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Swiss-German phrasebook

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Swiss-German phrasebook

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Swiss-German is is considerably different from German, especially as it happens in regards to those very phrases which a traveler needs: nicities, 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 long-vowel sound in Swiss-German "guet" versus the short-vowel sound 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 Berne (i.e. in the canton of Berne). 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 Berne is the Swiss capital). There is no standardized Swiss-German. 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 (which is the official language of the northern part of Switzerland).



Common diphthongs

Phrase list


Hello (formal
Grüezi, Grüässech, Guete Dag (Tag)* (Basel) ( )
Hello. (informal
Hoi, Sali, Hallo, Hey, Salü ( )
How are you? 
Wie geit's, wie goht's (*= used proximity Basel) ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
Guet, merci,: Super, dangge!* ( )
Merci, dangge* ( )
What is your name? 
Wie heissisch ( ?
My name is ______ . 
I heisse ______ . ( _____ .) : Mi Name isch "----"*
Nice to meet you. 
Fröit mi, freut mi sehr* ( )
Bitte ( )
Thank you. 
Merci, dangge vyylmols* (vyyl=pronounced like english "feel)" ( )
You're welcome. 
Gärn gscheh, s'macht nid*, bitte*, ( )
Ja, Yo* ( )
Nei ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention
Tschuldigung, Excüsie* (=like French "excusez-moi) ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
Tuet mer Leid; Entschuldigung : (see "Excüsie")( )
I'm sorry. 
Tuet mer Leid, s'tuet mir sehr Leid* ( )
Adie; Uf wiederluege, ( )
Goodbye (informal
tschüss, tschau , Ciao* (=Italian)( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
I cha nöd guet Schwitzertütsch [ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
Redsch Änglisch? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Isch do öppert, wo Änglisch redet? ( ?)
Hilfe! ( !)
Look out! 
Pass uuf! ( !)
Good morning. 
Guete Morge. ( )
Good evening. 
Guete Obed . Gueten Obe*( )
Good night. 
Guet Nacht. ( )
Good night (to sleep
Guet Nacht.: Schloof guet* ( )
I don't understand. 
I has nöd verstandä. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
Wo isch s'WC ? ( ?)


ich (i) (y) ha mis Portmonnaie verlore!- I lost my wallet! (i,y=like english "e") y fühle mich schlächt- i feel sick/not well/upset wo isch d'Polizei Poschte?- where is the police station? i mües öppis määlde- i have to/must report something Krankehuus- Hospital Het's e Krankehuus in dr Nüürche- is there a hospital nearby? i bi velore/mir sind verlore- I/we am/are lost!! bitte sage si mir wo.....isch?- Can you please tell me Bahnhof-train station Taxi Stand- taxi station Bank-Bank PTT- post office (prononced="pay-tay-tay") Hotel " "- the " " hotel


1 äis, ais
2 zwöi, zwai
3 drü
4 vier
5 föif, füüf
6 sächs
7 sebe, sibä
8 acht
9 nün
10 zäh

20 zwänzg, zwanzg
30 drissg
40 vierzg
50 füfzg
60 sächzg
70 sebezg, sibezg
80 achtzg
90 nünzg
100 hundert

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

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

101 eihundertundäis
102 eihundertzwöi


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



Writing time and date



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

Bus and train





Gäld, Bargäld- cash, isch Bargäld ok, mit Bargäld bezähle?- can i pay with cash, pay with cash? Was koschtet das? - how much is this/that?, Zu Tüüer! (Zu Teuer)- Too expensive!, Het's no Billigeres?- Do you have something cheaper?, Kann i mit Kreditkarte bezähle?- Can i use my Credit Card?, Trinkgäld (gäh)- Tip, (Tipping), Ich (i) (y) nimm das- I'lll take/buy it (i,y= both pronounced like "e" in english), Y möcht öppis anders-I would like something else, Han si Mitbringseli?- Do you have souvenirs?


Enjoy your meal - En guete
Schoggi - Chocolate
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


Glass of beer - Schtange


Poschtä (Go shopping)



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