What type of German is spoken in Switzerland?

I know that Switzerland is comprised of several different languages, with Swiss German and French being the dominant ones. My main question is if it would be incorrect to speak high German over in Switzerland, or if you can still carry on a conversation like that. In other words, is the dialect with Swiss German so defined that those who speak it would not understand high German and those who speak high German wouldn’t understand Swiss German? Would I need to learn Swiss German to be able to function over there - in essence.

Answer #1


I’m German. I understand the Swiss (if they try).

Germany and the German-Speakers in nearby countries have lots and lots of utterly unintellegible regional dialects. But almost all native speakers speak both, their regional dialect as well as - often accented - ‘High’-German Hochdeutsch.

You’ll hardly meet anyone who will not understand Hochdeutsch. And most people will try to speak Hochdeutsch to a foreigner. So you’ll be able to learn something very close to Hochdeutsch in Switzerland and with that, you can speak with everyone in Germany.

If you learn German in Switzerland and then move somewhere else, people will probably notice your English accent first ( I assume that English is your native tongue) and then they might come across some pronounciation or vocab that is unusual in their region. They’ll ask you if you learned to speak German “somewhere in the southern parts”.

Just imagine a German who learned English in Australia and then moves to London. That’s about equal. The Londoner will first of all notice a German accent and then be puzzled about the German who calls a sheep a ‘jumbuck’.

bye the jumbuck

Answer #2

It is a type of Swiss German which I may not spell well called Switzerduetch

Answer #3

I don’t know about Switzerland, but I’m going to presume that it is the same type of situation as in South Africa.

Over here we have what is called a South African German, which is a different dialect, however anyone that can speak German seems to be able to function over here, whether it is high German or not.

So I would guess that if you can speak German, regardless of how you speak it you should be able to communicate.

Similarly I speak Afrikaans, however when we go over to Belgium we are able to communicate over there, even though the dialect is REALLY a lot different.

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