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Old 06.12.2017, 15:42
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

I have enjoyed reading this, there have been some funny comments. I do have to add, my husband speaks Swiss and high German -although only went to school here until he was 7 years old, then returned to do an apprenticeship as an adult and sometimes he cannot work out exactly what is being asked for when reading class 3 children's homework.
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  #22  
Old 06.12.2017, 15:47
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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And not making assumptions about local knowledge that only parent who went to the same school as kids have a clue about.
Aargau in the seventies! "But everyone knows that".

Maybe some of us who glibly talk of 'learning the local language' forget that learning a language with a similar alphabet is not the same thing as learning a language where the 'letters' bear no resemblance at all to the ones we are used to. Just consider how many squiggles are read by us as a 'g' 'G' 'g' for a start. We don't even notice that they are not identical.
And someone who has picked up a language by hearing it is not automatically able to read it. Or vice versa. We tend to think that reading and writing are 'interconnected' but they are not.

Having received messages where, a few days later, not even the sender knew what they had meant...
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  #23  
Old 06.12.2017, 16:32
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Aargau in the seventies!
I thought Aargau still was in the seventies...
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  #24  
Old 06.12.2017, 17:48
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

of course it's not just German that has this issue.

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Old 06.12.2017, 17:53
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Would be easier to communicate electronically in a way it's easy to copy-paste into google translate.
Anyway, in Zurich they teach English in the 2nd class so teachers should be able to speak English with parents. And that's all that is needed right
I doubt very much that English-speaking parents are the problem..
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Old 06.12.2017, 18:01
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

We once received a letter that said something about butterflys and leaving and stuff, in Swiss German, with some complete gobbledegook at the end.

Had no real idea what it was about but guessed it was about the end-of-term trip to the forest or meadows or something.

Turns out it was along the lines of "now your precious butterflys are about to take wing and join the primary school..." followed by a traditional poem in (deepest) dialect about growing up.

FFS .

Edit - to be fair, for the minority of (even Swiss) people who had any idea what it meant, I'm sure it was lovely, but really.
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Old 06.12.2017, 18:18
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Aargau in the seventies! "But everyone knows that".
Whaddya mean, "the seventies"?

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Maybe some of us who glibly talk of 'learning the local language' forget that learning a language with a similar alphabet is not the same thing as learning a language where the 'letters' bear no resemblance at all to the ones we are used to. Just consider how many squiggles are read by us as a 'g' 'G' 'g' for a start. We don't even notice that they are not identical.
Very true. I sometimes have difficulty with the way handwritten letters are formed, which is a reflection of how handwriting is taught in primary schools. An example which confused the heck out of me is the way that the Dutch write the number 8. At first it looked to me more like a zero with a line through it. I was merrily handing out a non-existent number for my office phone until someone complained it didn't work.

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And someone who has picked up a language by hearing it is not automatically able to read it. Or vice versa. We tend to think that reading and writing are 'interconnected' but they are not.
Reading is a great vocabulary builder. Someone without reading skills will be dependent on the vocabulary used by those they come into contact with.
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Old 06.12.2017, 18:28
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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of course it's not just German that has this issue.


Simplified English is the preferred form for technical manuals targetted at an international audience.

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People started developing simplified English in the 1970s. People continue developing simplified English today. AECMA is the "European Association of Aerospace Manufacturers". AECMA began work on simplified English. ASD is the "AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe". ASD has a Maintenance Group called STEMG that continues work on simplified English. STEMG is the "Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group". STEMG maintains the ASD-STE100, the latest simplified English.
After so long living outside the UK I pretty much subconciously avoid complex words and grammatical constructs when speaking English to non-native speakers.

I also avoid dropping into Yorkshire, unless I'm in company which can understand it
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  #29  
Old 06.12.2017, 18:50
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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An example which confused the heck out of me is the way that the Dutch write the number 8. At first it looked to me more like a zero with a line through it. I was merrily handing out a non-existent number for my office phone until someone complained it didn't work.


Seems correct to me.
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  #30  
Old 06.12.2017, 19:10
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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German was "simplified" in 1996 to an almost moronic level. Actually it did not so much simplify the language as make to make it confusing, as to why they bothered, no idea? But having said that I still can´t get my head around it... "Schifffahrt!" with three "f´s" ffsk in a sentence and not in a new line and it gets even worst when you are talking about river water traffic, or "Flussschifffahrt" three "s´es" and three "f´s" and don´t get me started on the whacking of the "ß!"
At the time in ´96 there was outcry about how the language was being butchered to suit the low-wattage plebs and now? Nobody crows about it, except perhaps a few crusty old typesetters who spent their whole life trying to get it right.
http://agreiter.com/Gegenueberstellu...Stand_2004.pdf
I successfully ignore the "neue deutsche Rechtschreibung" and notice I'm not the only one
(Not because I refuse to "learn" but it is - as you mentioned - ridiculous and uuugly.

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.......
Maybe some of us who glibly talk of 'learning the local language' forget that learning a language with a similar alphabet is not the same thing as learning a language where the 'letters' bear no resemblance at all to the ones we are used to. Just consider how many squiggles are read by us as a 'g' 'G' .....
Hmmm, I remember telling an English BF that German will be dead easy for him to learn as letters like e ....i ..... a are spoken exactly as what they are. "No they're not" he drily answered.
They're not - from his point of view - and I was surprised that even I with my international upbringing did not think of that at all.
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  #31  
Old 06.12.2017, 19:27
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Seems correct to me.
This is more or less how I was taught to write numbers.



My number 4 is a bit different.
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  #32  
Old 09.12.2017, 21:12
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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You do mean hordes don't you?
How many hordes would the mongols hoard if the mongol hordes got bored?
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  #33  
Old 10.12.2017, 12:10
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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We once received a letter that said something about butterflys and leaving and stuff, in Swiss German, with some complete gobbledegook at the end.

Had no real idea what it was about but guessed it was about the end-of-term trip to the forest or meadows or something.

Turns out it was along the lines of "now your precious butterflys are about to take wing and join the primary school..." followed by a traditional poem in (deepest) dialect about growing up.

FFS .

Edit - to be fair, for the minority of (even Swiss) people who had any idea what it meant, I'm sure it was lovely, but really.
Sweet, actually. If it was a letter about a trip to the forest it would have looked totally different - with time of departure, what to bring, how to dress and so on. In plain German.

Obviously the teachers overestimated the general level of curiosity and sensibility. Should they be more pragmatic to the detriment of traditions...I don't know.
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Old 10.12.2017, 12:29
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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After so long living outside the UK I pretty much subconciously avoid complex words and grammatical constructs when speaking English to non-native speakers.
Quite. Working, in English, within an international company, most native speakers quickly adopt to a slightly more simple version of their own language, and this is not in any way condescending to the non-native speakers, but rather an appreciation of their efforts to speak and work in a foreign language and a desire to not make it even more difficult for them.

I don't see why the same logic should not also apply to the schools herein mentioned. It's a simple question of minimising the risk of misunderstandings and making life easier for everyone, patents, teachers and kids included.
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Old 10.12.2017, 17:12
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Quite. Working, in English, within an international company, most native speakers quickly adopt to a slightly more simple version of their own language, and this is not in any way condescending to the non-native speakers, but rather an appreciation of their efforts to speak and work in a foreign language and a desire to not make it even more difficult for them.
That states it more clearly. Thank you.

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I don't see why the same logic should not also apply to the schools herein mentioned. It's a simple question of minimising the risk of misunderstandings and making life easier for everyone, patents, teachers and kids included.
Agreed. There's probably the basis of a course out there somewhere which could be adapted for schools. A simple list of do's and don'ts (for example avoiding complex subjunctives, the use of double negatives...) might be a good starting point.
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  #36  
Old 11.12.2017, 00:26
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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I don't see why the same logic should not also apply to the schools herein mentioned. It's a simple question of minimising the risk of misunderstandings and making life easier for everyone, patents, teachers and kids included.
Extrapolation doesn't always work. In a workplace you have the employer who defines the framework. In the eenvironment you describe it is simultaneously mandatory and in everybody's best interest to learn and use English. Whether that should best be a simplified English or not is of secondary importance.

It is paramount to note that this also works as a filter, anybody unwilling or unable(!) to oblige will simply disappear from scope.

This doesn't apply to society in general. Some people simply don't want to learn, let alone use, the local language, others may actually lack the necessary skills. This in turn begs the question if the "framework" should adapt, and if so to what extent.

I have no doubt you're aware of all the EF members who moan about the locals who oh so stubbornly refuse to speak English. Now imagine the same but with 1o or even more languages/cultures. Obviously at some point the willingness to tolerate, and to some extent adapt, to the foreigners' demands (which undoubtedly in some cases are actual needs) will be exhausted, upon which it can easily transform into an aversion.
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Old 11.12.2017, 08:37
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Quite. Working, in English, within an international company, most native speakers quickly adopt to a slightly more simple version of their own language, and this is not in any way condescending to the non-native speakers, but rather an appreciation of their efforts to speak and work in a foreign language and a desire to not make it even more difficult for them.

I don't see why the same logic should not also apply to the schools herein mentioned. It's a simple question of minimising the risk of misunderstandings and making life easier for everyone, patents, teachers and kids included.
If so, they shouldn't really bother. It's the spoken language they should "simplify"..Of course avoiding specific idioms makes things much clearer, but same goes for non-native speakers who also "restrain" themselves when using this language, out of fear of being misunderstood or of translating poorly cultural references. It's two-way street, believe it or not. We all make concessions.
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  #38  
Old 11.12.2017, 09:53
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Hmmm, I remember telling an English BF that German will be dead easy for him to learn as letters like e ....i ..... a are spoken exactly as what they are. "No they're not" he drily answered.
They're not - from his point of view - and I was surprised that even I with my international upbringing did not think of that at all.
One thing that really drove me nuts at first were German (and Swiss German) phrasebooks for English speakers, which spelled the German out using the English sounds of letters. I'd already got the hang of how to pronounce written Geman and these books were torture.
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Old 11.12.2017, 10:04
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Sweet, actually. If it was a letter about a trip to the forest it would have looked totally different - with time of departure, what to bring, how to dress and so on. In plain German.

Obviously the teachers overestimated the general level of curiosity and sensibility. Should they be more pragmatic to the detriment of traditions...I don't know.
If only - it did also include an invitation to the talk about primary school, with the times written longhand in Swiss, i.e. Wi begrueueues di am Mittig u halbi siebsi für gesprääch üü d'Primarschule.

I may be exagerating a bit, at the time they could have written it in Greek with much the same level of understanding on my part.
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Old 11.12.2017, 16:22
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Re: Swiss primary school adopts ‘simplified’ German to communicate with parents

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Extrapolation doesn't always work. In a workplace you have the employer who defines the framework. In the eenvironment you describe it is simultaneously mandatory and in everybody's best interest to learn and use English.

...
This doesn't apply to society in general. Some people simply don't want to learn, let alone use, the local language, others may actually lack the necessary skills. This in turn begs the question if the "framework" should adapt, and if so to what extent.
Asking teachers to try and ensure their communications are clear and understandable to all is hardly a significant change to 'the framework' though. There have been moves in many countries to try and ensure that over-complicated language is not used in official documents, and that's often just to make sure that less-educated people are not disadvantaged. This, to my mind, is no different, albeit specifically intended to help non-native speakers

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I have no doubt you're aware of all the EF members who moan about the locals who oh so stubbornly refuse to speak English.
Err no, I don't think I've seen any such comments here, certainly not in recent years. Got any examples?

I mean, yeah, there's loads of us that struggle with German, especially spoken Swiss variants, but I certainly don't expect anyone to speak English to me (although it's sometimes nice when they do offer) and I think that's true of most of us. .

As an aside, we've concluded that our Swiss, German will never reach a standard at which we feel truely integrated, and in fact are shortly moving to a French-speaking area, where we expect to be much more comfortable. That's not the only reason, of course, but it is a factor.
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