Spoken mostly in central and northern Switzerland, Swiss German differs in grammar and pronunciation from standard German. Although Swiss German language classes are not as commonly available in language schools compared to those of standard German, there are still a wealth of resources for people who wish to teach themselves. Whether you are hoping to learn the language for an upcoming trip or for academic purposes, lthere are ways to learn Swiss German for free.
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Spend time in the German-speaking section of Switzerland. Living or vacationing abroad can immerse you in the language and culture, allowing you to listen to native speakers frequently while practicing your target language during your interactions with locals.
Visit your local library and find phrase books for travellers in Swiss German to learn basic survival language phrases. Listen to the audio CD (if there is one) to practice pronunciation, and test yourself on the vocabulary words frequently. Ensure that you have mastered the basic material before moving onto the next chapter or level.
Immerse yourself in the language by listening to a Swiss German radio station online such as Radio Zürisee or to music and songs in the target language. Doing so will allow you to pick up new vocabulary words while learning pronunciation.
Visit chat rooms to find native Swiss German speakers who are willing to become e-mail pen pals with you. Find a language exchange partner through websites such as languageexchanges.com. A language exchange partner arrangement allows you to teach your friend English while you learn Swiss German in exchange. Attempt to find someone with whom you share similar interests and hobbies, as you may be more likely to remember more of the vocabulary.
Find or start a Meetup group in your area to meet others who are interested in studying Swiss German. Meetup groups can be used to form study groups or language practice sessions while acting as a support system if you encounter challenges and frustrations that are inherent in learning a new language.
Tips and warnings
- Swiss German is not a standardised language. It can vary from town to town.
- Learning a foreign language takes time, dedication and lots of practice. Do not be discouraged if you experience occasional setbacks.
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