Swiss Standard German

Swiss Standard German

Swiss Standard German is one out of four official languages in Switzerland, besides Romansh, French and Italian. It is a variety of Standard German, used in the German speaking part of Switzerland, mainly written, rather rarely spoken.

Spoken Swiss Standard German must not be confused with Swiss German, the Alemannic dialects that are the normal everyday language of all people in the German speaking part of Switzerland.

Standard German is a pluricentric language. In comparison with other local varieties of Standard German, Swiss Standard German has distinctive features in all linguistic domains: not only in phonology, but also in vocabulary, syntax, morphology and orthography. These characteristics of Swiss Standard German are called "helvetisms".

Written Swiss Standard German

Swiss Standard German is the official written language in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is used in all official publications (including all laws and regulations), in newspapers, printed notices and in most advertising. It is similar in most respects to the Standard German in Germany and Austria, although there are a few differences in spelling, most notably the replacing of the German ligature "ß" with "ss" and in some cases different words are used.

Examples of differences between Swiss Standard German and that used in Germany:
* "xxxx"strasse (name of a street) = "xxxx"straße in Germany.
* Tram = Straßenbahn (Germany).
* Billet = Fahrkarte (Germany) = Ticket (for bus/tram/train etc.).
* Führerausweis = Führerschein (Germany) = Driving Licence.

A Swiss keyboard has no "ß"-key, neither has it capital A-, O-, U-Umlaut keys ("Ä", "Ö", "Ü"). This dates back to mechanical typewriters that had the French diacritical marks letters on these keys to allow the Swiss to write French on a Swiss German QWERTZ keyboard (and vice versa). Thus a Swiss German VSM-Keyboard has an "ä"-key that prints an "à" (a-grave) when shifted [ [ Swiss Norm] , former VSM norm, SN 074021] . Accordingly, the Swiss are accustomed to names not being written with a starting capital umlaut, but instead with "Ae", "Oe" and "Ue", such as the Zurich suburb Oerlikon.The spelling differences may be noticed in German Wikipedia articles written about Switzerland or Swiss-related subjects.

Even though the local dialects are occasionally written, their written usage is mostly restricted to informal situations such as private text messages, emails, letters or notes.

poken Swiss Standard German

The normal spoken language in the German-speaking part of Switzerland are the local dialects. Swiss Standard German is only spoken in very few specific situations, for instance in schools and universities (though during the breaks, the professors will speak dialect with their students); in news broadcast of the public broadcast services; in the parliaments of certain German-speaking kantons; in the national parliament (unless another official language of Switzerland is used); in loudspeaker announcements in public places such as railway stations etc. The situations when Swiss Standard German is spoken are characteristically formal and public, and they are situations where written communication is also important.

In informal situations, Swiss Standard German is only used with people who don't understand the dialects. Among each other, the German speaking Swiss use their respective Swiss German dialects, irrespective of social class, education or topic.

Unlike in other regions where High German varieties are spoken, there is no continuum between Swiss Standard German and the Swiss German dialects. The speakers speak either Swiss Standard German or Swiss German dialect, and they are conscious about this choice.


The concurrent usage of Swiss Standard German and Swiss German dialects has been called a typical case of diglossia. This claim has been debated, because the typical diglossia situation assumes that the standard variety has high prestige, whereas the informal variety has low prestige. In the German-speaking part of Switzerland, however, the Swiss German dialects don't have a low prestige. The situation is rather like in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where Scottish English and Scots play similar roles.

Since Swiss Standard German is the usual written language and the Swiss German dialects are the usual spoken language, their interrelation has been called a "medial diglossia".

Attitude to spoken Swiss Standard German

Many German-speaking Swiss do not like speaking Swiss Standard German, irrespective of their education. When they compare their Swiss Standard German to the way people from Germany talk, they think their own way of talking is inferior because it is clumsy and slow. Most German-speaking Swiss think that the majority speak a rather poor Swiss Standard German; however, when asked about their personal proficiency, a majority will answer that they speak quite well. [de icon [ Ist der Dialekt an allem schuld?] , Martin Heule's 2006-09-19 "Kontext" programme on the SRG SSR idée suisse radio broadcast.]

Many people from Germany have a positive attitude towards Swiss Standard German. They think of it as cute and rural, an attitude that usually causes embarrassment to German-speaking Swiss. The attitude of German people towards Swiss Standard German is often illustrated by the following anecdote: Someone from Germany hears Swiss Standard German, mistakes it for Swiss German and is surprised that she/he understands it so easily. Afterwards, when that person hears actual Swiss German, she/he doesn't understand a word.



*de icon [ Földes, Csaba: "Deutsch als Sprache mit mehrfacher Regionalität: Die diatopische Variationsbreite". In: Muttersprache (Wiesbaden) 112 (2002) 3, S. 225-239]
*de icon Michael Kühntopf, "Schweiz-Lexikon. Sach- und Sprachlexikon zur Schweiz", 4. Auflage, Norderstedt 2008, ISBN 978-3-8334-8649-4
*de icon Hägi, Sara: "Nationale Varietäten im Unterricht Deutsch als Fremdsprache." Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2006. ISBN 3-631-54796-X.
*de icon [ Hägi, Sara und Joachim Scharloth (2005): Ist Standarddeutsch für Deutschschweizer eine Fremdsprache?]
*de icon [ Scharloth, Joachim (2004): Zwischen Fremdsprache und nationaler Varietät: Untersuchungen zum Plurizentrizitätsbewusstsein der Deutschschweizer]
*de icon [ Siebenhaar, Beat und Alfred Wyler (1997): Dialekt und Hochsprache in der deutschsprachigen Schweiz.]
*de icon [ Siebenhaar, Beat: Das Verhältnis von Mundarten und Standardsprache in der deutschen Schweiz]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Standard German — (German: Hochdeutsch ) is the standard varieties of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas. Since German is a pluricentric language, there are different varieties… …   Wikipedia

  • German language — German Deutsch Pronunciation [ˈdɔʏtʃ] Spoken in Primarily in German speaking Europe, as a minority language and amongst the German diaspora worldwide …   Wikipedia

  • Swiss German (disambiguation) — Swiss German may refer to:*Swiss Germans, the Germanophone community of Switzerland; *Swiss German, the dialects they speak; *Swiss Standard German, the variety of Standard German used in Switzerland; * Germans of Swiss origin (see ) …   Wikipedia

  • German language in Europe — German language skills of European Union citizens plus Croatia, Turkey and some Microstates …   Wikipedia

  • Swiss German — Infobox Language name=Swiss German nativename=Schwyzerdütsch familycolor=Indo European pronunciation= [ʃvitsəɾd̥ytʃ] states=Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria (Vorarlberg) region=Europe speakers=4,500,000 fam2=Germanic fam3=West Germanic… …   Wikipedia

  • German-speaking Europe — The German language (both as an official language and as a minority language) is spoken in a number of countries and territories in West and Central Europe ( de. Deutscher Sprachraum ). To cover this speech area they are often referred to as the… …   Wikipedia

  • Swiss Made — is a label used to indicate that a product was made in Switzerland. OverviewThe wording was formally adopted in the late 19th century [ origines du Swiss made horloger.html?siteSect=201 sid=7998036… …   Wikipedia

  • German American — German Americans Deutschamerikaner …   Wikipedia

  • German Shepherd Dog — Other names Alsatian Berger Allemand Deutscher Schäferhund GSD Schäferhund Country of origin Germany Traits …   Wikipedia

  • German phonology — describes the phonology of Standard German.Since German is a pluricentric language, there are a number of different pronunciations of standard German which however agree in most respects.Vowels* In the northern varieties, IPA| [ʔ] occurs before… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”