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swiss german language

Chuchichäschtli, Chäschüechli etc...

Did you learn that they speak German in Switzerland? That's a misunderstanding! 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 difficulties understanding this funny language. The German-speaking Swiss write the proper German, that's true - there is not really a Swiss German written language. They can also very well speak proper German, 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

Links & literature

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 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 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 been wondering if this has some kind of connection to the Swiss German sounds...

 

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 proper 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 proper 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 proper 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

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

 

Wine

Wii

Wein

Coffee

Kafi

Kaffee

Breakfast

Z'Morge/Morgenässe

Morgenessen

Lunch

Z'Mittag/Mittagässe

Mittagessen

Dinner

Z'Nacht/Nachtässe

Abendessen

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)

Zügele

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?

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"

Gänzehuut

Gänzehaut

Cow

Chue

Kuh

Pig

Sau

Schwein

Butterfly

Summervogel

Schmetterling

Very tired ("stone tired")

Schteimüed

Steinmüde

Cellular phone

Natel

Handy

Church

Chile

Kirche

Market/fun fair

Chilbi

Dorffest

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

Viär

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

Virzä

Vierzehn

Fifteen

Füfzä

Fünfzehn

Sixteen

Sächszä

Sechzehn

Seventeen

Sibezä

Siebzehn

Eighteen

Achtzä

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?

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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