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Old 31.07.2011, 18:56
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Learn French or German?

I love in Thun so it's German speaking, but I grew up in a private school where I was nearly fluent in French until 8th grade. It would take me a few months to get back to fluency in French using Rosetta Stone. I also have German on Rosetta Stone as well. Should I brush up and relearn my French quickly or slog through German? It seems that many people speak French to me anyway (maybe because my hat says "Suisse"), but I don't want to waste time either way.
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Old 31.07.2011, 19:32
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Re: Learn French or German?

My thoughts are if you don't learn the language of the place you are living in, then English is always your best friend.

I came to the German speaking part of CH 5 years ago billingual in French/English and not a word of German. At the beginning, French was mildly useful in that I was contacting quite a few national organisations where you can opt to choose German, French or Italian for communication (eg Swisscom but I believe they now offer English too) and also being close to the French border, I not infrequently came across French workers (particularly in Basel shops) so could revert to French. But beyond that, French has been of far far less use than English. So I have been learning German for the last 5 years and find that in the increasingly infrequent circumstance when my German is not enough, the default language is 95% English. Only the very much older generations seem to prefer French over English, and even then it is perhaps only a 60/40 split whereas no one of my age or younger chooses to speak French, rather they fill in in English if I am struggling in German.

Last year when I visited Thun, I recall they spoke German? or did I miss something?
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Old 31.07.2011, 21:50
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Re: Learn French or German?

Fatmanfilms - why the groan? He asked whether French or German would be better and I replied.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:03
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Re: Learn French or German?

I would make the effort and learn German given where you
live. It will take some effort though....

It is harder than French IMHO.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:05
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Re: Learn French or German?

Depends how long you intend to live in Thun. If you are there for a year or more, defo learn German.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:10
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Re: Learn French or German?

I suggest learning German. In my dealing with people in Thun, it's always been in German, not French. But, like Odile said, it depends on how long you plan on staying in the German speaking side.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:17
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Re: Learn French or German?

German is not necessarily more difficult. It is more complicated because it's got 3 genders and a declension system- but once you know it- it is systematic. French uses lots of prepositions instead (like English) and is full of exceptions which can't be explained. When I taught both, if students asked me which to keep up in the 6th Form, I'd always say German because the is a definite shortage of Anglo-Saxons who have a good level of German (needed in Science, engineering, accountancy, international law, etc). So if you live in the German speaking part, it makes even more sense.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:38
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Re: Learn French or German?

I don't know German, so I'm not in a position to give advice, but I do have a question. Does anybody who is familiar with the Thun area have any suggestions with how jerallie can deal with the standard German/Swiss German difference? The German that the OP learns from Rosetta Stone may be quite different from the dialect spoken in the Thun area.

P.S. If Jerallie used to be nearly fluent in French, it may still be a good idea to brush up on it. For one thing, she may be able to use bilingual forms to help learn written German. Also, some important paperwork at the federal level might not be available in English, but it will be in French.
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Old 31.07.2011, 23:59
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Re: Learn French or German?

Neither - just speak English, very loudly and slowly - repeating the same phrase/sentence as many times as required, increasing the volume level each time - interspersed with much tutting and head shaking as perceived necessary (and the occasional "bloody foreigner").




However, as a refugee from one of our former colonies, your English would be based on the proper version, which in turn originates from a corruption of a cocktail mixed by Gauls, Saxons and (God help the women) the Danes.

Even with a prior knowledge of French, you will find that as English is fundamentally a Germanic language, - the structure of which bears more familiarity with German, than with French. Learn your personal pro-nouns, a bit of basic grammar and as much vocab. as you can, and you'll be spittting over the locals in no time - much better than slurring your way through a consonant-free drool, that sounds like a cross between a dirty-old-man, and someone who's drunk too much of the local cheap plonk.
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Old 01.08.2011, 09:31
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Re: Learn French or German?

Thanks for the advice. I will be in Thun for at least 2 years and the predominant language is German. Sounds like the best option is to continue with my German. I started a month or so ago, but it is kinda slow going. I understand that you "can" get by on English alone, but I feel it is important to learn a countries language as well. I got irritated sometimes at some of the latinos in Florida who had been there for years and still had no English skills. I don't want to be like that. I don't expect to be perfect and fluent, but I want to make the effort and be somewhat conversational.
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Old 01.08.2011, 09:41
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Re: Learn French or German?

Back when I lived in Zurich (86-90), I mainly got by on French and English, picked up German slowly (though I did take one semester of it back at university, so at least knew the basics). My German got a lot better after moving to Ticino (as did my Italian), as I spent a lot of time working with guys from the PTT in Bern (now Swisscom).

Tom
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Old 01.08.2011, 10:47
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Re: Learn French or German?

Alors là c'est un peu n'importe quoi...
Bisch Du eigentlich bsoffe gsi wo Du das gschriibe häsch?

But apart from that, if someone is gifted in learning languages, go for it, learn as many as you can and even if you aren't gifted learn a few basic phrases anyway of as many a language as you're fond of.
Good for your own sanity and makes living with the people around you simply a little easier.


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Neither - just speak English, very loudly and slowly - repeating the same phrase/sentence as many times as required, increasing the volume level each time - interspersed with much tutting and head shaking as perceived necessary (and the occasional "bloody foreigner").




However, as a refugee from one of our former colonies, your English would be based on the proper version, which in turn originates from a corruption of a cocktail mixed by Gauls, Saxons and (God help the women) the Danes.

Even with a prior knowledge of French, you will find that as English is fundamentally a Germanic language, - the structure of which bears more familiarity with German, than with French. Learn your personal pro-nouns, a bit of basic grammar and as much vocab. as you can, and you'll be spittting over the locals in no time - much better than slurring your way through a consonant-free drool, that sounds like a cross between a dirty-old-man, and someone who's drunk too much of the local cheap plonk.
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Old 01.08.2011, 11:44
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Re: Learn French or German?

definitely learn German. You can continue with your French at the French conversation group in Berne,

http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/cafesuisse/

http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/cafesuisse/join
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