Monday, February 20, 2006

What Does That Mean

When I first got to Switzerland, I was always very confused on what people were saying. I had studied the language but things were just different. And things were definitely different when I travelled into the Swiss German speaking region. Boy were they different.

I'm sure some of you can even remember some of the first times you started hearing people say such weird words. What was harder for me was that I knew exactly no High German! In one of my first experiences in Swiss German speaking Switzerland, I was invited to dinner with my friends. They were speaking in Swiss German and I was listening to any word which was remotely linked to English, since I was told there were a lot of words like that. I tend to disagree a bit but here are just a few of those funny differences.

I've put them in order as follows:

ENGLISH - SWISS GERMAN - GERMAN

Hello - Grüezi - Guten Tag or Tag in Swiss German
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

So I finally know what you guys in Germany are saying when you mention "Bis später". Since Swiss German isn't a known written language, a lot of these words you just have to pick up. Really I never knew what people were saying until I asked my friends multiple times and over and over again. I've started with some easy words but hope to bring you a few more words this week. I'm off to a full days worth of housekeeping in cloudy Vancouver.

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