Learning Züridüütsch, the Zürich Swiss German Dialect

One of the frustrating things for me about learning German in Zürich has been how different High German, the German that one learns on Duolingo and Lingoda, is from the local dialect. And they really are very different – I am not exaggerating. Native German speakers from Germany complain about how hard it is to understand Swiss German speakers. Luckily, my local community is now offering a Swiss German class, specifically in Züridüütsch, the Zürich Swiss German Dialect. I am really enjoying it so far, and I hope that getting a handle on the local dialect will help me when talking to locals in the store, at dance class, at sport classes, at the lake…you get the idea!

In this post, I have put together a few links to provide a brief introduction to Züridüütsch that I found helpful, along with some ideas on where to get more practice with it.

  • How similar are Swiss German and High German? – This aptly named episode from the folks at the Easy German YouTube Channel gives a great overview of the differences. Well worth watching.
  • Speaking Swiss German in Zürich – Also an Easy German episode, this one has fun on-the-street interviews about what people eat for breakfast.
  • Hoi Zäme by Sergio J. Lievano and Nicole Egger – The textbook we are using for the class (available in High German/Swiss German and English/Swiss German.)
  • Willkomme i de Schwiiz! – This podcast it is a really nice example of slow and clear Züridüütsch. There are only about eight episodes, but they are all definitely worth listening to if you want to get a good sense of what Züridüütsch sounds like.
  • My Swiss German teacher recommends listening to silly songs. One she suggested was by the comedy duo Riklin & Schaub called Menschen die nur mit Emojis antworten, People who only answer with Emojis. Another good one by the same duo is: Der Katzenvideo Song,The cat video song. (I am hesitant to recommend an internet comedy duo I don’t really understand. It feels risky as I don’t know how clean or kind their work really is. Oh well, it’s a risk of language learning, I suppose.)
  • Using italki you can search for Native Swiss German speakers and book Swiss German lessons. Just pay close attention to the price when booking classes, the range is quite extreme.

I hope you find these links helpful. And if you know of any other great resources, please put them in the comments. I’m always looking for more ways to improve my language skills.

Note: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.

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