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  #221  
Old 21.11.2010, 17:52
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I know German is the "official" language, but it is frustrating when trying to learn an language and everyone speaks dialect. It makes me feel like such an outsider not understanding or being able to converse with the natives. It also makes learning High German more difficult for me, as it is not spoken on the streets (unless it is a German person here). Doesn't anyone else feel the same and frustrated?!
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  #222  
Old 21.11.2010, 18:15
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I have pretty much decided that Valais German is an impossible language to learn and is only usable in this small part of Switzerland.
I dont know why but I started learning Russian instead. .
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  #223  
Old 21.11.2010, 19:39
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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]The Swiss[/B] 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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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).

I am not stubburn, I am misunderstood.
That's great but that's not what you (and others have) said in your earlier posts. Let's try to be a bit "aware" of other regions.
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  #224  
Old 21.11.2010, 20:35
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Anyother Swiss is not all Swiss. And you should keep the context before reinterpreting quotes. The diglossy applies to not only German speakers but also Italian and rumantsch speakers. Sorry to ruin your effect, but if you are thinking of the Romands, a very regionalistic attitude. If you are thinking of others, they have to face diglossy too so my message applied to them indirectly too.

Furthermore, I remind you of the fact that I am one of the few here to learn and practice Rumantsch, on the top of German and French, so I am very aware of the diversity of Switzerland, thank you. I am trying to fire my few Rumantsch friends up against the Swiss German that they far too easily switch over to as soon an imperialistic Swiss German put his feet in their valleys. Not very successful so far, but I am trying.

You may now tell me I should learn Italian first before replying.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 21.11.2010 at 21:05. Reason: Wording, trying to be as clear as possible.
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  #225  
Old 21.11.2010, 21:38
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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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..).

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.
Yeah, I guess you're right... "Mélange" it's an excellent example, it's so much better than "mix"..well, I suppose the French language already had some words when most of other languages only dreamt of..having them.
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  #226  
Old 21.11.2010, 21:47
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Anyother Swiss is not all Swiss.
Well, it seems that's the problem to me, yes, "any other" means all. If you say "learning German like any other Swiss" means "all Swiss learn German". It's clearer to say "like any other Swiss German".

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You may now tell me I should learn Italian first before replying.
Why would you think I care if you learn Italian or not? That's up to you alone. I've already stated that I think it's perfectly acceptable NOT to learn the local language(s) at all.

My point, which is not just targeted to YOU is that (I find) this forum is heavily weighted towards the Swiss German and that we should try to be more careful about that.
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  #227  
Old 21.11.2010, 21:59
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I see what word was unclear now. You are right, I ment Swiss German (due to context, you are right we did not specified more closely) but also the other Swiss who have to learn a standard language on top of their spoken varieties. The Romands are the exception in that respect.

On that thread, I understand that there is more to discuss and more frustration and difficulties to explain with people living in the Germanspeaking part, as the diglossie is really heavy. The topic of diglossie and dialect linked difficulties do not relate to Romandie.

Learning the local language in the French speaking part seems even more of an option, as more people have a previous knowledge of some French before expatriation than German or Italian (or Romansh). And the spoken language being the exact same as the standard language, there is no problem with diglossie. Getting started and getting somewhere seems easier to me given those circumstances.
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  #228  
Old 21.11.2010, 22:49
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I don't know how anyone can not absorb the language around them. The brain is a sponge, innit?
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  #229  
Old 21.11.2010, 22:54
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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The brain is a sponge, innit?
Serious or yet anothe joke I don't get?
I am a teacher, I have seen some totally spongeless brains in front of me. What one absorbe depends on the place you make for it to be absorbed. Brain can absorbe... or not. I don't blame nor trust neurobiology for language learning, to be honnest.
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  #230  
Old 21.11.2010, 22:56
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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I don't know how anyone can not absorb the language around them. The brain is a sponge, innit?
I did ask the question early about what level we are talking about here. For me "good communications level" is about intermediate. For others it could be more or less. I think you should (and probably will through "osmosis" ) pick up some language. But I do think there are perfectly "good reasons" not to need intermediate or higher level languages skills
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  #231  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:13
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I learned Swiss German from the region where I lived and worked from osmosis. I can not explain how or why, apart from the fact I sucked it up from my daily life. I'm not saying everyone should learn this way but it was the only way I could learn.
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  #232  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:20
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

If you learn from osmosis, you also learn from facial expressions whats polite or not. Add reading the language on, and you can gain a pretty precise emotional use. It's not always words that work, it's the use of the emotions behind them.
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  #233  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:24
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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I don't know how anyone can not absorb the language around them. The brain is a sponge, innit?

Not when you get past a certain age
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  #234  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:27
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Not when you get past a certain age

My first reaction was to say bullshit. That said the brain doesn't give up, it just remembers different stuff.

Never say never.
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  #235  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:46
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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I learned Swiss German from the region where I lived and worked from osmosis. I can not explain how or why, apart from the fact I sucked it up from my daily life. I'm not saying everyone should learn this way but it was the only way I could learn.
That's how I learnt the language, it was sink or swim.
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  #236  
Old 21.11.2010, 23:58
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Strange pattern with the local Swiss...

Upon first meeting, they will feign that they don't speak English, or only "a little bit". So showing some attempts to communicate in their language causes them to open up. Then before you know it, they're speaking English. In fact, more proper than inner-city people in English-speaking countries. By then, one has lost any opportunity to practice the local language. I think just about EVERYONE in Switzerland speaks English, if they want to.
I don't know if the Swiss are too self conscious or what, but most of them say they only speak "a little but" of English but they actually speak perfectly fine.
Sometimes I think they're just being rude and don't want to help yet another foreigner to feel welcome here and then sometimes I feel they're just self conscious and kinda shy. That usually depends on my mood at the day

Oh, btw, there is nothing more annoying than that whole "regionalist" thing. I mean, we can't always type all the parts in Switzerland and all the languages and blah. We don't have to ALWAYS mention every part, everyone knows about all the parts and languages here anyway.
Plus, 60% (or something like that) of this country's population speaks German. It's normal that most people here will speak about German...

PS: I would love to learn all the languages here. The more knowledge and culture, the better.
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  #237  
Old 22.11.2010, 01:30
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Oh, btw, there is nothing more annoying than that whole "regionalist" thing. I mean, we can't always type all the parts in Switzerland and all the languages and blah. We don't have to ALWAYS mention every part, everyone knows about all the parts and languages here anyway.
Plus, 60% (or something like that) of this country's population speaks German. It's normal that most people here will speak about German...

PS: I would love to learn all the languages here. The more knowledge and culture, the better.
You are not expected to "mention every language and all the languages all the time and blah". But in threads about language toning down the "Swiss speak German/SD" thing or "well if you don't speak German you should leave the country" etc. would be appreciated.

Regardless if 60% of the country speak German that is still not the whole country. It is certainly not 'normal' at all to make those assumptions. If you want to learn about the culture this is something you might want to be a bit more sensitive about.

Swiss people not speaking to in English however is not rude, however.
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  #238  
Old 22.11.2010, 01:55
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

With regards to the original question of whether there is a good excuse for not learning the language and more specifically Swiss German. I have to say that there is.

Swiss German is a language that can make the most gifted person sound retarded.
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  #239  
Old 22.11.2010, 05:16
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Just out of curiosity---and if this question belongs on another thread, I apologize---but is it possible that some people may learn the written language more quickly than the spoken language? Please note, I am not just referring to cases like Deutschweiz where the written language doesn't exactly match what is actually spoken.
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  #240  
Old 22.11.2010, 05:25
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Just out of curiosity---and if this question belongs on another thread, I apologize---but is it possible that some people may learn the written language more quickly than the spoken language? Please note, I am not just referring to cases like Deutschweiz where the written language doesn't exactly match what is actually spoken.
I'm sure it's possible. I personally find writing the most difficult. But I can see how it might be easier. You don't have to worry so much about messed up pronunciation.
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