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Old 21.03.2007, 12:43
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Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

First and foremost let me say that I find it incredible not just how many Swiss speak English, but how well they speak it as well. It has done a lazy git like myself absolutely no favours whatsoever when it comes to learning their language!

I sometimes get asked really interesting questions. Like what the difference between the words "however" and "although" is. Not something I think a natural speaker ever thinks of because it comes so naturally, but, when asked to explain, it proves quite a challenge to articulate what you know!

The guy I share an office with speaks English pretty well. But there's a word he uses which always makes me smile.

Instead of using the word "whole" he uses the word "holy". So for example he will turn to me and say something like

"I spent the holy day on the phone just to try and get hold of this guy"

It's never seemed appropriate to correct him and besides, it's kind of endearing...in a strictly macho sense you understand

So....should I correct him?

And does anyone know of similar circumstances where they are used to hearing the Swiss use an English word or phrase in the wrong context?
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Old 21.03.2007, 12:48
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

I was asked (told actually) this morning to do some Snow Shuffling.... great fun - much more so than Shovelling.
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Old 21.03.2007, 14:32
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

There are words hich sound similar in German and English that often get confused ("become" and "bekomme" are two that spring instantly to mind), so you can get some quite amusing sentences because of those, such as "I become a steak," though I confess I've never actually heard that. Mostly one hears mistakes in grammar, I think.
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Old 21.03.2007, 14:54
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

I love the group emails I get at work (from people I work with and other companies) when written in English. They sometimes start the email with, Hello together, being the direct translation of Hallo Zusammen. That always makes me smile. I haven't corrected them either....
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Old 21.03.2007, 14:58
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

my husband asked me once "why do you always use the word doh?"

me what? doh? when do I say doh? I never say that! what are you smoking?

we waited until at one point I said it and he jumped quickly and said "THERE! YOU JUST SAID IT AGAIN!!"

I was saying THOUGH.

I had a hearty chuckle. he's cute.
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Old 21.03.2007, 15:02
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

Haha this thread reminded me of this commercial....

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Old 21.03.2007, 15:30
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

Some that I have picked up on....

ever heard funny where fun should be!?
"It was so funny the other day skiing!"

how about this one...
" i was so drunken on the weekend!"

there are loads more, but I don't really hear them anymore....

Who else thinks their English is getting worse the longer they are here?
Me no speak gooder no longer!
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Old 21.03.2007, 15:37
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

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Who else thinks their English is getting worse the longer they are here?
Me no speak gooder no longer!
I have noticed my that my regular vocabulary has definitely decreased since leaving the UK. I haval also noticed that I use a lot more colloqial American than I used to - I belive that "American English" is closer to the "international English" - or maybe people see more American TV than British.....
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Old 21.03.2007, 15:59
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

Here's one I heard the other day - "The cooker at this restaurant is famous"

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Some that I have picked up on....

ever heard funny where fun should be!?
"It was so funny the other day skiing!"
I hear that all the time too... and find it so 'fun'!

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There are words hich sound similar in German and English that often get confused ("become" and "bekomme" are two that spring instantly to mind), so you can get some quite amusing sentences because of those, such as "I become a steak," though I confess I've never actually heard that. Mostly one hears mistakes in grammar, I think.
I've actually heard someone say to me "She 'becomes' a baby in August"!
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:14
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

One of my German colleagues at work has a rather unfortunate habit of confusing the words somebody/nobody/anybody and also something/nothing/anything.

A few weeks ago our boss was absent for several hours and he hadn't notified us he'd be away, which is highly unusual. My colleague remarked on the boss' uncharacteristic absence by saying "Gee, I sure hope something's happened to him!." Oops.
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:20
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

"Kitchen" for cuisine
"Greets" (Grüsse) for greetings
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:23
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

Conversely, I always confuse 'Tankhaltstelle', when meaning 'Tankstelle' (Petrol station) with 'Tramhaltstelle' (Tramstop). But I read the Guardian, so there's no hope

'Entschuldigungen' took a long time to unlearn...
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:23
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

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I love the group emails I get at work (from people I work with and other companies) when written in English. They sometimes start the email with, Hello together, being the direct translation of Hallo Zusammen. That always makes me smile. I haven't corrected them either....
"Hello together" is something I often hear as well.

Also, on incoming emails, I often get "Greets" where I'd normally expect to see "Regards".

Sometimes i think I'm in a position of power. I could tell everyone about a made up phrase that I pass off as a "normal" English expression, and then see whether it passes into general use by the Swiss. Something like...

"It's raining cows and goats!"

Then I'd be able to gauge the success of my machiavellian plan by seeing how widespread its use by the Swiss talking English became...
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:28
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

My colleagues at work always mix up 'borrow' and 'lend'..!

Also the word 'special' (like...he's special'..) always cracks me up:-)
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:31
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

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My colleagues at work always mix up 'borrow' and 'lend'..!
if you've been anywhere near London, that's a common thing there as well. I hate it (in natural English speakers who should know better) but it's begiining to get a kind of acceptance as some form of "chav speak"
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:42
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

If it's any consolation chaps, it's the same for us Swiss abroad, my German is basic nowadays and I rather write in English than French, my mothertongue.

I also keep on saying "change" (in French) rather than "monnaie", to my friends hilarity...
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:48
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

After a delayed wait for some software on my new PC, I got an apologetic email from IT services "sorry for the incontinence" whoops, think they meant inconvenience
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Old 21.03.2007, 16:55
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

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I could tell everyone about a made up phrase that I pass off as a "normal" English expression
My Irish colleague and I tried to do this after we heard Avid Merrion's saying "thankyou please" on his show. Unfortunately it didn't catch on with the locals, mostly because we'd always giggle when we said it.
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Old 21.03.2007, 17:19
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

"Got anything to rape cheese with?"

"My boss had a terrible disorder in his office"

"The rabbits were all action in Migros"

My favourite came from a Greek student who I taught English. She asked my If I had seen that great English film called "Sex Beer and Love"

- well that's exactly what it sounded like. It was actually 'Shakespeare in Love'...
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Old 21.03.2007, 17:40
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Re: Words used By Swiss in English Conversations

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"Got anything to rape cheese with?"

"My boss had a terrible disorder in his office"

"The rabbits were all action in Migros"

My favourite came from a Greek student who I taught English. She asked my If I had seen that great English film called "Sex Beer and Love"

- well that's exactly what it sounded like. It was actually 'Shakespeare in Love'...

ROFL !!!!
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