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Old 07.01.2007, 15:35
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Is it more useful to learn German or French

I know a little German and a little French. I am English. However, I want to now decide which language to further easy living in Geneva.

Would French be best at first, or, German. I like both languages but have a little more German than French.
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Old 07.01.2007, 15:37
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

French in Geneva.
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Old 07.01.2007, 15:48
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

They speak French in Geneva, so you should definitely concentrate on learning French.
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Old 07.01.2007, 15:56
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Or you could hedge your bets for now and improve in both. That way, when you are lured across to the Dark Side (German speaking CH) you are well prepared...

Another positive to learning both is that when (if) you travel in either Switzerland or Europe, having two languages will make life a lot easier.
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Old 07.01.2007, 22:03
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Yes thank you. I like th idea of learning both but fear I will get too confused if I do both at the same time.

Presently I am trying it with CD's but have stuck to the German. I guess it's because I love the German language so much. I had a German friend up until last year when they left and went to Australia and so now I don't have anyone to really get into conversation with.

I also think French beautiful and melodic, but German to me has the raw passion of Wagner.
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Old 08.01.2007, 00:34
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

If you're going to live in Geneva then it's absolutely, definitely, unquestionably French. In fact; speaking English will help you get along much better than speaking German, and that "much better" isn't really much. Trust me, I speak from experience.
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Old 08.01.2007, 01:13
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Apart from German being virtually no use in Geneva, in my experience, the German-speaking Swiss speak far better English than do the French-speaking Swiss. Therefore, you'll be OK by just learning French. Obviously, knowing the basics in German will certainly help when travelling to those parts, but you'll often be able to get by English whereas the same is not always true in the French-speaking part.
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Old 08.01.2007, 13:05
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Don't want to open up any old wounds here but someone should mention that the Swiss do not speak "hoch deutsch" which you should find on German language learning material. I spent a couple of years in Germany but find it easier to speak English to Swiss German colleagues firstly because they are uncomfortable with High German and secondly they are not good at speaking it (continual lapses into dialect, which confuses me).

There are a number of threads around the forum which discuss the merits or otherwise of learning a Swiss dialect (as there are regional variations) but I am sorry to say I personally don't think it worth the effort unless you are sure you want to spend several years in one area/canton.
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Old 08.01.2007, 13:22
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Quote:
If you're going to live in Geneva then it's absolutely, definitely, unquestionably French. In fact; speaking English will help you get along much better than speaking German, and that "much better" isn't really much. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Likewise in Swiss-German speaking part, English will do you better than French. If you speak French here you are regarded as a Swiss-Romande who couldn't be bothered to learn a second national language...
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Old 14.05.2007, 06:45
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

I hope it's okay to jump in with a slightly different question. Would learning some basic German be useful if I plan to be in Geneva for a few years? I've studied French for many years so I can get by with simple reading and I'll be working on my French while in Geneva. I do hope to travel around the country a bit, however, and wonder if some basic High German might still be useful.

If I decide not to bother with German, perhaps I'd try to pick up something more widely spoken like Spanish. You could say I like studying languages.

Ben
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Old 14.05.2007, 11:26
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

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I do hope to travel around the country a bit, however, and wonder if some basic High German might still be useful.
A bit of German is definitely useful for traveling around the rest of the country, plus learn a few Swiss-German greetings. Even when visiting the Italian part of Switzerland or parts of northern Italy (e.g., Lake Como), we find that our very basic German is more useful there than is either French or English, because German is the main second language for those people.
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Old 15.05.2007, 20:32
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Thanks. Are there places in Geneva where I could take a basic "German for Tourists" course in the evening? I've seen them offered here in the U.S. Or is studying German in Geneva just a silly idea since German Switzerland and German are close by?
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Old 15.05.2007, 20:33
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

Thanks. Are there places in Geneva where I could take a basic "German for Tourists" course in the evening? I've seen them offered here in the U.S. Or is studying German in Geneva just a silly idea since German Switzerland and German are close by?

Ben
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Old 17.05.2007, 10:34
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Re: Is it more useful to learn German or French

If you just want a bit of german to get by when you are in the german part, I would definately recommend learning a few swiss-german phrases as said above. If you want to learn the whole language, then I still havent worked out whether its better to learn High german, or swiss german, I am currently working on High german. But for one word answers know a few swiss german words.
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