Greeting people in Switzerland / Grüße in der Schweiz


bq. Was sagen Sie einem Menschen, der im Garten arbeitet? [What do you say to a person who is working in his or her garden?]
Older informants:
– 4 x ‘Wachst’s?/Wott’s wachse?’ [Are your plants growing?]
– 3 x ‘Brav!’ [Well done!]
– 2 x ‘Hallo, ist’s heiss/streng …?’ [Hallo, is it hot/hard work?]
– 2 x ‘Möchtest du bei mir weitermachen?’ [Would you like to come and do mine?]
– 2 x ‘Du hast einen schönen Garten/schöne Blumen!’ [Your garden/flowers are beautiful]
– 1 x ‘Kommt überhaupt etwas?.’ [Is anything growing at all?]
– 1 x ‘Hoi, kommst du gut vorwärts?’ [Hi, how are you getting on?]
– 1 x ‘Machen Sie wieder mal alles schön?’ [Are you making everything lovely again?]
– 1 x ‘Hoi, lieber du als ich!’ [Hi, rather you than me!]
Younger informants:
– 4 x ‘Schaff ned z’viel!’ [Don’t work too hard!]
– 2 x ‘Sie händ en wonderschöne Garte.’ [Your garden is beautiful.]
– 2 x ‘Gärtner, guet Busch!’ [Gardener, good bushes!]
– 1 x ‘Das chönte si bi mer au no mache.’ [You could come and do mine too.]
– 1 x ‘Wie laufts? Alles schön grüen?’ [How’s it going? Is everything nice and green?]
– 1 x ‘Viel Spass!’ [Have fun!]

Linguistic Politeness and Greeting Rituals in German-Speaking Switzerland
by Felicity Rash, QMC, London
in Linguistik Online
via Germanic Blog

2 thoughts on “Greeting people in Switzerland / Grüße in der Schweiz

  1. I didn’t know all this at the tender age of 11 when I had been learning German at school for a mere 1 week. My boy scout and girl guide troop were on a trip to Adelboden when, being the only “German speaker”, I was asked by the younger children of the scoutmaster to ask two local Swiss children if they wanted to play hide&seek. Up and coming translator and patrol leader Thomas said (to the young children): Sie müssen sich verstecken …. I only later realised why these 4 year-olds were giving me a strange look ….


  2. If anybody should tell me now “Das chönte si bi mer au no mache.”, I guess I’d commit suicide, ’cause I’d have the impression that I’ve been wasting the last 22 years learning German :-)

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