Are the Swiss really unfriendly – or are foreigners to blame?
Many foreigners who live in Switzerland say locals are unfriendly toward them. But could the foreign nationals themselves be at least partially to blame for getting the cold shoulder?
Published: 18 August 2021 15:59 CEST
You might need to learn a few local words to fit in with these yodellers. Photo by VALERIANO DI DOMENICO / AFP
LIVING IN SWITZERLAND
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Published: 24 February 2022 16:53 CET
Updated: 27 February 2022 09:45 CET
Updated: 27 February 2022 09:45 CET
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I can speak 2 languages unfortunately not the language in the part of Switzerland I live in.
It is true that it must be very annoying for the locals.
If the country wants to attract talent(not for languages but other key skills) from other countries there is a price to pay.
If not then stop attracting foreigns, who most likely speak English.
It is annoying for sure but 39 – 45 could have had a very different outcome had it not been for those annoying English speakers.
It’s more than just the language, in my opinion.
I’ve lived in several different cities through my working life, and it’s always a bit difficult to make friends with locals that have grown up in the place. They have their own friend and family networks developed as far back as their childhood. Just because someone new shows up in the neighborhood doesn’t mean they need or have time for a new friend!
Participating in clubs or groups with similar interests are a great way to make friends, as they have interest in new insights about their interest. Just trying to make friends with the cashier at the grocery store is unlikely to meet success!
When you learn German you learn High German and then you go into the street and can not understand Swiss German,so actually you have to learn 2 languages to read ans speak here and after working on average 11 hours a day and 1 or 2 weekends travelling abroad on business who has time to do this,especially when you have a wife and 3 kids waiting at home for you?
My company moved to Zug to save taxes and for no other reason.The kanton was happy to get our revenue and staff to tax.It seemed to be a good deal for both sides.However Swiss people who are employees in Swiss companies dealing with Swiss customers find it hard to understand that we did not need Swiss German because all our customers were where they always were ie outside Switzerland.
Now lets look at the maths : English is spoke worldwide by about 1.3 billion people (first and second languages combined).Swiss German is spoken by maybe 3 million people.
I can understand that it is very annoying for Swiss people being spoken to in English but on the other hand there are understandable reasons why many foreigners don’t learn their language : its too time consuming,its not actually necessary if you work in an international company that re-located here and the effort/reward is arguably not justified for many people who work long hours.
With over 2 million auslanders out of a total population of just over 8 million in Switzerland today English will continue to be spoken more and more widely in the years to come. Already today English is spoken by more people than Italian and by almost as many as French in Switzerland (@ 30%).We all need to realise we are all very different from each other but we all need each other.But remember as The Local pointed out a beer is just a beer here……
I have seen on many occasions when people from another part of Switzerland for example Ticino people speaking to each other in Italian and the reaction of the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is one of derision, contempt, and the usual superiority complex.
The issue is, it is more the rule rather than the exception.