Swiss-German is hard to master. In some regions it it considered a dialect whereas in other areas it is officially its own language. While other nations prefer to speak a standard variety and consider dialects "low class", Swiss are proud of their regional differences. Here are 10 phrases & words to make you sound more local- which is appreciated.
  1. Eis go ziah
    Lit: go pour one from the tap. [Pronounced: Ice go tsee-ya]Use: after a long day of work, you tell your bro "hey, want to go get a drink?" or Ais go ziah?
  2. Natel
    Lit: National telephone [Pronounced: Nah-tell] Use: replacement word for your cell phone, instead of the German word "Handy". Natel is used by all Swiss languages.
  3. Isch guet gsi
    Lit: It was good. [ish Goo-et ksi] Use: After anyone asks you how was dinner, the game, or a test.
  4. En Guete
    Lit: A good one [an goo-et-tuh] Use: anytime you want to say "Bon appétit!"
  5. Hoi Zäme, Salü Zäme
    Lit: Hi y'all, from German 'Hallo zusammen'. [hoi tsa-mah] Use: When you first meet a group of people.
  6. Salü/Salii + Name
    Lit: hello, from French "Salut". [nasal sah-loo/saa-lee] Use: anytime you greet someone. Not pronounced the French way at all.
  7. "Ga go " + verb
    Lit. Loosely "going to go" [Gah go) Use: anytime you're fixin' to do something. Ex. Ig ga go schlafe (going to sleep) Ig ga go pippalä ( Going for a piss) ig ga go poschtlä ( going shopping)
  8. Merci Viilmal, sometimes Märsi Viilmal
    Lit: thank you (from French Merci) many times( from German vielmal). [mer-see feel-maul] Use: anytime you receive a compliment, a gift, or an invitation.
  9. Wii
    Lit. Wine [vee] Use anytime someone offers you Rot-Weisswein (wine) you answer Rotwii or Wysswii (visvee).
  10. Uf widerluägä
    Lit: goodbye, see you again [oof vider-loo-eh-geh] Use: goodbye
  11. Bonus: Adieu
    Lit: send off to God, from French adieu [ ah-jew] Use: goodbye in the Zurich region. However, if you speak French, DO NOT pronounce it the French way.
  12. If you can't travel, try these books:
  13. Hoi Zäme
    There's an English version which is helpful if you have no German language background
  14. Kleiner Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz
  15. The Little Prince
    Bernese German version
  16. Netrolala Schweiz: ein Heimatbuch