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  #41  
Old 25.01.2017, 00:02
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

But if you live in a rural area you might consider joining a right-wing political party.

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Avoid living in rural areas, and don't join right wing political parties. Then people will speak to you.
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  #42  
Old 25.01.2017, 00:16
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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I very much agree with this.

Standard German is better than pretending to speak dialect when you can't.

I know lots of Germans who speak their own dialects when here in Switzerland rather than standard German, and people like that and possibly even prefer it. The other day on the train I was sitting with a Bernese guy and a Saxonian, each speaking their own dialect and getting on fine together.
I cram Deutsch with Saxonian pronunciation with my kid since that's where I grew up, a few miles away. She retains a lot more because of the weird fricatives, zíbunzvantsiš, and it seems popular in her French school

Šrekliš
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  #43  
Old 25.01.2017, 08:38
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

To the OP... it's a weird one.
I also speak fluent high German. Some Swiss Germans are happy to switch to high German with a Swiss dialect but then you get those who will carry on speaking in Swiss German.

I have to admit, after only being here for 4 months, I'm still struggling to understand conversations between two Swiss Germans. It takes some serious concentration to decipher what they're saying to each other.

I actually ordered a takeout last Friday and the delivery lady accidentally went to the wrong door number and called my mobile and spoke to me in Swiss German and I was left completely stunned! LOL. I politely asked her if she could speak to me in high German and she switched over immediately. When she arrived at my door to deliver the food, we had a 5 minute conversation about where I was from etc. She was a friendly woman.

She also made a point of the fact that I should learn to speak Swiss German because apparently people would appreciate that more. But from what I've heard from Swiss German work colleagues, a native German trying to speak Swiss German will usually get told by Swiss Germans to just stick to high German or even speak English.
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  #44  
Old 25.01.2017, 08:54
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be considered by most to be an outsider in the Swiss-German society?

Does everyone in Switzerland who speaks fluent Swiss-German also speak fluent standard German?
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  #45  
Old 25.01.2017, 10:01
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

In my little corner of Switzerland, a foreigner is expected to understand Dialekt, but not really expected to speak it. It is enough, heck often actually preferred, that you speak passable standard German. Never ask someone to step out of Dialekt, but don't hurt people's ears by mangling it yourself.

It is quite common to hear conversations held in Dialekt on one side, Standard German on the other.
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  #46  
Old 25.01.2017, 10:19
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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Avoid living in rural areas, and don't join right wing political parties. Then people will speak to you.
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But if you live in a rural area you might consider joining a right-wing political party.
The SVP Zurich is much worse than the SVP Schwyz... and I personally met more people insisting on their dialect when speaking to me in Zurich than in the country side.
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  #47  
Old 25.01.2017, 10:31
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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The attitude is you are living here so you can damned well learn to speak the language. NONE of my OHs colleagues spoke to me in English so I was basically left in my corner until I could understand what they were saying. My dad came over for a visit & they suddenly all spoke English... he was just here on holiday.
That's not the general attitude here in my opinion. I think most Swiss German speakers understand that it's very difficult to learn their language and therefore they make allowances. I think this is true of anywhere that a language is spoken with no official written form. And as all official written communication here (the Swiss German part) is in high German...

Most people here will tell you to learn high German and not Swiss German.
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  #48  
Old 25.01.2017, 10:36
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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In my little corner of Switzerland, a foreigner is expected to understand Dialekt, but not really expected to speak it. It is enough, heck often actually preferred, that you speak passable standard German. Never ask someone to step out of Dialekt, but don't hurt people's ears by mangling it yourself.

It is quite common to hear conversations held in Dialekt on one side, Standard German on the other.
That's true, although many of them switch to (Swiss) High German even if not specifically asked to do so...well, at least those who are very polite or maybe just better educated so that speaking in High German is not such a big issue for them.
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  #49  
Old 25.01.2017, 11:03
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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I personally met more people insisting on their dialect when speaking to me in Zurich than in the country side.
Probably because most Swiss understand Zurich dialect just fine, and other dialects not so fine.

Tom
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  #50  
Old 25.01.2017, 11:33
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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Every Hamburger will recognize immediately that a Bayer who moved there didn't grow up in Hamburg. Will that Bayer be an outsider, and if so will he always remain one?
There are linguistic studies on adapted speech. That is, people tend to chose words and expressions that they think the person they are speaking to would themselves use. So if a person with a low level of education speaks to a professor, the person with the low eduaction may try and use complicated words because he thinks the professor expects that, and the professor will pick simple words because he thinks otherwise the other guy won't understand.

This also works between dialects. So if two people with different dialects converse, they may adapt their own expressions and vocabulary to things they believe are elements of the other person's dialect. So far example some German dialects don't distinguish between the Dative and Genitive. High German speakers may do the same when speaking to dialect speakers whereas they use these cases correctly when speaking to other High German speakers. I've observed this with several people. Not to mention saying things like Velo, Trottoir, Tram, Güsel, Verzeigung in High German pronounciation. It's part of meeting the other person half way.

All this happens automatically. It's not part of any conscious or controlled thought process. We subconsciously and dynamically adapt our active vocabulary and grammar to the situation.

So if a Bavarian has spent 20 years in Hamburg and has not in any way, shape or form adapted his use of dialect when conversing with locals, that person probably has very poor observational or social skills. However, what may be the case is that he has adapted but the Hamburgers haven't noticed. If another Bavarian were there, that Bavarian might notice Hamburgerisms in his speech.
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  #51  
Old 25.01.2017, 11:35
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

Personally, I would never expect anyone to understand let alone speak Swiss German.

But yes, for me, a part of "integration" is learning the language, even if that is High German. I don't even understand how anyone who moves abroad, no matter whether for 3 months or 5 years, can NOT want to start learning the language when it would make navigating through everyday life so much easier.

Most Swiss are certainly very aware that SG is most difficult to learn and also acknowledge that HG is not easy either. What bothers some is the complete lack of interest in even trying.

Also, Swiss don't particularly enjoy speaking High German. They'll do it and I find most switch to HG if they realize the other party doesn't understand SG, but they do so sometimes reluctantly. "Our" HG tends to sound strange somehow to our ears.

Moreover, many Swiss simply don't speak English. I've written this here many times, but until not that long ago, the emphasis in school was on other national languages, but not on English.

And last but not least: understanding the basic of a language doesn't mean you can express yourself perfectly. Or even hold down a conversation beyond one that revolves around the crappy weather. This goes in every direction and applies to every setting. If you want to be fully integrated and have local friends, chances are you simply will have to learn the language, no matter where you are, because it would be mighty arrogant to assume all others should switch to your language, whichever it may be. I find that sometimes this is regarded (in this forum) as a "strange thing" to require, expect or hope for - but realistically, how many people think they would make a ton of e.g. American friends in the US without speaking English to a relatively decent level? Correct, probably not many.
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  #52  
Old 25.01.2017, 11:42
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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Probably because most Swiss understand Zurich dialect just fine, and other dialects not so fine.

Tom
I am not comparing it to Berner Oberland or Wallis. Anyone who understands Zurich dialekt will get Schwyzer or Glarner German as well (unless you really push it and talk to some farmer living on an alp in Muotathal...)
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  #53  
Old 25.01.2017, 14:16
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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I am not comparing it to Berner Oberland or Wallis. Anyone who understands Zurich dialekt will get Schwyzer or Glarner German as well (unless you really push it and talk to some farmer living on an alp in Muotathal...)
You haven't heard my friend from Einsiedeln.

Tom
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  #54  
Old 25.01.2017, 19:19
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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Swiss folks actually prefer to speak English over German. But there are plenty of Germans around who don't mind.
That's not really my observation.

I know plenty of Swiss people who speak English to me. But either because they assume that I can't speak German very well, or (more commonly) because they want to practice English or show off their skills.

When the conversation shifts to stuff they really feel strongly or emotionally about (or have imbibed too much alcohol), they tend to switch back to Swiss German.

But that's not typically Swiss. I've made similar observations in Spain, in Germany, and in other places.
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  #55  
Old 25.01.2017, 19:28
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

When you know the difference between Berner Oberländisch and Haslitiitsch, consider your self on the in-side.
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  #56  
Old 25.01.2017, 20:26
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

Many Swiss speak high german badly and many have no idea of writing or grammar. And if you think you can speak like a native born German then dream again. As soon as you open your mouth they will think foreigner . They won't think you are German. And better for you. The Germans are not really liked here
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  #57  
Old 25.01.2017, 21:09
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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... depends very much on where in Switzerland, and your own attitude.
The latter.


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Being fluent in German won't grant you immediate acceptance. Case point: the almost 300 000 Germans living here, who take a lot of sh!t sometimes for nothing else but the fact that they think it gives them special rights that they were born in Germany. And that everywhere where Germans are would be Germany and that everybody should adapt to them. Especially those silly Swiss, who should learn a good Hannoveran German in the first place, looking up to the real masters of German culture.
...
Ftfy.




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Absolutely not.
Absolutely yes.
Also if they might keep a Southern accent, it's still fluent standard German.
The question is not if the Swiss speak it, but if they like using Schriftdeutsch as a spoken language.




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Ticinesi even have their own special dialect of Swiss German that a lot of people find agreeable because its sort of a mix of all the main dialects with the ugly bits left out and some nice bits of their own mixed in. But if they need to they can stick it out in perfect high German. So they're basically quadri-lingual by default.
This is wishful thinking, I fear.


I've very rarely witnessed Ticinesi (i.e. those without Swiss-German ancestry) capable of more than a very basic German level. It might exist, but it's rare, also amidst academic folks. Some politicians make an exception, however. Their German might be better than the Italian of Ticinese Heimatort Bundesräten.




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There is a teacher who lives in my building who insists on speaking very clear and careful high German with me.
...
Might be a member of the Leon Huber-gang.




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I know lots of Germans who speak their own dialects when here in Switzerland rather than standard German, and people like that and possibly even prefer it. The other day on the train I was sitting with a Bernese guy and a Saxonian, each speaking their own dialect and getting on fine together.
...
In the contrary to popular (especially those lazy Krauts', who are very reluctant to accept that there could be any other language allowed than Hannoveran German) belief, germanic dialects are very similar to each other, and also to other Germanic languages.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but e.g. Abblkriebsch is both, Saxonian and Bernese.
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  #58  
Old 25.01.2017, 21:16
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

Any " Krauts" on the forum please stand up..........!

Last edited by omtatsat; 06.12.2017 at 09:53.
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  #59  
Old 25.01.2017, 22:21
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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I've very rarely witnessed Ticinesi (i.e. those without Swiss-German ancestry) capable of more than a very basic German level. It might exist, but it's rare, also amidst academic folks.
Alas, I know many who speak it well, and quite a few with perfect SG on top.

You clearly know the wrong people.

Tom
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  #60  
Old 25.01.2017, 22:32
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Re: If I speak fluent standard German, will I still be an outsider in the culture?

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Alas, I know many who speak it well, and quite a few with perfect SG on top.

You clearly know the wrong people.

Tom
I agree. I don't think one can generalize. Most of the Ticinesi I know studied here in Zurich. They may have an accent, and they may use language a bit different from a Zucchini, but I don't think you could reasonably claim that they aren't fluent.

If there is one generalisation that does, in my experience, hold it is this: Male Swiss are more likely to have inhibitions about speaking standard German than females. This across the board, regardless of profession or education.
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