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  #61  
Old 06.08.2021, 09:54
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Re: Military Service for Dual Citizen who only speaks English

Try going in the aviation troupes, they use quite a lot of English.
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  #62  
Old 06.08.2021, 10:31
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Re: Military Service for Dual Citizen who only speaks English

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Have they invented the USB pre-loaded with German that I can stick into my brain? Saying that I must speak a national language is meaningless because I live here, work here, pay taxes, and don't speak a national language. They can't force me to speak a language that I don't know, they could shout at me in German and it would all just fly over my head.

It's the army, that's how it works. You are not there to chat with your peers or take gentlemanly tea breaks with superior officers.

You will be there to take and follow commands. There aren't that many of them, you'll quickly get it, as they shout them at you until you do. Just run in the same direction as your peers, stop when they do, drop when they do etc.

Put on your big-boys pants and get on with it, stop whining about the language and have a little faith in yourself, you're not as precious as you think, you can take it.
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  #63  
Old 06.08.2021, 11:56
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Re: Military Service for Dual Citizen who only speaks English

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Thanks for the typical Swiss perspective.

...

My parents raised me American, not Swiss. I came here on a whim, because I heard the labor market is better for degree holders in Switzerland. And this proved to be true. "It's common knowledge" is condescending to someone who didn't grow up with Swiss culture or knowledge of the many rules they have here.

...
That is true for me too. My mum spoke Aargauish to my grandmother who lived with us when I was little. But no effort was made to teach me any kind of German: that was the early 1940s and German was a Nazi language, and people around us did not distinguish between Swiss German and German German.

I did take a year of German in college and can get around. I spent some time re-learning to read last year so I could read the bio of Paul GrŁninger. I got 1/3 the way through it when I discovered that amazon.fr sells it in French translation. (It did please me -- I have a PhD from a Belgian university and speak only in French to my grandson -- to discover I'd got 2/3 of the sense of the German version of the book.)

But still -- at age 80 -- it's a challenge to improve my German. When I lived briefly in ZŁrich with my grandfather in 1961 (he told jokes on stage in Vaudeville in six languages), all educated Swiss spoke French: I was under no pressure to speak German, or more accurately my interlocutors had no incentive to respond to my bad German.

Today in Switzerland as in Belgium, French is the lingua franca. Here's the reason: http://uniset.ca/naty/hebdo_allemand.htm (a 1997 article from Le Temps: speaking English is worth 15% more in lifetime earnings).

I came to Switzerland in 1991 as a U.S. diplomat in Geneva. My youngest kids went to Geneva schools. They already spoke French natively from having attended French schools in Korea, Algeria, Ivory Coast...; the teachers' attitude was not to push them to learn German because "you already speak English". The older of the two is married to a Frenchman. She works in San Francisco and speaks to her husband, whose English is mediocre, only in French. Neither of them has bothered to teach their daughters -- who have U.S., Swiss, French and British nationality -- French at all. More's the pity. And it's why my eldest daughter (a single mum) and I follow OPOL with her son: from birth he and I have spoken only French, with his mum he speaks English. He attends a French school in London. But: how's he going to learn any German? Not from me, nor from his mum who did get an A in O Level/GCSE German. Not that it proves anything, more's the pity.

My mum, who emigrated to NYC in 1917 at age 4, had her Swiss nationality restored in the 1980s and encouraged me to apply for facilitated naturalisation after I retired from the State Dept. in 1993. Today I, my 4 children and my 9 grandchildren have Swiss nationality. Some of them went to French elementary schools to age 10 or 11. Only the grandson who lives with me speaks native French. He is autistic in the way of Alan Turing, 3 years ahead of his class in maths. We own a home in Valais; whether he is likely to move there or not some day nobody can say: it's my registered domicile and if it weren't for COVID-19 I'd be there now.

Last edited by Caryl; 06.08.2021 at 12:06.
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  #64  
Old 07.08.2021, 10:27
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Re: Military Service for Dual Citizen who only speaks English

Caryl,
Thatís a lovely and lively life story. So interesting all the places youíve lived and all the journeys your family has taken.
It would make a really good book, if you would write it.
Now Iím really curious (hope you donít mind), what took your Momís family from Switzerland to America in 1913?
Thank you for sharing 😊🌸
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  #65  
Old 07.08.2021, 11:05
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Re: Military Service for Dual Citizen who only speaks English

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Caryl,
Thatís a lovely and lively life story. So interesting all the places youíve lived and all the journeys your family has taken.
It would make a really good book, if you would write it.
Now Iím really curious (hope you donít mind), what took your Momís family from Switzerland to America in 1913?
Thank you for sharing 😊🌸
One of my wife's Swiss great aunts moved to my home town in the US in 1916!

(we only discovered this this year when a museum in Diessenhofen sent us an advance copy of a book they are publishing, with a large section on her family)

Tom
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