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Swiss-German phrasebook

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Revision as of 18:15, 11 May 2009 by (talk) (Money: some corrections and additions)
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Swiss-German phrasebook

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Swiss-German is considerably different from German, especially as it happens in regards to those very phrases which a traveler needs: niceties, greetings, asking for stuff, getting directions, etc. One of the key differences to getting by with Swiss German. For example, "Fine, thank you" is Guet, merci; with guet being the German word for good/fine, while merci is from the French "thank you". In addition, there are many pronunciation differences which separate Swiss-German from either language. For example, the diphthong in Swiss-German "guet" versus the monophthong in High-German "gut".

Pronunciation guide

Note that most of the following Swiss-German phrases and words are written as they would be pronounced by people living in the area around Bern, Basel, Zürich (i.e. in the canton of Bern, etc.). Whilst bernese dialect is widely understood in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland, it's by no means "official" Swiss-German (despite of the fact that Bern is the Swiss capital). There is no standardized Swiss-German ("Schwyzerdüütsch"). Remarkably, the native dialects spoken in the many Swiss-German cantons are clearly distinguishable by locals (i.e. they can tell apart from the dialect in which canton somebody grew up). Speaking Swiss-German is common for all people living in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland, independent of age or education. For writing, standard German is mostly used, though Swiss-German dialect is particularly popular among the youths (e.g. in e-mail messages, SMS messages etc.). With the ongoing globalization and immigration, mixing Swiss-German dialects with English (quite often even with pseudo English) or speaking so called "Jugo-Deutsch" (German pronounced as immigrants coming from the former Yugoslavia region tend to pronounce it) has also become trendy for youngsters.

For official documents, standard German is used.



Common diphthongs

Phrase list


Grüezi [Grea-atsie], hoi! saluti! [salooti!] (also: saletti)
Hello everyone/hi there 
Grüezi mitenand [Grea-tsi metta-nònd]
Hi everyone 
hoi zäme


ich ha(n) mi(s) Portmonnaie verlore! 
I lost my wallet! (n, s = variants, depending on the dialect)
ich fühl mi(ch) schlächt 
I feel sick/not well/upset (ch = variant)
wo isch de Polizei Poschte? 
where is the police station?
ich mües öppis mälde 
I have to/must report something
Hät's es Spital i de Nöchi 
is there a hospital nearby?
ich bi(n) velore/mir sind verlore 
I/we am/are lost!! (n = variant)
bitte säged sie mir wo.....isch? 
Can you please tell me
train station
Taxi Stand 
taxi station
post office (prononced="pay-tay-tay")
Hotel " " 
the " " hotel
ich bi(n) verliebt! 
I'm in love
ich liebe dich! 
I love you!


1 eis, äis, ais, eins
2 zwöi, zwai
3 drü, drai
4 vier
5 fföif, füüf, fünf
6 sächs
7 sebe, sibä
8 acht
9 nün
10 zäh, zehn

11 elf
12 zwölf
13 drizäh
14 vierzäh
15 füfzäh
16 sächzäh
17 sibzäh
18 achzäh
19 nünzäh
20 zwänzg

21 einezwänzg
22 zwöiezwänzg
23 drüezwänzg
24 vierezwänzg
25 föifezwänzg
26 sächsezwänzg
27 sebenezwänzg
28 achtezwänzg
29 nünezwänzg
30 drissg

40 vierzg
50 füfzg
60 sächzg
70 sibezg
80 achtzg
90 nünzg
100 hundert

101 hundertundäis
102 hundertzwöi


Clock time


Wie lang gahts bis ... (How long does it take to...) Wie lang het ma bis....? (dito) Brüch's vyyl Zyt bis....ane ? (dito)


Mäntig, Mentig


März, Merz

Writing time and date


Red - Rot.

Blue - blau.

Black - schwartz.

Green - gruen.

White - Weiss - "vice".

Yellow - gäl(b).

Purple - violet.

Orange - orange "oransh".

Pink - rosa.

Gray - grau.


Motorcycle - Töff, Döff
Vespa, Motorbike - Töffli, Döffli
Bicycle - Velo
Tram (Streetcar) - Tram, Drämmli

Bus Train Plane

Bus, Car - Bus
Reisecar - travel bus
Zug - train
Flugzüg, Flüüger - airplane


graad uus - straight ahead
links - left
rächts - right
vore, vorne - in front
vüre, vürschi, vorwärts - forwards
hinde - in the back
hindere, rückwärts, zrugg - backwards, back


Zum Hotel ...... bitte! - to the ..... hotel please!
was koschtet's öppe nach .......? - How much does it cost to ....., approximately?
Flughafe - airport
Bahnhof - train station
Hotel .... - ..... hotel
ich ha(n)'s pressant! - I'm in a hurry!
mir händ's pressant! - We are in a hurry!
Bitte pressiere! - Hurry, please!



Gäld / Bargäld, Stutz (coll.), Stütz (coll.) 
cash, money.
isch Bargäld ok? mit Bargäld bezähle? 
can I pay with cash? pay with cash?
Was koschtet das? 
how much is this/that?
Z'tüür! (Zu teuer) 
Too expensive! (might be very offensive!)
Das isch mir e chli z'tüür 
That seems to be rather expensive (more polite phrasing)
Hät's no Billigeres? 
Do you have something cheaper?
Chann ich mit Kreditkarte zahle? 
Can I use my Credit Card?
Trinkgäld (gäh) 
Tip (Tipping)
Ich (i) nimm das 
I'll take/buy it (i pronounced like "e" in english)
I/Ich möcht öppis anders 
I would like something else.
Händ si Souvenirs? 
Do you have souvenirs?
Wo chan ich Gäld wächsle? 
Where can I change money?
Wo isch de nächscht Bankomat? 
Where is the closest ATM?


Enjoy your meal - En guete
Schoggi - Chocolate (gg is often pronounced as 'ck,' thus 'schocki')
Cheers - Proscht, Pröstli*
Potato(es) - Herdöpfel
Carrot(s) - Rüebli
A small glass of beer - stangä
Glass of wine- s'Glas Wyy rot=red, wyss=white
Chriesi - cherry
Chuchi - pie

,Gipfeli- croissant

Herdöpfel- potatoes
Oktobertee- wine
Challa- cafe au lait
Bier -beer

Suufe -to drink beer...


Glass of beer - Schtange

Cake Cake


Poschtä (Go shopping)


auto fahre driving a car Wohenne fahrt da bus? Where is this bus going?


Did you destroy the ...? - Hand ihr de... kaput gmacht?

Hoi - Hi

Guet Morge - Good morning

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