Countries, Languages & Weather

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Diziet Sma, May 28, 2016.

  1. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Well, learning a foreign language is not for everyone. Being a language teacher for some many years has given me the immense joy of corroborating this.:confused: I live in a tiny country of 8 millions with 4 official languages and God only knows how many dialectal forms: pretty crazy, quaint too and beautiful with lots of lilac cows and yummy choc; without the language skills to get you by, not sure I wouldn't go mad...
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    I don't know much about Switzerland other than it seems to be a country of contradictions. Very progressive in some aspects, not nearly so in others. I had no idea you guys have four official languages! Are you required to learn all four, and English?
    America has a State by State kind of approach to language... the more conservative States have English as their official language, more liberal States operate as if the official language is English, but don't feel it's appropriate in a nation of immigrants to make it mandatory. I'm first generation American, so I know those awkward moments all too well, when I had friends over when I was growing up... and they couldn't understand what my dad was saying. He was from Scotland.:D
     
  3. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    No, not at all! Each language is spoken in their respective geographical denomination. When we lived in the French part, then I got on with French even though French and I don't get along. Now in Zürich, German it is. The other two languages are Italian and Romansh, this last one is a tortilla mix of Latin and Germanic based languages. In the bigger cities, English has become the lingua franca among the international expat community. However, when you are staying for good, then I do believe you need to make the effort and learn the local language.

    Highlander descend then? Love the Edinburgh accent; Glasgewian one, can't make head or tails...
     
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    That was it, my dad was from Glasgow.
    And not the nice and clean modern city we know today, Glasgow during The Great Depression. He sounded perfectly normal to my siblings and I, except when he got angry, then it deteriorated and children and small animals would scatter.:eek:

    I'm of Clan MacKinnon... I will one day return to Scotland and claim my lands. I fancy being one of those Monarch of the Glen guys whose oh-so aristocratic and very busy doing important things all day, yet has no visible source of income! That's the life for me! I hate kilts, bagpipes sound like a sack of kittens being tortured, and if it's not raining... it means you're not in Scotland anymore!:D

    Has there ever been a movement to settle on one official language in Switzerland?
    Seems like it would be difficult to conduct business and other affairs. To be honest, before this discussion I had assumed Switzerland had its own native language, like an Elven dialect.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Swiss-German is kind of an Elven dialect. It's sing-songy and almost incomprehensible. Despite it's sing-songy intonation, I don't like it. You could never get the Swiss to agree on a single language, their Cantons are too independent (in US terms, much greater States rights and more restricted Federal powers) and fiercely protective of their customs/language. Plus, a large majority of Swiss are bi-lingual, some even tri-lingual. Although, as you'd might expect, the Swiss-French are less prone to learn the other languages. Almost no one speaks Romansh, perhaps 1-2% of the population.
     
  6. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Well, I can relate to this. When one gets mad, one reverts inexorably to a more “primal" self. In my case, my mediterranean temper explodes and my english goes to pot…What a waste! After all the effort in learning languages and I’m only able to swear in spanish…
     
  7. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    No, it will never happen because it will mean renouncing their “Swissness” and becoming either german, french or italian. They can’t stand each other as it tends to happen with neighboring countries.
     
  8. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I personally think it is horrible... I might get expelled now from CH! No many swiss are tri nor bilingual... Those who have been to university probably yes but considering only about 11% reach uni level...
    What is it like where you live? do people speak Hoch Deutsch or dialect?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  9. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Scotland is gorgeous but with a lousy weather. I have been there during the Edinburgh Festival (in July!) and I turned a nice shade of blue.:confused:
     
  10. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    My summer holiday this year will be in Scotland. I'll be taking my winter coat ;)
     
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  11. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    You're not Swiss born?
     
  12. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    @Elvira, @Sparrow, @TomTB, do you guys mind if I move the language/weather related posts to a new thread?
    I think it's pretty crappy, too. Also, "majority" was the wrong word. I guess I meant a good percentage because I've known so many Swiss who are bilingual. Mostly some of the German variety who also speak French and a few French who speak German. Surprisingly, I've met more Italians who learn German rather than French, despite the common Romantic heritage. As for Hochdeutsch here? Yes and no. There's still an accent when most people do speak Hochdeutsch. Otherwise, it's a lot of dialect, and some of the local ones are as bad as Schweitzerdeutsch.
     
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  13. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    No! I'm not Swiss! I'm Spanish but left Spain over 20 years ago...
     
  14. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Here in the German speaking cantons, there is a general dislike towards anything coming from Germany. In fact, I think this is one of the worst places to learn German. Given the choice they will happily change from schweizerdutch to English rather to Hoch Deutsch. Germans can have a tough time over here.
    In Ticino, they depend massively on swiss german tourism and at school, they choose it as an optative subject. Yesterday someone called me from Bern, they have a particularly imposible dialect: I didn't even get my name. For all I know, they could have been speaking in polish...
     
  15. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    ah okay, hence the very un-Swisslike name.:) 'Elvira', the misled woman of Don Juan fame?
    Never been to Spain, or Portugal. The only time I had a chance was as a teen and traveling rough, and it was either continue south through France or turn east. I hitchhiked east and made it as far as Budapest, where I had to suck up my pride and have my parents wire me money so I could fly back home.:oops: Why Switzerland, of all places?
    My only connection to Spain, quite a long time ago two cousins on my dad's side of the family were hiking the Spanish Highlands (sorry, don't know what the proper name of the region is), and the eldest cousin caught an intestinal virus, and by the time help arrived he was dead... of course that's the romanticized version I got growing up. I would much later find out it was a heroin overdose.
     
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  16. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Didn't get any responses about moving this particular digression from the "Re-reading Books" thread, so I took it as an assent.

    Bern is a crappy city, overall. Tidy like everywhere else in the country, but I've found it very sombre and stifling, giving off kind of a twilight zone vibe. Last time I was there was in the early 2000's. I generally do prefer the German side with Zuerich and Basel being the places I'd rather live if given the choice. Geneva is fun for short visits, but I wouldn't want to live there.

    How did you find Budapest? It's one of the most beautiful, non-beautified cities I've ever been to. If you went there in the early-to-mid 90's, I can imagine it having had quite a bit of energy.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  17. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Absolutely! I guess we kept derailing the re-reading thread...:oops:
     
  18. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Perfidious Elvira who managed to send Don Juan to hell...
    Switzerland is home because is where family and work are. The longer I'm here the less I get their mentality. Maybe tolerance grows thin with age.
    I have a colleague from Budapest; hungarian is a maddening language, I tried to learn some bits from him but gave up. Rumour says it was invented by the devil during a night drink binge. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Zurich is, I believe, the best place in Switzerland. We lived 3 years in Montreux and regardless of its beautiful and stunning landscape, it is overall really quiet. I was itching to move on. Regarding Geneva, I agree with you. It is fine for a few hours, otherwise Geneva is a bore.
    Good God! I honestly hope there are no Swiss in this forum...;)
     
  20. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

    Yes, I find my own tolerance waning with age... I think if my tolerance were mapped to a graph it would sweep up after leaving school, and in slow decline after I hit my early 40s. Actually, I don't think it's a matter of tolerance, more that I see the senseless nature of putting up with assholes.:)
    I sort of like Eastern European languages. My mother's side of the family escaped the Ukraine during the Bolshevik Revolution, and landed in Moose Jaw Canada. They're the relatives I liked staying with for Summer Vacation from school... in the evenings... very heavy drinkers, but also very industrious and hard working. My dad called them "peasants", and though that may have been true and they lacked formal education, I found them full of life and warmth, and way more interesting than my Scottish relatives.:)
     

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