Swiss German Guide: Pronouns, Greetings & Tenses

Are you planning a trip to Zurich, Switzerland, or interested in learning the local dialect? Zurich Swiss German, also known as Züritüütsch, is a unique dialect that is spoken by the residents of Zurich and surrounding areas. It has its own set of rules and variations that make it distinct from High German. In this guide, we will explore some of the essential aspects of Zurich Swiss German that you should know to communicate more effectively in this beautiful city.

1. Personal and Possessive Pronouns

Personal pronouns are words used to refer to people or things. They are used in place of a noun and help to avoid repetition. Here is a chart of personal pronouns in (Zurich) Swiss German:

PersonSubject PronounObject Pronoun
1st singIchmi
2nd singdudi
3rd singer, si, sen, ihri, s
1st plurmireus
2nd plurdireu
3rd plursisi

Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession or ownership of something. Here is a chart of possessive pronouns in Zurich Swiss German:

PersonPossessive Pronoun
1st singmin
2nd singdin
3rd singsin
1st plureus
2nd plureu
3rd plursi

Personal and possessive pronouns are essential elements of any language. Personal pronouns are used to replace nouns referring to people, while possessive pronouns are used to indicate ownership or possession.

If you need to practice, here are some example sentences:

  • “Ich ha kei Ziit” (I don’t have time)
  • “Wo hesch du dini Sach?” (Where is your stuff?)
  • “Er gaht morn uf d’Reis” (He’s going on a trip tomorrow)
  • “Si isch eifach super” (She is simply great)
  • “Es rägnät scho wider” (It’s raining again)
  • “Mir gönd morn is Kino” (We’re going to the movies tomorrow)
  • “Ihr sind immer so lustig” (You guys are always so funny)
  • “Si händ eifach kei Ahnig” (They simply have no clue)

2. Different Ways of Greeting People and Introducing Yourself

When greeting someone in Swiss German, it’s essential to consider the setting and the relationship between the people. In formal settings, such as business meetings or interviews, a handshake and “Grüezi” (hello) are appropriate. In informal settings, such as with friends or family, a hug or (three!) kisses on the cheek and “Hoi” (hi) or “Sali” (hello) are more common.

Here are some examples of how to greet someone and introduce yourself in Zurich Swiss German:

SituationGreetingIntroducing Yourself
Formal settingGrüezi! Ich heisse Peter.Guten Tag! Ich bin Frau Müller.
Informal settingHoi! Wie goht’s?Sali! Ich bin dä Michel.
Meeting friendsHallo! Lueg, wer da isch!Ciao! Ich bin d’Nina.
Meeting familyHoi zäme!Hoi, ich bin d’Lara.

3. Verb Tenses

Verb tenses are used to indicate the time of an action. In Swiss German, there are two main verb tenses: present simple and present perfect.

The present simple tense in Zurich Swiss German is used to describe habitual or ongoing actions. Here are some examples:

  • I goht jede Tag is Fitnesszentrum. (I go to the gym every day.)
  • Du läbsch imene schöne Hus. (You live in a beautiful house.)
  • Si schlaft immer lang. (She always sleeps in.)

The present perfect tense in Swiss German is used to describe actions that have happened in the past but have a connection to the present. Here are some examples:

  • I ha grad z’Mittag ä Schteckli Pizza gässe. (I just ate a slice of pizza for lunch.)
  • Du bisch scho mol in Thailand gsi? (Have you ever been to Thailand?)
  • Si händ scho viel Erfahrige gmacht. (They have already had many experiences.)

It’s important to note that Swiss German doesn’t have a separate form for the present perfect tense like High German. Instead, it uses the auxiliary verb “ha” (have) with the past participle of the main verb.

In addition to the present simple and present perfect tenses, there are other verb tenses in Swiss German, such as the past simple, future tense, and conditional mood. However, these are less commonly used in everyday conversations.


Learning Zurich Swiss German can be challenging but rewarding. By understanding the personal pronouns, greetings, and verb tenses in Zurich Swiss German, you can communicate more effectively with the locals and immerse yourself in the culture of this beautiful city. Remember to practice speaking the language as much as possible and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become in speaking Zurich Swiss German.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to Zurich or just want to learn a new language, take the time to learn Zurich Swiss German. Who knows, you may even discover a new passion for this unique dialect!