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Old 18.01.2020, 19:44
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Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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!
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Old 18.01.2020, 19:49
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

It’s a proper cultural shock this whole Europe thing, isn’t it..?
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Old 18.01.2020, 20:21
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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.
I don’t know where you got that idea from.
You will get exactly nowhere in Romandie if you speak Swiss German.
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Old 18.01.2020, 20:23
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

Yes you will, a kick in the arse and told to piss off is the usual form of reply
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Old 18.01.2020, 20:38
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

Every day hundreds of people enter Switzerland with no skill, no grasp of the language and are a total drain on our resources.

Babies are bloody useless.
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Old 18.01.2020, 20:56
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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!
Lovely. I like your prose, OP.

You don't know just how easy you have it in the Swiss German part.
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Old 18.01.2020, 21:32
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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You don't know just how easy you have it in the Swiss German part.
???

Not sure what you're getting at here, but i personally I've found the French speaking Swiss much more open and generally friendly than in the German parts. Or is that only here in Valais?
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Old 18.01.2020, 21:46
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

Things are a breeze for kids and families in Swiss Deutch part. Unlike Romandie. It will take a while to cach up but we are heading there.

In terms of friendliness it's on par. People just drink more in Romandie
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:07
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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!
Maybe you should try and learn Swiss German? There are courses out there. I had a background in Dutch and thought I would learn high German when I moved here, but the Zurideutsch sounded much more similar to me to Dutch than High German. And so, I enrolled in a Swiss German course. Migros Club Schule, InSwissing and other language schools offer Swiss German instruction in Zurich but many do so in German (In Swissing offers courses in English). I can get by reasonably well in shops etc...; I have been told I speak Swiss German with a Dutch accent ...lol! Hey, I guess that is better than being spoken to in English! To be honest, I tend to mix Dutch, Swiss German and high German when I speak.

As an aside, I have found the Swiss to be very friendly - probably because I have tried to learn the dialect. I am not great at speaking but at least I try - and I have a very friendly yellow labrador which helps as she thinks everyone likes her and wants to meet her!
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:14
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

PS... I don't find "Goodbyes" in shops that laborious. I always say, "Danke vielmal" and then "Schone tag"...And then I am done with the discourse.
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:21
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Things are a breeze for kids and families in Swiss Deutch part. Unlike Romandie. It will take a while to cach up but we are heading there.
What on earth are you talking about?

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In terms of friendliness it's on par. People just drink more in Romandie
Clearly.
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:25
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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What on earth are you talking about?
Swiss French part.

You?
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:33
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Swiss French part.

You?
Still trying to figure out what you think is ‘a breeze’ for Swiss German families.
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Old 18.01.2020, 22:34
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Things are a breeze for kids and families in Swiss Deutch part. Unlike Romandie. It will take a while to cach up but we are heading there.

In terms of friendliness it's on par. People just drink more in Romandie
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What on earth are you talking about?



Clearly.
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Swiss French part.

You?
I think Sandgrounder means, "what on earth are you talking about". It doesn't make any sense to me either.
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Old 19.01.2020, 08:45
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Things are a breeze for kids and families in Swiss Deutch part. Unlike Romandie. It will take a while to cach up but we are heading there.

In terms of friendliness it's on par. People just drink more in Romandie
Have you been drinking?

The bit in bold is just bizarre. What on earth do you mean by that?
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Old 19.01.2020, 09:12
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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.
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Old 19.01.2020, 09:15
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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.
Nope. In my experience when Swiss folk from the north and east meet their French speaking countrymen, they speak English...
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It is an unwritten but widely spoken language based loosely on High German.
Nope. It's written down quite often. It's just that there's no formal standard for how to write it.
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Swiss German is a beautiful language.
I do find that. Some songs in dialect are wonderful.
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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?
Gruëzi is safe in all situations. Gruëzi Wohl is fairly formal, applicable to individuals. I use mitenand for groups of people regardless of age. Mitenand means "together". It's nothing to do with formality. Hallo is becoming acceptable between strangers, e.g. at shops. Hoi is informal. I use 'zamma' when greeting groups in the informal. Hallo zamma. Hoi zamma.

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Oh, and then there is leaving... But the Swiss like options. Tschuss. Ciao.
Uf wiederluege is suitable for all occasions, as is "e' schöne" or simple "adieu". Tschuss and ciao are informal. Ciao zamma.
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I am growing to love about living here. So, Ciao, etc, etc, etc, ….and good luck!
That's nice. So am it!
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Old 19.01.2020, 09:38
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

I love how many people take MarylandBrett's posts 100% serious. Anyone who has read more than one of his threads knows that he is writing what he does for the sheer pleasure of it.

Sure, it may not be 100% accurate, but this is his perception as a new arrival. I for one enjoy reading his take on life in Switzerland
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Old 19.01.2020, 09:43
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

There will be a time when being able to speak English will be accepted as the "inofficial" fifth language. In fact, we may be there already.

However, to really understand the Swiss mentality, you have to understand the local language, but even then there are obstacles. When I hear my Swiss colleagues speak high German to German colleague who understands Swiss German perfectly, the Swiss loses the nuance of his personality. Even I hear the difference.

Maybe that's why my German colleague and I get on along so well. I speak Swiss in my American accent while he speaks his high German which results in us getting on like a house on fire.
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Old 19.01.2020, 09:46
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Re: Oh That Schwiizer Dutsch! (Or What did you say?)

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Things are a breeze for kids and families in Swiss Deutch part. Unlike Romandie. It will take a while to cach up but we are heading there.

In terms of friendliness it's on par. People just drink more in Romandie
No. Kids have to learn to function properly in the Swiss German diglossia since kindergarten. High German and Swiss German dialects are pretty different. Imagine you play and converse with your friends and informally with teachers in a language and when the break is over you go to your class and follow instructions in High German, ask questions in High German etc etc.
Then come home and feel embarrassed when your parents just don't...get it.
Other than that, people are nice, most of the time. But it's not a breeze for anyone. Not in the sense that everything comes effortlessly or easily. It's a lot of hard work with everything.

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Nope. In my experience when Swiss folk from the north and east meet their French speaking countrymen, they speak English...
Not in my experience. I travelled with Swiss German folk to the French part and they all spoke French. Don't know about the under 20 or under 30 generations though, as English is more and more popular....

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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.
IMHO - true.

Last edited by greenmount; 19.01.2020 at 10:02.
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