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  #21  
Old 06.10.2010, 16:56
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Re: English as an Official Language

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People will work in whichever language is most effective for the participants collaborating together.
In theory, yes.

In practice, though, politics, personal prejudice and deliberate exclusion can come into play, resulting in the exclusive use of a language that isn't understood by everyone in that team.

People are lovely, aren't they?
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  #22  
Old 06.10.2010, 21:21
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Re: English as an Official Language

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Italian IS an official language.
No, Italian only is an official language
- on union level
- in the Canton of Ticino (there the only one)
- in the Canton of Graubünden (there the third one)
BUT in the Canton of Zürich, as I explained above it is NOT. The
only official language in the Cantons of Appenzell (both), St. Gallen, Thurgau, Glarus, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern, Zug, Zürich, Schaffhausen, Aargau, Solothurn and Basel is German.
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  #23  
Old 06.10.2010, 21:23
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Re: English as an Official Language

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it is an official language for the whole of Switzerland.
No, once again, this is NOT the case ! What you describe as "the whole of" is in reality only the union, but NOT the Cantons. And in the Cantons you only get documents in the official language, regardless of the "union status".
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Old 06.10.2010, 21:27
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Re: English as an Official Language

In my company, one of the ones you have mentioned, English is the official language as the aim is to become more and more global. The downside for expats is that you never really learn German as there is no need to do so where you spend most of your time. Shame..
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Old 06.10.2010, 21:35
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Re: English as an Official Language

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In my company, one of the ones you have mentioned, English is the official language as the aim is to become more and more global. The downside for expats is that you never really learn German as there is no need to do so where you spend most of your time. Shame..
If it were not so then you would have to learn whatever variety of the 26 (or 42 as some people say) different versions of Swiss German is local to your company - not High German. A relatively pointless exercise.

As mentioned, English is de-facto an official language - in fact it is the most widely spoken language in Switzerland. Probably Swiss German would be classed as the most widely spoken if there was just one official version but with so many versions you cannot count it as one.
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  #26  
Old 06.10.2010, 21:49
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Re: English as an Official Language

Yes this is also true, however the lack of exposure to the local language, be it one of the numerous dialects makes one miss out on many aspects of the culture. For example, the Zurich dialect has so many beautiful expressions which would make you cry out laughing if translated literally.
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  #27  
Old 06.10.2010, 21:51
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Re: English as an Official Language

I'm the only native English speaker in my office. We all communicate in English, however, as my colleagues are German, Swiss, Russian, American, Polish, Mexican, Portugese and French, and English is mostly their second language or third. To be fair though, many of use speak German as well.

I can't imagine English ever becoming an official language in any of the cantons, but it does appear to be coming ever more widely spoken.
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  #28  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:06
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Re: English as an Official Language

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Yes this is also true, however the lack of exposure to the local language, be it one of the numerous dialects makes one miss out on many aspects of the culture. For example, the Zurich dialect has so many beautiful expressions which would make you cry out laughing if translated literally.
"lack of exposure to the local language" is a personal choice. Life is not just work.

In my village you need to know Swiss German to eat, drink, go shopping, etc.
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  #29  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:11
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Re: English as an Official Language

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"lack of exposure to the local language" is a personal choice. Life is not just work.
Jein...

If you're living in a city like Zurich, working in an English speaking environment, and going home to your English speaking wife and kids, what opportunity do you have to speak German, apart from brief exchanges in Migros and the chemist?

It's easier for single people and those who live in small villages, perhaps, but not everybody has the same opportunities (or time, for that matter) to make contact with native speakers of the local language.
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  #30  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:14
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Re: English as an Official Language

Well done

So do most of us I would say. However there is a difference between ordering a beer or buying a loaf of bread and being able to have a lengthy conversation on any topic, which requires quite a lot of training and exposure.
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  #31  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:23
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Re: English as an Official Language

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Jein...

If you're living in a city like Zurich, working in an English speaking environment, and going home to your English speaking wife and kids, what opportunity do you have to speak German, apart from brief exchanges in Migros and the chemist?

It's easier for single people and those who live in small villages, perhaps, but not everybody has the same opportunities (or time, for that matter) to make contact with native speakers of the local language.
True, but it is still a matter of choice. There are a number of English people living here as well as many other nationalities; 25 min to Zürich on the S bahn.
Probably harder choice for the wife who may be more comfortable in the city environment.

When I lived in Zürich I never got on speaking terms with any Swiss neighbours; here I am "per du" with hundreds of people from the mayor down (or up depending what you think about politicians)
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  #32  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:42
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Re: English as an Official Language

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If it were not so then you would have to learn whatever variety of the 26 (or 42 as some people say) different versions of Swiss German is local to your company - not High German. A relatively pointless exercise.

As mentioned, English is de-facto an official language - in fact it is the most widely spoken language in Switzerland. Probably Swiss German would be classed as the most widely spoken if there was just one official version but with so many versions you cannot count it as one.
The Swiss-German dialects ARE German, just like Bavarian, Viennese, Berlinerisch, Saxonian, Südhessisch, Elsässisch and the Mundarten in Baden-Württemberg.
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Old 06.10.2010, 22:47
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Re: English as an Official Language

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The Swiss-German dialects ARE German, just like Bavarian, Viennese, Berlinerisch, Saxonian, Südhessisch, Elsässisch and the Mundarten in Baden-Württemberg.
... and, if the truth be told, Dutch, Friesian, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, Scots and, er, English.

(But we don't like to talk about that...)
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  #34  
Old 06.10.2010, 22:49
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Re: English as an Official Language

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Jein...

If you're living in a city like Zurich, working in an English speaking environment, and going home to your English speaking wife and kids, what opportunity do you have to speak German, apart from brief exchanges in Migros and the chemist?

It's easier for single people and those who live in small villages, perhaps, but not everybody has the same opportunities (or time, for that matter) to make contact with native speakers of the local language.
All nice, but a piece of warning. People like plumbers, janitors, electricians, gardeners, house-cleaners, do not have speaking "Ausländisch" as their strong point
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  #35  
Old 06.10.2010, 23:28
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Re: English as an Official Language

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The Swiss-German dialects ARE German, just like Bavarian, Viennese, Berlinerisch, Saxonian, Südhessisch, Elsässisch and the Mundarten in Baden-Württemberg.
German but different; ever witnessed someone from Berlin tryiing to have a conversation with a Zürcher - very funny.
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  #36  
Old 06.10.2010, 23:35
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Re: English as an Official Language

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All nice, but a piece of warning. People like plumbers, janitors, electricians, gardeners, house-cleaners, do not have speaking "Ausländisch" as their strong point

It's ok.

I have a pretty comprehensive Albanian phrasebook at home.
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  #37  
Old 07.10.2010, 00:01
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Re: English as an Official Language

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All nice, but a piece of warning. People like plumbers, janitors, electricians, gardeners, house-cleaners, do not have speaking "Ausländisch" as their strong point
I may be wrong about Switzerland, but judging from my own country those people may not know English, but they also might not yet be fluent in G/F/I either.
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  #38  
Old 07.10.2010, 00:02
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Re: English as an Official Language

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It's ok.

I have a pretty comprehensive Albanian phrasebook at home.
You beat me to the punchline!
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  #39  
Old 07.10.2010, 00:09
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Re: English as an Official Language

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German but different; ever witnessed someone from Berlin tryiing to have a conversation with a Zürcher - very funny.
But people from Munich, Stuttgart, Strassburg, Bregenz, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Zürich have no problems ! Even Frankfurters understand Züritüütsch. so that it must be a problem of those Berliners
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Old 07.10.2010, 08:06
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Re: English as an Official Language

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All nice, but a piece of warning. People like plumbers, janitors, electricians, gardeners, house-cleaners, do not have speaking "Ausländisch" as their strong point
They do when they want me to give them money... Seriously, about half of those I've used over the years speak English to an extent. What's more important is that they speak German slowly and clearly in our dealings.

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German but different; ever witnessed someone from Berlin tryiing to have a conversation with a Zürcher - very funny.
The dialects don't permeate society in Germany in the same way they do in Switzerland. In education, standard German is used much earlier, so to a Berliner it's less a foreign language that it is to a Zürcher. At least, that's what my German friends tell me. And I do encounter people who ONLY speak their version of Swiss German.
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