What I’ve Learned So Far on the Language of Switzerland

If you are somebody that doesn’t know anything about Switzerland or it’s history, I can teach you a thing or two as I am slowly becoming obsessed with Swiss culture.

As I point out on my home page, I’m hoping to travel to Switzerland someday either as a study abroad opportunity or a simple travel destination. One of the many intriguing aspects of Switzerland’s culture is its language. Switzerland does not have its own unique language, it is actually based on the German language called Swiss German.

There are plenty of differences between German and Swiss German, including the grammar and pronunciation. There are terms called relative clauses and relativizers (which is another word for conjunction) in the Swiss German language. The rule is that in Swiss German, the relative clauses are introduced by the relativizers and never the relative pronouns unlike the Standard German language. Another rule that distinguishes Swiss German from German is that stress is more often found in the first syllables of words.

Some basic examples of words said differently between Swiss German and Standard German:

1. Thank you:

Standard German: Danke

Swiss German: Merci

2. Hello:

Standard German: Guten Tag

Swiss German: Grüezi

3. Thanks a lot

Standard German: Vielen Dank

Swiss German: Merci vilmal

It hasn’t been proven true yet, but many believe the Swiss originally created “Merci” as a way for people to recognize that they were not German. It’s kind of funny. This would later confuse people to think they were speaking French, so the only way to distinguish between the three was to add “vilmal” to the end of “Thanks a lot.”

There are other dialects of German that I have yet to learn about like Zurich German. For now though, I’m going to focus on Standard German. You have to start somewhere!

A Lesson On Communicating With Your Online Course Professors

When I registered for classes last semester, I chose to take an online course in Mass Media. The idea of an online course always interested me, mostly due to the fact that I wouldn’t have to go anywhere to take it. I could just sit in my dorm room, work and not have to worry about doing group discussions in a lecture hall with 20-30 people. From the very beginning of the course in September though, we had problems. For those of us who didn’t purchase the book online before the semester began, we had to rely on the bookstore. The bookstore didn’t get the right order for delivering the book to the University, so most of us had to wait until they came to the store and were ready to purchase to start the assignments. Four weeks later, and we are already way behind on our work. Once I got the book, I just worked on what was scheduled for the week I was in: week five. I planned on completing the others later on in the semester.

By the time the midterm exam came, I found out the assignments from week one to week four were already graded and I had a 28% for a grade because of it. The pressure was already on me before that happened. It skyrocketed after the fact! My problem was not my professor (I’m assuming). I have never talked to my online professor in a person-to-person conversation before, and frankly I wasn’t comfortable with the idea since I’ve never met her or know what she’s like. I could email her, but apparently she only responds to emails if they’re sent with the intention of asking for a one-on-one meeting in person. My real problem was that I didn’t give her a chance to show herself to me. I just avoided her out of partial laziness and a little anxiety. The point I am trying to make here is this: Give your online course professor a chance and try to stay in communication with them. It doesn’t have to be personal unless you get along well with them. It’s professional. They want to help you and are willing to because if they weren’t, they are either well on their way to getting fired or already did get fired. It can be a little intimidating to get to know your professor on a professional basis one-on-one if you aren’t in a classroom filled with multiple people in a lecture hall. Online courses are another animal for both the students and the professor. That’s why communication is important to doing as good as you can be in any online course, because chances are, the professor is having trouble communicating to the students. So before you find yourself getting stressed out like I was, ask whatever questions you have to your professor whether it’s by email or in person and try to stay in communication with them so you don’t get lost when you have trouble.