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Old 03.05.2010, 02:28
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Swiss German dialects? Which one to learn / how to learn it

I'm planning on living in Graubünden, and I have already a full phrasebook and dictionary on rumantsch that I pretty much am able to get around with. However, I know very little german, much less swiss german.

I've heard that the easiest dialects to learn are Schaffhausen/Basel, the hardest Wallis/Friburg, and the most helpful/useful Zurich/Bern. Or I could learn Bünderdeutsch.

I was hoping I could learn standard and swiss german at the same time by learning to spell in standard german while speaking in swiss german. Could someone help me out?
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Old 03.05.2010, 02:32
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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However, I know very little german
Knowing and speaking (high) German is a prerequisite to learning Swiss German.
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Old 03.05.2010, 03:25
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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Knowing and speaking (high) German is a prerequisite to learning Swiss German.
Siicher nöd...

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Old 03.05.2010, 06:22
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

Jo, äbä!

Seriously, while I don't think a knowledge of German is absolutely a prerequisite to learning a Swiss-German dialect, I do think it can be very helpful in terms of understanding much about pronunciation, grammar, word-meanings, etc.
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Old 03.05.2010, 07:49
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

A wise older woman told me she struggled with high german classes for 8 years before doing a 6 month 'migros' swiss-german class...and it was great! - for the practicalities of daily life, and for coping with what you are hearing around you...much more practical than high german in her case...
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Old 03.05.2010, 09:52
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

Unless you want to do it purely as a mental exercise, I'd suggest you learn a dialect that you'll be able to practice regularly and which will help you in your everyday life. Speaking, for example, perfect Walliser Deutsch (or whatever it is called) would be great - but many Swiss from other regions admit that they cannot understand it either so there doesn't seem much point in learning it even if you could find a teacher. You'd probably find yourself mixing it with words you hear in other dialects too which rather defeats your object.
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Old 03.05.2010, 10:47
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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Knowing and speaking (high) German is a prerequisite to learning Swiss German.
That's like saying English is a prerequisite to learning French, since French is just old English with a funny accent.
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Old 03.05.2010, 10:57
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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That's like saying English is a prerequisite to learning French, since French is just old English with a funny accent.
Learn proper German; vocal and written.

What you are asking is the equivalent of "I want to learn Scouse English".
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Old 03.05.2010, 11:02
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

I would say that learning high German would be the more useful route as practically all written communications are in high German, and pretty much everybody in the German speaking part of Switzerland can speak high German.

You could find that going straight in and learning swiss German may be limiting, especially for reading and writing. I personally found that learning high German first was effective for me as I'm now able to draw on my German knowledge while learning swiss German. I'm not saying you can't do it the other way round, but for me learning high German first worked.
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Old 07.05.2010, 18:38
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

That's what I was thinking of doing (learn high German then a swiss dialect), but I've heard of people learning both at the same time by spelling in hochdeutsch and pronouncing it in a dialect. That might seem too difficult, but I'm not sure.
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Old 07.05.2010, 18:53
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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That's like saying English is a prerequisite to learning French, since French is just old English with a funny accent.
I think both ways could work. Maybe i could trade English or spanish (maybe even rumantsch) for German/swiss German

By the way, Only about 20-30 % of English words came from French, most of which are fancy "big" words. 80% of everyday words are germanic. Personally I think dutch is the closest language to english. Just wanted to bring that up
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Old 07.05.2010, 21:02
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

Depends your goals.
If you just want to be nice to your neighbours, learn their dialect. For anything else, you need high German (incl. all the notices about what you are not allowed to do in diverse places).
Bündnerdeutsch can have so very specific vocab. If you live there, you will need those expressions. Churdeutsch is somehow different.

Short version:
WHERE will you be?
WHAT will you be doing?
WITH WHOM will you be doing it?
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Old 07.05.2010, 22:42
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

Bündnerdeutsch was the first Swiss dialect I learned. I was in a Rumantsch speaking area but people spoke S/German to me. I later moved to Bern-land for nearly 4 years, then on to Zürich. I learned high German from reading and television.

School wouldn't have worked for me because I have difficulties learning in a theoretical way. I have to do and experience things. I'm sure if I moved to a German city I would speak good German in a short time by absorbing the language around me.

If your a theoretical learner then I would advise a good German course, for the rest I'd get out and about and communicate as much as possible with those around you, it's not difficult to keep both separate.

I hope you have a great time in Graubünden and unless times have changed don't go shopping in the village you work in, in shorts, no matter how hot it is.
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Old 09.03.2011, 18:30
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Swiss German versus German

I've only been here a couple of weeks and I'm excited to be able to talk to people at the shops, at the park, etc. What I don't understand is why people say that you have to learn German before you learn Swiss German. Most of my German friends don't understand the Swiss. To me, that is like saying that one must learn Spanish before you can learn Portuguese. Can anyone explain?

Maria
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:03
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

I've merged this 'new' Thread with another on a similar subject. In fact there several others which discuss the pros and cons if you care to search for a while.
One basic point is that the dialects vary quite a bit from place to place. After moving from Basel to the Aargau, I found I had quite a job to understand all people were saying. Also, all official written stuff is in 'High' German, - at least, what the Swiss call German - so to read a newspaper you need to understand that
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:19
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Re: Swiss German versus German

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I've only been here a couple of weeks and I'm excited to be able to talk to people at the shops, at the park, etc. What I don't understand is why people say that you have to learn German before you learn Swiss German. Most of my German friends don't understand the Swiss. To me, that is like saying that one must learn Spanish before you can learn Portuguese. Can anyone explain?

Maria
People, whether they speak German or Swiss German, write in high German for business communication. Almost all Swiss German speakers understand high German. It gives you the ability to communicate with virtually everyone in the Swiss German area.

Some may argue, but Swiss German is often High German pronounced
differently. There are also special words to Swiss German.
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:36
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Re: Swiss German versus German

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People, whether they speak German or Swiss German, write in high German for business communication. Almost all Swiss German speakers understand high German. It gives you the ability to communicate with virtually everyone in the Swiss German area.

Some may argue, but Swiss German is often High German pronounced
differently. There are also special words to Swiss German.
Like, merci , cool and chuchichaeschtli
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:39
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

I learned from working with kids. Not only do they correct you, they will also not understand your high-german if they are not yet in kindergarten. My somewhat worthless psych degree has also taught me that each individual has a few ways in which they learn the best. Some people need a classroom setting where others like myself need real life experience. My advice would be find people that speak limited english and practice, take a german course and what I believe is the most important thing is, is to have patience and not get embarrassed or nervous to speak.

I would also argue that spoken and written language are two completely different entities especially with swiss-german due to the fact that grammar is far less difficult, at least for me. Speaking comes easier whereas in writing i'm constantly second guessing adj endings, genetiv case, etc.

I can also say that after 5 years it's now much easier to hear swizzer-dutch than high german....i think i'm assimilating

voi gluck und liebe gruesse aus bern
cyndy
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:51
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

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Most of my German friends don't understand the Swiss. To
Have they tried? First time I went to Saxony, I didn't understand a thing either. Then, however, I started to listen and get used to it. It's still "foreign" to me, but it's German. Same with Swiss German, Tiroler German...


An Add on to my previous post:
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I'm planning on living in Graubünden, and I have already a full phrasebook and dictionary on rumantsch that I pretty much am able to get around with. However, I know very little german, much less swiss german.
Rumantsch: have you chosen the rumantsch version of the place you plan to live? If not, you might have big surprises, there are three main regions talking very differently and five main idioms with written norm. On the top of it, there is the common language that is never ever spoken.

High German: that is the normal way of communicating for non-locals (called esters in Rumantsch) and there is no other expectation than High German when you come from outside their world, both in German speaking and rumantsch communities. Speaking the right kind of rumantsch in your area of choice would however be very very wellcome. They love it.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 09.03.2011 at 22:12.
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Old 10.03.2011, 19:43
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Re: Can someone teach me a swiss german dialect?

A group of interest for those in a simalar position, although perhaps more so if you had existing knowledge of high german.
http://www.englishforum.ch/group.php?groupid=77
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