I know that there is a large international community in Zurich so English might be spoken on a daily basis but I feel that knowing German might makes things easy for me.
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Old 13.04.2012, 20:17
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Re: How much German should I know?

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"not sufficient" ? Not for what ? It depends on what the O.P. wants. Just to ask for the way, to do shopping, to get a hotel room, to get a ticket for something, and thelike, a certain minimum is sufficient, but if the O.P. wants to have some minimal discussions, something more may be required.

As in many languages, the "standard language" is something not spoken by too many people but understood by most. Your "standard...... " will automatically get "printed" a bit by the dialect of where you are staying within days.

In short, the more German gets learnt the better
I want to learn the language enough for me to hail a cab, greet someone, make small talk. Obviously I'll learn more during my stay in Zurich.
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Old 13.04.2012, 20:19
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Re: How much German should I know?

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How can anybody live in a country for 20+ years and not speak the language, wherever?
I don't live in Switzerland. I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for studies.
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Old 13.04.2012, 20:52
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Re: How much German should I know?

Shopkeepers don't give a damn that you don't speak German-they see you as a tourist and tourists bring money. As long as you are polite and don't show any impatience then no problem.

But learn some basic German-if you are going to live in the Swiss culture for 5 Months then at least you should be able to basically communicate.


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Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
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Old 13.04.2012, 22:18
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Re: How much German should I know?

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Shopkeepers don't give a damn that you don't speak German-they see you as a tourist and tourists bring money. As long as you are polite and don't show any impatience then no problem.

But learn some basic German-if you are going to live in the Swiss culture for 5 Months then at least you should be able to basically communicate.
Shopkeepers ? in larger shops you do not meet shopkeepers but personnel. People from countries like Kosovo, who beside their mothertongue and German may speak Serbian, Russian, Greek and Italian but not English. Or people from the Maghreb who declare to speak English but do not really do so. People from Portugal who beside Portuguese speak Spanish, French and German but possibly not so much English. Most likely, none of those Swiss and British chaps will be around when you need them

In the 1960ies, 70ies and 80ies, people going to work in construction learnt Italian which in that field then was the Lingua Franca. But in the meantime, "the" Italians have moved up into the offices and into the management

Very often therefore, German and English are the two "compromise-languages"

This is why I above pointed out that it did matter so much what "level" the OP got in German, but that some command got attained
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Old 13.04.2012, 23:02
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Re: How much German should I know?

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Shopkeepers don't give a damn that you don't speak German-they see you as a tourist and tourists bring money. As long as you are polite and don't show any impatience then no problem.
It is not what you speek but the colour of your money.
No truer word said omtatsat
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Old 13.04.2012, 23:04
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Re: How much German should I know?

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Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
learn as much German as you want, assuming you want to add another language to your proverbial "toolbox". you won't really "need" German to live in the city of Zurich for 5 months other than the basics just to read public signs, etc., and I wouldn't worry about hailing any taxis (you'll be taking trams and buses and walking). your best bet is to learn the very basics in the Zurich variant of Swiss German, the little things like greetings and numbers (for paying) will help tremendously - there are a number of online resources you can go through for these.

oh, and enjoy your time here!

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Old 13.04.2012, 23:21
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Re: How much German should I know?

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Hello,

I will be staying in Zurich for about 5 months for an internship and I am wondering how much German should I know before arriving there? I am already reading books and referring to online material but I am a bit anxious since I read some comments about shopkeepers expecting foreigner's to speak a relatively good German. I can greet, say "thank you" and order tickets and breakfast in German at this point. Any suggestions would be helpful and also where I could get more material to learn German.

Danke!
None at all, I guarantee you can get through 5 months speaking English only. However, if you learn the basics it will make you feel a bit more integrated.
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Old 14.04.2012, 01:44
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Re: How much German should I know?

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learn as much German as you want, assuming you want to add another language to your proverbial "toolbox". you won't really "need" German to live in the city of Zurich for 5 months other than the basics just to read public signs, etc., and I wouldn't worry about hailing any taxis (you'll be taking trams and buses and walking). your best bet is to learn the very basics in the Zurich variant of Swiss German, the little things like greetings and numbers (for paying) will help tremendously - there are a number of online resources you can go through for these.

oh, and enjoy your time here!

let's add that you cannot "hail" a taxi here, but have to ask for a taxi by phone

and, a basic understanding of standard German is of its importance as everything written, really everything, is in standard German
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