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-   -   Language question (https://www.englishforum.ch/other-general/270564-language-question.html)

JagWaugh 31.05.2017 16:08

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aSwissInTheUS (Post 2793829)
People living in the German speaking part of Switzerland are very used to the fact that X may be named Y but actually pronounced Z or W. PS: This is all good until you go to the "German" speaking part of Canton Valais.

LOL.

For the first few years I was here I thought that the reason I had trouble understanding the Walliser was that they weren't speaking their mother tongue! One day at work I had a meeting with a Walliser and I said "I wish my French was good enough that we could work in your mother tongue." The guy laughed so hard I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance, then once he caught his breath he explained that the way he spoke German was his mother tongue. For years afterwards whenever we were both in a meeting he would say "My French is crap, but if you wanna try it... we could speak French."

Sbrinz 31.05.2017 16:20

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TomasTomas (Post 2793812)
For example if i said:
Mir ist kalt/Ich been kalt(i am cold) they will understand me ?

Probably... but be very careful.

Do NOT say to anyone "ich bin heiss", or worse, "ich bin warm" these phrases have sexual implications!

Also wrong, "ich bin kalt" - it means you are frigid, but nobody will be offended.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think in the beginning you need a certain amount of luck, many people will close their minds if they don't like your accent.

I had worked in a country area south of Frankfurt for 18 months, and knew some German, but problems were waiting for me in the Munich bakery:

Conversation in German:

me: Do you have a doughnut please? ............. (My mistake, I had used the Frankfurt word, not the Munich word for a doughnut, Kreppel vs Krapfen)
lady: Huh ?
me: a doughnut, it is round like a bread roll, it is fried in oil, covered in sugar, and has jam in the middle.
lady: yes we have bread rolls...
.
.

Jim2007 31.05.2017 16:23

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 2793621)
I have been asked in English if I speak French, this was in Bahnhofstrasse Zurich :D

Most amusing one I've seen is two Italians as work trying to speak German to each other. Took them about 10 minutes to realise they could use Italian!

st2lemans 31.05.2017 16:33

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sbrinz (Post 2793878)
me: Do you have a doughnut please? ............. (My mistake, I had used the Frankfurt word, not the Munich word for a doughnut, Kreppel vs Krapfen)
lady: Huh ?
me: a doughnut, it is round like a bread roll, it is fried in oil, covered in sugar, and has jam in the middle.
lady: yes we have bread rolls...

The correct word is Berliner. ;)

Tom

Sbrinz 31.05.2017 16:34

Re: Language question
 
Hee hee, yes I had the same experience in Lausanne, with French.

amogles 31.05.2017 16:34

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JagWaugh (Post 2793643)
I found that Swiss German pronunciation is so close to Standard German that I quickly learned to translate on the fly (Uuswiis=Ausweis, Ufa=Auf etc).

I took formal courses for Standard German, Swiss German just sort of happened in the 20h of the day that I was outside of the class (for the first 3 months).

They're different, but so closely related that (to a native English speaker who isn't confused by the differences between UK and US English) you'll probably hear them more like two dialects, rather than two separate languages.

You'll get them mixed up every now and then, but after about a year or so that will be rare.

My advice would be learn Standard German first. If you (or the Swiss who you interact with) feel the need for a Swiss German course after a year or two, then take one.

I learnt standard German before coming to Switzerland and learnt Swiss German here.

The other day, my OH, who is German, made fun of me for using the word absitzen in a German conversation in Germany. This shows to what extent Switzzerland has poluuted my German.

amogles 31.05.2017 16:36

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 2793886)
The correct word is Berliner. ;)

Tom

President Kennedy will always be remembered for that one.

What a pity that Obama didn't build on that fame and go to Budapest and hold a speech saying "Barack vagyok" (I am a peach)

Sbrinz 31.05.2017 16:37

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 2793886)
The correct word is Berliner. ;)

Tom

In Bavaria, the correct word is Krapfen.

Alan.

fatmanfilms 31.05.2017 16:43

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim2007 (Post 2793880)
Most amusing one I've seen is two Italians as work trying to speak German to each other. Took them about 10 minutes to realise they could use Italian!

A good friend spent 5 minutes speaking to a car rental company in French, eventually they realised they were both English, happens all the time.

TomasTomas 01.06.2017 09:53

Re: Language question
 
Thanks for all reply
If we summarize all the population of Switzerland by language the picture will be like this :
60 % speak german
30 % speak french
10 % speak italian
And also
40-50 % speak English(mainly in the urban areas)
Is this correct ?

Capo 01.06.2017 15:07

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TomasTomas (Post 2794171)
Thanks for all reply
If we summarize all the population of Switzerland by language the picture will be like this :
60 % speak german
30 % speak french
10 % speak italian
And also
40-50 % speak English(mainly in the urban areas)
Is this correct ?

Very roughly yes, but in my experience there are lot of people in Ticino who also speaks German but not so much in the Romandie. So in fact if you take into account the those who speak German fluently also as a second language, than it is more skewed towards German. I might be wrong but at least it is my perception.

koblenz 01.06.2017 16:55

Re: Language question
 
And aren't there more speakers of Italian actually in all of the other cantons put together than there are in TI and GR?

Meerkat33 01.06.2017 21:31

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by koblenz (Post 2794409)
And aren't there more speakers of Italian actually in all of the other cantons put together than there are in TI and GR?

There's a spectrum of italian speakers outside of TI/GR, there are new immigrants who speak perfect italian, but there are a lot who speak some italian learnt from their parents who maybe speak only third elementary level sourthern italian from 40 years ago. I am an italian speaker and I think many of them especially the younger generations really struggle, and they intercalate with swiss german words. I think only maybe 20% speak italian like a true bilingual, and in general they prefer swiss german.

TomasTomas 02.06.2017 10:44

Re: Language question
 
Thanks
So learning German is the key :)
I am now studying it hard and yesterday i make an online A1 test
I have a 60 % success so for a one month and a half is not so bad :)
Would you recommend me some sites about learning German.
Now i am using this:
https://www.duolingo.com/
and this
https://app.supermemo.com/#/learn/317

Is this enough and would you recommend me other sites ?

st2lemans 02.06.2017 11:10

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by koblenz (Post 2794409)
And aren't there more speakers of Italian actually in all of the other cantons put together than there are in TI and GR?

No. 350k in TI/GR, 545k nationwide.

Tom

JagWaugh 02.06.2017 11:10

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TomasTomas (Post 2794692)
Thanks
So learning German is the key :)
I am now studying it hard and yesterday i make an online A1 test
I have a 60 % success so for a one month and a half is not so bad :)
Would you recommend me some sites about learning German.
Now i am using this:
https://www.duolingo.com/
and this
https://app.supermemo.com/#/learn/317

Is this enough and would you recommend me other sites ?

Learning German is indeed the key.

Online resources and tests have some value, but the litmus test is walking up to a random stranger and asking a random question, and being able to figure out what their answer is.

And the way to interpret the results of that test is:

The more trepidation and preparation you experience before approaching and asking a question, the more you need to work on yourself, and your German.

The longer it takes for the random stranger to respond (and the more consternation their facial expression reveals), the more you need to work on your German (but you're past the "I can't open my mouth until my German is perfect" personal inhibition.)

The longer it takes you to interpret the answer the more you need to work on your German (or you've reached the point where you're asking philosophical questions which by their nature require interpretation).

Just get out there and do it. It is very rare for people who speak funny to be sold off into the slave trade. The more you speak funny, the less funny you will speak.

You will probably go through various stages, some of mine were:
  1. Prepare every sentence, translating from English to German, initially on paper, later in your head.
  2. Carry a dictionary to lookup specific words.
  3. Stop carrying your dictionary.
  4. Notice that people seem to misunderstand you only very rarely.
  5. You only rarely need to explain a joke you made in German.
  6. You visit Italy or France, and instinctively try to speak German, rather than your mother tongue or the local language.
  7. You start slipping into German when you're tired and talking to people who don't speak German.
  8. Native German speakers get your jokes in German all of the time.
  9. You go to an English speaking country and you have to translate (in your head) from German to English for the first couple of days you're there.

EDIT: That list should include: "You join EF because you realise that your English has started to sound like the dialogue from a '50s cowboy movie"

koblenz 02.06.2017 11:16

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 2794714)
No.

Tom

Oh, I was told that there were.

I assume it is because most Italian speaking immigrants nowadays identify themselves (and put themselves down on the census principally as speakers of German.

TomasTomas 02.06.2017 11:35

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JagWaugh (Post 2794715)
Learning German is indeed the key.

Online resources and tests have some value, but the litmus test is walking up to a random stranger and asking a random question, and being able to figure out what their answer is.

And the way to interpret the results of that test is:

The more trepidation and preparation you experience before approaching and asking a question, the more you need to work on yourself, and your German.

The longer it takes for the random stranger to respond (and the more consternation their facial expression reveals), the more you need to work on your German (but you're past the "I can't open my mouth until my German is perfect" personal inhibition.)

The longer it takes you to interpret the answer the more you need to work on your German (or you've reached the point where you're asking philosophical questions which by their nature require interpretation).

Just get out there and do it. It is very rare for people who speak funny to be sold off into the slave trade. The more you speak funny, the less funny you will speak.

You will probably go through various stages, some of mine were:
  1. Prepare every sentence, translating from English to German, initially on paper, later in your head.
  2. Carry a dictionary to lookup specific words.
  3. Stop carrying your dictionary.
  4. Notice that people seem to misunderstand you only very rarely.
  5. You only rarely need to explain a joke you made in German.
  6. You visit Italy or France, and instinctively try to speak German, rather than your mother tongue or the local language.
  7. You start slipping into German when you're tired and talking to people who don't speak German.
  8. Native German speakers get your jokes in German all of the time.
  9. You go to an English speaking country and you have to translate (in your head) from German to English for the first couple of days you're there.

EDIT: That list should include: "You join EF because you realise that your English has started to sound like the dialogue from a '50s cowboy movie"

Yes,in the real life this test dont count so much.
If i speak frankly the German is no easy(i dont think that i make a huge discovery :))
But what is your best effective strategy/tactics to learn the language ?
For me is to learn whole sentences with the most important/most used phrases
And some technical question.
For example
Wir werden den Flughafen erweitern (We will expand the airport ) why the places of Flughafen(airport) and erweitern(expand) are changed
If we translate it directly it will be "We will the airport expand"
Same with this:
Ich werde ihn einstellen(We will hire him)
The direct translation will be "We will him hire "
Same with this:
Sie wird das Zimmer sehen(She will see the room)
Direct translation will be "she will the room see"
Or
Ich werde dich in meinem Zimmer erwarten(I will expect you in my room)
Direct translation "I will you in my room expect"
From where it comes this changing of words ?
P.S
I am very sorry if my question look stupid.

JagWaugh 02.06.2017 11:52

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TomasTomas (Post 2794740)
Yes,in the real life this test dont count so much.
If i speak frankly the German is no easy(i dont think that i make a huge discovery :))
But what is your best effective strategy/tactics to learn the language ?
For me is to learn whole sentences with the most important/most used phrases
And some technical question.
For example
Wir werden den Flughafen erweitern (We will expand the airport ) why the places of Flughafen(airport) and erweitern(expand) are changed
If we translate it directly it will be "We will the airport expand"
Same with this:
Ich werde ihn einstellen(We will hire him)
The direct translation will be "We will him hire "
Same with this:
Sie wird das Zimmer sehen(She will see the room)
Direct translation will be "she will the room see"
Or
Ich werde dich in meinem Zimmer erwarten(I will expect you in my room)
Direct translation "I will you in my room expect"
From where it comes this changing of words ?
P.S
I am very sorry if my question look stupid.

Part of the syntax of German is to shuffle the verb to the end of the sentence. Think of it as a sort of built in parity check: Listen until you've heard a verb, the sentence is now complete.

The rule isn't universal.

You're still in the "Translate" phase. In a certain sense you're not learning German yet, you're learning how to recognize the difference between German and English. (This isn't a criticism, we all went through it.)

Once you stop comparing everything to English you've started properly learning German. (What does a child compare language to when they are learning their mother tongue?)

German isn't any more difficult to learn than any other language, once you get past the "translate" phase. You can't force this, but the more you get out and use a language the better your progress will be.

Harrap's "German Grammar" is a good technical resource to help you decode German constructions, but you have to understand enough about grammar to make sense of it.

Urs Max 02.06.2017 12:45

Re: Language question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 2794714)
No. 350k in TI/GR, 545k nationwide.

Tom

The question is what should be called "Italian speaker", just native speakers or should it include those who use it often (at least once a week, though at what level is unknown)? In the latter case 15-17% of the population count. See "regelmässig verwendete Sprachen" on this official statistics.


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