English speaking

Jul 28th, 2002, 08:46 AM
  #1  
Chuck
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English speaking

Do most Swiss speak and/or understand English in the major cities,mainly?
 
Jul 28th, 2002, 08:48 AM
  #2  
Grasshopper
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In my experience, most people undertstand some level of English, particularly in tourist areas. On my recent trip, I found English less spoken in the Ticino region.
 
Jul 29th, 2002, 02:29 AM
  #3  
lingua
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Yes, English will get you everywhere. In fact, you'll be surprised how much English is already incorporated into everyday German and French in Switzerland (something that's super is "super"; you want to do some mountain biking? then, you'd go "mountain biking" ordering a steak (not US quality, mind you)? then you'd say "steak" etc...) Even Hamburger = Hamburger, but beware, order some french fries at McDonald's and you'll need to say "Pommes frites". Anyway, use some lingua colloquia when you're here: say "Gruezi" or "Entschuldigen Sie" to get someone's attention; "Danke" to say thanks; and "Schoen" to say something's nice. You'll get more smiles that way... (Life is a bit more complicated here - pack some French and Italian phrases as well...)
 
Jul 29th, 2002, 09:04 AM
  #4  
Ingo
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hm, funny thread.

In my experience french phrases were more helpful sometimes than German phrases (I am German) in Bern or Graubuenden.

Excusez and Merci are most common in Bern and in Graubunden "Bun di" was very helpful to get a smile ...

Ingo
 
Jul 29th, 2002, 09:17 AM
  #5  
Ursula
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Chuck: I'd say so, especially the younger crowd. You won't have a problem. But it can't hurt to learn some basics in German.

Ingo: We say "Merci" (Danke schön) and "Excusez" (Entschuldigung)in all parts of Switzerland. Most people are probably not even aware they *are* French.
As a matter of fact, we use quite some French words in our daily Swiss German Same with English words like "great", "cool", "heavy", etc. not to mention all the 4-letter words.
 
Jul 29th, 2002, 09:51 AM
  #6  
pedro
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Funny thread and Lingua posted the funniest answer.

"Super" comes from Latin with the same spelling and meaning.

"Hamburger" comes from Hamburg, a city in Germany.

 
Jul 29th, 2002, 01:52 PM
  #7  
4 languages en Suisse
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It depends what part of Switzerland you visit!!! Please realize not only German is spoken there, but also French, and Italian, (and yet a 4th language still alive in more remote places), depending on the region you visit.

From Geneva and out along Lac Luman (Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux) I found mostly French spoken. Friends-of-friends I met spoke English as a 2nd language, but shopkeepers (i.e., grocery store, bakery, lace shops) usually spoke only French.
 
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