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Old 13.07.2012, 09:58
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The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

And no this has nothing to do with foul smells.

So some of us german- and swiss-german speaking expats were talking other day about the swiss and the whole „oder?“ thing. A longish discussion resulted in the following theory being formulated slammed on the table.

Theory goes folgendermassen:

As the swiss are so consensus oriented and dislike/feel uncomfortable with “standing upalone”, by caveating their statements with “oder?” at the end, this is a constant seeking of reaffirmation. They are not saying what they believe, personally; rather, they’re speaking on behalf of a group, an organization, experts, etc., and anyone is free at any time to disagree, right? We are all in this together, oder? You with me boys? Right? Right? Cmon, lets do this together, ok?

Z.B., If I stand up at a Volksversammlung and say “I believe that women should not vote.” This is different than saying, “It is believed that women should not vote, correct?” One of these is individualist and authoritarian, the other is a spokesperson speaking on behalf of consensus,even if in practical application, the meanings are the same. Its also worth pointing out that by using this indirect discourse, the speaker is merely reporting, and should not be held personally accountable for the statements he makes, since they may or not be his own personal beliefs.

This manner of speaking as trickled down into the standard swiss vernacular, and is accepted as common parlance, even though now its basically just filler the way the way my fellow Californians say "right?" or the English say "knowwhutimean?"

Personally, i think this little theory is rather fun brain food, especially given the Swiss love of indirect discourse and implicit meaning (aka, 'politeness' or 'passive aggressiveness', depending on ones personal evaluation towards this manner of communication). This was something which i think is very very different from the way germans use German. The Swiss, in contrast to Germans, *love* being indirect nonconfrontational noncommittal ... "would it be possible to review this again today if thats ok with you?" in German German would be "this is wrong and you must redo it by end of the day today."

Was hautet dr drvo? ODER!
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:06
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

It's just Farmer talk for Innit.

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Old 13.07.2012, 10:09
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

Swiss Joke:

What does a frog from Luzern say? - "Quark" [as they say here]
What does a frog from Bern say? - "Quark"
What does a frog from Zürich say? - "Quark, oder?"
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:15
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

I don't agree with the theory. I think it's just a slangish way of talking like so many other bits and pieces that are often added to sentances that aren't really necessary and don't really mean much. The same as adding "you know," "know what I mean" etc - doesn't really add anything to the sentance, just a way of communicating with the other person.

I've heard Swiss people talking to people they clearly know well saying, basically, "Have a nice day, oder" I don't think any "reaffirmation" is being sought there.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:17
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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It's just Farmer talk for Innit.

No, the real farmer version is "..., gau?" (no idea about the spelling)
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:21
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

A bad habit of mine when I speak German, I have to admit.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:21
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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No, the real farmer version is "..., gau?" (no idea about the spelling)
That's true, but the Farmers In Suits in Zurich like to carry airs and graces and think it's common to sound like a hand worker, so use the saddle sniffing 'Oder' in a passive aggressive exposure of their own fears and missing chromosomes.

Or something.

Innit.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:27
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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I don't agree with the theory. I think it's just a slangish way of talking like so many other bits and pieces that are often added to sentances that aren't really necessary and don't really mean much. The same as adding "you know," "know what I mean" etc - doesn't really add anything to the sentance, just a way of communicating with the other person.

I've heard Swiss people talking to people they clearly know well saying, basically, "Have a nice day, oder" I don't think any "reaffirmation" is being sought there.

Tim, agreed that this is what it means in contemporary useage, but our theory was to its origins.

and i would spell it "gäll" here in ZRH, or "gäu" in Solothun-Bern, or wherever else the "LL" becomes a "au".

Favorite sentence in Bärntüütsch: "de Chaute häsch scho gärn gäu."

or something.

innit.

right?

whatever.

like, you know?
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:29
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

and uncle max, every time i look at your avatar, a huge torrent of explosive insults and cursing rings unbidden through my mind and i want to scream outloud F'ITY BYE
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:30
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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Swiss Joke:

What does a frog from Luzern say? - "Quark" [as they say here]
What does a frog from Bern say? - "Quark"
What does a frog from Zürich say? - "Quark, oder?"
Your joke made me hungry . The frog says Quak in German not Quark. Quark is curd

And yes, I am a Klugscheisser as we say
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:38
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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Your joke made me hungry . The frog says Quak in German not Quark. Quark is curd

And yes, I am a Klugscheisser as we say
No I'm pretty certain it's Quark. I spent a good fifteen minutes last Saturday trying to convince my wife and her parents that it's toads that go Quark and not frogs. Frogs go Ribbit quite clearly.

Reason why its important is because my 20 month old daughter is getting confused when her parents make different noises for the same animal when showing an animal book to her.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:48
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

I think the theory is interesting, but the European languages have evolved over literally hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer, and 'oder' and it's equivalents in other languages are so widely used, I think it isn't possible to conclude that it has a particularly Swiss origin.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:53
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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I think the theory is interesting, but the European languages have evolved over literally hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer, and 'oder' and it's equivalents in other languages are so widely used, I think it isn't possible to conclude that it has a particularly Swiss origin.
I've always thought of it more as a German thing than Swiss, TBH. Don't here it used much here in Basel, but on trips into the South and West of Germany it's always seemed almost ubiquitous.
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Old 13.07.2012, 10:53
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

Like, know what I mean?

Um, er, innit?

Uh, yeah, like totally ...

Oder?

Just a waste of words unless you're taking about the major eastern European river.

Remember, we're using up words and letters way too fast, one day there won't be enough left for our kids to form a coherent sentence, if we're not already there ....
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Old 13.07.2012, 11:11
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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...
Z.B., If I stand up at a Volksversammlung and say “I believe that women should not vote.” This is different than saying, “It is believed that women should not vote, correct?” One of these is individualist and authoritarian, the other is a spokesperson speaking on behalf of consensus,even if in practical application, the meanings are the same. Its also worth pointing out that by using this indirect discourse, the speaker is merely reporting, and should not be held personally accountable for the statements he makes, since they may or not be his own personal beliefs.
...
Your second utterance ("It is believed ...") is far more aggressive than the first one ("I believe ..."), as it refers to a (maybe artificial? Fallacious?) shared common premise that might not even exist; the classic manipulative enthymeme.

So already your premise might not be very correct.


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...
The Swiss, in contrast to Germans, *love* being indirect nonconfrontational noncommittal ... "would it be possible to review this again today if thats ok with you?" in German German would be "this is wrong and you must redo it by end of the day today."

Was hautet dr drvo? ODER!
I don't really understand what so many people say and write about "the German way" and the "Swiss German style".

I've never been spoken in Germany in the same rude manner some Germans (like e.g. the author from blogwiese) seem to practise in Switzerland (do they?), I have never heard in Germany "This is wrong redo it or die out of my way", I have never smashed doors in somebody's face (only the trash maybe does) and I haven't been yelled in municipalities and administration offices.
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Old 13.07.2012, 11:42
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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I don't really understand what so many people say and write about "the German way" and the "Swiss German style".

I've never been spoken in Germany in the same rude manner some Germans (like e.g. the author from blogwiese) seem to practise in Switzerland (do they?), I have never heard in Germany "This is wrong redo it or die out of my way", I have never smashed doors in somebody's face (only the trash maybe does) and I haven't been yelled in municipalities and administration offices.
well, i guess if you havent had anecdotal experience in the matter, than it just must not be true right?

its well documented that the Swiss Germans and Germans use language differently, and not just the "dialekt" and "hoch" differences. Hyperbolic illustrations such as mine aside, the germans are indeed far more direct than the swiss. Indeed, people have written books for Germans moving down here on how to fit in better and not rub the Swiss the wrong way since to the swiss, the germans are so gruff and abrasive, and to the Germans, the Swiss are so slow and backwards.

and FWIW, i *have* been yelled at and treated like crap at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat in München. So it really does happen.
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Old 13.07.2012, 11:44
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

I will go along with the OP. The Swiss are socialists at heart, capitalist socialism is the order here. The other country with a prominent use of 'Oder?' is Socialist Sweden, only there it's all 'Eller?' this and 'Eller?' that.

It's all about consensus.
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Old 13.07.2012, 12:51
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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well, i guess if you havent had anecdotal experience in the matter, than it just must not be true right?
...
No, wrong.


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...
... the germans are indeed far more direct than the swiss. Indeed, people have written books for Germans moving down here on how to fit in better
...
Imho all crap, not worth a penny; nothing else than (wrong) stereotypes. Of course people start behaving like fools after reading those books.


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... to the swiss, the germans are so gruff and abrasive, and to the Germans, the Swiss are so slow and backwards.
...
The stereotype of the Bernese is that one of being slow, right.

And my experience with some Germans in Switzerland could also match with a stereotype of loud and rude, bad behaving arrogant vikings, yes (but I think this is more due to a new-rich-expat-but no we are no expats-attitude of some of them new to CH, and maybe in this - probably minoritarian - they are mentally not too far away from some of the Anglo-saxon expat circle here).

Strangely only very randomly experienced that in Germany.
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Old 13.07.2012, 13:32
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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Your joke made me hungry . The frog says Quak in German not Quark. Quark is curd

And yes, I am a Klugscheisser as we say
Bait refused. Typical conversation around a Swiss dinner table this, people from different ends of the valley debating how to say a word in their own bloody language and all the while the English speaker who naïvely asked the question left scratching their head.

, oder?
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Old 13.07.2012, 13:37
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Re: The ubiquitous Swiss "oder?" !

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, oder?
This thread is all about me

Thanks for suggesting my next avatar!
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