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Old 19.01.2020, 10:20
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

French speaking Swiss learn English and High German in school. But given their choice they will speak French to all and sundry and refuse to consider anything else. Sad but true. Geneva is an exception to this rule where English is reluctantly acknowledged the language of "International Geneva" (which includes the French voisine).

About the only exposure they have to German is the printing on packaging, or when watching football on the 'other' channels. Not a lot of enthusiasm for learning Schwiizertüütsch!
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Old 19.01.2020, 10:40
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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I would say that life is significantly easier for a french speaker in the german speaking part of Switzerland than a german speaker in the french part.


Say this to my French colleague and her British husband who, after 5 years spent in the Swiss-German part of the country, could not wait to move to the French-speaking part. Reasons given for their unhappiness over there:


- extreme difficulty to socialise. Swiss-Germans rarely invite (tbh, neither do the Swiss-French)


- older generation quite brutal with kids. She was giving several examples, one being with her elderly parents who were visiting from France. Kids were playing in a stream, having a bit of a wild time as kids do. This old man came shouting at them, threatening them with a stick, because supposedly they were "scaring the fish", even though it was not a fishing area and not a single fisherman in sight. Her parents, who did not understand Swiss-German, were nonetheless clearly shocked.


- not much patience with her when she tried to use her basic Swiss-German. In the end, she gave up and used English. Again, I think it's not that dissimilar here.
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:03
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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- extreme difficulty to socialise. Swiss-Germans rarely invite (tbh, neither do the Swiss-French)
I do not find that to be true - nor do I find the other misnomer that any invitations are planned months beforehand.

I've nipped over to Swiss-German neighbours with a message before early evening and ended up stayin for a couple of hours drinking gin and tonics.

I've had other neighbours in another place say that we ought to meet up and then they've invited the entire family over for dinner that night.

And these are the ones without kids. With the ones with kids who know are kids, there's a lot of visiting and socialising.

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- older generation quite brutal with kids. She was giving several examples, one being with her elderly parents who were visiting from France. Kids were playing in a stream, having a bit of a wild time as kids do. This old man came shouting at them, threatening them with a stick, because supposedly they were "scaring the fish", even though it was not a fishing area and not a single fisherman in sight. Her parents, who did not understand Swiss-German, were nonetheless clearly shocked.

.
You get slightly-deranged or senile old people in every country. In England it is known as "losing your marbles".

Last edited by Tom1234; 19.01.2020 at 11:13.
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:08
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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You get slightly-deranged or senile old people in every country. In England it is known as "losing your marbles".
I had one of these in the summer. It was a very hot day, and at the tram terminus, we had a five minute work, so we held the door of the tram open to allow a breeze. This guy started ranting at us, telling us that it would stop the airconditioning working. Me pointing out that a) the aircon wasn't on and b) there were windows open all along the tram, didn't in anyvway prevent him arguing. He just knew better!

On reflection, he wasn't that old. But definitely seemed somewhat deranged.
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:20
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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The shared language across the country is Swiss German.
No, it's not.

It's Italian, my wife even uses Italian in Zurich, and she's from Zuri Oberland (Fischenthal)!

Tom
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:25
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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.....
Gruëzi is safe in all situations. Gruëzi Wohl is fairly formal, applicable to individuals. .....
Okay, what on earth is that? Sounds like a Dutch, trying to get the Grüezi right.


@OP, you need to find the ä, ö, ü on your keyboard (or you could get a Swiss-German keyboard but then you'll struggle with the z and the y) and then you'll have to pronounce them. That's when the real fun will start for you.
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:35
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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I've nipped over to Swiss-German neighbours with a message before early evening and ended up stayin for a couple of hours drinking gin and tonics.

I've had other neighbours in another place say that we ought to meet up and then they've invited the entire family over for dinner that night".
These are my favorite social situations. More spontaneous, less formal and good fun.
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Old 19.01.2020, 11:43
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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No, it's not.

It's Italian, my wife even uses Italian in Zurich, and she's from Zuri Oberland (Fischenthal)!

Tom
This is true. Italian is very widely spoken in Basel too.

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Okay, what on earth is that? Sounds like a Dutch, trying to get the Grüezi right.
I just pressed my umlaut key in the wrong order u¨e instead of ¨ue . However, I've just checked, and the Basel dialect course spells it griezi.

Basel dialect for wristwatch is something like "Gelleretti". Which comes from French "Quelle heure et-il?". I think it's only used by older people - my kids don't know the word.
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:03
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Okay, what on earth is that? Sounds like a Dutch, trying to get the Grüezi right.
Maybe something like the lovely sign I saw once at a restaurant in Wallis, written in all caps:

ÄN GÜÄÄTÄ!
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Basel dialect for wristwatch is something like "Gelleretti". Which comes from French "Quelle heure et-il?". I think it's only used by older people - my kids don't know the word.
"Quelle heure est-il?"

Gellerettli, I think. Nice etymology, though. There are a couple of examples of that sort of word... I'll try to find them, can't remember them right now

Last edited by 22 yards; 19.01.2020 at 12:25.
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  #30  
Old 19.01.2020, 12:04
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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This is true. Italian is very widely spoken in Basel too.

I just pressed my umlaut key in the wrong order u¨e instead of ¨ue . However, I've just checked, and the Basel dialect course spells it griezi.

Basel dialect for wristwatch is something like "Gelleretti". Which comes from French "Quelle heure et-il?". I think it's only used by older people - my kids don't know the word.
Yep, the old Baseldeutsch basically had no ä, ö or ü's. Very "ausländerfreundlich" LOL. Although I suspect it's hard to understand for some, as it does have it's very own words. Like the Gelleretti - and many more which are still in use.
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:08
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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@OP, you need to find the ä, ö, ü on your keyboard (or you could get a Swiss-German keyboard but then you'll struggle with the z and the y) and then you'll have to pronounce them. That's when the real fun will start for you.
All my Swiss keyboards are switched to US layout as I touch type.

Drives my colleagues nuts when they need to type something on one of my computers!

Tom
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:23
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Yep, the old Baseldeutsch basically had no ä, ö or ü's. Very "ausländerfreundlich" LOL. Although I suspect it's hard to understand for some, as it does have it's very own words. Like the Gelleretti - and many more which are still in use.
Yes, even modern Baaseldütsch can be a real head-scratcher, thanks to its unique vocabulary, let alone its grammar (or lack thereof) and spelling.

I learned one of my favourite Baaseldütsch words when I was asked to meet a friend at "die Rossbollemississippi".
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:34
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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This is true. Italian is very widely spoken in Basel too.
My wife's attitude is "I'm Swiss, Italian is a Swiss language, so I'm going to speak it everywhere, and if you non-Swiss can't speak it, FU!" !

Tom
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:36
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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My wife's attitude is "I'm Swiss, Italian is a Swiss language, so I'm going to speak it everywhere, and if you non-Swiss can't speak it, FU!" !

Tom
By the way, you got sun down there?
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:53
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Yes, even modern Baaseldütsch can be a real head-scratcher, thanks to its unique vocabulary, let alone its grammar (or lack thereof) and spelling.

I learned one of my favourite Baaseldütsch words when I was asked to meet a friend at "die Rossbollemississippi".
I know you've decided for a second time to wear a "fangyyse" but tell us, do you still have your hair or are you sporting a "Fliegeschlyffi"?
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Old 19.01.2020, 12:57
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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By the way, you got sun down there?
Too much, in fact, always need to lower the blinds!

Tom
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Old 19.01.2020, 13:29
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I know you've decided for a second time to wear a "fangyyse" but tell us, do you still have your hair or are you sporting a "Fliegeschlyffi"?
Never! I'm keeping my Schmalzlogge for all eternity!

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I know you've decided for a second time to wear a "fangyyse" but tell us, do you still have your hair or are you sporting a "Fliegeschlyffi"?
(Btw, I don't actually have a Fangyyse... long story...)
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Old 19.01.2020, 14:11
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Switzerland is a land of nuances; subtleties that are woven into the land, the people and especially the language. There are four recognized languages in Switzerland: High German, French, Italian and Romanisch. The later is the smallest and most unique language. It is isolated to a small region that reflects the many elements that have combined over the centuries to make Switzerland what it is today.

The shared language across the country is Swiss German. It is an unwritten but widely spoken language based loosely on High German. If German is the strict parent, Swiss German can be thought of as the child running through the playground. It has a more carefree, lyrical and soft sense. It’s the difference between John Phillips Sousa marches and Billie Holiday Jazz. Swiss German is a beautiful language.

But it is complex, nuanced and can be very specific. It has rules.

I was raised to say ‘hello’. Hello to children, Hello to adults. Hello to neighbors. Hello to everyone. Hello worked. As I grew older, there was ‘Hi’, ‘Hey’ and if I was really feeling my southern roots, ‘Howdy Ya’ll’. But beyond that it was pretty much all the same. Of course there is Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good evening, but that’s pretty standard everywhere.

But when I came to Switzerland it got really complicated. In Swiss German there is a different way to say hello to person or a group. Of course there is informal and formal too. And then you have to figure in age as well. Do you say, Hallo, Hoi or Gruezi? Is it stand alone or do you add Mitenand? Or Maybe its Gruezi Vol. Do children count as a multiplier? If so, at what age. Do I Greuzi Mitenand if it is an adult and a stroller? How about teenagers? If there are teens, do two or three count as a Mitenand or is it a Hoi because I am the adult?

Oh, and then there is leaving. My cultural background made it simple. Leaving a store? Thank you. Good bye or Have a nice day, afternoon, evening or night. Easy Peasy. But the Swiss like options. Tschuss. Ciao. Or any of about 5 different other choices as you leave. I wish I could write them all out here, but I am still trying to distinguish and learn them. I am trying to catalogue the options so I can always make the right choice. Or at least an appropriate one. It’s a work in progress.

The art of saying goodbye has been fun to learn too. I have found that the Swiss like to say goodbye. Over and over. It is not a sprint to say goodbye, more like a good eight hundred meter run. It reminds me of when I was first starting to date. Back then I was lucky enough to have a phone in my bedroom, not because I was all that special, but because there was a jack put in the room when the house was built and we happened to have an extra phone. Perhaps it was a mark of growing up and one way my parents could say, “Hey, we almost trust you.” About that time I met a girl. We would have secretive phone conversations late into the night. Eventually, we both became exhausted and would sometimes even fall asleep on the phone. But usually before that we would start this intimate goodbye dance. It usually began with, “I guess I better get going…” and would become a fifteen minute walk through words and phrases that basically meant neither of us wanted to be the first to hang up.

The Swiss say goodbye like that. There is a Ciao. And a response. Then, I will see you soon. It was good talking. My pleasure. Goodbye again. Thank you. You’re welcome. Really good to see you. You too. Goodbye. I will talk to you again soon. Yes. Definitely. Ciao and then it starts all over. Of course it’s all in Swiss German, but you get it. Listening to my wife say goodbye to her sister on the phone makes me want to make popcorn and pull up a chair. It is really entertaining.

But that’s one thing I have learned about the Swiss and their language: they really want to get it right. They take their language and their manners seriously.
And speaking of manners, If you are visiting someone’s home or flat, you had better bring along something to share. Do they have kids? Then you should bring something for them too. There are social rules to abide by. And they are serious. Never ever go to someones home or flat for dinner without bringing along something that can be shared. That will definitely reinforce your cultural ignorance. Chocolate and wine are good choices.

But at the end of it all, all written and unwritten rules aside, language nuances, details and specifics forgotten, the Swiss have got it right. People are important. Important to respect and treat well, even to the point of knowing when an adult and a stroller count as a Mitenand or not. Even if it is cursory. Even if it doesn’t always translate into authenticity, it is important. And it is one of the things I am growing to love about living here. So, Ciao, etc, etc, etc, ….and good luck!
Nice SA ! now come back when you learn the "Prost thing "
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Old 19.01.2020, 14:48
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Okay, what on earth is that? Sounds like a Dutch, trying to get the Grüezi right.


@OP, you need to find the ä, ö, ü on your keyboard (or you could get a Swiss-German keyboard but then you'll struggle with the z and the y) and then you'll have to pronounce them. That's when the real fun will start for you.
Try this:

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Old 19.01.2020, 15:28
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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yeah, that was rather embarrassing.
But now we know, they were far ahead of their times: Take one single line and repeat it for 3-5 minutes and you got a hit!
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