Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Other/general  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:37
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: I dont live in Switzerland yet
Posts: 27
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
TomasTomas has no particular reputation at present
Language question

Hello
If you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is it possible to navigate successful with English or with other official languages in Switzerland(french and Italian).
I am wondering for the first 3-4 months ,because we are studying german now but we will need some time to learn it.
My question is about:
-speaking with people
-shopping
-job
-working with institutions

How is the situation ?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:41
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 19,429
Groaned at 413 Times in 307 Posts
Thanked 19,389 Times in 10,414 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
Hello
If you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is it possible to navigate successful with English or with other official languages in Switzerland(french and Italian).
I am wondering for the first 3-4 months ,because we are studying german now but we will need some time to learn it.
My question is about:
-speaking with people
-shopping
-job
-working with institutions

How is the situation ?
Yes, Possibly
Probably
Who knows if you have been given a job & they know you don't speak German then Yes & Yes
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:43
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 219
Groaned at 81 Times in 40 Posts
Thanked 102 Times in 70 Posts
koblenz is considered unworthykoblenz is considered unworthykoblenz is considered unworthykoblenz is considered unworthy
Re: Language question

Not uncommon for me to quickly switch into Italian for example if the person I am interacting with speaks Italian, simply because there are many speakers of Italian in the German speaking regions.
I would say it happens with French and English (for me) to a far lesser extent. Maybe because I don't have an English sounding surname or a typical English speaker's accent.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:45
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 19,429
Groaned at 413 Times in 307 Posts
Thanked 19,389 Times in 10,414 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
Not uncommon for me to quickly switch into Italian for example if the person I am interacting with speaks Italian, simply because there are many speakers of Italian in the German speaking regions.
I would say it happens with French and English (for me) to a far lesser extent. Maybe because I don't have an English sounding surname or a typical English speaker's accent.
I have been asked in English if I speak French, this was in Bahnhofstrasse Zurich
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 31.05.2017, 11:14
hannah'sauntie's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Baden
Posts: 4,755
Groaned at 24 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 6,648 Times in 3,007 Posts
hannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond reputehannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond reputehannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond reputehannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond reputehannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond reputehannah'sauntie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

When we first moved here neither of us spoke any German, apart from the usual " sorry I don't understand", "my German is not good" and " do you speak English", "yes" "no" and "thank you".
Most people were very helpful, many spoke English.
Now that we speak more German however, life is much easier.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank hannah'sauntie for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 31.05.2017, 16:23
Jim2007's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kt. Bern
Posts: 4,232
Groaned at 200 Times in 157 Posts
Thanked 6,780 Times in 3,045 Posts
Jim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond reputeJim2007 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
I have been asked in English if I speak French, this was in Bahnhofstrasse Zurich
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!
Reply With Quote
The following 4 users would like to thank Jim2007 for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 31.05.2017, 16:34
Sbrinz's Avatar
RIP
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Murten - Morat
Posts: 11,885
Groaned at 563 Times in 354 Posts
Thanked 11,548 Times in 5,941 Posts
Sbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Hee hee, yes I had the same experience in Lausanne, with French.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 31.05.2017, 16:43
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 19,429
Groaned at 413 Times in 307 Posts
Thanked 19,389 Times in 10,414 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 01.06.2017, 09:53
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: I dont live in Switzerland yet
Posts: 27
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
TomasTomas has no particular reputation at present
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 ?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:46
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Bern
Posts: 11
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
birhan has become a little unpopularbirhan has become a little unpopular
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
Hello
If you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is it possible to navigate successful with English or with other official languages in Switzerland(french and Italian).
I am wondering for the first 3-4 months ,because we are studying german now but we will need some time to learn it.
My question is about:
-speaking with people
-shopping
-job
-working with institutions

How is the situation ?
As an English and French speaker, I have not had any problems for shopping, chatting with people and as a bilingual canton you can get most of the services in French at different offices. Working institutions depends on where you work. For example at research institutes, you can easily communicate in English of course short coffee break conversations and some speeches might be in German.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank birhan for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:57
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: I dont live in Switzerland yet
Posts: 27
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
TomasTomas has no particular reputation at present
Re: Language question

So you can successfully navigated with English and French even in the German part-including in the government offices ?
I suppose that only at work can be a little different(except if it is not a English employer or English is the main required language).
And bye the way,now i am learning German(yes it is not easy ) but i found this(some differences between german and Swiss German)
http://www.eldrid.ch/swgerman.htm
Is there so big difference between them and can i navigate with german in the german part...........or to start to learn directly Swiss German(if i find online courses somewhere) ?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 31.05.2017, 11:07
JagWaugh's Avatar
RIP
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 7,273
Groaned at 47 Times in 46 Posts
Thanked 14,131 Times in 5,506 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
Is there so big difference between them and can i navigate with german in the german part...........or to start to learn directly Swiss German(if i find online courses somewhere) ?
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.
__________________
If everyone you know agrees with you consistently, they are either not listening, or not capable of critical thought.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 31.05.2017, 16:34
amogles's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 10,883
Groaned at 229 Times in 193 Posts
Thanked 22,733 Times in 9,654 Posts
amogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond reputeamogles has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
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.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:56
JagWaugh's Avatar
RIP
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 7,273
Groaned at 47 Times in 46 Posts
Thanked 14,131 Times in 5,506 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
Hello
If you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is it possible to navigate successful with English or with other official languages in Switzerland(french and Italian).
I am wondering for the first 3-4 months ,because we are studying german now but we will need some time to learn it.
My question is about:
-speaking with people
-shopping
-job
-working with institutions

How is the situation ?
You'll probably find that you can use English for almost everything.

In fact, you'll find it frustrating when you are trying to work on your German and everyone keeps switching to English.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 31.05.2017, 10:59
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: I dont live in Switzerland yet
Posts: 27
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
TomasTomas has no particular reputation at present
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
You'll probably find that you can use English for almost everything.

In fact, you'll find it frustrating when you are trying to work on your German and everyone keeps switching to English.
You make me the happiest man in the world
I am now struggle to learn German.......
Or may be i will use this strategy-i will start to speak German,all will be piss off with my german and they voluntary will switch to english
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank TomasTomas for this useful post:
  #16  
Old 31.05.2017, 11:23
JagWaugh's Avatar
RIP
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 7,273
Groaned at 47 Times in 46 Posts
Thanked 14,131 Times in 5,506 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

Quote:
View Post
You make me the happiest man in the world
I am now struggle to learn German.......
Or may be i will use this strategy-i will start to speak German,all will be piss off with my german and they voluntary will switch to english
You'll find that you get a certain number of "goodwill" credits, and that people will make an effort to switch to English.

But at work or in social settings, once you've used up your credits people will eventually just revert back to the local language. You will feel isolated and disliked, which is not a place you want to be while you are getting used to a new world.

The more effort you make to learn German the faster you will feel "at home", even if the milk and eggs taste funny, things are expensive, fridges are too small, and people tailgate on the highway.

Amongst other things, when you learn enough German to ask "Why is this so?" and understand the response, you'll find it a lot easier to get through daily life.
__________________
If everyone you know agrees with you consistently, they are either not listening, or not capable of critical thought.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #17  
Old 31.05.2017, 13:17
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SZ
Posts: 10,614
Groaned at 33 Times in 29 Posts
Thanked 24,603 Times in 7,717 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Language question

For a view from the other side...

While you can likely get by with only English in urban areas, if you were to move out to many smaller towns or villages you might not be so lucky.

For instance, here in my village, 45 minutes outside Zürich with a growing Auslander population, it's generally German only. Especially if you do not speak any German.

People might be offended if you show that you do not at least have a few words auf Deutsch, if only 'Please excuse my lack of German, I'm still learning' before launching into English. Many will want to impress upon you how important it is to recognize that the onus is on you to integrate. Little mercy is shown to those who stick to English only.

However, if you show that you are learning the approach relaxes a bit. Be aware that some people here may be proficient in English, but do not wish to speak it. This can sometimes largely be an issue of local pride/politics. In such cases, while you are learning as long as you are comfortable with a 2 language conversation, you in whatever German you have sprinkled with English to fill the gaps, the other person in Dialekt, you'd be OK.

Local bureaucracy is generally German only, so if yours is insufficient bring a translator. An exception is the tax department. They seem to be happy to speak English with any good tax payer.

The local doctor does not offer consultations in English. He understands some, but you need enough German to get through an appointment. Or seek treatment elsewhere.

Shops and business are mixed, but assume German only, especially if you are trying to find an emergency plumber.

The general rule in my area: If they need you, English might be possible. If you need them, German only.

As always, YMMV. But if you are worried about lack of German impacting your ability to settle in, you likely want to stay in a more urban area at first.

I purposely chose to live in a village when I first moved here, though, because I knew that would be the best motivator for me to learn functional (if inelegant) German.

Good luck as you settle in!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 31.05.2017, 14:41
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: I dont live in Switzerland yet
Posts: 27
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
TomasTomas has no particular reputation at present
Re: Language question

Yes,you are totally right.
Learning the local language is essential and it is a word "must".
I was curious about first 3-4 months until i learn it well to speak at least the basic conversation(or better).
And yes if you know the basic 40-50 sentences (in the local language) at least you will earn the local's sympathy.
But are there many differences between German and Swiss German -for example they have 300-500 hundred different word...........or plenty more ?
For example if i said:
Mir ist kalt/Ich been kalt(i am cold) they will understand me or they will understand only the swiss phrase "Ich ha chalt"
If i use Sonntag(sunday) they will understand me or they will understand only Sunntig(Swiss phrase) ?
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
English language question Calvin Language corner 8 10.12.2013 18:15
Language level question TuxedoPants Language corner 5 24.05.2013 12:14
Migros Language - question about levels / courses gc2006 Language corner 10 18.07.2011 10:51
Language proficiency question TheSpouse Language corner 38 30.05.2009 16:03
General Language Question atencorps Language corner 9 08.03.2009 12:02


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 16:04.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0