Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Language corner  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 28.05.2007, 00:21
Billyboy's Avatar
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Berne
Posts: 3
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Billyboy has no particular reputation at present
Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

I'm moving to Berne in July and would like to learn German. (At the moment I have the fossilized remains of a couple of years of classes at secondary school.)

Does anyone have any tips on language schools? A once a week class for a couple of hours with a nice, understanding and entertaining teacher would be ideal...

I will also have a month before I start work, and could take an intensive course. Does anyone know of anything out there?

And...
Are language exchanges (a social thing where we'll speak my language for an hour or so and then swap to yours while sharing coffee or beers) a thing people do there?

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 28.05.2007, 08:32
Polorise's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: about there
Posts: 2,734
Groaned at 25 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 2,325 Times in 1,259 Posts
Polorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
Does anyone have any tips on language schools? A once a week class for a couple of hours with a nice, understanding and entertaining teacher would be ideal...

I will also have a month before I start work, and could take an intensive course. Does anyone know of anything out there?
BB, suggest you concentrate on the Hoch Deutsch (High German) & let the Bern dialect grow on you.

Migros run courses for beginners throught to advanced on evening courses, if you are looking to do intensive studying; i.e. 1 month 2-3 hours a day, I would suggest Inlingau , you can also carry on an evening curriculum with them.

Also here is a plethora of info for you, that will help you guage what you need to do before & when you get to Switzerland : Resources

Any questions about Bern, feel free to post, I & quite a few others live here & environs, so welcome !!

P
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 29.05.2007, 05:56
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Spain
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
lancemaria has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Learning other language is really important.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 29.05.2007, 10:40
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: bern
Posts: 190
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 24 Times in 19 Posts
aurora_borealis has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

We invested 2 months of super-intensive course in Goethe, Frankfurt. The course was well worth. After 2 months I could converse and write in german.
If you are constrained to stay in bern, there are a lot of language schools that offer intensive course ( migros, inlingua, benedict). Am learning french in inlingua at the moment and its fun.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 29.05.2007, 20:36
Billyboy's Avatar
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Berne
Posts: 3
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Billyboy has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Thanks for the advice. It looks like inlingua has just the course for me.

I completely agree with you lancemaria, it makes all the difference to the experience of living in a foreign country. As an English speaker living in Denmark it is always easy to get around as everyone speaks excellent English. At the same time, you are always at one remove to society around you, always an outsider. When I lived in Spain I spoke fairly passable Spanish and it meant I could read the papers, watch TV and had much more of an idea of what was going on. Hence the enthusiasm for getting a headstart with German.

Once you have got beyond the point where it is easier for someone to speak to you in their own language than to switch to yours, you're set up...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 29.05.2007, 20:57
spmull06's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Posts: 471
Groaned at 7 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 16 Times in 14 Posts
spmull06 has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
When I lived in Spain I spoke fairly passable Spanish and it meant I could read the papers, watch TV and had much more of an idea of what was going on. Hence the enthusiasm for getting a headstart with German.

Once you have got beyond the point where it is easier for someone to speak to you in their own language than to switch to yours, you're set up...
Big warning here: Swiss German and German are very different. If you've lived in Spain, you'll probably understand what I mean -- they have quite a few dialects there. On top of that Bernese German and Züri German (Züri Düütsch / Zürischnüre) are different as well -- at least you'll be in the city?

Regardless, the spoken and written language here are radically different. I'm still struggling. I agree with aurora_borealis -- go to Germany and do an intensive course. Switzerland really obstructs full fluency. I spent 3 days this past March in Munich (they still have dialect there) for a fun weekend and left with the equivalent of full fluency after having only spoken German for three days. Sadly I've yet to reach that *spoken* level of fluency since then, although my vocabulary (ability to read) has increased greatly. German -- High German -- is a foreign language to the Swiss. They do not speak it unless forced to do so, and even then it is typically not correct.

Example: High German: die Butter = butter... "Swiss High German" = der Butter... Bernese German = de Ankë.

Last edited by spmull06; 29.05.2007 at 21:03. Reason: To give an example
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 29.05.2007, 21:01
Polorise's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: about there
Posts: 2,734
Groaned at 25 Times in 25 Posts
Thanked 2,325 Times in 1,259 Posts
Polorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond reputePolorise has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
German -- High German -- is a foreign language to the Swiss. They do not speak it unless forced to do so, and even then it is typically not correct.
I would not say that this is my experience in Bern, I have always made it clear that I cannot understand dialect fully & people revert to Hoch Deutsch.

Can be a little different in the Oberland granted .....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 29.05.2007, 21:17
spmull06's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Posts: 471
Groaned at 7 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 16 Times in 14 Posts
spmull06 has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
I would not say that this is my experience in Bern, I have always made it clear that I cannot understand dialect fully & people revert to Hoch Deutsch.

Can be a little different in the Oberland granted .....
I just moved out of the Reusstal area of Aargau -- they *always* spoke to me in Swiss German regardless of my ability to speak and / or understand it. I had to live with my wife's grandmother for 10 months. She could not speak High German even if she had to (i.e. if she was dropped in Hamburg she would have serious problems). Beyond her, my wife's relatives never bothered to speak High German with me, they automatically spoke Swiss German. There was only one person -- the grandmother's sister (also around 80 years old) who even put the effort to speak High German with me. The rest have always spoken Swiss German. Some of them just helped us move into our new apartment -- no High German involved.

Beyond the family, many of the locals back in the Reusstal could not understand my High German, although they could understand High German on television (the people in Munich never had problems understanding me). Anyway... This was not the Bernese Oberland, but whatever. I'm done with it now -- Thank God. Regardless -- the Swiss expect you to speak "their" language if you plan to remain here.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 30.05.2007, 10:58
Remo's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Winterthur
Posts: 37
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Remo has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
I just moved out of the Reusstal area of Aargau -- they *always* spoke to me in Swiss German regardless of my ability to speak and / or understand it. I had to live with my wife's grandmother for 10 months. She could not speak High German even if she had to (i.e. if she was dropped in Hamburg she would have serious problems). Beyond her, my wife's relatives never bothered to speak High German with me, they automatically spoke Swiss German. There was only one person -- the grandmother's sister (also around 80 years old) who even put the effort to speak High German with me. The rest have always spoken Swiss German. Some of them just helped us move into our new apartment -- no High German involved.

Beyond the family, many of the locals back in the Reusstal could not understand my High German, although they could understand High German on television (the people in Munich never had problems understanding me). Anyway... This was not the Bernese Oberland, but whatever. I'm done with it now -- Thank God. Regardless -- the Swiss expect you to speak "their" language if you plan to remain here.


I know how you feel, I have been in Switzerland for 10 years now and the Swiss do expect you to speak Swiss German point. It's very frustrating going to High German lessons and coming out of lessons still not understanding anyone around you. If you or anyone plans on staying here for any length of time ignore what the Language teacher says and put some effort into learning Swiss German. When you find yourself with your Swiss Wife/Husbands friends they will speak High German for about 2 minutes then all forget and go on chatting in Swiss making you still feel excluded from the conversation. I was ok as I worked with Swiss people for about 5 years and just got to pick up the dialect just by listening and asking "what did you say ?"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 30.05.2007, 11:19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: -
Posts: 295
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 112 Times in 76 Posts
Blaze has made some interesting contributions
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

I must be lucky then. I am in contact with a lot of Swiss people all the time. Most of them speak extremely good High German with me, making the effort to use the correct articles and adjective declinations and High German words.

The person who I have the most difficulty with is my girlfriends dad! He is a little old and forgetful though so I forgive him.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01.06.2007, 00:28
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Bern
Posts: 46
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
cyrat has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Quote:
View Post
I would not say that this is my experience in Bern, I have always made it clear that I cannot understand dialect fully & people revert to Hoch Deutsch.

Can be a little different in the Oberland granted .....

I would also second that based on the past half year or so I've been in Bern. People have been willing to speak to me in High German (and sometimes when I get stuck, I've also met a few people who have asked me to speak in English, since they understand English, and then they will reply in High German if they're not too confident about their own English).

In a social situation though (in my case morning tea/lunch at work), people will by default speak Swiss German to each other unless you pipe up, and this is where you may feel left out (as per Remo's experience). But I find that this is an excellent opportunity to listen and pick up a little bit of the dialect (sometimes there is a pattern to how the High German words translate to dialect).

Also would like to recommend Inlingua, have had a positive experience so far in my High German classes, especially with my teacher, who has lived in CH for many years. At times when we learn a new word, she will point out how it is different in Swiss German as a matter of conversation, which is handy.

cyrat
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 26.06.2007, 04:07
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Spain
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
lancemaria has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

very interesting conversation. Somebody knows how to speak spanish language?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 28.06.2007, 14:57
alejandro's Avatar
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bern
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
alejandro has no particular reputation at present
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Hola Maria,
Yes, I speak spanish (I'm originally from Mexico). I just moved to Bern in February of this year and I'm taking German classes. It's going, a bit slow, but it's going.
If you (or anyone) would want to get together to practice/learn more German (and Spanish, of course), do let me know.

Alejandro
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04.08.2007, 14:00
Wednesday's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Scandinavia (ex-Bern)
Posts: 158
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 56 Times in 36 Posts
Wednesday has made some interesting contributions
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

Just wanted to follow up on this thread for future reference and add that the Volkshochschule is another place worth considering for German classes in Berne. I've been doing an intensive B1 course there for the past 4 weeks and overall my experience has been very positive. The classes are an hour and a half a day (plus an hour of homework ... and they really do set enough work to fill at least an hour ... though they are also very easygoing if you don't have time to do the homework some days). They use a fairly good and inexpensive (20 CHF) textbook (Schritte) which you can buy from Stauffacher. We have had 3 teachers for a 5 week course (in succession, not alternating from day to day) which is slightly annoying, but all three have been very nice, encouraging and enthusiastic, and two of them were also quite good on the pedagogical front too, which isn't a bad average.

Having heard about Billyboy's (also positive) experiences with Inlingua, one of their main advantages seems to be the smaller class sizes they offer (he had 4 in his class, I have 11 in mine). They also possibly have more speaking practice built into their system, whereas with the Volkhochschule the amount of speaking has varied from teacher to teacher. One pays considerably more for these advantages though (and you have to pay about 100 CHF extra for the materials).
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04.08.2007, 21:37
gregv's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: -
Posts: 1,315
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 626 Times in 303 Posts
gregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

You definitely want to stay away from speaking the Berner dialect with anyone other than a Berner, and probably not even with them. A major problem with speaking this dialect is that the Berners tend not to use the formal pronouns to address others. Should you speak the Berner dialect with someone from another part of Switzerland, you probably would get into a very strange situation.


Stick to High German at first, but learn the six or so Swiss German verbs and the numbers, so you're not surprised by them when you hear them. Then when you can communicate decently in High German, go and take a class in the Zurich or Basel dialects.

Good Luck!

Last edited by gregv; 04.08.2007 at 21:38. Reason: needed to fix my grammar!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04.08.2007, 21:50
gregv's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: -
Posts: 1,315
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 626 Times in 303 Posts
gregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond reputegregv has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Learning (Swiss) German in Berne

I think it's time I write some sort of Sticky post on this. Look for something in the near future.
Reply With Quote
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
learning Swiss german selma Language corner 11 04.07.2009 18:56
Suffering learning German... sangi312000 Language corner 36 22.04.2008 17:13
learning german by chat Dutchli Language corner 1 01.05.2007 10:12
Learning German on BBC2 Lou Language corner 1 20.03.2007 10:30
German Language Learning books, etc Diem Language corner 2 03.11.2006 13:22


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 23:39.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0