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adrianlondon

German

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renzhe

I can hear the difference, though, and I also notice a difference when I speak.

I also know from my mother tongue, Croatian, that the 'h' can be pronounced in different ways, though it is written the same.

I think that any such classification will be an approximation at a certain level.

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chrix

sorry to dig up such an old thread, but I want to support renzhe here. I learnt in German phonetics class that the rule in Standard German (Bühnenhochlautung) was as follows:

  • [χ] after open back vowels such as /a/, /o/
  • [x] after close back vowels: /u/
  • [ç] after close and mid front vowels /i/, /e/, /y/ etc.

However, this is only the standard, in reality you find a lot interindividual variation for the back vowels, with some people merging them and freely varying them and so on.

Edited by chrix

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atitarev

The difference between [χ] and [x] is very little, if at all and many people ignore it. Admittedly, the analyses about the difference exist. A Russian speaker would pronounce "бах" and "бух" identically to the German "Bach" and "Buch" (the final sound), in the Russian phonology they use either [χ] or [x] notation, not [χ] and [x] in one text.

Edited by atitarev

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adrianlondon

Well well well. I ended up spending a year in Stuttgart and having a blast. I used an expat forum to find lots of people and started organising things.

We went to every festival the local area had over the 12 months (they love harvests, so I went to an onion festival, cabbage festival, pumpkin festival etc. - not to mention the beer festivals). My social life was so good that ... after learning the numbers (so I could pay in restaurants and bars, as you need to tip as you pay) I didn't learn any more German. I'm so lazy.

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crazillo

I'm a German native speaker so anyone who got question can contact me at any time. :)

Too bad I only joined this board now, because I'm studying in Tübingen, a city approximately 45 km's south of Stuttgart... 太遗憾了!Anyways, I'm from a city called Aachen, which is in the very west of Germany, so my pronuncation is mich better than what the Swabians call German. :D

Something I find quite similair in Chinese an German is the components:

stellen

aufstellen

einstellen

ausstellen

a little bit like

拿 拿出来

说 说出来

But that's about it. Anyone from foreign countries who masters the genders got my respect though. This is probably much harder than the Chinese measure words...

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atitarev

Willkommen, Crazillo. :) Ich habe lange her deutsch studiert, bin auch in Deutschland gewesen, aber nie in Süddeutschland.

Du kannst auch anderen mit dem Deutschen in der deutschen Sozialgruppe helfen:

German Social group at chinese-forums.com

Für einen Russen, die deutsche Grammatik scheint nicht so schwer zu sein. :wink: Chinesisch fällt Englischsprachigen viel schwerer als alle europäischen Sprachen.

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adrianlondon

Well, having learnt NO German in Stuttgart (English speaking office despite all my colleagues being German, and huge expat community) I hope to be less lazy when I start my new assignment in ... Basel.

I know they speak crazy Swiss German down there, but I'll be taking night classes in High German. Well, that's the plan. I'm not even there, yet.

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chrix

and that's exactly what's wrong with German education in Switzerland. They teach non-German-speaking Swiss and foreigners a language nobody speaks down there, only writes....

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b_t_v
No affinity with German "culture" and the language sounds nasty.
I hope to be less lazy when I start my new assignment in ... Basel.

I predict a few surprises.

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b_t_v

I would rephrase it to:

...and that's exactly what's wrong with people in Switzerland. They speak a language that is not taught in schools...

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chrix

I take it this is a joke (not to reinforce stereotypes about German humour here)....

The situation in Switzerland can be called diglossia (though not the traditional definition, that would be more like in pre-revolutionary China), and there's nothing wrong about it.

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renzhe

I wouldn't say that nobody speaks Standard German in Switzerland, it's just that they don't speak it at home. They are all perfectly capable of speaking Standard German and do so when talking to people from Austria and Germany, or anyone who is unfamiliar with Swiss German.

It is diglossia, just like Shanghainese/Putonghua in Shanghai, except that the two languages are far closer. I remember conversing with an Austrian once, and he only spoke Austrian German. It was painful, but it worked. Sort of. I wasn't able to understand Swiss German while I was in Switzerland, but I could pick up fair chunks of it. And people switched to Standard German as soon as they realised it.

I'm guessing that someone who is fluent in German would pick up the differences in less then a year, if they lived in Switzerland. I only spent a few days at a time, unfortunately, so I haven't been able to test it.

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chrix

you can't compare Austrian German, which forms a dialect group together with Bavarian, to Swiss German (though actually Swiss German forms a dialect group with Alsatian and Badian? [badisch]). Due to historical reasons, the Swiss dialects have become the dialects most divergent from the German standard.

Of course everybody knows how to speak standard German there, but it feels very stilted to them. Many Germans who move to Switzerland never get the hang of it (also because the Swiss will only accept you speaking Swiss German if you don't have a foreign accent), and thus remain alienated in Swiss society.

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renzhe

Obviously, Austrian and Swiss German are very different, it was just an experience with a German dialect that is quite different from Standard German.

I believe that many Germans never try to pick up the local dialect because they consider it to be, well, incorrect. :) Also, you don't need to SPEAK the dialect, as everyone will understand you if you speak Standard German, you just need to understand. And if a native German speaker fails to understand the local dialect after a few years of exposure, I suspect that it's a motivational issue and not a linguistic one.

Northern Germans also rarely pick up other German dialects, like Bavarian or Franconian. And these are far closer than Swiss German.

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chrix

it cuts both ways. Dialect speakers won't accept you if your accent isn't very close to perfect. True for Swiss German, but also most other dialects. I know someone who has a knack for picking up accents. Her colleagues at work in Switzerland were going on and on about the Germans during lunch, until she pointed out to their utter chagrin that she too was German (they obviously heard she wasn't from there, but as Swiss German has a large diversity, they thought she was from some other place in Switzerland)

And I disagree about not needing to speaks the dialect, if you want to integrate yourself into Swiss-German society, you do.

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renzhe

Interesting. I remember reading similar things on here about Shanghainese.

This is probably a case where a dialect conveys a sense of a specific identity, to the extent that people find it hard to separate the two.

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gerri

As a speaker of Standard Austrian German (and German lecturer, no less), I must object to the incorrect intermingling of dialect with national language.

If you had really strong problems talking to somebody speaking Austrian German, it was probably somebody who was not speaking Austrian Standard German, but truly a dialect.

Amongst those, there is much more variety than just between "German German" and Austrian German. People coming from different neighboring regions potentially, if they truly speak a local dialect, can't understand each other without some difficulty (sounds kinda familiar to Chinese learners, doesn't it?).

However, since Austrian German(s - in the sense of language) *are* (mainly) belonging to the group of Bavarian German, national borders don't make all that much sense.

Now, yes, Austrian Standard German is noticeable different (in pronunciation, a few words, and some grammatical preferences) from German Standard German. However, since language politics isn't (supposed to be) controlling us all into one form of the language (maybe even the opposite: there is some support for teaching both Standard German *and* local dialect in school), some more openness in German language teaching abroad would be in order.

Also, the focus on "High German" as the be-all is rather detrimental to actual communication: Most people you will encounter are likely going to be talking at least somewhat "non-High," even in Germany...

(I guess you can tell this is a pet peeve of mine. But, you know, in high school classmates switched to High German to talk to me, asking me why the hell I didn't talk like them - and then to also have German speakers or learners tell me that the way I talk isn't good enough... c'mon ;-) )

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chrix

Clarification: I think your comment was probably not directed at me, but let me clarify nonetheless that what I meant by "Austrian German" was Austrian dialects, not Austrian Standard German.

Please though don't liken the situation of German to the Sinitic languages, that would be a pet peeve of mine :mrgreen:

Of course most Germans are bidialectal as well, but there is one region where this is not the case, the areas formerly speaking Low German, also known as the land of the Piefkes. Of course there is some kind of North German accent, nonetheless the people of the North have largely lost their historical mother tongue and acquire High German as their first language....

Random anecdote: Once, in a freshman linguistics class, they played a tape with some audio recording, and what I thought was Dutch turned out to be Swiss German :wink:

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renzhe
If you had really strong problems talking to somebody speaking Austrian German, it was probably somebody who was not speaking Austrian Standard German, but truly a dialect.

Yes, that's what I meant. He was speaking an Austrian dialect, or at least his standard Austrian German was highly dialectized. I had the same problem when living in Franconia (Erlangen).

I didn't consider the differences between the Austrian standard and German standard to be impediments to understanding. So I referred to them collectively as "Standard German", though there are some differences. Generally, all three standards (including Swiss) are collectively referred to as "Hochdeutsch". I am not a linguist, so I don't always express these things precisely.

I have no trouble understanding Austrians speaking Austrian Hochdeutsch. In fact, since Croatian borrowed many Austrian words, I sometimes understand it better than Germans do :P

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chrix

as many Austrians like to point out, Deutsch ist eine plurizentrische Sprache. When it was still available in Piefkeland, I would read Profil (the Austrian Spiegel) every week and soak up all the vocab differences in political jargon and otherwise between the two versions :mrgreen:

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