Swiss Dialects

The past few weeks I have been asking my Swiss friends their opinions about different Swiss German dialects. I know that the Swiss have all kinds of stereotypes about people in other cantons, but I wanted to hear what they had to say about their fellow citizens.

The guy from Luzern (who definitely loves his city and canton and knows its superiority over all other parts of the country) says that the Schaffhausen dialect is the one that makes his ears hurt.

The woman from Winterthur (in Canton Zürich) says that St. Gallen dialect is worse than Schaffhausen.

Then on Tuesday I asked my friend (from Zürich) who meets with us to practice German and she said, actually, that Zürich is the worse dialect of all.

All three, though, agree that the very best dialect is from Graubunden. I’ve been here long enough that I am JUST starting to hear differences in dialects (when I am not concentrating so hard on just hearing words for meaning). I did a little digging and found this video of people from Graubunden speaking about their lives. It has German subtitles, which is helpful for me. Even if you don’t speak the language, you can just listen for a moment to hear the musical quality of the tones.

Then there is this little weather report video. I’m not sure which region it is from, but you can hear what has been referred to as a “throat disease” (compared to the loveliness of Graubunden).

Then, there’s Roger Federer, the darling of Switzerland, who is from Basel. Here’s an interview with him in his mother tongue.


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