Learn Swiss German (and Standard German) with voCHabular According to UNESCO, German is one of the most difficult languages in the world. At the same time, it is one of the most studied languages in the world. But anyone learning German in the German-speaking part of Switzerland faces an additional challenge: There is not only standard German, but also Swiss German, which is the language used most often in everyday communication. So you may have learnt German perfectly, but still find it hard to understand people when they speak Swiss German. This is where the question arises: Can you learn [...]
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Language learning with films and TV series In addition to attending a language course, you can also learn a foreign language on your own outside of the classroom, for example… … in a language learning tandem; … by listening to podcasts; … by reading books; … by listening to music and … by watching films and TV series. While the first four suggestions have been explained in previous blog posts, this blog post will focus on the last suggestion: learning languages through films and TV series. First, we will look at how watching films and TV series can help you [...]
The unpronounceable word "Chuchichäschtli Can you pronounce the infamous Swiss German word “Chuchichäschtli”? Surely, you have heard it before. As a matter of fact, many people who do not speak Swiss German find it quite a challenge to pronounce “Chuchichäschtli” correctly. In this blog post we will find out why, among many other things. In the introductory blog post on Swiss German, we learned that there are so-called Helvetisms in Swiss Standard German, i.e. linguistic features that are not used, for example, in Germany or Austria. While the last blog post (“Peperoni” or “Paprika”?) dealt with a Helvetism in the [...]
Learning languages through music There are many ways to learn a foreign language outside the classroom. In this blog series, we have already covered learning in a tandem (Tandem Language Learning), learning through podcasts (The Best Free Podcasts to Learn German) and books (Improve Your German by Reading). Today we are going to focus again on a predominantly auditory method, namely music. In the first part of this blog post, we will answer the question of why songs are a valuable tool for improving your language skills. In the second part, we will provide you with over 24 German songs [...]
Grüezi! And welcome to another blog post in our new blog series on Swiss German. In the introductory blog post on Swiss German, we learned to distinguish between Swiss German and Swiss Standard German. We also learnt that there are so-called Helvetisms in Swiss Standard German, i.e. linguistic features that are not used in Germany or Austria, for example. Today we want to look at one of these Helvetisms: “Peperoni”. At the same time, we want to clear up the confusion surrounding words like “Paprika”, “pepperoni” with a double P and “pepper”. “Peperoni” equals “paprika” “[A] vegetable that is usually [...]
Improve Your German by Reading Today we are going to focus once again on learning German outside the classroom. We already got to know two of many methods in the blog posts Tandem Language Learning and The Best Free Podcasts to Learn German. These were mainly about speaking German and listening to German. Now we want to look at another skill: reading. As a matter of fact, there are many opportunities for you to read in German. However, this first blog post is only about reading books. More specifically, we want to give you an overview of German literature from [...]
Are you thinking about starting to learn a foreign language? Or do you need some motivation to brush up on your language skills? In either case, this blog series is for you. In the first part we looked at travel-related reasons, while in the second part we focused on the advantages of language skills in the labour market. In this third part, we focus on a skill that is increasingly in demand in our globalised world: intercultural competence. What exactly intercultural competence is and why you can acquire it through language learning, you can find out here. What is intercultural [...]
Switzerland's language situation is without doubt special. There is not just one, but four national languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh), with German being the most widely spoken language in Switzerland. In addition, there is a diglossia situation in German-speaking Switzerland. In a diglossia situation, two languages, or rather two linguistic varieties, co-exist and differ in their contexts of use. In the case of German-speaking Switzerland, these two varieties are Swiss Standard German and Swiss German. In this first introductory blog post on Swiss German, we will look at both Swiss Standard German and Swiss German, clarify differences between them [...]
The importance of capital letters in German The German language is almost the only language in which nouns, names and nominalisations are capitalised. This is why capitalisation is a challenge for most German learners, and even native speakers are sometimes unsure whether a word is written in upper or lower case. What is more, did you know that there are certain words that can be written both upper and lower case, but that the meaning of the sentence changes accordingly? This is exactly what this blog post is about. At the same time, this blog post will give you an [...]
The Best Free Podcast to Learn German Studying vocabulary, writing summaries, among other things, is crucial when learning a foreign language, especially within the framework of a language course. However, you can also learn a foreign language outside the classroom or in addition to a language course. We already got to know one of many methods in the blog post Tandem Language Learning, that is – as the title suggests – language learning through language tandems. While learning in a language learning tandem requires your active participation and responsibility for your learning process, today we will introduce a slightly more [...]