Swiss German doesn’t know “I love you”
Our author moved from Flensburg to Zurich. A crash course is designed to help him familiarize himself with the language of the country. But Swiss German surprises with unexpected pitfalls. But there are also differences in manners.
Bin i now a strange pussy or a Fränkli? This question arises when I look at the Swiss German-German dictionary. The term strange pussy is often used in Switzerland for foreigners like me. A Fränkli again is a German who tries his hand at Swiss German on site. Both apply to me.
It’s been a few weeks since I moved from Flensburg to Zurich. I am still amazed at the prices. Even before that, when I was only on holiday in Switzerland, everything seemed twice as expensive to me as in Germany. But you don’t have to feel sorry for the confederates – over eleven percent of the population are millionaires. Does the word “money worries” exist in Swiss German? IM not sure.
It is not just language and prices that determine differences. The manners are also different from ours: the Swiss seem to have cultivated niceness. I have never seen so many people thank you for everything in such a short time.
Or excuse me: the other day, while walking into my cell phone, I accidentally bumped into a Swiss citizen. He apologized to me, not the other way around, even though I was the bumpster. I was so perplexed that I just said: “No problem” and kept walking.
A crash course in Swiss history and language
If you want to know more about what makes the Swiss tick, you can go to the information event “Living in Zurich” in the town hall, a crash course in Swiss history, Swiss German and Swiss customs. You can find out here how it works with direct democracy. Or how to properly separate rubbish – cardboard and paper are fundamentally different things for the Swiss, and plastic water bottles can be handed in at the supermarket, but plastic milk bottles cannot.
What surprised me the most about the course: Even the German-speaking Swiss don’t always seem to get on well with one another. The remains of an apple, for example, are in Zurich Bütschgi called, in the canton of Aargau Guurbsi, further west in Solothurn Gigetschi, In lucerne Bätsi and in Valais Chnätschi.
Even for potato pancakes, a specialty of German-Swiss cuisine, there is no single word. In Zurich they are called Röschti, in the East You are browsing, in the West Brägel and in the south Häärpfelchoch. And its main ingredient, the potato, is called, depending on the canton Häärpfel, Gumeli, Grundbire, truffle, Extremely or as Artifulo designated. How should you be as Fränkli so ever have a proper conversation with locals?
But there is no time to think, the lecturer has already reached the next point: the reluctance of many Swiss people. “Did someone come here for love?” He asks. “Then don’t be surprised that ‘I love you’ doesn’t exist in Swiss German.”I ha di gärn – I like you “is the highest of feelings, the Swiss are not prone to exuberance. Which is why in Eastern Switzerland, for example, the far too direct word “kiss” is used Knight has replaced. Schwiiz, I ha di gärn.