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Swiss German

Dialect of the German language / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Swiss German (Standard German: Schweizerdeutsch, Alemannic German: Schwiizerdütsch, Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizertüütsch, Schwizertitsch Mundart,[note 1] and others) is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland. Occasionally, the Alemannic dialects spoken in other countries are grouped together with Swiss German as well, especially the dialects of Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg, which are closely associated to Switzerland's.[4][5]

Quick facts: Swiss German, Pronunciation, Native to, ...
Swiss German
Native toSwitzerland (as German), Liechtenstein, Vorarlberg (Austria), Piedmont & Aosta Valley (Italy)
Native speakers
4.93 million in Switzerland (2013)[1]
Unknown number in Germany (excluding Alsatian) and Austria
Language codes
ISO 639-2gsw
ISO 639-3gsw (with Alsatian)
Linguasphere52-ACB-f (45 varieties: 52-ACB-faa to -fkb)
Swiss German is classified as Potentially Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
A Swiss German speaker

Linguistically, Alemannic is divided into Low, High and Highest Alemannic, varieties all of which are spoken both inside and outside Switzerland. The only exception within German-speaking Switzerland is the municipality of Samnaun, where a Bavarian dialect is spoken. The reason Swiss German dialects constitute a special group is their almost unrestricted use as a spoken language in practically all situations of daily life, whereas the use of the Alemannic dialects in other countries is restricted or even endangered.[6]

The Swiss German dialects must not be confused with Swiss Standard German, the variety of Standard German used in Switzerland. Swiss Standard German is fully understandable to all Standard German speakers, while many people in Germany – especially in the north – do not understand German Swiss (people with any of the many Swiss German dialects as mother language). An interview with a German Swiss shown on German national television therefore requires subtitles, much as an interview in Scots would on US television.[7] Although Swiss German is the native language in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, Swiss school students additionally learn Swiss Standard German at school from age six. They are thus capable of understanding, writing and speaking Standard German, with varying abilities mainly based on the level of education.