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Old 17.03.2010, 03:07
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Which German to learn?

I have been to Switzerland enough times to realize that there is something called Swiss-German, but, if one is seeking employment as a professional there (as I am) which "German" should be studied: Swiss-German or the so-called "Hoch Deutsch"? Unfortunately, I do not know the differences enough to know whether there really is a different dialect or just a different pronunciation. I have heard that schoolchildren in Switzerland learn to read "High German" but use a Swiss-German pronunciation. Can anyone characterize this for me, emphasizing use in professional business environments in particular?

Thanks,
Carl
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Old 17.03.2010, 03:22
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Re: Which German to learn?

And...on a related note, what certifications are generally viewed favorably in the business world there? And, can any of these be taken (sat for) abroad (as in the US)?

Thanks again!
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  #3  
Old 17.03.2010, 07:36
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Re: Which German to learn?

Hoch Deutsch is worth your time. That is used in most publications and TV news, and there is still a lot of cultural bleeding from Germany and Austria (though the SVP doesn't want to admit that.) As for certifications, anything rated on the CEFR should be recognized.
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Old 17.03.2010, 07:58
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Re: Which German to learn?

Hoch Deutsch or something called Swiss-German ? (I love this expression )

In School, they tried to teach me Hoch Deutsch, so i guess it's more important.

(Swiss-French is my mother tongue)
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Old 17.03.2010, 08:44
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Re: Which German to learn?

It is a lot easier and more usefull learning German. Later you can try to learn the Swiss-german dialaect. I know Germans living in Switzerland for 20years who not speak the Swiss dialect.
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Old 17.03.2010, 08:53
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Re: Which German to learn?

I don't understand. From your post it seems you already speak English so why would you....oh, never mind.
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Old 17.03.2010, 08:54
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Re: Which German to learn?

Depends on how long you plan to be here and where you will work. German, like most things in Switzerland, is tolerated. Swiss German will integrate you. Both is best. At the minimum German

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I have been to Switzerland enough times to realize that there is something called Swiss-German, but, if one is seeking employment as a professional there (as I am) which "German" should be studied: Swiss-German or the so-called "Hoch Deutsch"? Unfortunately, I do not know the differences enough to know whether there really is a different dialect or just a different pronunciation. I have heard that schoolchildren in Switzerland learn to read "High German" but use a Swiss-German pronunciation. Can anyone characterize this for me, emphasizing use in professional business environments in particular?

Thanks,
Carl
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Old 17.03.2010, 09:55
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Re: Which German to learn?

When I asked at Migros Klubschule, they said they wouldn't teach someone Swiss-German if they didn't have a basic undersatnding of High-German first.
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Old 17.03.2010, 10:21
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Re: Which German to learn?

I may be wrong, but I doubt you'll be able to learn and study Swiss German outside of Switzerland. High German (or Hoch Deutsch) is much easier to learn anyway, and is (mostly) the written language in Switzerland.
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Old 17.03.2010, 10:32
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Re: Which German to learn?

No matter how hard you try, you will "almost" never speak Swiss german at %100. Another thing is high german is a written language while Swiss german is not. If you learn Swiss german, you can only use it in CH while high german can be spoken in several countries.
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Old 17.03.2010, 10:34
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Re: Which German to learn?

Go for Hochdeutsch - look at this way, how many people speak Swiss German? Maybe half the Swiss so that would be what, 4 million people? Compare that with Germany and Austria that speak Hochdeutsch that probably amount to over 100 million people between them.
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Old 17.03.2010, 12:14
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Re: Which German to learn?

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I may be wrong, but I doubt you'll be able to learn and study Swiss German outside of Switzerland. High German (or Hoch Deutsch) is much easier to learn anyway, and is (mostly) the written language in Switzerland.
That's a good point. I have found very few materials for Swiss-German.
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Old 17.03.2010, 12:24
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Re: Which German to learn?

I would advise anyone to first learn standard German and then worry about the dialects which Swiss German is. Written communication is largely done in standard German as Swiss German doesn't have a standard way it's written down. Furthermore, if you don't already speak standard German or high German, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage as far as jobs are concerned unless you're a labourer as you won't be able to write German, just speak a dialect no matter how useful locally.

You'll find once you have a some basic standard German knowledge, Swiss German can be learned in parallel in daily living.
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Old 17.03.2010, 12:29
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Re: Which German to learn?

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I don't understand. From your post it seems you already speak English so why would you....oh, never mind.
??????????
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Old 17.03.2010, 12:42
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Re: Which German to learn?

Thanks for all of the answers and sentiments. It seems that the consensus so far is that Hoch Deutsch is used in business environments and really needs to be the language learned first. Does this mean that Swiss-Germans change their pronunciation, etc. at work (in a professional environment) and then revert to Swiss-German at home or in casual conversation? If not, this would mean that one needs to be able to understand Swiss-German pronunciation in a business environment. And from the pronunciation that I have heard when I have been there (at least in Eastern Switzerland), it was quite different than what I had learned in high school (my German teacher was a native German speaker) and also what I have heard in Germany.
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Old 17.03.2010, 12:53
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Re: Which German to learn?

Swiss German accent is an accent like Liverpudlian or Aussie or Kiwi have accents. Again, once you've got some basic German, you'll pick up the accented standard German spoken by some Swiss. It's not difficult, just takes time. I quite like the Swiss German accent. It rather soft and more endearing.
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Old 17.03.2010, 13:04
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Re: Which German to learn?

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Does this mean that Swiss-Germans change their pronunciation, etc. at work (in a professional environment) and then revert to Swiss-German at home or in casual conversation? If not, this would mean that one needs to be able to understand Swiss-German pronunciation in a business environment. .
Sort of. When Swiss are amongst themselves they will for sure speak Swiss-german because that's their "mother tounge" and what they are comfortable with. But as soon as they know non-Swiss are involved in the conversation (or if you ask them) they will switch to high-German. Since "buisness enviornments" usually have a higher mix of foreigners than most other places, I'd say your need to understand Swiss-German isn't that critical. ...but of course if you feel the need to learn it, go for it! ab esch isch niit gaanz eifach
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Old 17.03.2010, 13:08
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Re: Which German to learn?

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When Swiss are amongst themselves they will for sure speak Swiss-german because that's their "mother tounge" and what they are comfortable with. But as soon as they know non-Swiss are involved in the conversation (or if you ask them) they will switch to high-German.
Thanks! I find that quite interesting.
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Old 17.03.2010, 13:09
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Re: Which German to learn?

As a German, I am slightly biased... but when it comes to the certification, have a look if there is a Goethe Institut near you. They are the reference for all others...

http://www.goethe.de/lrn/enindex.htm
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  #20  
Old 17.03.2010, 13:19
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Re: Which German to learn?

I had been working in high German for 12 years, & when I came to Berne I had a real shock, as I couldn't understand anything. After about 10 years here I could follow some converstaions. Then I was working in the SBB at Brigg for a few days (They have a notoriously difficult dialect). I remarked at lunch that I was understanding most of their conversation, and they replied that because of me they were all speaking high German!
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