There are more than 130 million people in the world who speak German as their native language, and learning German can allow you to communicate with them in their own language! This can be extremely helpful when interacting with Germans, moving to Germany, or even when visiting the area! Learning another language opens up an incredibly large amount of opportunities in the life of any individual. It expands your mind and allows for deepened understanding of words, their meanings, and of culture in general. These are only some of many benefits, so it is of no wonder that there are people who want to become bilingual.
Are you wanting to learn Swiss German but not sure where to start? Well, know that there is a large community of Swiss German speakers and language learning providers that are ready to help! Resources such as books, podcasts, applications, YouTube Channels, videos, and other methods are readily available to help beginners learn how to speak Swiss German.
In fact, by the end of this article you are likely to acquire a new problem. Rather than feeling directionless, you will be entirely overwhelmed with the amount of resources available to help you in this endeavor and accomplish your language learning goals! To learn more about some of the best resources there are to learn Swiss German, keep reading.
1. Swiss German for English Speakers
Swiss German for English Speakers is a book that is highly recommended to anyone wanting to learn Swiss German. It is especially highly recommended for anyone that will be traveling to different cities within Germany where the dialects will vary and you will need to be able to go back and forth between the differences of the language (depending on the city you’re visiting). Because this book focuses primarily on the dialect of the language, there is a lot of content that will include reading in areas such as Swiss German grammar, vocabulary, as well as reading exercises! These exercises are included so you can feel like you are learning how to both read and speak Swiss German at the same time. Applying what you are learning is vital in the process of mastering a new language. You need to not only read about these subjects, but have the confidence to put them into use to make them worth studying!
The second book that is recommended is titled Schwiizertuutsch. If you are motivated by a more light-hearted, comical tone of writing when learning new things like a language, this book is a good option for you. This book would be more appropriate to read through and use as a manual to learn and become more familiar with common, everyday phrases that are used in the Swiss German language. Things that are basic necessities in order to communicate with locals are the main focus of this book and it may be a good idea to start reading through this after you have already become familiar with the basics of the language.
The third book that is recommended is titled “Sag Chuchichastli“. Once you have gone through the basics of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation of the language, it could be a fun challenge to test your knowledge and skill by reading a basic storybook in Swiss German. This book has a short story completely written in Swiss German, but simple enough that it is a great starting point to immerse yourself both in the language and in a common storybook from the culture. This option is a little more entertaining than the others, so this would be a great way to reward yourself for making such good progress.
Reading a book to learn a language isn’t the most helpful or ideal tactic for everyone, but it is always an option, and if you’re not sure it could work for you never hurts to try.
4. Swiss German Online
The first podcast that is recommended is called “Swiss German Online“. This is a great podcast if you are someone who really just wants to be exposed to conversations in Swiss German without having to eavesdrop on local’s conversations. The host conducts discussions in a simple, basic enough manner that you as the listener can follow along and be able to recognize the words and their meanings as well as make sense of the context of the conversation. This podcast is great if you just want to start small with low commitment and just give 5 to 15 minutes a day to being exposed to the language and absorb it that way.
5. Regional-journal by SRF
The second podcast that is recommended is called Regional-journal by SRF. This podcast has similar benefits to the Swiss German Online podcast we just discussed. The main content of this podcast is giving commentary on news, politics, and economics within the country, in Swiss German. If news and politics are something that you are particularly interested in that this may be an intriguing option for you. The difference between this podcast and the previous one we just discussed, is that this podcast uses more advanced words and doesn’t give you much time to absorb anything other than the content.
The third podcast that is recommended is called Beziehungskosmos. If psychology and relationship improvement are some podcast topics that are of interest to you, then this podcast is a great educational opportunity for both those topics as well as learning Swiss German at the same time. The hosts are a Swiss psychologist and a German journalist. Each of the episodes is an hour long so they are more of a time commitment than some of the other options we have already listed, but this is a great option if you have more time available some days to sit and have some educational exposure to the language.
7. Learn Swiss German
The first YouTube channel that is recommended is titled Learn Swiss German. If you are wanting to take the challenge of learning Swiss German topic by topic, then you will love how this channel is set up. Each video is dedicated to one aspect or topic of the language so you can focus and really understand one topic at a time instead of being overwhelmed with several lessons at once. Each of the videos is about an hour long, which can seem extremely lengthy and intimidating, but if you were to focus on one video a week and broke it down into 20 minutes a day, you can accomplish a lot and not feel overwhelmed.
8. Swiss German for Beginners
The second YouTube channel that is recommended is titled Swiss German for Beginners. If you are looking for content that is going to be both educational and entertaining, this YouTube channel is a good place to start. You can expect lessons on vocabulary and other technical aspects of the language as well as fun videos that include everything from interesting cultural facts to bedtime stories to send you or your kids to sleep. This would be a great introduction channel to visit if you just want to get your feet wet with the language and see if you’re interested in committing to more in-depth lessons.
The third YouTube channel that is recommended is titled Speaksli. If you are looking for a channel that is not specifically Swiss German-focused, then this channel is a good channel to have access to lessons for basic words and phrases in various languages that also included Swiss German. This channel tends to be especially intriguing to kids because of the simplicity of the words and phrases, as well as the animated, cartoon visuals that are used in the videos. If that kind of video is captivating to you as well and would help you focus and be involved in the lessons then this would work for adults too.
10. “Learn Swiss German While Sleeping”
The first recommended video is “Learn Swiss German While Sleeping” by 1000 Words Listening Practice. If you really are short on time and love multitasking, this video can help you learn Swiss German while you sleep. The narrator of the video will state sentences in English and then the same sentence in Swiss German. There is no video that correlates with the audio so you wouldn’t be missing much to listen to this as you close your eyes and go to sleep at night and soak in all the Swiss German you can.
11. “100 Phrases for Swiss German Beginners”
The second recommended video is “100 Phrases for Swiss German Beginners” by Learn Swiss German, which is a channel we already discussed previously. This video gives common phrases in Swiss German but the catch is that the video is purely in Swiss German, there is no English translation. If this intimidates you, the majority of these phrases are extremely common and shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to you. Once you get really good at these you will have a significantly solid base to continue on to more intermediate words and phrases.
12. “How Similar are Swiss German and High German?”
The third recommended video is “How Similar Are Swiss German and High German?” by Easy German. This video may not be especially helpful for beginners, but if you already have a background in High German then this may be helpful for you to be able to see and distinguish the major differences between the two. If you are a fresh new beginner to any kind of German but particularly either Swiss or High German, this video may be more confusing than informative, so be honest with yourself about the level of your abilities. Honesty with oneself will prove to be an invaluable tool in language learning, as it will allow you to accurately identify weaker areas and properly find and implement methods and tools which will help you to improve them.
13. “Swiss German vs. High German: Breakfast Edition”
This video is “Swiss German vs. High German: Breakfast Edition”, and was also made a posted by Easy German. This video is very similar to the video we just discussed but is focused on a specific topic, which just happens to be breakfast. If having a specific topic in regards to the language to focus on, like breakfast, for example, would be helpful so you have more context of the words and phrases you are learning rather than just learning various words and phrases at random then this video is good for that.
Improving vocabulary can be a rather daunting task with an entire language of words to learn. However, choosing a specific topic, as is done in this video, is an excellent way of breaking it down into bite sized pieces. Begin with breakfast words in this video, and then branch out with other topics and categories. Slowly, you will begin to recognize that you are learning a large amount of words rather quickly. Increased confidence will help all language learners to reach their full potential.
14. “20 Videos Every Swiss German Beginner Must Know”
Another excellent video is “20 Videos Every Swiss German Beginner Must Know” by Swiss German for Beginners, and will surely provide some excellent language learning help to its viewers. This video isn’t just great for the first view, it is one that can be repeated many times for better understanding and to become familiar with native speakers’ accents, word choice, and grammar.
There are 20 phrases that are said, and the English translations are provided afterwards to help increase understanding, overall comprehension, and the retention of new information. These are very common phrases that you would hear in an everyday experience in Germany and would prove useful if you found yourself in a situation where you needed to communicate and get around with some basic phrases. These beginner level conversations are ones that you will be glad to have in your pocket, and will likely be ones that you will have several times if visiting a native speaking Swiss German area. Being comfortable with simple questions and answers will help you immensely in communicating with native speakers.
Hope this post has inspired you to start learning this fascinating language! Let us know in the comments if you want to add some resources we may have forgotten.