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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?

December 15, 2017



I think the audience for learning "Schwytzerdütsch" is likely much too small for Duolingo to invest time and personnel in the creation of same.


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.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Swiss German uses Standard German spelling.


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.


Don't see it. Am I blind?


If a language isn't already listed in the guide, the guide itself suggests you contact a mod to get it listed. It's all part of the guide.

(How do you contact a mod? Well, the guide doesn't cover that unfortunately)


Typically the moderator who made the guide (Lrtward) will stumble upon the post and add it to the Suggestion guide, since there's a quick and easy hyperlink to their guide so they can add it quickly.


Yeah, it just seems a bit or miss. It's a shame they couldn't have kept the streams going just for the moderators - so we could contact them.


Please read the NOTES in

Every time Duolingo considers a new language, we ask ourselves 3 important questions:

  1. How many people will benefit from this course?


You can create this on Tinycards or Memrise, but the Duolingo creation tools are restricted access. You can apply in the Incubator (to work on this course) if you want. However, I very much doubt that they will create a Swiss German course any time soon.


I would love a Swiss German course! Although I think plain German is more useful because it gives us roots in any German dialect, but my ancestry is Swiss, and I would love to learn my grandparent's mother tongue "Schwytzerdütsch"


You can check this for some common Swiss German phrases...and songs :) https://www.weaving-words.uk/translate-swiss-german-to-english?lang=en


It would be funny to have such one! I would definitely contribute! But it's a bit complicated because of the many dialects.


It's great idea! For now, at least you can check this https://www.weaving-words.uk/translate-swiss-german-to-english?lang=en for some translation tips and common phrases.

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