german spoken in switzerland...

Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:10 AM
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jfm
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german spoken in switzerland...

i understand that swiss german differs from high german. wondering, though, if one speaking high german can reasonably communicate in switzerland?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:19 AM
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Reasonably? Absolutely. We read and write in high German. Unfortunately, some (but certainly not all) Swiss are very rusty in their spoken high German so it may be spoken with a very heavy Swiss accent.

The Swiss will be delighted that you are speaking to them in their "almost" mother tongue.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:32 AM
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Yes, of course. Although you might as well say "gruezi" instead of "guten tag" or "gruess gott". (And in Basel, don't be surprised if shopkeepers say merci to you instead of danke. All part of living on the French/German border.)
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 07:52 AM
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I was in Luzern at Christmas and found the spoken Swiss German hard to understand. They will understand high German (newspapers, etc, are all printed in high German), but the Swiss are not used to speaking it. They do use some French words: "merci" was used in Luzern. A good guide book to Switzerland should explain the differences in the language.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 08:19 AM
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For the German-speakers among Fodorites, my friend and I saw this sign outside a restaurant in a small town in Switzerland (Can't remember which) "D'Krone isch zue." It took us a minute to figure out that it meant that the restaurant, Die Krone, was closed.

We also had a soda or something with "Eifach guet" on the label. However, I don't recall having had trouble understanding spoken German in die Schweiz.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:09 AM
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I would say all German-speaking Swiss will understand your High German (it's taught in school and almost all printed matter are in HG), and if pressed, most of them can speak Hochdeutsch if pressed, though usually with a heavy accent. But English is quite widely sponken and understood, so you shouldn't have any problems. In fact the Swiss are some of the best linguists anywhere!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:17 AM
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On our visits to Lucerne, we used our limited German which we learned years ago when living in Vienna, and English, which is widely spoken. Many shopkeepers speak very good English but also seemed to understand our German. We never had any problems communicating.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:26 AM
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all, thank you for your replies. very much a help...best, jfm.
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