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Old 11.01.2010, 00:14
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Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with me!

After Iíd been in Switzerland for 6 months my husbandís best friend expected me to speak perfect German. He said, ďIf I went to Italy for six months, I would already speak Italian perfectly. You should have already learned German.Ē Although I totally disagreed with him, I thought that maybe I should put a bit more effort into learning the language.
Itís been about 1 year since we had that conversation and now I have a B2 b level in German. Great right? WRONG!!! Now all I want to do is practice speaking German so that I can finally attain a C1 level and everyone wants to speak English with me.
With friends I typically ignore what they are saying in English and answer them in German until they reply in German, but sometimes they just keep speaking English. For my husband, I organized a friendly competition so that weíd make a conscious effort to speak German. Every time someone stopped speaking German and the other person said ďDeutsch redeĒ the offender would get a point/strike. Once someone had 5 points the other person could request a 5 point prize: wash dishes, clean bathroom, etc. Once someone had 20 points then the other could request a full dinner, a full body massage, or something else. That worked out quite well since I was the one always making an effort to practice speaking German.
Iím glad I figured out a system with my husband- maybe some of you should try it out- but how the hell do I get other people under control???
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Old 11.01.2010, 00:31
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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how the hell do I get other people under control???
You don't.

You show gratitude that people are prepared to meet you half way by speaking your language in their country, and, if it really is that important to you that people speak only German, you seek the company of those who don't speak a word of English - perhaps by volunteering to work in an old people's home, for example, or joining a social club of some sort.

You live in Canton Congo, so you're sure to meet plenty of monolingual Swiss people: if you can get over the stench of cow manure, you'll be well away!

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Old 11.01.2010, 00:39
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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After I’d been in Switzerland for 6 months my husband’s best friend expected me to speak perfect German. He said, “If I went to Italy for six months, I would already speak Italian perfectly. You should have already learned German.” Although I totally disagreed with him, I thought that maybe I should put a bit more effort into learning the language.
It’s been about 1 year since we had that conversation and now I have a B2 b level in German. Great right? WRONG!!! Now all I want to do is practice speaking German so that I can finally attain a C1 level and everyone wants to speak English with me.
With friends I typically ignore what they are saying in English and answer them in German until they reply in German, but sometimes they just keep speaking English. For my husband, I organized a friendly competition so that we’d make a conscious effort to speak German. Every time someone stopped speaking German and the other person said “Deutsch rede” the offender would get a point/strike. Once someone had 5 points the other person could request a 5 point prize: wash dishes, clean bathroom, etc. Once someone had 20 points then the other could request a full dinner, a full body massage, or something else. That worked out quite well since I was the one always making an effort to practice speaking German.
I’m glad I figured out a system with my husband- maybe some of you should try it out- but how the hell do I get other people under control???
Your husband should tell folks that they had to pay him a glass of good wine in the nearest "schpunte" each time they spoke to you in English. Beside that you should, in the coming spring, do some hiking (Wandern) in the March and the areas around, and get into local restaurants, and your husband should leave the talking to you. Go shopping in small local shops in the area where people either do not speak English or less English than you do German.

The friend of your husband btw. is completely wrong. I still remember the boss in our company back in 1971 advising me NOT to consider the Anglo-Continental School of English in Bournemouth as there are far too many Swiss there. Many years later, an Indian waiter in an Indian restaurant in Bournemouth told me that he had learnt Swiss German due to the many Swiss guests and was planning a travel trip to Switzerland. And when swimming out on the beach of Bournemouth I far out met some Swiss people and when I joked "do you learn much English really here ? ", one of the guys replied "not really but most excellently Swiss German ! " We laughed so much that we almost drowned ...

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Old 11.01.2010, 00:40
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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how the hell do I get other people under control???
... the age-old question, isn't it? If I knew that I'd go set up a tidy little monarchy somewhere.

Keep in mind that they may be just as interested in getting to a C1 in English as you are in getting to a C1 in German... practice against a native speaker is invaluable. Are you sure you're not being as (unintentionally) thoughtless here as they are?
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Old 11.01.2010, 00:41
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

Well, you could try the point system with your buddies, too, but I have a feeling they might not be so much into it..

Why don't you try the language exchange thread? I find it very efficient.

DB is right, older folks who smile and want to smalltalk are your best bet, engage yourself with them, on public transport, etc, they usually don't speak English.
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Old 11.01.2010, 01:06
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Well, you could try the point system with your buddies, too, but I have a feeling they might not be so much into it..

Why don't you try the language exchange thread? I find it very efficient.

DB is right, older folks who smile and want to smalltalk are your best bet, engage yourself with them, on public transport, etc, they usually don't speak English.
older, a bit rural folks ! as many of the older folks speak English fairly well and may even try to exercise their English. My mother, until a few months before her end always tried to find victims for her exercising her English, which always showed heavy traces of the Texan of aunt Hazel .
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Old 11.01.2010, 01:07
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

Walk up the hill to Schindellegi, go to the bakery, butcher, flower shop. Then if you feel very, very brave - try the Landi.

Seriously, take it as a compliment, and be happy that you have friends who are trying to make things easier for you.

Generally, it's considered polite to switch to someone's mother tongue if one is able to do so. So while I agree it's frustrating when you are trying to learn German, remember that people who automatically switch to English usually do so with the best of intentions.

If you want to stick to German only: simply ask, letting your friends know that you would appreciate their help by allowing you to practice. And if you really want to win their hearts, invite them to correct you...
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Old 11.01.2010, 02:19
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

Maybe because they all speak Swiss, not German?

It's just a thought - it may very well be that Canton Congo
have broken out and has adopted high German as their
spoken language? As of this evening, my Swiss friends from
Zuri were still speaking ZŁrituutsch, and weren't that
bothered about speaking a foreign language such as German.

.
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Old 11.01.2010, 07:34
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Maybe because they all speak Swiss, not German?

It's just a thought - it may very well be that Canton Congo
have broken out and has adopted high German as their
spoken language? As of this evening, my Swiss friends from
Zuri were still speaking ZŁrituutsch, and weren't that
bothered about speaking a foreign language such as German.

.
ZŁritŁŁtsch is German, and so what ? Looks as if you understand them
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Old 11.01.2010, 07:43
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Now all I want to do is practice speaking German so that I can finally attain a C1 level and everyone wants to speak English with me.
That's great. They find your worth the effort to speak in English with you
Just tell them you need to train your German.

Now if all your friends are expats, make some *local friendship*.

even if us, the locals, are always happy to use our English.....
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Old 11.01.2010, 08:34
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

It is not easy/automatic to suddenly switch languages. I think it is a quite common situation.. at first people find weird to speak a language different from the one they always spoke since they met.
But they'll get used to it, just give them time.. and keep insisting!
Well done for your German!!
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Old 11.01.2010, 09:07
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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but how the hell do I get other people under control???
don't let them know you speak english. this worked for me in france. when i spoke french and the other person replied back in english, i'd give a confused look and then try again in chinese - i found that they quickly elected to try french again
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Old 11.01.2010, 09:29
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Maybe because they all speak Swiss, not German?


.
Nail/head.

When I came here for my first stint I was practically bi-lingual in French but hopeless in G. I parachuted into an E-speaking team in an E-speaking Dept of a CH multinational in ZH. During all interviews including with a board member, I was told language would not be an issue. Yes fine, except when I had or wanted to deal with back office/etc on my own.
I find it's bad form not to be competent in the language of a place where one is more or less settled (my 2nd stint, kids were involved).

Although the company paid for immersion & other training in D, in financial services practically all educated CH-Ds preferred to speak E with me rather than standard D. This really limited progress. I'm now competent ie, can say what I need to (ohne Gewandheit!), even had a Seitensprung auf D, but I'm a different Typ auf D als auf E. Perhaps I should've concentrated on CH-D from the off, or taken the offer in GE.......... but I've never really considered CH-D to be a language

FB
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Old 11.01.2010, 09:32
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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W I came h for my f s I was p bi-l in F but h in G.
Fixed that for you.
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Old 11.01.2010, 09:42
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Fixed that for you.
oi! you try typing with 13 fingers!
ok you speak text pretty well, but as you're a numbers gal can you express it in an algorithm?


ttfn, FB, @teotd a dft 4nr!
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Old 11.01.2010, 09:54
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

It took me 9 years of friendship before a Swedish friend of mine started speaking Swedish to me and now he never speaks English to me. Perseverance is the key. I refused to speak English to him and, if I did falter, I just spoke really quickly using 'posh' words to punish him...

I use the tip above with strangers and say I don't speak English. In my case I use Swedish (even though, like the Swiss, most Swedes speak English). Just make up a language if not - Use the teletubbies for inspiration!
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Old 11.01.2010, 10:00
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

I understand your rant perfectly.

I speak almost fluent Swiss German, albeit with an accent. When a stranger (shop assistant, etc.) asks me a question in Swiss German, I'll answer back in Swiss German. They'll hear the accent (not the words) and then start speaking in high German.

I've been known to say:

"I'm sorry. Would you prefer speaking in high German?"

Congratulations on learning German. Just keep saying, "Lieber Deutsch, bitte." (Many, many Swiss have now learned the basics in English and are afraid of losing it, which is why you are the perfect person to practice their English on.)
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Old 11.01.2010, 11:15
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

Psst, i tell you a secret...

Most Swiss hate to speak standard German, it reminds them of their early school days.
and how embarrassing it was to speak standard German before the class.
It sounds strange, it has been constantly revised and has annoying spelling rules
English, however, is seen as cool, for whatever reason
A Swiss will probably only feel good and relaxed when he can speak Swiss German.
But he has no problems with it when you speak with him in High German

If you understand German well, you'll soon understand Swiss German...
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Old 11.01.2010, 11:21
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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Psst, i tell you a secret...

Most Swiss hate to speak standard German, it reminds them of their early school days.
and how embarrassing it was to speak standard German before the class.
It sounds strange, it has been constantly revised and has annoying spelling rules
English, however, is seen as cool, for whatever reason
A Swiss will probably only feel good and relaxed when he can speak Swiss German.
But he has no problems with it when you speak with him in High German

If you understand German well, you'll soon understand Swiss German...
Yeah, I can only compare it to someone asking an American to speak English with a Scottish accent. It's possible, but annoying and uncomfortable.
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Old 11.01.2010, 11:24
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Re: Everyone says LEARN GERMAN and now that Iíve learned they only speak English with

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After Iíd been in Switzerland for 6 months my husbandís best friend expected me to speak perfect German. He said, ďIf I went to Italy for six months, I would already speak Italian perfectly. You should have already learned German.Ē Although I totally disagreed with him, I thought that maybe I should put a bit more effort into learning the language.
Itís been about 1 year since we had that conversation and now I have a B2 b level in German. Great right? WRONG!!! Now all I want to do is practice speaking German so that I can finally attain a C1 level and everyone wants to speak English with me.
With friends I typically ignore what they are saying in English and answer them in German until they reply in German, but sometimes they just keep speaking English. For my husband, I organized a friendly competition so that weíd make a conscious effort to speak German. Every time someone stopped speaking German and the other person said ďDeutsch redeĒ the offender would get a point/strike. Once someone had 5 points the other person could request a 5 point prize: wash dishes, clean bathroom, etc. Once someone had 20 points then the other could request a full dinner, a full body massage, or something else. That worked out quite well since I was the one always making an effort to practice speaking German.
Iím glad I figured out a system with my husband- maybe some of you should try it out- but how the hell do I get other people under control???

Your husband's best friend is a tw@t. I dislike him already.

Just stick to your guns with the Swiss. They want to practise their English; you want to practise your German. It's a great conversation conducted in two languages!
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