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Old February 2nd, 2013, 06:43 PM   #2221
Penn's Woods
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Good for you!

Being able to understand the other languages of one's own country (just to be able to understand the media, for starters) seems obvious to me. Although I know it's easy for me to say that....

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:03 PM   #2222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Being able to understand the other languages of one's own country (just to be able to understand the media, for starters) seems obvious to me. Although I know it's easy for me to say that....
Do you speak Spanish?
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:09 PM   #2223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
That's a sad risk, and that's why I try to write or speak in German as much as possible instead of using English, even if it takes me more time and if it's harder. And I continue to read in German in my free time, hoping to improve my knowledge, as once finished school I didn't have occasions and need (for work) to study it.

(I speak Italian as first language and French fluently)
I like your post
Do you speak both Hochdeutsch and Schweizerdeutsch?

When I was in CH, I used High-German, but some people answered in Swiss-German, and it was really hard to understand. Sometimes I thought I would have better asked in English from the beginning, but there were also nice locals who spoke High-German back.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:10 PM   #2224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Then, it can be envisioned a future where English is the language of communication between Swiss from different areas.
Among people of my age (around 30) this is already often the case, especially in business.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:13 PM   #2225
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EDIT: This is in response to Sunfuns, about four posts up-thread.

I can read it, with some effort. But one can be reasonably fully informed about public life in this country if one only understands English.

Whereas a Swiss person who can't understand the NZZ or a Belgian who can't read de Standaard.... Or someone in a field like history who can't understand half his own country's public records and historiography... (Or the records and other sources on whatever country he's studying.)
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:22 PM   #2226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I can read it, with some effort. But one can be reasonably fully informed about public life in this country if one only understands English.

Whereas a Swiss person who can't understand the NZZ or a Belgian who can't read de Standaard.... Or someone in a field like history who can't understand half his own country's public records and historiography... (Or the records and other sources on whatever country he's studying.)
It wasn't meant seriously, it's just that Americans are rarely good at this kind of thing.

Swiss are better at languages than most, but still it's a bit too much to expect everyone being fluent in German, French and English (Italian is a minor thing unless you are from Ticino).

I have several Belgian co-workers and none of them are fluent in Flemish.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:37 PM   #2227
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Italian is not studied much outside Ticino and Graubünden (all of it, even the German-speaking part) where it is mandatory but it has the same official status as the other languages, so it can be used for speeches in the parliament (there is a simultaneous translation between the three main languages) and all laws are equals in the three languages (which lead, as far I remember a long time ago and if I remember correctly, to have the Italian version of one particular law saying something a little different than the other two versions, when they had to be completely identical...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinxxx View Post
I like your post
Do you speak both Hochdeutsch and Schweizerdeutsch?

When I was in CH, I used High-German, but some people answered in Swiss-German, and it was really hard to understand. Sometimes I thought I would have better asked in English from the beginning, but there were also nice locals who spoke High-German back.
I only understand (I can't say I really speak it) Hochdeutsch, as Schweizerdeutsch is completely different and not understood outside Switzerland, studying also that would be too much work...by the age of 15 I studied French, German and English at the same time, later adding Spanish to that replacing German. And I went to a scientific high school, not to a linguistic-oriented one.

(I suppose a German speaker feels strange Schweizerdeutsch as much as Dutch language...)
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:01 PM   #2228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
It wasn't meant seriously, it's just that Americans are rarely good at this kind of thing.
I took it seriously (you can't always tell in writing), but that's fine. And that's true. But I'm a language geek.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Swiss are better at languages than most, but still it's a bit too much to expect everyone being fluent in German, French and English (Italian is a minor thing unless you are from Ticino).

I have several Belgian co-workers and none of them are fluent in Flemish.
Let me tone down and clarify my point, a little. It's true that not everyone is good at languages, and that not everyone has the same priorities. But as a language geek who's rather jealous of the opportunities similarly-inclined Europeans have to get exposure to other languages (since I can remember pre-Internet days, when the only way I had to hear anything other than English spoken was to catch every European film that made it to New York or Philadelphia, listen to staticky short-wave broadcasts, or, when I could afford to, travel), I'm mystified by the oh-let's-all-just-speak-English-to-each-other attitude that seems to be taking hold there. I've seen plenty of francophone Belgians on Belgian forums saying "learning Dutch/Flemish is a waste of time" - and I assume you can find Flemings saying the same about French - which I find stunning. Yes, perhaps Dutch isn't that important in the world, but if you're living in a country the size of Maryland where the majority of the population speaks it.... If you're not good at languages and/or have other things to do, that's one thing, but to be that dismissive is, well, not nice. If I were Belgian, being able to understand the media of both major languages would seem like an obvious sort-of life skill. That doesn't mean you can't learn English as well. And to use as an excuse "I never have the chance to use [Language X]" when it's spoken 50 miles away and you could just spend a day there, maybe browse in bookstores, and its channels are available on your own TV is nonsense.

You got me going....:-)
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 11:31 PM   #2229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
If I were Belgian, being able to understand the media of both major languages would seem like an obvious sort-of life skill. That doesn't mean you can't learn English as well. And to use as an excuse "I never have the chance to use [Language X]" when it's spoken 50 miles away and you could just spend a day there, maybe browse in bookstores, and its channels are available on your own TV is nonsense.

You got me going....:-)
That's an American point of view. The US is more homogeneous and Americans are far more mobile than Europeans, and most of all Belgians.

I feel the same with Americans and the Spanish language. Very few Californians/Texans/Arizonans are fluent in Spanish yet live in states where Spanish is spoken all over the place. I used to think "that must be cool to live in a place where Spanish is spoken everywhere, why are Americans so adverse to Spanish? Why aren't they bilingual?", but to live there as a local is another story, you have to deal with cultural/social antagonism/pride and other factors.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 11:39 PM   #2230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthJoker View Post
Well traffic is also split there to the A1 and A12.
True, but the A12 wasn't much busier when it was the only motorway between Bern and Lausanne.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:10 AM   #2231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tchek View Post
That's an American point of view. The US is more homogeneous and Americans are far more mobile than Europeans, and most of all Belgians.

....to live there as a local is another story, you have to deal with cultural/social antagonism/pride and other factors.
Interesting, given that Americans are more often criticized by Europeans for our failure to travel enough and, more generally, lack of cosmopolitanism. ;-)

-----

EDITED TO ADD: Maybe it's actually a language geek's point of view....
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:42 AM   #2232
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Americans and a lack of cosmopolitanism?

A nation "e pluribus unum", consisting of all people from all the continents [insert meme here] is cosmopolitan and multicultural by definition. 'Melting pot' and so on.

All criticism against Americans -- "'Muritards*" -- can be reflected on each wealthy western society, where it is just posible to be a complete idiot and irgnorant and still make a life somehow. But that is a social and cultural discussion, and has nothing to do with a special country.

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:53 AM   #2233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alqaszar View Post
Americans and a lack of cosmopolitanism?

A nation "e pluribus unum", consisting of all people from all the continents [insert meme here] is cosmopolitan and multicultural by definition. 'Melting pot' and so on.
Have you lived in US? I have and I can tell you that, while some places certainly are very cosmopolitan (NYC, for example), large swaths are anything but. If you don't believe me take a couple weeks off and drive around rural Midd Western or Mountain states

P.S. That's not meant as a criticism, just the way how things are.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:32 PM   #2234
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A question about the vignette, rising from the Austria-thread...

When visiting Basel (and not anywhere else in Switzerland) and arriving on a motorway from Germany or France, when must one exit the motorway to avoid paying for the vignette?
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:44 PM   #2235
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As far I know, the last exit before Switzerland.

But I'm not sure, as I always buy the vignette...(there is no point not to have a vignette if you live in Switzerland, escept if your vehicle is used only on local roads lost in the mountains, which excludes 99.9% of cars).
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:40 PM   #2236
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Is there a warning about this when approaching the last exit in France/Germany?

After all, the price for the vignette for only one day's visit and within only 5 km of the country border feels almost like a penalty. (Sure, to those travelling further into Switzerland or for a longer time, the price is very reasonable when compared to French or Italian toll routes.)
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:11 PM   #2237
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If you come from Germany A5, you can see this

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:15 PM   #2238
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There is sign like this on the French A35. No special warning or anything like this but you can understand that next thing on this road would be douane (customs).
On German A5 it's probably similar showing Zoll (customs). Anyway it would be exit 69, Weil am Rhein.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:35 PM   #2239
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Good to know. Thanks to cougar1989 and vatse.

The sign in Germany is clear indeed. But I feel sorry to those arriving from France and not reading this thread...

http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=47.5752...,,0,-9.32&z=18

How much is it from the border line (marked with the Swiss flag sign) to the beginning of the exit ramp? 50 metres? And you still get fined if caught there without the vignette...

Last edited by OulaL; February 3rd, 2013 at 03:43 PM.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:51 PM   #2240
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No, because you can still buy it on the border.
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