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1047168.  Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:23 am Reply with quote

Which nationality is/are used in the Swiss Confederation when a Swiss joke needs a foreign idiot? Do Swiss people play the role of the foreign idiot in jokes in another country?

And which country is the favorite enemy of Switzerland, i.e. a country they really like to beat? Is Switzerland the favorite enemy of another country?

1047192.  Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:35 pm Reply with quote

Swisses tell Austrian jokes, portraying the Austrians as a dim lot who talk funny.

It is, for instance, commonly held in Switzerland that the top and bottom stripes of the Austrian flag are only the same so that it wouldn't matter if Austrians got it upside down.

1073247.  Fri May 09, 2014 11:08 am Reply with quote

Switzerland is the only country with enough nuclear fallout shelters for the entire population, as is required by law.

Sadurian Mike
1073389.  Sat May 10, 2014 10:25 am Reply with quote

During the Second World War, the Swiss air force successfully intercepted (shot down or forced to land) 105 aircraft, both Allied and Axis. (you'll need a translator unless you're Suze).

1073551.  Sun May 11, 2014 7:58 am Reply with quote

I think Ms A FacialBar could probably manage that page without a translator too!

Quite apart from Switzerland's own air force, at least one other Swiss played a major role in the aerial theatre during WWII. That'll be Poland's leading air ace Jan Zumbach, who was born in Warsaw of Swiss parents, and was both a Swiss and a Polish national.

He led a colourful life, to say the least. After the war he made his living trafficking guns and stolen goods around Europe in small aircraft, and owned a "nightclub" in Paris which was more or less a brothel.

He also got involved in various independence struggles in Africa, and was for a time head of the Biafran Air Force (under the name John Brown - it is unclear whether the Biafrans knew who he was).

He was then probably murdered by gangsters at the age of 70. He certainly had enemies in the murky world of organized crime, but the authorities in France - where he was then living - decided that the matter was best left uninvestigated.

1073670.  Mon May 12, 2014 2:38 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I think Ms A FacialBar could probably manage that page without a translator too!

Only because thank goodness they use standard German spelling. If the Swiss wrote like they talk there'd be no hope in hell...



1073785.  Mon May 12, 2014 11:28 am Reply with quote

It will come!

Luxembourg increasingly uses Luxembourgish where it would once have used German (although the courts, the railways, and the better restaurants use French as they always did). Because journalism traditionally used German, TV newscasts are by now scripted in German and then translated live into Luxembourgish by the newsreader - which can lead to some rather odd syntax.

I do not doubt that the same will happen in Switzerland. Give it twenty years, if the rate of change in Luxembourg is anything to go by.

Now, a question for AFB. For the present, everyone in Switzerland speaks Schwyzertütsch but writes in German. Similarly, everyone in Bavaria speaks Boarisch but writes in German, and Arsène Wenger speaks Elsässerditsch but writes in French. In Luxembourg, they increasingly write in Lëtzebuergesch as well as speaking it.

Why is the trend in the north of Germany the other way? Plattdüütsch is dying, but Bavarian isn't. Luxembourgish and Swiss German are actually gaining in strength, which "minor variants" are not supposed to do.

1073873.  Tue May 13, 2014 1:56 am Reply with quote

Welllll... First I think we have to distinguish between dialects and languages again here, and there sure as hell is a stronger case for Platt being its own language than Letzebuergisch (let alone Boarisch and Schwytzerdütsch, which, while pretty much unintelligible to speakers of standard German when spoken are recognised as dialects on the strength of their written form).

Platt is actually coming back, slowly but surely, thanks to a bunch of parents who run monolingual day cares and such things. Sadly, most of these seem to be in the Ems region, so there certainly is the danger of certain varieties of Platt dying out, for instance that of my region. There are some efforts to reinstill it in kids with amateur drama groups and stuff, but I doubt that'll ever result in its resurgence as an actual conversational language, let alone the northern European lingua franca it was in the times of the Hanseatic League. So I guess you could say it's not actually dying, but it's on life support and there are grave doubts regarding its recovery.



1073947.  Tue May 13, 2014 11:09 am Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
First I think we have to distinguish between dialects and languages again here

Which is never easy to do. At one end there are respected linguists who argue that (for instance) Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are all one language - but the Swedes can't spell it and the Danes can't pronounce it. At the other end, you have Ethnologue arguing that the poetry of Burns is in a language which is not English.

Even Ethnologue accepts that Alsatian and Swiss German are dialects of one language. It actually calls that language Swiss German, but "Alemannic" is perhaps a better name. If we collapse the hierarchy by one level we can argue that "Alemannic" and Bavarian are dialects of one language, which we shall call "Upper German".

By collapsing the hierarchy a second level we can argue that "Upper German" is but a dialect of Proper German, and if we do that we'd probably accept that Luxembourgish too is no more than a dialect of Proper German.

But if we do collapse the hierarchy by those two levels, don't we come rather close to having to regard Plattdüütsch as a dialect of Dutch?

Thanks for the information on Platt, all the same. When I read in a journal that the good people of Co Wicklow have taken to speaking a new creole which appears to be a bizarre mixture of Proper German, Plattdüütsch, English as spoken in Ireland, together with odds and sods from French, Gaeilge, Slavic, and Lord knows what else ... I shall know who to blame!

1073973.  Tue May 13, 2014 1:00 pm Reply with quote

I think they all just ought to speak English....

Sadurian Mike
1074150.  Wed May 14, 2014 11:12 am Reply with quote

During the Second World War, the only country that seriously thought about invading Switzerland was the Soviet Union, and then by proxy. Stalin seriously suggested to Eisenhower that the Allies could invade and use the country to bypass the German Western Wall defences.

Military, political and diplomatic considerations came first for the Western Allies, however.


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