Swiss German

In all German-speaking countries there is a bilingualism where official German is spoken alongside the local German dialect.The same is true in Switzerland with Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch).

German speaking areas in Switzerland.

German dialects in Switzerland are spoken by the German-speaking population in both urban centres and in the countryside.

 Linguistically they are not uniform and in fact many of them are more closely related to German dialects outside the country than to each other, especially to dialects of Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy and France.

 The reason they are classified together is for political rather than linguistic reasons.Linguistically they are classified in the Alemannic Germanic dialects,the lower,middle and high Alemannic dialects in the Alps.

Compared to the official German of Germany, they have big differences that create a big problem in communication.Imagine that Swiss films shown in Germany are either subtitled or dubbed.

The official language of the German-speaking cantons is official German in its Swiss version which is taught in school and at first is almost a foreign language for children because of its difference from the local German dialect.

Apart from official documents,administration and commerce official German is also used in news reports.Official Swiss German is also closer to the German of Germany.

On a more informal level, e.g. on the internet, in colloquial speech, at home and on television in shows such as serials and soap operas, the local dialect is preferred.But don't imagine that the local dialects are snubbed as they are here in Greece.There they are spoken alongside official German not only without shame, but on the contrary with pride.

Some particular features of Swiss dialects are vowel clusters,different vocabulary depending on the region and loans from French and less so from Italian.For example, thank you in Switzerland is merci while in Germany it is danke.

sample of the language.

Was koschtet das? How much does it cost?
Das isch mir e chli z'tüür .This is rather expensive.

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