Swiss citizen not speaking Schweizerdeutsch

  • I am a Swiss citizen but I Have never been to Switzerland and I am moving there this summer. I speak higher german and have no knowledge of Schweizerdeutsch.

    Is it hard to learn and will it really affect me for the time being while I dont speak it?

    18 Apr 2005, 05:01 Anonymous
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Replies

  • Hi and grüeziwohl!

    Well, to be really honest with you, if you are a really profound speaker of so called "High German" you will be able to adapt to Swiss German after a while on your own. You will have - however - a great hard time in the beginning understanding people. But, most will quickly turn to High German if they don't hear you reply in Swiss German. Most everybody (should) have learned it in school anyway. - Now learning Swiss German is just as hard for a foreign speaker of German as to learn Bavarian, Viennese Austrian, the language of Berlin, Hessian, or any German dialect for that matter. High German is a language that has not existed for a very long time. In fact, in times before Radio and TV, a speaker from Berlin would have had some problems in Munich or in Zurich. Just like in Italy, where Radio and TV unified the entire nation linguistically did High German - acutally the regional dialect of Hannover which is more or less what can be identified with High German - persistantly become a single national language. Surely it was spoke before that era, but not to that extend. In the 70ies - the time I went to school in Germany - ANY use of a dialect was totally abolished in class room. It was only later, that a renaissance for regional dialects grew again.

    In Switzerland however, the local dialects (which belong to the German dialect group "Allemanian"blunk have been preserved to much greater extend. This is also reflected in media: there are news broadcasts and shows on radio and TV in Swiss German and its use was not prohibited in schools. This is why Swiss German had the chance to become a little bit more than just a dialect.

    To learn it is hard, there are some books and even University courses in Swiss German, but, one has to be aware of the fact that there is not really something as a "Unified Swiss German". It is most always one of the regional dialects - in Austria there is the same situation, however, Radio and TV (the state owned ORF broadcasting corporation) has used a special form of Austrian: Burghof Theatre German. This actually is a blend of various Austrian dialects, stylized into some sort of "High Austrian". Though noone really speaks it - apart from announcers on the radio and TV and some old school actors, it has reached a status of almost a "High" language. Switzerland however has not seen such a development and thus learning a reginal dialect will be difficult as there is no real standardization of language.

    As I said initially: if you are rather profound in High German, just be around Swiss German and you will adapt to it sooner or later! And don't worry, people do switch to High German rather instinctively with you in the beginning! happy

    Anonymous 20 Jun 2005, 09:24 - Report
  • Online courses Schwyzerdütsch

    How are you? Are you still in Switzerland and did you learn the language? Linguazoom offers online swiss german courses: Leraning swissgerman wehn- and wherever you want. The courses are adapted at your needs and are done by skype, msn, e-mail and on the phone. More informatios: www.linguazoom.ch

    Linguazoom 16 May 2009, 03:07 - Report
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