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  #41  
Old 07.10.2010, 09:02
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Re: English as an Official Language

I think the only point Wolli is trying to make is that there's a difference between dialect and language. Despite differences in vocab and pronuciation, I don't think anybody could deny Swiss German dialects are dialects of the same language, just like dialects in the Bundesrepublik are. The fact that people in Switzerland use dialect more exclusively doesn't change that.

Whenever I've worked with Swiss Germans from different cantons and regions, they seem to have no difficulty communicating with each other in Swiss German despite their different dialects and accents.
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  #42  
Old 07.10.2010, 09:53
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Re: English as an Official Language

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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
Ahh those doughnuts again.

The point I was trying to make but failed miserably is;
Both English & Swiss German are widely spoken, are de facto official languages but not formally official Swiss languages.

Main issue for formalising Swiss German (apart from which version, obviously Zürcher ) is it is spoken not written. Once you start to try to write official documents phonetically you create a big party for lawyers who earn mega-bucks arguing about the exact meaning.
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  #43  
Old 07.10.2010, 10:19
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Re: English as an Official Language

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I think English-speakers are very blinkered. People will work in whichever language is most effective for the participants collaborating together.

If it's a bunch of German-speakers, should we force them to work together in English?

I work in English and German in a company with English as it's Business Language.

The underlying message is that one language spoken and/or written is no longer sufficient. Thankfully, where we're all at, people tend to be fluent in two languages and able to get by in one or two more.

OP - does that describe you?

............thought not
Hmm, I speak German well, but not fluent in 2 others - I appreciate and respect those that enjoy and learn other languages but that should turn to disrespect for those that don't. I also agree that people should talk in whichever language works best for the people -but for ease of documentation and understanding there is need for a defined business language.

My main point is that sure - for many reasons we should try our damndest to learn the local language. One special one is to remain on the right side of the GJI (German Judgement Index) (of my own making) Which is the facial expression and approach you get from, friends, strangers and colleagues when you say how long you have been in Switzerland (X axis) versus to the quality of German you speak (Y axis) There are different coloured sections from Purple (well above the line) to deep black (7 years- no german). I should write a book on it But I digress.

My point is there are well meaning, dewy-eyed guys coming to Switzerland for a great job, trying to learn German (sometimes against all odds) only even in the first year to get the 'wrong' official who looks at you at impunity when you utter the words 'sprechen sie englisch bitte? - the response in English (of course) -why should I? Its not an official language.

Great posts on the Canton/Country official languages, I learned a lot. So ok then English as an official language - of Zurich?

That means all forms have to be in English -then you don’t lose oodles of cash in lost tax benefits or misunderstandings or.... etc (I could post many threads)

Anyway for sure you will get the question - 'How long have you been here?' when you ask for English - Its up us to all be on the right side of the GJI line Or have a good story to tell

Just to note – I agree on the food label point –so doesn’t count

GJI – might just catch on

Also, its a great feeling when people respond to a post you make, and give me another perspective and taking their time to help out and share experiences. Thanks all -i'm now wiser and happier - still not fluent in those 2 other languages dammit!!! (good job I only have 2 axis or I i'm in the black!!)
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  #44  
Old 07.10.2010, 10:25
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Re: English as an Official Language

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Whenever I've worked with Swiss Germans from different cantons and regions, they seem to have no difficulty communicating with each other in Swiss German despite their different dialects and accents.
I've found that often the Swiss find it easier to understand a foreigner mangling their language and pronunciation, than someone who speaks standard German almost exclusively. Their minds seem to be more flexible.
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  #45  
Old 19.12.2010, 14:33
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Re: English as an Official Language

Make English a semi-official language, study urges
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  #46  
Old 08.04.2011, 20:41
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English as an official Swiss language

I found this link interesting.

http://politblog.tagesanzeiger.ch/blog/index.php/1332/englisch-als-schweizweit-erste-fremdsprache/?lang=de

Google translate does a pretty good job.
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  #47  
Old 08.04.2011, 21:08
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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I found this link interesting.

http://politblog.tagesanzeiger.ch/blog/index.php/1332/englisch-als-schweizweit-erste-fremdsprache/?lang=de

Google translate does a pretty good job.
But the story is not new at all. People in the economy in Zurich and Geneva already in the 1970ies and 80ies quite often used English as their communication language. 100'000s of Swiss from all areas of CH had been in England to learn English and learnt it in a practical way, and so back home, found it easy to use that language as communication tool.

And in the late 80ies, federal services started to accept and to use English texts in quite many ways.
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  #48  
Old 08.04.2011, 21:40
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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But the story is not new at all. People in the economy in Zurich and Geneva already in the 1970ies and 80ies quite often used English as their communication language. 100'000s of Swiss from all areas of CH had been in England to learn English and learnt it in a practical way, and so back home, found it easy to use that language as communication tool.

And in the late 80ies, federal services started to accept and to use English texts in quite many ways.
So, is this trend continuing ? Makes sense to me, but then it would , my German is awful

Will it be an official language do you think ?
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  #49  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:00
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

Man, I would looove it if English was made an official language.
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  #50  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:05
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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So, is this trend continuing ? Makes sense to me, but then it would , my German is awful

Will it be an official language do you think ?
The trend is continuing, yes, but an official language it will not become as the share of Native English speakers among CH residents is very small and heavily surpassed by native Tamil/Albanian/Croatian/Turkish/Spanish/Portuguese speakers. And increasingly by native Arabic speakers .
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  #51  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:07
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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The trend is continuing, yes, but an official language it will not become as the share of Native English speakers among CH residents is very small and heavily surpassed by native Tamil/Albanian/Croatian/Turkish/Spanish/Portuguese speakers. And increasingly by native Arabic speakers .
...who can bloody well learn English !
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  #52  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:07
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

There's been a movement towards it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the Suisse view on the practicality of it...It would be simpler due to the costs of having to translate everything in up to 4 languages

Still, I hope it never happens, tbh...Too much cultural history tied into the language in this great little country...Homogenizing everyone into English because it's 'easy' will end up diluting the traditions & culture until it's a US satellite enclave...Who wants that anyway?
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  #53  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:25
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

In the 25 years I've been living in CH, 4 in ZH, 21 in TI, I have used French more than any other language at work. However, only spoken, written English is more used (I guess my French is better than my co-workers English, but they suck at writing French). The only people I normally speak English with at work are a) a Rumantch guy that I also speak French, SG, Italian, or Rumantsch with, depending on the phase of the moon, and a Luxembourger that I speak to half the time in French, depending on his mood. Oh, and an 82 year old ex-hockey player that does some consulting for us (he lived in upstate NY for a bunch of years), though I also speak French, Italian and SG with him, depending on who else is around.

So, I really don't see the need for English here.

Tom
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Old 08.04.2011, 22:32
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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In the 25 years I've been living in CH, 4 in ZH, 21 in TI, I have used French more than any other language at work. However, only spoken, written English is more used (I guess my French is better than my co-workers English, but they suck at writing French). The only people I normally speak English with at work are a) a Rumantch guy that I also speak French, SG, Italian, or Rumantsch with, depending on the phase of the moon, and a Luxembourger that I speak to half the time in French, depending on his mood. Oh, and an 82 year old ex-hockey player that does some consulting for us (he lived in upstate NY for a bunch of years), though I also speak French, Italian and SG with him, depending on who else is around.

So, I really don't see the need for English here in TI.

Tom
Fixed that for you...
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  #55  
Old 08.04.2011, 22:50
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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It borders on treason to propose English in Switzerland. The language of Switzerland is German. The fact that Mr Chapman is a mouthpiece of the Anglo-American hegemonists, you can already read on his behalf
also FR and IT.
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  #56  
Old 08.04.2011, 23:21
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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...who can bloody well learn English !
but why can't the "Anglos" learn German or French or Italian or Arabic or Spanish ? Beside the point that in many of those countries like Turkey and Kosovo and Albania, the first two foreign languages are German and Italian
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  #57  
Old 09.04.2011, 00:10
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

English has always been used as the de facto intermediary language for many on both sides of the Röstigraben. The de jure language in a company may be French or German (or Italian) but in a national company this doesn't always work. I had a friend who worked in the Post Office and he always communicated with his Swiss German colleagues in English. And English is heavily used in universities as more and more advanced degrees are taught in English only.

English will always have a special place in Switzerland. But it will never become an official language. Sorry EFers.
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Old 09.04.2011, 00:25
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

Never ever never
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Old 09.04.2011, 00:30
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Some of the reader comments are really quite entertaining...
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Old 09.04.2011, 09:47
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Re: English as an official Swiss language

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Some of the reader comments are really quite entertaining...
Entertaining sure, but some of the contributions from Romands surprising. Surprising as showing how much of a grudge many Romands still have against the fact that French in the past half-Century in Switzerland has lost much of its earlier importance. Lost against Italian, German and English. Long gone are the pre-war times when young Swiss-Germans after finished education went to the Romandie for the "Romandie-Jahr", and long gone are the times when Romands on visit to places like Zürich could expect to speak with everybody in THEIR tongue, as speaking French around the country is THEIR idea of multi-linguality !
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