? asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 8 years ago

How German spoken in Germany is different from that in Switzerland ?

I heard even German people can't understand what Swiss say because of the difference of pronunciation or word spell (or grammar?) etc. When people go to Switzerland and communicate by using German, can't I make myself understood by using German spoken in Germany? If so, how should I study?

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  • 8 years ago
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    Linguistic unity began in Germany with the introduction by printers in Cologne, Mainz, Strassburg, Nuremberg and Augsburg who standardised on their own central dialect, which gradually became the accepted form of German (especially after Luther adopted it for his Bible), throughout everywhere from Schleswig-Holstein to the Alps, except in the Low Countries where local printers standardised on what became Dutch. Linguistic unification was a very slow process, and local dialects survived much better in the south than in the north, where Brandenburg-Prussia was much more effective in imposing the new standard (because it was so much better organised administratively and particularly through its use of "standard" German in its army in which all its male citizens had to serve). Also the Platt Deutsch of northern Germany was so different from the new standard, that northern Germans had to learn it almost as if it was a foreign language, and therefore made much more effort to speak "correctly." Of the southern dialects, Schwitzer Deutsch has proved the most enduring, despite (or because of?) its being further from the Central German norm than any other southern Dialect, even those of Austria. The standard written language came first and is now universal, even in Switzerland.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    To Germans, "typical" Swiss German sounds mostly like throat cancer. But it's really just another dialect of the German language. The ability of understanding depends on where you are from in Germany - as with all the dialects. Usually, the more southern you go, the more will the there-spoken dialect be similiar to Swiss German.

    Different German dialects not understanding each other is no special thing here actually. If you speak more dialect than Standard German (most people speak more and more Standard German as dialects seem to be reserved for old people and hillbillies) you have good chances of being subtitled on German TV.

    Source(s): I'm a native speaker.
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  • 8 years ago

    In Switzerland the swiss germans have to learn "proper German" in school, but when speaking they speak swiss German. you cannot write swiss german, as it is only spoken which is why they learn german at school to write with. However, swiss germans varies depending on where in Switzerland you are because it is like a dialect of German. certain words are changed and sound completely different from german or the pronunciation is altered. But in the end it depends where in switzerland you are.

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  • 8 years ago

    I had a German-speaking colleague from Zurich. Now I do not understand or speak German myself but the difference in pronunciation is clear. Swiss German tends to sound quite 'harsher', more forceful in the way they pronounce certain words- the best way I can describe it- but I am confident that you will be able to have a conversation with them if they speak a bit slower.

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  • ANF
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    The Swiss usually speak English, French and Swiss German. They do understand German very well so if you speak to them in German you will have no difficulty. I go to Switzerland every year and speak either German or English and they have no problem. As long as you spend money in their country they will love you.

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