Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Language corner  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 19.06.2017, 23:36
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 7
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
chaspire has no particular reputation at present
In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

I wonder if I should say that, "Können wir hochdeutsch sprechen?", or something similar. I wonder if this would reduce confusion and make sure both parties know exactly which language to speak.

Otherwise, I worry that the other party would just start speaking Schweizerdeutsch, I'd have to interrupt them with a "hochdeutsch, bitte?" (which people may find annoying or rude) and we'd have to start over in hochdeutsch.

What is the Hochdeutsch/Schweizerdeutsch etiquette in Switzerland?
Reply With Quote
This user groans at chaspire for this post:
  #2  
Old 19.06.2017, 23:43
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 19,111
Groaned at 392 Times in 297 Posts
Thanked 18,940 Times in 10,200 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
I wonder if I should say that, "Können wir hochdeutsch sprechen?", or something similar. I wonder if this would reduce confusion and make sure both parties know exactly which language to speak.

Otherwise, I worry that the other party would just start speaking Schweizerdeutsch, I'd have to interrupt them with a "hochdeutsch, bitte?" (which people may find annoying or rude) and we'd have to start over in hochdeutsch.

What is the Hochdeutsch/Schweizerdeutsch etiquette in Switzerland?
When Swiss people speak on TV in hochdeutsch, sub titles are provided for Germans. A few Swiss can speak perfect high German, I believe it's a minority, generally they don't want to because they are not very good at it. Often they would rather speak English with a German, so both have to speak a foreign language .
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 19.06.2017, 23:53
olygirl's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: d' Innerschwiiz
Posts: 6,473
Groaned at 283 Times in 193 Posts
Thanked 14,808 Times in 4,541 Posts
olygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" is fine. No one will expect you to be able to speak Swiss German.
Reply With Quote
The following 7 users would like to thank olygirl for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 20.06.2017, 00:00
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CH
Posts: 9,555
Groaned at 326 Times in 266 Posts
Thanked 13,827 Times in 7,138 Posts
greenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
I wonder if I should say that, "Können wir hochdeutsch sprechen?", or something similar. I wonder if this would reduce confusion and make sure both parties know exactly which language to speak.

Otherwise, I worry that the other party would just start speaking Schweizerdeutsch, I'd have to interrupt them with a "hochdeutsch, bitte?" (which people may find annoying or rude) and we'd have to start over in hochdeutsch.

What is the Hochdeutsch/Schweizerdeutsch etiquette in Switzerland?
Chaspire, in my experience it's better to ask them from the very beginning* in order to save yourself from later embarassment (yes, your formula is ok), and btw there's no shame in asking that. Swiss people don't have a problem with speaking High German with foreigners. However, prepare yourself to hear a "local version" of High German, but you'll get used to that.

*That in the case when they don's ask you the same thing...after sensing your confusion.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 20.06.2017, 00:25
Ace1's Avatar
A modal singularity
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Morgins, VS (and Alsace)
Posts: 8,534
Groaned at 346 Times in 221 Posts
Thanked 14,251 Times in 6,246 Posts
Ace1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

No. Any Swiss person will recognise that you're foreign, and therefore that you don't speak their own local dialect, and will usually try their best to be understood. Their 'best' may still be difficult for you, but asking them to speak hochdeutsch will make little difference, and indeed may be taken as an insult, implying that their language skills are inadequate.

I think there's a lot of misinformation about so-called Schweizerdeutsch - there really isn't such thing, simply a wide range of local dialects, just as you will find across Germany, or indeed France, Spain, or any large country with a diverse linguistic and cultural history.

In practice you need to accept that you won't understand it all, but context should usually help a lot, and, assuming you're proficient in some flavour of German, simply questioning individual words you're struggling with will not cause offence, and is probably the best approach, IMO.
__________________
http://www.chaletbeauroc.com
Reply With Quote
The following 6 users would like to thank Ace1 for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 20.06.2017, 10:55
arz arz is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Zurich Witikon
Posts: 159
Groaned at 13 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 117 Times in 78 Posts
arz is considered a nuisancearz is considered a nuisancearz is considered a nuisance
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Don't question their ability to speak German. It's always more polite to accept the responsibility for not speaking their language.
"Entschuldigung, ich verstehe kein Schweizerdeutsch, können wir Hochdeutsch reden?"
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank arz for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:02
lost_inbroad's Avatar
Unbridled Mod
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Town or region
Posts: 11,436
Groaned at 628 Times in 403 Posts
Thanked 16,010 Times in 6,268 Posts
lost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
No. Any Swiss person will recognise that you're foreign, and therefore that you don't speak their own local dialect, and will usually try their best to be understood. But you have to be very careful.
In certain villages in Glarus, the people there get very offended if you don't pronounce certain words correctly. It is a known fact, that they gather all the villagers and hunt foreigners with pitchforks. Once they catch the foreigner, they usually put them in cages and poke them with sticks or display them at state fairs...
Yikes!!

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 20.06.2017 at 11:18. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
The following 4 users would like to thank lost_inbroad for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:17
olygirl's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: d' Innerschwiiz
Posts: 6,473
Groaned at 283 Times in 193 Posts
Thanked 14,808 Times in 4,541 Posts
olygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post

I think there's a lot of misinformation about so-called Schweizerdeutsch - there really isn't such thing, simply a wide range of local dialects, just as you will find across Germany, or indeed France, Spain, or any large country with a diverse linguistic and cultural history.
And yet we do need to call it something. There are stronger dialects than others. Consider the Muotathaler dialect; they know that many other Swiss may not understand their dialect and therefore, if inclined, will attempt to speak a more standard "Schweizerdeutsch."

A few weeks ago, I was speaking to someone from Toggenburg, and he mentioned something about "Bezüüchig." After hearing that word three times, I had to ask him what it meant. It was the first time I had heard that word pronounced in that fashion.

Got any ideas what it might mean?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:18
NotAllThere's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 12,554
Groaned at 194 Times in 171 Posts
Thanked 18,129 Times in 7,384 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

At the Basler Läcklerli shop, the assistant there spoke to me entirely in dialect, despite me being obviously not a native, and talking to her in bad high German. I was quite chuffed.

I've heard it said that it's better to say Schriftdeutsch than Hochdeutsch - it's less superior sounding. But I'm not convinced that's right.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:35
lost_inbroad's Avatar
Unbridled Mod
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Town or region
Posts: 11,436
Groaned at 628 Times in 403 Posts
Thanked 16,010 Times in 6,268 Posts
lost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
At the Basler Läcklerli shop, the assistant there spoke to me entirely in dialect, despite me being obviously not a native, and talking to her in bad high German. I was quite chuffed.

I've heard it said that it's better to say Schriftdeutsch than Hochdeutsch - it's less superior sounding. But I'm not convinced that's right.
No, Schriftdeutsch is the very proper terminology, any Swiss would say "Hochdeutsch".
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank lost_inbroad for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:49
Ace1's Avatar
A modal singularity
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Morgins, VS (and Alsace)
Posts: 8,534
Groaned at 346 Times in 221 Posts
Thanked 14,251 Times in 6,246 Posts
Ace1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
And yet we do need to call it something.
Dialekt.

Quote:
View Post
Consider the Muotathaler dialect; they know that many other Swiss may not understand their dialect and therefore, if inclined, will attempt to speak a more standard "Schweizerdeutsch."
Not really. They'll try to use words and grammar (and possibly pronunciations) that they think will be more widely understood, yes. As I said.

Do they really think in terms of using a 'standard "Schweizerdeutsch."'? I don't think so.

Quote:
View Post
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to someone from Toggenburg, and he mentioned something about "Bezüüchig." After hearing that word three times, I had to ask him what it meant. It was the first time I had heard that word pronounced in that fashion.

Got any ideas what it might mean?
Difficult without context, but I'd guess at 'visited'.

Edit: and I personally feel it's a mistake to think of it as a local, or incorrect, pronunciation of besucht, or besuchung or whatever. It may have a direct, 100%, equivalent in Hochdeutsch, but in many cases Dialekt uses words, and more importantly some grammatical constructs, that may share some common roots with Hochdeutsch, or other Germanic languages, but equally may have developed in quite different ways over hundreds of years.
__________________
http://www.chaletbeauroc.com

Last edited by Ace1; 20.06.2017 at 12:16.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 20.06.2017, 11:50
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Ostschweiz
Posts: 8,050
Groaned at 349 Times in 283 Posts
Thanked 10,414 Times in 5,501 Posts
Urs Max has a reputation beyond reputeUrs Max has a reputation beyond reputeUrs Max has a reputation beyond reputeUrs Max has a reputation beyond reputeUrs Max has a reputation beyond reputeUrs Max has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to someone from Toggenburg, and he mentioned something about "Bezüüchig." After hearing that word three times, I had to ask him what it meant. It was the first time I had heard that word pronounced in that fashion.
How else should it be pronounced? Personally, I'd make it "Bezüchig" but otherwise the pronounciation is fine. Assuming of course you're referring to the Standard German "Beziehung", relation/relationship.

Since you feel it worth asking I guess it was used with the meaning of a lasting, long-term, sexual relation outside of marriage. Yes, that's a common way to use the noun.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 20.06.2017, 12:03
amogles's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 10,806
Groaned at 227 Times in 191 Posts
Thanked 22,512 Times in 9,559 Posts
amogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" is fine. No one will expect you to be able to speak Swiss German.
I think many prefer the term Schriftdeutsch. It's less intimidating than Hochdeutsch.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank amogles for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 20.06.2017, 12:09
Ace1's Avatar
A modal singularity
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Morgins, VS (and Alsace)
Posts: 8,534
Groaned at 346 Times in 221 Posts
Thanked 14,251 Times in 6,246 Posts
Ace1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
I think many prefer the term Schriftdeutsch. It's less intimidating than Hochdeutsch.
But asking someone if they speak written German, or English for that matter, sounds odd, to say the least. And anyway, nobody does.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 20.06.2017, 12:14
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CH
Posts: 9,555
Groaned at 326 Times in 266 Posts
Thanked 13,827 Times in 7,138 Posts
greenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond reputegreenmount has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
At the Basler Läcklerli shop, the assistant there spoke to me entirely in dialect, despite me being obviously not a native, and talking to her in bad high German. I was quite chuffed.
.
It happened to me too in my first year here (and many times at that), so I do understand where OP is coming from.
I could be mistaken for a native only till I started talking...so it was confusing at that time.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 20.06.2017, 12:43
amogles's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 10,806
Groaned at 227 Times in 191 Posts
Thanked 22,512 Times in 9,559 Posts
amogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
But asking someone if they speak written German, or English for that matter, sounds odd, to say the least. And anyway, nobody does.
I've been asked many times.

Anyway, Shriftdeutsch does not so much mean written German, as German the way it is written.

This therefopre excuses any incorrect or Helvetic pronounciation.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank amogles for this useful post:
  #17  
Old 20.06.2017, 13:00
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SZ
Posts: 10,496
Groaned at 29 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 24,197 Times in 7,608 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Quote:
View Post
But asking someone if they speak written German, or English for that matter, sounds odd, to say the least. And anyway, nobody does.
It does seem to be a thing out my way. (Ausserschwyz)

'Sollen wir auf Schriftdeutsch sprechen?' seems to be a pretty common response to my deer-in-the-headlights look when I get lost in Dialekt.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank meloncollie for this useful post:
  #18  
Old 20.06.2017, 13:18
MathNut's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Kt. Glarus
Posts: 4,432
Groaned at 35 Times in 33 Posts
Thanked 10,888 Times in 3,249 Posts
MathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond reputeMathNut has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

I never felt comfortable asking people to switch out of dialect - mostly as I was never 100% sure they were speaking IN dialect to begin with! Of course your mundartometer may be better calibrated than mine was, e.g. if you are already fluent in some other variety of German.

My preferred formula was (still is) a helpless smile, a shrug, and "langsamer bitte?" Sometimes "langsamer" really is enough - and even when it isn't, once people realize you're struggling they tend to standardize and/or rephrase automatically.

(Also, I have a notion that asking people to repeat themselves more slowly is a simpler request - perhaps less culturally "loaded", certainly one requiring less conscious effort - than asking them to switch language variety. But that may be just me overthinking it.)
__________________
Need help? Contact a mod.

Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank MathNut for this useful post:
  #19  
Old 20.06.2017, 13:24
lost_inbroad's Avatar
Unbridled Mod
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Town or region
Posts: 11,436
Groaned at 628 Times in 403 Posts
Thanked 16,010 Times in 6,268 Posts
lost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 20.06.2017, 13:38
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Ct. Bern
Posts: 13
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 19 Times in 7 Posts
KateE has earned some respectKateE has earned some respect
Re: In the German part of Swiss, should I say "Sprechen Sie Hochdeutsch?"

The sooner you ask for hochdeutsch the better, otherwise people get slightly annoyed because they have to repeat all they already said and you might miss important details which may not be repeated, because we Swiss are rather "mundfaul" (= lazy mouths).
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank KateE for this useful post:
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The value of "Swiss" Experience; should I apply for lower-level short-term positions? JDB210 Employment 2 25.07.2014 20:45
Is "Kindern" the plural of "Kind" in German ? Simon81 Language corner 11 09.03.2014 23:48
Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German? flojo Family matters/health 227 26.08.2011 14:29
What does it sound like to others if you ALWAYS use the "Sie" form of the verb? naechstehalt Language corner 51 12.07.2010 02:47
How do you say "Ausbildungsmöglichkeiten" and "Chemiefacharbeiterin" in swiss german bayboro91 Language corner 2 07.05.2010 18:31


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 19:54.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0