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Anonymous asked in TravelEurope (Continental)Other - Europe · 1 decade ago

How different is the German in Switzerland from the German In Germany?

Ok, I am fluent in German, and I am taking a trip to europe.And I hear people say In switzerland they speak German differently. How differently? Like will I have trouble understanding them? or is it just a little different, like form america to english?


I mean american from england

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is a dialect and most Germans will understand 'Swiss German' at least the Germans from South Germany.

    There are German dialects which are a lot harder to understand than 'Swiss German'.

    Besides everybody In German Switzerland speaks 'Standard German' aswell, since it is the official language used in school and in the media (Radio,TV,Newspapers).

    @Alucard not sure what region in Germany you come from but your answer is really dead wrong!!!

    Dutch is not understandable it is another language and I have never heared of a German being not able to understand 'Swiss German' and I do travel Switzerland very regularily !!!

    As I stated already I do travel Switerland very often so maybe I did get used to these dialects also they are very similar to the German dialects in Elsass(France) maybe that did help me too.

    But to state you can't understand Swiss German is ridiculous !!

    Yes I have been to Bern actually I travel there almost every Year since I have close friends there I agree that 'Bernduetsch' is one of the hardest swiss dialects to understand, still a lot easier for a south German than Dutch !!

    To me there are even dialects within Germany which I think are harder to understand eg 'Kölsch' or 'Platt' as both are mixed with other languages .Again since you come from that region these might be easier for you therefore I stated clearly I am from 'South Germany' and sure it makes a difference that I travel Switzerland regularily .

    @Alucard unlike you people can mail me if you want to continue this send me a mail

    BTW The question was will he be able to understand them and the Answer is YES since they will talk German with him and not their local dialect !!

    @@Alucard I did not say you are no person I just said that I can't mail you I know a lot of people close that option and missuse the board as chatroom.

    Exactly for these cases there is the email option at least that is my opinion. And I have my email option open that must be some problem with your acount then.

    To my opinion he was afraid he would not be able to comunicate with them :-) and I wanted to tell him not to worry :-)

    I am glad that we agree at least about this that there will be no reason to worry for him.

    Since i did like a lot of your answers in the languages section !!

    @@@Alucard well I somehow agree to that and I think a lot of it was ' ein Sturm im Wasserglass' or 'viel Lärm um Nichts' lol a pitty you can't enable email I d really like to continue the discussion but not on here confusing the guy :-)

    One last Edit ;-) I am native German too and I am fluent in English , I would say I can read some Dutch but I really understand just some words if Dutch is spoken..

    Still that might be different for somebody who lives closer to that region as all over Germany you find lots of different dialects.I had never any trouble understanding any of the southern dialects including the 'Austrian' and 'Swiss' and I really have never met anybody else who would say he could not understand these at all.

    Source(s): Native German interpreter
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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    It'll probably be quite different, especially when spoken. I know people who moved to Switzerland for a job and actually took a course in Swiss German to help them interact with their colleagues in day to day matters. One thing is picking up the new vocabulary, another on eis getting an ear for the melody of the language and unerstanding it at the - sometimes considerable - speed at which it is spoken.

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  • I too agree with Hilmar here, I have been to Switzerland and I am American so I speak native American English but I also speak very good German though I would not call it fluent, just good.

    My friend (Girlfriend at the time) went to Bondensee (Konstanz) and she had NO problems at all speaking German with them and yes the dialect she said was slightly different than what she speaks but not enough that she could not talk with them and I too could talk to them. We had a harder time in the Netherlands and spoke more English than German there.

    So I have to concur with Hilmar and Rudolf.

    Source(s): Shihan and Seasoned World Traveler.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I line up with Hilmar though I am originally from 'North Germany' . Dutch is another language so I would understand some words only but I do understand 'Swiss German ' perfectly and yes I do travel there at least once a year.

    Source(s): Native German Teacher
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  • 1 decade ago

    check out that link and see if you understand anything:

    Youtube thumbnail


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  • 1 decade ago

    I have to agree with the people who say it's very different (even if they all have 6 thumbs down). I live in Germany and I once went to Bern in Switzerland and couldn't understand a word they said when speaking in dialect.

    I think the misconception here (which may have resulted in the thumbs down) is that people think the Swiss dialect is what they hear Swiss people speaking on TV. That's actually their version of German with a Swiss accent (known as Swiss Standard German)! The actual dialects are very different and very difficult to understand.

    However, I think you won't have too much trouble when traveling there, because the vast majority of people there speaks also German apart from the dialect (maybe not everybody in the French and Italian speaking parts though) and the television and newspapers are in German anyway.

    @Hilmar: I live in Münster.

    Sure, there are some pretty unintelligible dialects of German, but they are not as different as what I've heard in Bern.

    Listen to the first example from the Kanton Zürich here ( ). You can make out some things but I'd say for somebody who learned German as a foreign language it's very difficult to understand. Or listen to this one from the area of Bern ( ). You don't really wanna tell me that you can understand that as well as dialects in Germany? And these are things that are read out pronounced, the colloquial version I encountered with the people in the flat share I lived in for a few days there was completely unintelligible to me.

    I know that Dutch is an entirely different language, but I think it's more intelligible for a native speaker of German (especially if he also knows English) than some Swiss dialects, e.g. the one I encountered in Bern.

    @Hilmar: The question here is not whether you or I can understand what dialect better, but whether somebody who learned German as a foreign language and is now fluent in it will be able to easily understand the dialects in Switzerland. And the answer is no. But maybe he can just listen to the examples at and decide for himself.

    You will have real difficulties finding speakers of Plattdeutsch nowadays as it's a dying language in Germany like the Sorbian languages.

    > @Alucard unlike you people can mail me > Are you telling me you don't consider me to be a person? *pout* Besides, it says "(User does not allow email)" on your account. Or is that a problem with my account?

    > They will talk German to him > Yeah, I already said that. But I understood the question to mean "Will I be able to understand them, even if they don't try to speak German to me but their native dialect". Sorry, if that's not what was meant be the question.

    (Shutting up now)

    Now, I see your email but for some reason "enable Yahoo! Answers email communications" does not work for me. Anyway, I added you to my contacts. I think the problem here is that we were both absolutely sure that we were right and not the other. Und dass wir beide "das letzte Wort" haben wollten. But since I've got ten thumbs down and you've got ten thumbs up I think it's time to throw in the towel.

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  • 1 decade ago

    very different. Germans don't understand Swiss German. There are also many Swiss German dialects. Swiss German is not a written language therefore the development was completely different to German. It's far more different than UK English to US English or Aussie English to South African English.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hi Im German

    Most people in the cities are able to speak standard German

    (more or less) The diferences will be like Ae and BE

    but you won't be able to get real "schyzerdütsch"

    Most germans are not able to understand more then some words in a sentence

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it's like a dialect.. i'm sure you won't have any problem with the comunication

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  • Reese
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It's very different. It's more like comparing BBC English with a dialect like Glaswegian or Scouse. They have alot of different words and phrases and even Germans find it difficult to understand.

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