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  #41  
Old 06.06.2009, 23:57
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

I have heard it from 2 Swiss girls, they say there is no need for a German to learn the dialect.

They understand them well in high german, they say the germans get more unintelligible when they try to speak dialect.
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  #42  
Old 07.06.2009, 00:11
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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I have heard it from 2 Swiss girls, they say there is no need for a German to learn the dialect.

They understand them well in high german, they say the germans get more unintelligible when they try to speak dialect.
Plus they just sound plain silly speaking with high german grammar and a few Swiss words thrown in (I share an office with a German and Swiss guy)
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  #43  
Old 08.06.2009, 14:52
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

ahem ...

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  #44  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:03
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

Don't we all become more unintelligible when we forsake our own language or dialect to make the effort to speak the local one?
You just can't win!
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  #45  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:06
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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I love Swiss German. Very often I sit in a tram and just listen to people speaking Swiss German around me....

Not to offend any Germans around here, but I prefer Swiss German to High German and would really like to hear it on a more frequent basis. Was in Budapest recently and actually missed my daily dose of Schweizer Deutsch!

Maybe I should try to pick up the language, but I absolutely have no idea how to start off with....!
I am with Sagar_KD - I do prefer the dialect to the high German but that might be because I am married to a Swiss German and am totally biased.

EDIT: Also, I can speak fluent Swiss German when I am full of beer.

To the OP: I think it is a mistake to assume "the Swiss" think in any particular way. Given that there are over 7 million of them, there is probably a whole spectrum of attitudes to all sorts of different things.

Last edited by Sandgrounder; 08.06.2009 at 15:17. Reason: Afterthought
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  #46  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:17
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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Errmmm, not quite correct.
Example:
"Staubsauger" (vacuum cleaner) in High German is pronounced "Staubsooger" in Swiss German and NOT "Stoobsooger", i.e. the first AU stays AU, the second AU becomes OO.
If you mispronounce this (as I did when first imported into CH) you immediately out yourself as a bloody beginner
Funny I always thought I was using Staubsauger as High German. I was pushed to learn Swiss German by the Swiss because they wanted me to integrate. I speak a weird mix of High German and Swiss German, but most Swiss are happy when I speak it. They just get fed up with the arrogance of those that think Swiss should understand English. To me Swiss was the fun language, German was the exam and filling out forms language.
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  #47  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:34
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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3 reasons why I am not learning it:

1. As a native German, I am on the lowest rung of the Swiss socio-economic ladder, below the secondos, the illegals and even the Kosovo-Albanians. Guttural vocals won't make them like me any more or less.

2. In line with what Tilia said, I feel that most Swissies don't appreciate it when those from the great Kanton to the North make a more or less serious attempt at picking up said guttural vocals.

3. Hopefully I am not here long enough to work towards integration with the locals. My Swiss friends and colleagues understand me all the time and I understand them most of the time, so we are ok.

Were the Tomcats to remain here longer, I would probably see 1. and 2. and 3. in a different light. The youngins are already bringing some guttural vocals back from the Chindsgi along with their Znüni boxes and their Finklis ...
For once I am going to stick up for the Swiss. I guess my Swiss genes just clicked in. Firstly I didn't realize that you disliked Switzerland so much that you hope you wont there long enough to integrate. I think that is disrespectful to the Swiss. I always try to integrate wherever I go, you are a guest in their country.
Secondly, you say that your colleagues understand you all the time and you understand them most of the time. That sounds like it is more important to you, that they understand you rather than you understand them. How do you know that they understand you and are not just nodding their heads and are waiting for you to go away? You don't want to integrate or understand them. I think that you are missing out on a great opportunity, Some of my Swiss friends are the best people I have ever met, they are great at putting up with my lousy Swiss German, I never expect them to speak English.
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  #48  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:38
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

I remain wary of Swiss German and people who speak it with proficiency thinking of the considerable amount of spittle that needs to be secreted in the throat to produce those guttural sounds at very short intervals. However, I admit this ability can come in handy when faced with the task of sticking non-self-adhesive stamps on a large number of envelopes.
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  #49  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:39
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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3. Hopefully I am not here long enough to work towards integration with the locals.
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Firstly I didn't realize that you disliked Switzerland so much that you hope you wont there long enough to integrate.
Not been on the forum long, have you Hoppy?
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  #50  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:40
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

At least you Tomcat watch Swiss TV, which I guess I could never got into.
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  #51  
Old 08.06.2009, 15:45
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

Hoppy he said he is native German. He doesn't expect them to understand his English... Though they probably understand that too...
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  #52  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:09
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

Naah .. why not learn it? Without looking at it from what you are going to gain, whether or not its worth talking to someone who does not understand english or high german, where are you going to use it ever in your life, who would ever speak to you even if you learn it and have to move somewhere else ... its just fun to.

Its basically quite refreshing actually to speak to someone in his/her native tongue, no matter how bad your attempts are. I just found that out again last week, when I was flying back to Zurich, at stopover in Dubai. A lady with a 3 year old was sitting by my side in the new Terminal 3. Suddenly the lil girl got all excited and started egging her mom to look at the "büppeli" (small boy on the other side, who was crying). Of course I couldn't help but smile at this, as I was returning to CH after a month in India. My stay had a mixture of Hindi, Bengali, English, and a little Malayalam I was listening and speaking all this time, so a small familiar word brought back memories of my Zurich life again

I started chatting to her in Swiss German, starting with wie gahts etc... Her mom was very surprised at listening to an Indian speaking Zuritütsch (albeit broken) and kept saying that to me a lot of times. It just looked pleasantly strange to her that her "lil known" dialect might be known by any foreigner out of the blue, in Dubai!

Till this you must be thinking.. ya ya been there done that ... now here comes the bigger. I then asked the little girl where she stays, to which she replied, "In Bhopal" (a city in India). And then she started speaking fluent Hindi with me!! Now it was my turn to be surprised. The whole flight she kept coming back to me to, "practice hindi, since all my friends are in India, and no one will speak with me in Hindi in Zürich for more than a month"!

It was nice ... without any logic whatsoever, I can say that!
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  #53  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:12
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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...I speak a weird mix of High German and Swiss German, but most Swiss are happy when I speak it. They just get fed up with the arrogance of those that think Swiss should understand English. To me Swiss was the fun language, German was the exam and filling out forms language.
Agree entirely, similiar to the Irish dialects of english providing unending opportunities for humorous/flexible uses of english both in terms of grammar and vocabulary (not to mention word order/prononciation) I find CH-German a lot more effortless/tolerant to speak although High German is more consistent/effortless to hear having studied it.

It's probably this tolerance that accounts for many aspects of the difference between here and Geneva. I've witnessed the Swiss french denounce/comment negatively on foreigners purely due to their french language level, here it seems less directly connected.

In my experience, understanding dialect is usually sufficient if you can respond in HD optionally with a few helveticisms thrown in. Given CH-D has a more english word order, I fail to understand to the seeming resistance amongst certain "native" english speakers. Just my hypothesis supported by my personal experience. my own motivation? I find Swiss German more lyrical and humorous, maybe I just like idiosyncracies too much.

Last edited by magyir; 08.06.2009 at 16:17. Reason: clarity
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  #54  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:15
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

I don't entirely agree with this. Züri dütsch has this terrible throat sounds in it. Even shocks me out of my socks when I hear it. Many dialects are rather gently spoken.

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I remain wary of Swiss German and people who speak it with proficiency thinking of the considerable amount of spittle that needs to be secreted in the throat to produce those guttural sounds at very short intervals. However, I admit this ability can come in handy when faced with the task of sticking non-self-adhesive stamps on a large number of envelopes.
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  #55  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:32
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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I don't entirely agree with this. Züri dütsch has this terrible throat sounds in it. Even shocks me out of my socks when I hear it. Many dialects are rather gently spoken.
This is surprising. The fact that you wear socks, that is.
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  #56  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:36
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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This is surprising. The fact that you wear socks, that is.
yeah, I hate'em ... I rather be barefoot like right now at my desk
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  #57  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:39
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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In my experience, understanding dialect is usually sufficient if you can respond in HD optionally with a few helveticisms thrown in. Given CH-D has a more english word order, I fail to understand to the seeming resistance amongst certain "native" english speakers. Just my hypothesis supported by my personal experience. my own motivation? I find Swiss German more lyrical and humorous, maybe I just like idiosyncracies too much.
I was performing the which-language-shall-we-speak-today ritual with someone a couple weeks ago and she referred to High German as Schriftdeutsch. That's exactly it for me - nothing to do with relative status, utility or aesthetic considerations.

Of course people with more balanced brains can afford to take all these other considerations into account but if you're either a strongly visual or strongly auditory language learner, the decision is practically made for you.


I do occasionally notice that people hesitate when I try to speak Swiss German - but I think that's because mine is all mixed up with High German, and so they don't know which of the two to respond in. I've never had anyone ask me not to speak dialect.
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  #58  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:40
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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yeah, I hate'em ... I rather be barefoot like right now at my desk
Don't you have office slippers? I have seen that in a few places here, a pair of Birkenstocks under the desk.
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  #59  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:45
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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Swiss German doesn't get you very far. It is O.K. to know but HochDeutsch is better to know for all practical purposes...
Disagree. My observation is that if you go to places like Vorarlberg you get far more sympathy with Swiss German than with High German. Even in parts of southern Germany they'd rather you spoke Swiss German than say a Berlin dialect. Some Germans I know are even very proud of the fact that their regional dialect is similar to Swiss German and are dispappointed when Swiss visitors speak High German to them.
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  #60  
Old 08.06.2009, 16:50
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Re: Don't learn Swiss German

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Don't you have office slippers? I have seen that in a few places here, a pair of Birkenstocks under the desk.
maybe one or two of the German guys wears Birkenstocks, otherwise no way, not around here ... and forget about the girls wearing them
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