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  #201  
Old 19.11.2010, 16:47
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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there's no need for an 'excuse' to learn german. it's not as if you should learn it unless there's a reason not to.

it's a simple choice based on a few cost/benefit analyses.

frankly, if you don't have something better to do with your time than learn swiss german, then you probably don't have much of a life.

now, there are some good reasons to learn german e.g. you need it for a job or to get by socially. i always consider what else i can do with my time and other things have always taken priority - including memorising parts of the zurich public transport network.
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Old 19.11.2010, 17:26
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Yes, I totally agree. It's one thing to use expressions like - déjà vu, à la carte, per se, de facto, de jure..and a totally different thing to "pretend" you don't remember basic words from your mother tongue just out of snobism and to imply how fluent you've become in other language that you started mixing them up..
It's not as simple as that as often borrowed words have a different meaning in the borrowing language than in the original language, ar at least a more narrow and specific meaning. Using them inappropriately can thus lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

I have a French friend who once asked me what the English word "laissez-faire" means and when I tried to explain she looked at me incredulously and made some remark on how perplexingly crazy these English are. Or take the word tenez meaning hold which became the English tennis, and was borrowed back into French to be a type of shoe. It's the same word so we're talking about the same thing, right? Or take the joke about Dubya saying there is no French word for entrepreneur. He was wrong, but the French would use a completely different word to express what the English call an entrepreneur.
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  #203  
Old 19.11.2010, 21:41
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Yes, I totally agree. It's one thing to use expressions like - déjà vu, à la carte, per se, de facto, de jure..and a totally different thing to "pretend" you don't remember basic words from your mother tongue just out of snobism and to imply how fluent you've become in other language that you started mixing them up..
Well, after 30 years I don't pretend to have forgotten words because I HAVE forgotten them. Sometimes it's really necessary to dig deep to find the correct word and only the other day I had to use a dictionary to look up "getigerte Katze" (tabby cat) a word which had been completely erased from memory. Now, whether this is due to old age creeping up or Alzheimers I'm not really sure, but fact is my German is peppered with English and my English with German and it's NOT just snobism.
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  #204  
Old 19.11.2010, 22:37
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

If you live abroad for a very long time, it's important to regularly practice your native tongue, or you will slowly lose it. I knew a British lady who'd lived in CH most of her life. She did not go back to UK for about 20 years, and suddenly realised that she could not speak English well any more (and had not realised it, until she met English people by chance). As I speak both French and English daily, teach both languages and go back to UK very often, + use Skype with grandchildren, etc, hopefully this won't happen.
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  #205  
Old 19.11.2010, 22:49
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Isn't the Zurich city slogan "love it live it" even. I find it strange that they would use English and not German for their slogan
Well, the British royal family's motto is French ("Dieu et mon droit") and the Prince of Wales' motto is German ("Ich Dien").

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  #206  
Old 20.11.2010, 12:33
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Well, after 30 years I don't pretend to have forgotten words because I HAVE forgotten them. Sometimes it's really necessary to dig deep to find the correct word and only the other day I had to use a dictionary to look up "getigerte Katze" (tabby cat) a word which had been completely erased from memory. Now, whether this is due to old age creeping up or Alzheimers I'm not really sure, but fact is my German is peppered with English and my English with German and it's NOT just snobism.
My fault and sorry about that, certainly, there are situations I didn't think of. (I met some countrymen living abroad for only couple of years who were trying to look "interesting" this way or so I felt..)
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Old 20.11.2010, 14:10
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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My fault and sorry about that, certainly, there are situations I didn't think of. (I met some countrymen living abroad for only couple of years who were trying to look "interesting" this way or so I felt..)
OK no offence taken. Last time I was in London after not having been in an English speaking country for 7 years I did find I was having to struggle a bit to find the correct words and an English woman I knew who was fluent in German and Swiss German DID actually get Alzheimers and strangely she lost all her knowledge of languages except English.
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  #208  
Old 20.11.2010, 14:54
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I had great plans to learn the language when my husband and I moved here 5 years ago. However, although I do take some German classes when I have time, my workplace and home language is English. On the streets I hear Swiss German and my classes are in high German. As a result, my German skills are not nearly what I would have expected. At this point I find it a bit frustrating and I can understand why some of my colleagues have chosen to not focus on learning the language.
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  #209  
Old 20.11.2010, 15:02
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

The local language is Swiss German and not high German. I think this makes a big difference of picking up the "local" language.
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  #210  
Old 20.11.2010, 15:17
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

On another note, does anyone have the Rosetta Stone in German that they are willing to sell cheap or let me burn???I am struggling with German in the classroom and looking for another way. I work in English everyday. If I had the $, I would go study in Germany. I feel, I can totally pick up languages by hearing it daily, but I think the dialect has hurt my learning ability. Is this possible?
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  #211  
Old 20.11.2010, 15:35
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I would love to learn the language....! But which one. I live in France and work in Switzerland. German or French. It's also impossible to allocate the time to attend a course. I work long unsocial hours in a demanding job and when I do have my free time I would love to attend a course, but in all honesty, I really don't have the gusto to do so, with a 4 year old in tow.

Anyway I am hoping that my daughter will be fluent by next year and will be able to do all my translation for me.
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  #212  
Old 20.11.2010, 16:10
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

It is more difficult to learn German here despite it being one of the official languages of the country. Swiss German is not a language but a dialect and a spoken one at that. It is not a written lanaguage .

Of course living in Germany would mean it would be much easier to pick up the language.

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  #213  
Old 20.11.2010, 19:07
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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The local language is Swiss German and not high German. I think this makes a big difference of picking up the "local" language.
The "local" language depends on where you live.

(regionalist!)
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  #214  
Old 20.11.2010, 21:12
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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The local language is Swiss German and not high German. I think this makes a big difference of picking up the "local" language.
The Swiss make a difference between language and dialect, please do too. And yes, that makes a big difference of picking up the "local"... you have to pick up both. Like any other Swiss.
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  #215  
Old 20.11.2010, 22:14
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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The Swiss make a difference between language and dialect, please do too. And yes, that makes a big difference of picking up the "local"... you have to pick up both. Like any other Swiss.

Ok, now you are just being stubborn. SD is not the "local" language for ALL Swiss nor do ALL Swiss speak/learn it nor HD. Stop being "regionalist". Thank you!
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  #216  
Old 20.11.2010, 23:13
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

There is nothing like "all Swiss". One has to be more specific. You can not reproach us to talk about Swiss German applied to Swiss German cantons. You are welcome to specify your view in french speaking cantons, but please not as an answer to the debate in the Deutschschweiz.
The sentence I was refering to being "The local language is Swiss German and not high German", there is no shame to have understood that the person was talking about Swiss German people.
Romands do indeed not have high German as local language. But then, it is not Swiss German either, so the sentence would logically not be a statement about Romandie. Same with Tessin. It would be different with Romansh, but I don't think the person had them in mind either...

I would be happy to speak about the Romansh situation and the place Swiss German is taking there... if someone feels this belong to this thread (which I don't).


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  #217  
Old 21.11.2010, 13:44
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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I'd love to read it. Send it on over! Oh, well, not if it's in Czech...
I'm not learning that.
It's in Czech but thanks for taking interest. I will eventually translate it.

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I know one Czech word. No idea about spelling though 'jezevetz' - one of my favourite animals!
As long as nobody calls you that . Jezevec is cool. How about krtek? Try pronouncing that, first...(syllabic r) kr-tek.

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There is no difference. Why would two Swiss suddenly start sticking everyday words in English randomly in their conversation? "Kannst du the cupboard öffnen?"
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Yes, I totally agree. It's one thing to use expressions like - déjà vu, à la carte, per se, de facto, de jure..and a totally different thing to "pretend" you don't remember basic words from your mother tongue just out of snobism and to imply how fluent you've become in other language that you started mixing them up..
There are the irritating snobs, who like to show off their little foreign vocab, that's true. But when you really get stuck in between 3-4 languages you actually use every day, or even just 3, it is easy to have somewhat "family favorites", like Odile said. We go for "pousette" between me and the other half, since it just fits in the idea of taking a stroller out. Some words just make more sense, they are more accurate in their own language, it is weird..Don't we all just push the thing around than leisurely and elegantly walk around with our cute baby? No. We push that heavy vehicle around, filled with a kiddo, shopping, bunch of other nonsense...There are other words. Melange just sticks to me like a fly I can't get rid off, "mix" sounds so much more vague. I don' really do it but I can see how easy it could be. Within our multilingual friends, everyone does it in certain degree...

And, it is very true that teens love to insert English words anytime they possibly can, it is cute. Maybe they just do it with me, but I have certainly heard it around in public (the rap terms, movies, videogames lingo, facebook terms..).

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Anyway I am hoping that my daughter will be fluent by next year and will be able to do all my translation for me.
It's not easy to learn a language while one works and does other things, I feel my normal mental stamina is exhausted, but I found life easier once you get to a level when it starts to flow.. The beginnings are draining, though. I learn easier the grammar, my almost 4yr old the sounds, we exchange..It's amazing how their little brains can soak up so much, adults are slow, think too much.

The Rumantch situ interest me very much. I read somewhere people give it up, since otherwise they don't learn other languages well enough in order to compete, professionally, and that it is stigmatizing...I wonder how right that is, we do not hear much about it here.

There have been some very interesting articles in Le Temps and Migro Papers last summer about patois growing, again. Apparently people are resurrecting it, it is cool and trendy, people do not want to have that disappear. So, you have families in the mountains, who keep it up, grannies teaching the young ones when they have them over for day care, young people speaking it in between themselves to code their messages, etc. I like that trend, it looks wonderful written down, a complete mix. I only saw phonetic transcription, I wonder if I would even understand it spoken.
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  #218  
Old 21.11.2010, 16:36
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

is High German or Swiss German one of the official languages of switzerland?
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  #219  
Old 21.11.2010, 16:41
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Swiss German is a dialect and High German is a language and is one of 4 official languages used in Swizerland.

Have fun

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Old 21.11.2010, 16:47
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Swiss Standard German is a language and is one of 4 official languages used in Swizerland.
Fixed that for you
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