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Old 30.10.2007, 15:25
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Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

Hi Everybody,

I went to buy sandwiches the other day in my pretty funny German. Understanding me she went to say something back in Swiss German...I could understand parts of her response but paused a second to think about the Swiss German sentence, then I repeated my request thinking maybe she didn't understand me. She yelled 'Ich weiss aber Ich ha nu ace!!) I have only one she was saying not two..I was soooo taken back, but got over it got what I needed and left. I really need to understand the dialect, unless I can I will never feel home here, and others really don't like to speak High German. Does anyone get together in or around Bern to talk Swiss German just casually??? Please let me know if you do,

Elle
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Old 30.10.2007, 15:48
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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I really need to understand the dialect, unless I can I will never feel home here, and others really don't like to speak High German.
Just wanna say I admire you for being motivated to learn dialect after such an experience. Some people would just back off and not learn the language at all. Good luck with learning swiss german (or better said, Berner Deutsch).
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Old 30.10.2007, 15:53
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

Good luck with the dialect. Learning the language is tricky enough.

So far, my attempts to speak the dialect have not worked out. Somehow I feel that I am just as comprehensible as Brad Pitt in "Snatch" - or is that a good thing?
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Old 30.10.2007, 15:58
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

It's really tough to learn the local lingo. On top of that, it's a moving target. My wife's Walser dialect differs just a bit in the words her generation uses vs. what her mother speaks.

I took a class in Swiss German. It's quite a bit different. I learned, much to my wife's family's chagrin, Baseldytch. I'm pretty good at hurting the ears of folks from other parts of the country, though. ;-)

I think the biggest recommendation I can make is that you shouldn't try to be too perfect when you speak Swiss German.

Oh, and listening to some Zueri West albums might help a bit too. They sing in Baerndueuetsch.
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Old 30.10.2007, 16:12
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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Good luck with the dialect. Learning the language is tricky enough.

So far, my attempts to speak the dialect have not worked out. Somehow I feel that I am just as comprehensible as Brad Pitt in "Snatch" - or is that a good thing?

if you look like Brad,then certainly coz no one will bother understanding what you say,they'll just faint looking at you
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Old 30.10.2007, 16:18
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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She yelled 'Ich weiss aber Ich ha nu ace
Whatever that means you should have yelled back at her. Or tell her to piss off and never go there again.
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Old 30.10.2007, 16:45
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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Whatever that means you should have yelled back at her. Or tell her to piss off and never go there again.
Or just learn to at least understand the dialect and get on with it. I admire the OPs resilience, I think you get your gun off to quickly.
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:04
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

I think sometimes people working in sandwich shops and kiosks, etc., are foreigners who have only picked up Swiss German and bypassed learning high German so maybe you threw her a bit with your "funny" German.
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:51
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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I think sometimes people working in sandwich shops and kiosks, etc., are foreigners who have only picked up Swiss German and bypassed learning high German so maybe you threw her a bit with your "funny" German.
Once I committed the most egregious transgression possible in Switzerland, yep, I forgot to weigh some vegetables and put the sticker on the bag. When I got to the cashier, she asked me something, which I didn't understand and then got up and stomped over to weigh it and came back.

...Later on I was in the store and noticed that this particular cashier was speaking with some folks in turkish or kurdish. At this point it occurred to me that perhaps she thought I couldn't understand her german and that's why she was frustrated. I'd thought she was a local, but probably wasn't.
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Old 30.10.2007, 18:05
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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Whatever that means you should have yelled back at her. Or tell her to piss off and never go there again.
It means "I know, but I only have one" - no need to yell back or get nasty for saying that in my book
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Old 30.10.2007, 18:32
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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if you look like Brad,then certainly coz no one will bother understanding what you say,they'll just faint looking at you

Well, that's me sorted then.
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Old 30.10.2007, 18:56
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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I really need to understand the dialect, unless I can I will never feel home here
Learn the Zurich dialect. It won't make you popular, but at least you'll be able to follow the telly .
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Old 30.10.2007, 21:48
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

I admire all the english native speaker who want to learn this dialect.

I think it must be extremley difficult to learn it and it could be that you
make a mixture of High German and Swiss German


good luck
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Old 31.10.2007, 00:07
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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it could be that you make a mixture of High German and Swiss German
Both my HG and SG is like this. Not too bad in CH, but a mare in Germany .
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:19
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

well thank you for all the nice replies everybody!! i think i will bite the bullet and try to get a hold of some type of Schweizer Deutsch!!! We will see how the good times roll...

Elle
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:22
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

She is swiss, she's supposed to be rude!!!!
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:33
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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well thank you for all the nice replies everybody!! i think i will bite the bullet and try to get a hold of some type of Schweizer Deutsch!!! We will see how the good times roll...

Elle
There are some books for this. I use kids books, you'd be amamzed how much they contain.

Also, I'm convinved that Swiss German is easier to learn that HG. HG is so academic, it hurts my mouth. Swiss German rolls off the tongue if you will, it's a spoken language. The grammar is not as complex, it's more forgiving.

I recently moved jobs. My old job was full of the likes of me, English, Americans, French, Germans and Chinese. We all spoke English. Since moving jobs, the people babble in Swiss German and even in meetings they throw me in the deep end and jibberjabber Swiss German.

I told them to continue to do so, as long as I can request a translation. They are only too happy to oblige and they like the fact that I'm interested in their language.

I have hit the piont where somehow I understand what's being said but can't quite ape what I hear. Slowly slowly catchee monkey.

It's true that I am now starting to mix SG with HG, but hey, one of them will prevail and I suspect SG will eventually.

Keep it up, I think it's mighty fine of you to give SG or even HG a bash. It always amazes me when I meet people who have been here for years and still don't speak the language. Sometimes they don't even understand the language.

This is simply because they could't be bothered. You would think that you would pick it up even if you tried to avoid it. It's in the air, it's all around you, how could you not pick it up. Only because you don't want to.
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:41
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

I'm really proud when I can even mix a bit of SG with HG as it shows I am trying to integrate into Switzerland not Germany.......although my German teacher disagrees.

I also find it's very well received when I just make the effort - the lady in my local kiosk is always giving me extra gipfeli's and chocolate and I'm sure it's because she knows I'm making an effort to learn her language.
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Old 31.10.2007, 18:43
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

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Just wanna say I admire you for being motivated to learn dialect after such an experience. Some people would just back off and not learn the language at all.
EF poster in positive attitude shocker
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Old 31.10.2007, 18:45
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Re: Situations make me NEED to learn Swiss German

It is possible to pick up a dialect, or a rough approximation of one, or at least a similar accent that people can understand. It just takes time and a bit of effort - and sometimes not as much effort as you would expect.

For the last three years I was working in the Netherlands and living in Germany. Everyone in NL wanted to speak English with me, despite my many requests/demands to learn Dutch - at first this was helpful, but after a while you couldn't help but feel that they wanted me to simply help improve their English. But I eventually managed to get by in Dutch.

But since I was switching back to German on the weekends, my German gradually changed without me knowing it. I think largely due to me eventually absorbing how the Dutch intonate. So eventually, many Germans thought I was Dutch (previously, most thought I was English) and many Dutch could understand my half-arsed attempts at their language.

After that experience, I don't see why Swiss German should be any different. I think you first need some sort of basis in German - it doesn't need to be fluent, just a basic level of understanding. Then you just need to listen to people speaking Swiss German - HOW they say things is just as important as WHAT they are saying. Find the rhythm and try to adopt it.

You can't force it. I've tried that, and it simply doesn't work. Just relax and try to go with the flow.
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