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  #81  
Old 10.03.2011, 09:46
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Interesting thread to bring back to life. In Geneva, shoes are expected to be taken off. Of course many Genevois are influenced by international habits and are quite flexible about this and there may be a generational change. But among our friends, they all take their shoes off when they arrive at our place (and vice versa).

It seems Wolli got picked on a lot in this thread.

Edit: Hmm just became a member with this post. Yay!

Last edited by Suisse2008; 10.03.2011 at 09:48. Reason: celebrate becoming a member
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  #82  
Old 10.03.2011, 12:03
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Brits out there - be warned, people don't queue here, which can lead to some unsettling situations. (Although that has improved with the ticket number systems and one line which feeds into many counters system at Basel station for example)

It's polite to greet people whenever they pass. But you don't have to go further than that.

Never start eating before anyone else at the table (my husband is still amazed when he's in the UK by the fact that people start eating as soon as the plate is put down without waiting for everyone else)

In a similar manner - wait and say cheers, chinking each persons glass, looking them in the eye and if you can saying their name, before drinking alcohol.

At a social event, gathering or dinner party, it's also manners to announce that you are "slowly leaving" about 30 mins before you actually leave...this gives time to go around every person at a party, shake there hands, saying goodbye (using their name if possible - I can never remember but I've seen people I've only met once in a crowd remember my name 2 hours later - amazing! ) You can get away with a Ciao Zamme in many situations - and that's the one I use most

If you're calling up a friend, mother in law, mother of your child's friend to ask a favour etc. It's best not to directly go to the point too soon. So, whereas in the UK I'd say, "Hi Michelle - just wanted to ask a quick favour, could you blah blah....and then talk about other things or go if you don't have time"

In CH - you need to call and make polite conversation for about 5 mins before getting around to asking the favour. At least in my experience.
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  #83  
Old 10.03.2011, 12:33
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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It's polite to greet people whenever they pass. But you don't have to go further than that.

Never start eating before anyone else at the table (my husband is still amazed when he's in the UK by the fact that people start eating as soon as the plate is put down without waiting for everyone else)
These two are the same in the U.K.

(At least I thought they were)
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  #84  
Old 14.03.2011, 16:46
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Important ones to remember for social gatherings:
- say helloto everyone in the room when you arrive
- say cheers to each person before you take a drink
- say Bon appetit (or equivalent) beore you eat
- say goodbye to eveyrone when you leave

Last edited by Guest; 16.03.2011 at 03:17. Reason: Link to own book removed -- please refrain from underhand self-promotion
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  #85  
Old 14.03.2011, 16:52
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Um, you don't happen to be Diccon Bewes himself trying to get your royalties up? He is English based in Bern.
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  #86  
Old 15.03.2011, 09:56
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Re: Customary manners in CH

ALWAYS greet everyone when entering the lift or elevator. Shake hands, and look them in the eye. It isn't usual to kiss them on both cheeks, only if you have slept with them before.
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  #87  
Old 15.03.2011, 13:46
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Again, as with most things, there are huge differences between large town and rural areas, and between Romandie and Ticino and Swiss German area.

No, Ittigen, you don't shake hands when entering a lift, anymore than you'd kiss anybody (unless .. as you said). But you do shake hands always when introduced to somebody. The handshake has to be firm, but not TOO firm. Most people distrust a person with a limp handshake! Very important too to look someone in the eye when you do so - just like it is very important to look at somebody when you say 'Santé/Prost before having a drink with them. Anglo-Saxons have a tendency not to look at people and it can be perceived as being '2 faced'.

In rural areas, people greet everybody they meet in the street or on a walk. In a large town people would think you are a bit strange if you did so.

Hats/caps are always taken off in formal/semi formal company - in restaurants, and in the presence of older or more 'important' people. This is even more so at funerals or church (as in the UK).
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Old 15.03.2011, 13:51
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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In rural areas, people greet everybody they meet in the street or on a walk. In a large town people would think you are a bit strange if you did so.
Having worked in Zurich and various suburbs along the Gold Coast, I used to enjoy working out where the boundaries of stranger-greeting lay (or the isogruezis, if you will).

There is a clear isogruezi somewhere between Tiefenbrunnen and Zollikon, but after that it becomes a little uncertain. The people of Kusnacht are a miserable bunch, as are the people of Meilen, whereas the people of Uetikon, Maennedorf and beyond take great delight in greeting everyone they meet in the street.

If you greet someone in Pfaffikon SZ, he'll look at you like you're going to steal his wallet, yet in both Waedenswil and Lachen, either side of Pfaffikon, greeting strangers appears to be the norm.

Someone should make up a map...
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  #89  
Old 15.03.2011, 15:19
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Re: Customary manners in CH

One thing i have noticed, particulary in the work environment is that Swiss German and German work colleagues will arrive in the morning and then walk around to everyone in the group and shake each persons hand individually, this is a little strange to me. The swiss and the germans thought this was quite normal.. I commented once that it would be interesting to add up the number of man-hours wasted each month shaking hands in the mornings...to which i got some strange looks..
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Old 15.03.2011, 15:45
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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Having worked in Zurich and various suburbs along the Gold Coast, I used to enjoy working out where the boundaries of stranger-greeting lay (or the isogruezis, if you will)...

...Someone should make up a map...
One more reason why I prefer Winterthur.

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Um, you don't happen to be Diccon Bewes himself trying to get your royalties up? He is English based in Bern.
And he's a bookseller too.
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  #91  
Old 15.03.2011, 16:37
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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And he's a bookseller too.
Hmm and consider this post about a particular bookshop:

Being bored in Bern...


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  #92  
Old 15.03.2011, 16:45
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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One thing i have noticed, particulary in the work environment is that Swiss German and German work colleagues will arrive in the morning and then walk around to everyone in the group and shake each persons hand individually, this is a little strange to me. The swiss and the germans thought this was quite normal.. I commented once that it would be interesting to add up the number of man-hours wasted each month shaking hands in the mornings...to which i got some strange looks..
What I find even more strange is the amount of foreigners my husband works with who have a big lack of manners when it comes to say Hi to people in the morning in the office.

People go straight to their desk and don't even bother to answer someone wishing them a good morning....

Not swiss.... Nope Foreigners!!!
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Old 15.03.2011, 17:29
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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What I find even more strange is the amount of foreigners my husband works with who have a big lack of manners when it comes to say Hi to people in the morning in the office.

People go straight to their desk and don't even bother to answer someone wishing them a good morning....

Not swiss.... Nope Foreigners!!!
Sounds like me. I don't bother saying a big hello to people. Maybe just a general mumble as I walk into the room.

TBH, I find it a bit annoying when scores of people come up to my desk wanting to shake hands every morning.

Yes! I've met you before. Congratulations, you survived another night. Well done.
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Old 15.03.2011, 21:57
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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ALWAYS greet everyone when entering the lift or elevator. Shake hands, and look them in the eye. It isn't usual to kiss them on both cheeks, only if you have slept with them before.
which cheeks?
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  #95  
Old 15.03.2011, 22:07
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Things are changing fast (yes .. IN CH) and again a big difference between rural and town, and Catholic Cantons more than Protestant ones- but in rural areas it is frowned upon still to put your washing out on a Sunday, or do any noisy work in the house/garden. People in our hamlet were always respectful of this, until my dad died 2 years ago (96 years old)- now he is gone, nobody minds anymore. Also it is bad manners to phone after 9pm at the very latest, and at 12 and 6 (official meal times).

I think the 'having a little chat before asking for a favour' makes sense anywhere really. Unless their are close friends. A neighbour came tonight to ask me to help her daughter with her English and German, and she did have a bit of a chat first - which is better I think.
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  #96  
Old 15.03.2011, 22:10
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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In a similar manner - wait and say cheers, chinking each persons glass, looking them in the eye and if you can saying their name, before drinking alcohol.

You can get away with a Ciao Zamme in many situations - and that's the one I use most

.
Oi ..hahah... remembering the names! I got trouble remembering the faces! At the last "Wood Auction" in the forest I went round the whole circle of Swiss men shaking hands and could not remember where I`d started from.....!...just hoped I ended at the right person!

The "Ciao Zamme" thing. Here in my neck of the woods its seems to be something like "Ciao/Hoi/Adieu...Temma(?) I used to think my boyfriend was saying the name of the person/people .... and upon many oblique enquiries discovered it was an abreviation of ...."Miteinand" that somehow got shortened to sound like "temma"/"Thema" ....

So today, I tried out the "GruetziVOL" while doing garden work in the front garden and having to greet every person walking by. Hah .. was Gut! .. worked ... Gruetzivol.....
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Old 15.03.2011, 22:26
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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The "Ciao Zamme" thing. Here in my neck of the woods its seems to be something like "Ciao/Hoi/Adieu...Temma(?) I used to think my boyfriend was saying the name of the person/people .... and upon many oblique enquiries discovered it was an abreviation of ...."Miteinand" that somehow got shortened to sound like "temma"/"Thema" ....
Smoky, I can't say I'm fluent in every Swiss German dialect, but I'm fairly familiar with most of them. I'm afraid you must have misheard that "Ciao / Tschau / Hoi / Salü / Sali / Adieu temma" thing. If anything, it's "zemma / zema / zemmä / zemä / zäma / zämä / zama / zamä" etc. etc., and that's not a contraction of "mitenand" (no "miteinand" in Swiss German) but a small choice of the Swiss German versions of Standard German "zusammen" (Englisch: together) -- pretty similar meaning but totally different etymology.
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Old 15.03.2011, 23:29
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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One thing i have noticed, particulary in the work environment is that Swiss German and German work colleagues will arrive in the morning and then walk around to everyone in the group and shake each persons hand individually, this is a little strange to me. The swiss and the germans thought this was quite normal.. I commented once that it would be interesting to add up the number of man-hours wasted each month shaking hands in the mornings...to which i got some strange looks..
No, you do not shake hands when arriving at work. I have never seen this and never heard of it. ONE exception of course is when either the chairman or the CEO from head-office come in as they will move round and shake hands with people.
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Old 15.03.2011, 23:37
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Re: Customary manners in CH

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No, you do not shake hands when arriving at work. I have never seen this and never heard of it. ONE exception of course is when either the chairman or the CEO from head-office come in as they will move round and shake hands with people.
Happens to me everyday ...someone arrives and they spend the next 10 minutes shaking everyones hand, I just play along, shake hands and smile...we are a close group working in a team towards a similar objective, so maybe it is a sign of respect ...but it happens all the time with me.
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Old 16.03.2011, 00:02
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Re: Customary manners in CH

Maybe they are all EF ex-pats who have been told that shaking hands is the norm. Must say it is not my experience in offices and work places around here.
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