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Old 12.06.2008, 03:04
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General Language Question

This is a rather general question.

How many of you chose or are learning another language since moving to Switzerland? and how much of it do you speak.

Last edited by gregv; 12.06.2008 at 08:53. Reason: Please remember to always spell out Switzerland. Thanks!
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Old 12.06.2008, 08:11
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Re: General Language Question

IMHO learning the language is the number one priority when you move to a new country. It's not just a question of making life easier but more importantly of making life richer. If you restrict your social life to the expat world you miss out on so much.
There are so many ways of learning French - your company will probably provide lessons - but you should look for every opportunity - go running or drinking with your neighbours, shop in the market insetad of the Migros, read the press and watch the tele (at least for the news - not much to recommend TSR in general!).
I've been here for nearly 25 years and my French is fluent but I have to admit that the 5 years I spent up near Zürich were not the best, in large part because I couldn't get my head around the dialect, despite speaking some Hochdeutsch - it so isolates one not being able to communicate.
Please make the effort! You will never regret it, I promise
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Old 12.06.2008, 08:48
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Re: General Language Question

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How many of you chose or are learning another language since moving to Swiss ? and how much of it do you speak.
After 21 months here, it was only last week that I completed a 44 week course (2 hours per week) that took me to level A2 in Hochdeutsch. I am now trying to organise something that will take me to the first Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD) exam.

If I wasn't so lazy I'd speak more German, as I have German colleagues. Swiss Germans seem to prefer to speak English over Hochdeutsch. And I still have a fear of making mistakes anywhere but in the classroom.

My Züridootsch is imperceptibly above zero.
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Old 12.06.2008, 09:22
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Re: General Language Question

High German up to TELC A2 (which is very basic) but just enough to handle the basic requirements to live in a German speaking country. If everybody started talking German only tomorrow it would be tough initially but I'd be able to deal with it.

Just about to start night classes to take me to B1 level, this also includes Swiss German.
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Old 05.03.2009, 14:34
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Re: General Language Question

I've been here for almost 10 years on and off and can speak French fluently.

I couldn't speak a word when I first got here but didn't meet any English speaking people for about 3 years so I had no choice. I was properly thrown in at the deep end.

It was really hard at the beginning but in a way I was lucky as I think I'm one of the few ex-pats in this area who had no choice. I play drums and found a band almost straight away. Although they all spoke a bit of English, they refused to and I was forced to speak French with them. It also helped socially as they had tons of friends who turned up to our gigs so I almost had an instant social network too.

Hobbies are a good way of meeting the locals and getting to experience the language first hand. I've never had any lessons but am completely fluent now.

Another tip is to take your favourite film (the one you've seen a thousand times) put it on in French with French subtitles. You already like the film so it's not a hassle to watch it, and you know the story off by heart. By putting the subtitles on there, you will learn how they pronounce certain words etc.
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Old 05.03.2009, 14:37
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Re: General Language Question

I was thinking of learning Tibetan, but I can't find any classes
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Old 05.03.2009, 14:44
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Re: General Language Question

meh, im going to hold out until they make english the official language.. seems the easiest way
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Old 07.03.2009, 22:51
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Re: General Language Question

I very very much agree with 'grantley' and Jenny. Although I will be working in 100% English speaking office, and we were actually told we will not need French (guess to save on lessons for the staff ), I have started a course here, beginners level. I think better that than nothing at all. I have already emigrated once and cannot imagine living in a foreign country and not speak its language.
My main problem will probably be how to make friends with French speaking people when I speak so little and so slowly...
And I have not seen any local ski and mountaineering clubs to enrol to
Any other ideas welcome!
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Old 07.03.2009, 23:04
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Re: General Language Question

I speak high-german, the Zuri dialect of Swiss german and am attempting at learning French, I've only been here for the last year. Given though I've been attempting learning french most of my life progression there for me is slow. Where as german I picked up really quickly (given I lived here for 2.5years and then moved away and came back). I think speaking the local language is really valuable it helps in a lot of areas. I still wish I could speak better though. Perhaps time for another course.
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Old 08.03.2009, 12:02
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Re: General Language Question

To be frank, I've been learning languages since I started school as a kid! In Malaysia, Malay, Mandarin and English is taught in school and then there are the other dialects like Cantonese, Hokkien, Hindi, Tamil, and such which people learn at home. So it's nothing new for me (picking up a new language) - it's just a question of how easy it is to be fluent in a language.

I started learning French when I was dating the hubby. Felt that it would be important and such not for our relationship but for myself, resume/education/career-wise. However, work commitments made it somewhat difficult to continue and I stopped after a year.

I continued again after arriving in Switzerland only to stop due to my pregnancy and financial issues. Still, I am using what little French I have learnt (basic-intermediate stuff).

I read French BDs & Swiss newspapers, listen to French music/radio, watch French films and speak to the HB in French at least once a week (or more). When I go out, I try to start off conversations in French and finish them instead of bailing out with a "Vous parlez Anglais?". At my ILs (they are French), it's French, French, French so much so that I learn more in the two weeks I spend with them than two terms of classes back in Malaysia.
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