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  #21  
Old 05.07.2017, 00:23
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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I was well prepared for the entrance exam that they never gave me.

Tom

P.S. My 20th aniversary is sometime this month, I will have to look in the Familienbuechlein to find the exact date.
We will all come to your celebration barbeque. We shall create our own "EF-Gotthardtunnel-Stau" (it will be published in 20 Minutes after, I'm sure).
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  #22  
Old 05.07.2017, 00:27
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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We will all come to your celebration barbeque. We shall create our own "EF-Gotthardtunnel-Stau" (it will be published in 20 Minutes after, I'm sure).
I'm down with that, let's go visit the geezer!
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  #23  
Old 05.07.2017, 00:31
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

You might like to ask here:
http://www.theswisscenter.org/swiss-club-links
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Old 05.07.2017, 01:06
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

Thank you for all the help! The story will deal with the transition which took place in her early to late teens in Switzerland and it will end with her departure. I will fill in lots of fiction to show the growth and strength it took for Eugenia to transform from a painfully shy child, punished for her selective mutism, to a woman disowned by her family, setting off to the U.S. Her family owned multiple inns in several different cities. She was expected to greet the public but instead hid in the kitchen, becoming a fabulous cook in many types of cuisine. I also have questions about access to foreign newspapers which she read avidly, learning to speak nine languages well and, judging from her English, without accent. She spoke Russian and knew revolutionaries in Geneva and she followed the writings of Isabelle Eberhardt, which may have fueled her quest for independence. I also have questions about Gemmi Pass before there was a safe pass and a train as there's a tale of her hair-raising crossing which I would like embellish on.
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  #25  
Old 05.07.2017, 01:09
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

Nine languages? Is this your embellishment, or is that akin to the truth?
Which languages were they, and who taught them to her?
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  #26  
Old 05.07.2017, 05:22
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

I believe it is true that she spoke Swiss German, High German, French, Italian, Romansh, Russian, English, Spanish and, I think, Hungarian. Her English Was without accent. She was also a wonderful musician.
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  #27  
Old 05.07.2017, 05:39
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

Who taught her?
How did she have access to such privileged education?
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  #28  
Old 05.07.2017, 05:53
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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Her family owned multiple inns in several different cities.
Well, there's your answer then. She's one of those famous Hiltons from Wil. (I knew it was too easy for Paris to get that concubine permit a few years ago!)
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  #29  
Old 05.07.2017, 06:21
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

Doropfiz, my ex-husband and my daughter have the same language-learning ability. Both are excellent musicians and pick up language just by listening. My ex would get on a plane, airline of the country he was traveling to, and by the time he went through customs, was already managing in the language with phrases like, "I need a taxi.""Where's the concert hall?" "How much does it cost? That's too much. I'll give you.." "I want something to drink, eat, read." "Keep quiet."

It was my grandmother's language skill that made her father so angry at her for being shy and unable to use it to best advantage. She greatly preferred cooking or reading the newspapers.

She also painted, sometimes accompanying tourists who wanted to paint.
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  #30  
Old 05.07.2017, 07:57
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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Is when they started, but only from 1848 did all cantons do it.

(for, among other reasons, a few didn't exist until then)

Tom
Shush Tom, don't mention this...
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  #31  
Old 05.07.2017, 08:25
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

My Auntie Eric could learn a language just by sniffing an object which had been near somebody speaking that language.

By the time of her death in 1968, she spoke 347 languages and dialects from Tosk Albanian to Akkadian and Morse.

A truly remarkable man!
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  #32  
Old 05.07.2017, 08:46
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

When did he change gender in this?

I know people learning languages just from the local food they eat. Well, at least the dish names

OP - your granny sounds special, I bet it will be a great book. Yanks don't learn languages as fast as Europeans have to..don't forget that it was/is often just a survival here and grannie's village was probably full of similar self made polyglots. Half of the population here is at least quadrilingual.
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  #33  
Old 05.07.2017, 08:51
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

If you're going to write the story I would suggest you find a copy of "Old Jules - Portrait of a Pioneer" by Mari Sandoz.

This tells the (true) story of a Swiss who emigrated in 1879. It's not a bad story, but the author didn't quite decide which part of the story they wanted to tell (the contrast between European prosperity and frontier life, the challenges of frontier life, or the interactions between the protagonist and others) - it's all there, but if the reader isn't equipped with enough background information to put the various aspects into place the book tends to jump about quite a bit.

I'm sure that the book would present a clearer picture of the protagonist to someone who knew him... but unless you're only writing for yourself and your family you need to explain a lot of the historical context.
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  #34  
Old 05.07.2017, 10:07
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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Thank you for all the help! The story will deal with the transition which took place in her early to late teens in Switzerland and it will end with her departure. I will fill in lots of fiction to show the growth and strength it took for Eugenia to transform from a painfully shy child, punished for her selective mutism, to a woman disowned by her family, setting off to the U.S. Her family owned multiple inns in several different cities. She was expected to greet the public but instead hid in the kitchen, becoming a fabulous cook in many types of cuisine. I also have questions about access to foreign newspapers which she read avidly, learning to speak nine languages well and, judging from her English, without accent. She spoke Russian and knew revolutionaries in Geneva and she followed the writings of Isabelle Eberhardt, which may have fueled her quest for independence. I also have questions about Gemmi Pass before there was a safe pass and a train as there's a tale of her hair-raising crossing which I would like embellish on.
OP, I guess she was very loved and became a legend in your family.
Not bad for a shy girl from Wil, I would say. Maybe your book should concentrate more on the impact she had on your family?
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Old 05.07.2017, 10:25
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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I believe it is true that she spoke Swiss German, High German, French, Italian, Romansh, Russian, English, Spanish and, I think, Hungarian. Her English Was without accent. She was also a wonderful musician.
Which Rumantsch, there are five of them.

Tom
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  #36  
Old 05.07.2017, 11:15
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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Who taught her?
How did she have access to such privileged education?
An ex-colleague of mine (from Slovakia) was fluent in 7 languages by the time she was around 17, basically down to geography, a rather fluid home environment, and having an incredible ear. She would only "admit" to 7. The final figure was more like a dozen - she hadn't wanted to sound like she was lying on her job application. Rather amusingly for a UK MFL teacher, she had to learn French "on the job". It didn't take her long.
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Old 05.07.2017, 12:01
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

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Is when they started, but only from 1848 did all cantons do it.

(for, among other reasons, a few didn't exist until then)

Tom
I think for those that didn't exist before because they were Untertanengebiete (jointly owned and ruled over areas of subjects) it's 1803, thanks to Napoleon. 1815 the latest as that's when the last ones joined the fun (not counting Kanton Jura), but those were states or similar before their joining already.
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  #38  
Old 05.07.2017, 13:56
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Re: Story of my grandmother, Eugenia

If you’re interested in understanding something of the history of Switzerland, some attitudes at the time about some certain types of emigration, you might find The Mirage of the New World (2007), by the Swiss author Eveline Hasler (b. 1933). Hasler, who studied psychology and history, did the research and then constructed her largely fictional novel around it. It is highly acclaimed for having become a believable explanation of what took place, what must have happened, like this or along these lines.
https://academic.oup.com/fmls/articl...dFrom=fulltext


Some explanation here, http://eveline-hasler.de.tl/Ibicaba.htm in case you already read German, or would like to run this through google translate or similar.


Here is an official Swiss government link about emigration: https://www.bar.admin.ch/bar/en/home...d-schweiz.html
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  #39  
Old 05.07.2017, 16:52
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Re: Songbooks, 1850-1900?

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I would like to know the songs my grandmother would've sung and played on her zither. (Catholic, so Protestant hymns don't count.)
You're going to have to narrow it down for us. Was Grandma into classical or punk rock?

I know that's an unhelpful response, but you're throwing out some fairly broad questions and clearly expecting a wealth of information in return.

I understand you want to write a book about a beloved family member, and that you think you are "doing" research by throwing questions at an online forum. What you're doing isn't really research: it's casting a wide net and being happy with anything you catch - and seemingly taking it as gospel.

You're also going to have a slightly easier time of it if you are a little less bald in your questioning style. Honey rather than vinegar, etc etc etc.

And here endeth my Public Services Broadcast for the day.
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Old 05.07.2017, 17:28
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Re: Songbooks, 1850-1900?

19th century Roman Catholic songs? There are hundreds of them!

The most famous, of which I guess you've already heard, was "Wie hell brennt der Protestant, Wie hell, Wie hell!" which was traditionally sung at bonfire parties throughout St Gallen, Luzern and Schwyz. It was translated into English as "How Bright Burns the Bonfire, How Bright, How Bright!"

Other popular songs include:

"Ach nein! Ich hasse Fisch am Freitag!"

"Wie Viel Kostet das Huendli am Fenster?"

"Mein Rosenkranz ist in Meiner Strumpfhose Gefangen!"

and

"Eine Nacht mit dem Papst Wäre eine Nacht zu Erinnern", widely considered to be the first example of ecclesiastical disco (the heavy beat of the bishop's mitre on a pew is believed to have inspired the drummer of the Village People during his early experiments with the genre in the early 1970s).

I'm afraid very few of these songs were ever translated into English, but I'm sure google will help you out.

Good luck!
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