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Old 15.07.2012, 14:43
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Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Sorry in advance if the subject was already covered somewhere else, couldn't find any relevant threads though.
Moving to Zurich next month (hopefully, long term) and freaking out about Swiss German part.
Could you share your experiences: did you have to learn Swiss German in addition to German to feel more "at home"?
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Old 15.07.2012, 14:51
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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Could you share your experiences: did you have to learn Swiss German in addition to German to feel more "at home"?
Some people will tell you: hell yes.
I tell you: hell no.
Smartasses will think without telling you that it depends very much how good your High German is, because as a native or near-native, you'll be all right with understanding the dialect if you put a little bit of efforts the first months. But if German is a foreign language to you and you speak it a "moderate" level, you could indeed find it difficult to deal with the dialect/Language situation (it's called diglossia, btw).

Now you've been told, make your own experiences and good luck!
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Old 15.07.2012, 17:29
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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Sorry in advance if the subject was already covered somewhere else, couldn't find any relevant threads though.
Moving to Zurich next month (hopefully, long term) and freaking out about Swiss German part.
Could you share your experiences: did you have to learn Swiss German in addition to German to feel more "at home"?
Please learn as much of Standard German as you can. "Züritüütsch" passed away half a century ago, and what now is Züritüütsch is a mix of the dialects between Bern and Bregenz, between Göschenen and Konstanz and between Davos and Lörrach You will, when being here, learn first to understand this local dialect and if you can stand us longer gradually to speak it. You have an accent ? Everybody in Zürich has an accent. do not mind ..... really do not !
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Old 15.07.2012, 18:53
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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to feel more "at home"?
I would say for me learning Swiss German has definitely made the integration a lot more solid. Even sometimes when I've had too much to drink I still understand 90% and can still take part in drunken group conversations. For me it simply gives me a feeling of being able to assimilate into the local way of life and not remain so much of an outsider...
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Old 15.07.2012, 22:04
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

It all depends how much you want to get out of your experience and how ignorant you wish to appear.

Do you need it; between a simle yes or no, no is the answer.
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Old 02.10.2012, 20:51
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Although everybody will understand you are from abroad, if you attempt
to practice certain swiss phrases, that would be appreciated.
You can start with adding the swiss "viiilmal" "pheelmaahl" ( a lot) to
"Danke" and you can try for the swiss "Dank-che", to try to make
the native sound. Listen to them, and notice, there is no german "k" in the word.
Good luck.
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Old 02.10.2012, 21:41
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

French always worked for me!

Tom
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Old 02.10.2012, 21:57
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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Sorry in advance if the subject was already covered somewhere else, couldn't find any relevant threads though.
Moving to Zurich next month (hopefully, long term) and freaking out about Swiss German part.
Could you share your experiences: did you have to learn Swiss German in addition to German to feel more "at home"?
The short answer is no, you don't. Do your best to learn standard German, and nobody is going to look down their nose while you are learning (if they do make a snidey remark, then they aren't worth the air that they breathe so smile politely and mentally knock them off your Christmas card list).

I speak standard German and understand dialect to a level that allows me to work and live comfortably day to day. I don't really see a reason to learn to speak dialect (although if I get drunk enough I'm fluent, in my opinion ), none of the Swiss people that matter to me have any problems with that so that's good enough for me.

Don't stress, your personality and outlook here is oodles more important than your grasp of the dialect. A smile and the right attitude will get you miles further than a perfect armoury of grammar and vocabulary.
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Old 02.10.2012, 22:27
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

it all depends on what "home" means to you. folks in Zurich, like pretty much everywhere in the world, are a fickle bunch, so there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. some will complain no matter what language you speak, and others will be perfectly content regardless of what language you speak.

in my personal view, however, it is extremely difficult to immerse yourself in the local communities without at least a basic ability to understand and communicate in Swiss German. you can certainly survive with only English (especially if you are an expat), and despite what some Swiss may say publicly there is also tremendous respect for German (the language, not the people ). but Swiss German, just like any other language, is a reflection of the people who speak it, and it is very, very difficult to understand and appreciate the people if you don't first understand the way they communicate.

of course, even then you may not always appreciate the people, but at least you'll know what they're muttering under their breath as you walk past them.

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Old 03.10.2012, 10:13
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

If you learn some Swiss German, or at least can fake it, go to Germany and speak it, I can guarantee that they will respond in English!

(must be the American accent)

Tom
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Old 03.10.2012, 10:24
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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If you learn some Swiss German, or at least can fake it, go to Germany and speak it, I can guarantee that they will respond in English!
On my last trip to Germany, my German colleagues were stumped by 'Brötli'
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Old 03.10.2012, 10:26
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Do you NEED to speak swiss german: No.
Does it help you to get around easier, feel more at home, fit in a bit better: Yes.
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Old 03.10.2012, 10:34
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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If you learn some Swiss German, or at least can fake it, go to Germany and speak it, I can guarantee that they will respond in English!

(must be the American accent)

Tom
Was seit er ?
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Old 03.10.2012, 11:13
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

If you decide you need to learn Swiss German I am told there are some classes in Zurich. I have started out learning High German but find that I can't help learning some Swiss just due to everyday situations. It just seems polite to speak some of their language as we live in their country.
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Old 06.10.2012, 20:24
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

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My German colleagues were stumped by 'Brötli'
I remember years ago being with a group from Zurich, one of whom cut her finger. So she shouted to her friend: "Häschta Pfläschterli?"

(Excuse me if this is a poor transcription).

Anyhow if I move to Zurich I'd love to learn Swiss German. Sounds like such a giggle.
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Old 06.10.2012, 21:35
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Just focus 100% on learning on High German - and then make the decision for yourself. It really will depend upon where you live and what you want to achieve. Sometimes you don't know the answer to that question until you live here and start finding your feet. Just take one step at a time
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Old 08.10.2012, 00:16
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Dont give up on German, just because of scary Swiss-German. Myself - have already a B1 certificate and working towards a B2. Viel Gluck!
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Old 18.10.2012, 14:35
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

Well, it would help, certainly in looking for work and within groups. You feel like an outsider sometimes not being able to speak the language that is spoken all around. That being said, almost everyone speaks english here to a degree. I was talking with a man who has lived here ten years and has yet to learn simple german. He does just fine.
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Old 19.10.2012, 21:43
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Re: Do you need Swiss German in Zurich?

In my experience, you don't need it but if you're planning to stay long term it's good to try and adapt it.

There are a LOT of Germans in Zurich (at least in the city) and quite a few foreigners (or Swiss French and Swiss Italians) as well (students and others).

It's quite common to communicate in Hochdeutsch in Zürich, especially if you're foreign. Once you've been around for a while and your Hochdeutsch is good, perhaps you could try communicating in the dialect.

I don't think it's too hard to pick up, especially if you're immerged in a Swiss German speaking environment.
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