Swiss German Course
I was thinking it would be fun to create a Swiss German course since Swiss German and Standard German are practically unintelligible. People who speak Swiss German and live in Switzerland should contribute to the course.
So what do you guys think?
Given that there are around 2 million foreigners living in Switzerland and there is no good amount of material that can be found online to learn swiss german, I think there is case to be made.
As a comparison 5 million people speak swiss german. Compare this to a language like Yiddish which is also high-german derived language but only has 1.5 million speakers (Yiddish has a duolingo course). For languages like swedish there are 10 million speakers and duolingo even has 4 different courses teaching the language. With a total immigrant population of 2 million, Sweden is pretty comparable.
A bigger problem is that there is no official writing system for swiss german, and the language differs per city. I guess we can try to combine dialects from different regions.
There is a bit of a misconception here: In Switzerland, we use a slight variant of High German for writing that we might call "Swiss High German". It's essentially High German minus the letter "ß" (which we simply replace by "ss"), and some small variations on vocabulary. Swiss people also tend to have a very different accent from Germans when they speak High German. But this is by no means Swiss German.
What we call Swiss German is a range of dialects that differ to High German by pronounciation, vocabulary and grammar. There are no fixed spelling rules because dialects vary between cantons or cities, although we sometimes write in Swiss German in chats.
"Swiss High German" is used for all official documents, newspapers and so on, but it would never be worth a course, as it is just a modified High German. Teaching a Swiss German (i.e. dialect) course by using Standard German spelling is impossible in much the same way that giving a French course with Italian spelling would be impossible.
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Every time Duolingo considers a new language, we ask ourselves 3 important questions:
- How many people will benefit from this course?
You can check this for some common Swiss German phrases...and songs :) https://www.weaving-words.uk/translate-swiss-german-to-english?lang=en