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Chuchichäschtli, Chäschüechli etc...

Did you learn that they speak German in Switzerland? That's a common misconception! In Switzerland they speak Swiss German, and that's something completely different. Swiss German has its own pronunciation, many different words, its own grammar, and most Germans have difficulty understanding this funny language. The German-speaking Swiss write standard German, that's true - there is no Swiss German official language (but still some literature, e-mails etc. using the dialect). The Swiss can also speak standard German very well, but to them it's a foreign language that they have to learn how to use when they start school.

To my advanced Swiss German page

On this page:      The sound of Swiss German

                         How to impress a Swiss

                         Useful words

                         Special expressions

 

Click here to hear a tired Swiss talking!

 

How to impress a Swiss

Would you like to win a Swiss person's heart? Then learn these two beautiful words. They are almost like national treasures, because they are so typical of Swiss German. Note: Ch is pronounced like in the German word ach (whereas sch is like the normal sh-sound, like in "sheep"). You may have to practise a lot to make it, but don't practise so much that you get a sore throat!

1) CHUCHICHÄSCHTLI

2) CHÄS-CHÜECHLI

What do they mean? Number 1 is "kitchen cupboard", number 2 is "cheese pie(s) (or, more directly translated, "cheese cake(s)")!

As we know, the abbreviation of Switzerland is CH. Some times I've wondered if this has some kind of connection to the Swiss German sounds... ( ;-) ! I do know the real meaning of the abbreviation, thank you...)

 

Useful words

Here are some of the most common words that might be good to know. I have also written some other words, either because they have different meanings in standard German and Swiss German, or just because I like them...

Note: This is Züridüütsch - Zürich German, which is the Swiss dialect that I know the best. Other dialects may some times sound very different!

Remember, here as well, that all ch's should be pronounced like in German ach. All the vowels I have written should be pronounced. If you see ue, üe or ie, for instance, the e should also be pronounced. The standard German version that you see here is to be pronounced the normal German way.

(By the way, it's not always easy to "translate" Swiss German words and expressions into standard German - if any of you have some other suggestions, I'm very thankful...)

 

Top 5 - Hello/good bye - Food&drinks - Transport - Diverse verbs - Small, useful words - Miscellaneous - The week - Numbers - "Useful" expressions

 

The top 5: learn these, and you have already come far!
1. Grüezi (hello)
2. (Uf) Widerluege (good bye)
3. Merci vilmal (thanks a lot)
4. En guete (have a nice meal)
5. Äbä, genau (yeah, right, exactly)
 

 

Hello, good bye and so on...
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Hello Grüezi Guten Tag
Hello (to more than one person) Grüezi mitenand Guten Tag
Good evening Gueten Abig Guten Abend
Hi (more informal than "grüezi") Hoi/Salü/Sali Salut
Hi (to more than one person) Hoi zäme Salut
Good bye (Uf) Widerluege/Ciao/Tschüss Auf Wiedersehen/Tschüss
Thanks a lot Merci vilmal Vielen Dank
See you later Bis spöter Bis später
         
Eating and drinking
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Have a nice meal (always to be said to the others before eating) En Guete Guten Appetit
Müsli - maybe you think this is obvious, but... Müesli Müsli
Small mouse - mind the pronunciation! Müüsli "Mäuschen"
Special Swiss müsli (very nice) Birchermüesli
Very small cheese cake/pie Chäs-Chüechli Käsekuchen (well, actually it's not quite the same)
Fried, grated potatoes (hash brown) Röschti Rösti
Potato(es) Herdöpfel Kartoffel(n)
Carrot(s) Rüebli Möhre(n)/Karotte(n)
Paprika (the vegetable) Pepperoni Paprika
Paprika (the spice) Paprika Paprika
Chocolate Schoggi Schokolade
Butter Ankche/Butter Butter
Cheers! Pröschtli/Proscht Prost
A small glass of beer Schtange Ein kleines Glas Bier
Wine Wii Wein
Coffee Kafi Kaffee
Breakfast Z'Morge/Morgenässe Frühstück
Lunch Z'Mittag/Mittagässe Mittagessen
Dinner Z'Nacht/Nachtässe Abendessen/Abendbrot
Eat Ässe Essen
Drink Trinkche Trinken
Drink (alcohol) Suufe Saufen/trinken
 

 

Top 5 - Hello/good bye - Food&drinks - Transport - Diverse verbs - Small, useful words - Miscellaneous - The week - Numbers - "Useful" expressions

 

Transport
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Walk Laufe Gehen
Run Ränne Laufen/rennen
Walk downhill Abälaufe Abwärts gehen
Walk uphill Uälaufe Aufwärts gehen
Walk uphill (and reach the top) Ufälaufe Aufwärts gehen
Move (get a new place to live) Zügle Umziehen
Shall we leave? Gömmer? Gehen wir?
Tram Tram Strassenbahn
Motorbike Töff Motorrad
Bike Velo Fahrrad
 

 

Some verbs
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Work Schaffe Arbeiten
Work hard Chrampfe Hart arbeiten
Sunbathe Sünnele Sich sonnen
Go shopping Poschte Einkaufen
Look Luege Sehen
Call Aalüte Anrufen
I call you Ich lüte dir aa Ich rufe dich an
You know Weisch Weisst du
Are you coming? Chuntsch? Kommst du?
Do we have...? Hämmer...? Haben wir...?
 

 

The small, but very useful words
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
A little Es bitzeli Ein bisschen
Approximately Öppe Etwa
Someone Öpper Jemand
Something Öppis Etwas
Not Nööd Nicht
Nothing Nüüt Nichts
Here Da Hier
There Det Dort
...right? ...gäll? ...nicht wahr?
Otherwise Susch Sonst
Disgusting Gruusig Grausig
Very (not a very nice expression) (Uu) huere
Some times Mängisch Manchmal
Well, yes Mol Doch
Yeah, right Äbä Eben
 

 

Top 5 - Hello/good bye - Food&drinks - Transport - Diverse verbs - Small, useful words - Miscellaneous - The week - Numbers - "Useful" expressions

 

Miscellaneous
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Money (francs) Schtutz (informal) - or: Frankche Franken
Six francs Sächs Schtutz/Frankche Sechs Franken
Friend (male/female) Kolleg/Kollegin Freund/Freundin
Boyfriend/girlfriend (may also some times be "just a friend") Früünd/Früündin Freund/Freundin
"Gooseflesh" Hüehnerhuut Gänsehaut
Cow Chue Kuh
Pig Sau Schwein
Butterfly Summervogel Schmetterling
Very tired ("stone tired") Schteimüed Hundemüde
Cellular phone Natel Handy
Church Chile Kirche
Market/fun fair Chilbi Dorffest/Kirmes
Toilet Hüüsli/WC WC
   
The days of the week
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Monday Määntig Montag
Tuesday Ziischtig Dienstag
Wednesday Mittwuch Mittwoch
Thursday Dunschtig Donnerstag
Friday Friitig Freitag
Saturday Samschtig Samstag
Sunday Sunntig Sonntag
 

 

Numbers
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
One Eis Eins
Two Zwei Zwei
Three Drüü Drei
Four Vier Vier
Five Feuf  Fünf
Six Sächs Sechs
Seven Sibe Sieben
Eight Acht Acht
Nine Nüün Neun
Ten Zää Zehn
Eleven Elf Elf
Twelve Zwölf Zwölf
Thirteen Driizä Dreizehn
Fourteen Vierzä Vierzehn
Fifteen Füfzä Fünfzehn
Sixteen Sächzä Sechzehn
Seventeen Sibezä Siebzehn
Eighteen Achzä Achtzehn
Nineteen Nünzä Neunzehn
Twenty Zwänzk Zwanzig
Twenty-four Vierezwänzk Vierundzwanzig
Many numbers end with an -i when they are used for the time of the day: Halbi elfi = half past ten.
 

 

Top 5 - Hello/good bye - Food&drinks - Transport - Diverse verbs - Small, useful words - Miscellaneous - The week - Numbers - "Useful" expressions

 

And in the end: some more or less useful expressions...
ENGLISH SWISS GERMAN GERMAN
Wanna go out drinking? Wämmer eis go ziie? Wollen wir einen trinken?
I'm cold Ich ha chalt Mir ist kalt
I have a bit of a headache Ich han es bitzeli Chopfweh Ich habe ein bisschen Kopfweh
Now the fun is over! Jetz isch färtig luschtig Jetzt ist Schluss mit Lustig
 

 

Special expressions...

 

Röstigraben

...is an expression used for the border between the German-speaking and the French-speaking Switzerland. In English it would be "the Rösti ditch", and it has probably got something with the different (food) cultures to do...

 

Merci vilmal

...is a nice language mixture. An explanation that I have got, which probably isn't completely true, but funny anyway, is that the German-speaking Swiss wanted to say "merci" instead of "danke", to prove that they weren't German. The problem was only that then they sounded like they were trying to speak French without being very successful (the Swiss German pronunciation of "merci" is rather special). The solution was to add the typical Swiss German ending "vilmal". Then there would be no doubt of where they were coming from.   ....and this is how the expression "merci vilmal" - thanks a lot - may have been created...

 
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These pages are 100% home-made. I don't mind sharing the soundclip and the illustrations with others, but I'd be happy if you ask me first...