Last week three friends and I took a trip to Lucerne Switzerland. It was an incredible experience and probably the most beautiful place i’ve been to yet! Lucerne is a medieval town situated in the Swiss Alps on Lake Lucerne. It is located in in the german speaking portion of the country. Because of its german influence, I fully expected to be able to understand and communicate with the locals during my time there. However, upon arriving, I soon realized that this would not be the case. Swiss German is incredibly different than the “hoch Deutsch” spoken in Berlin and northern Germany! Everything from the pronunciation, grammar, and certain words are different. Additionally, the German spoken there is much more french-influenced with “Merci” being a more common expression than “Danke.”
This came as a surprise to me as it was the first time I have been exposed to a different dialect of German. After speaking with my supervisor at work about the experience, I soon learned that German is an incredibly diverse and varied language. She explained to me that she often has a hard time communicating with people from the southern part of Germany because of their thick bavarian accents, and will actually communicate with them in English if possible. Additionally, I learned that the Saxon part of Germany also speaks a different dialect and than the Berliners also have a unique accent. In fact the only area where true proper German is spoken is Hannover!