After moving to Switzerland three years ago, I looked into all the resources I could find to lear Swiss German. This dialect spoken in around 60% of the country varies from canton to canton, thus it is not easy to learn.
Books are a great resource to learn a language. They often include writing exercises, so if you can complement them with listening and speaking, they’ll help you a lot. This is why we have put up this list of the best books to learn Swiss German. Some of them are more grammar based, others are more illustrative, and there is even a dictionary.
The 10 best books we have found thus far are, in no particular order:
- Hoi: Your New Swiss German Survival Guide
- Swiss German for English Speakers: Book 1
- Complete Grammar Guide to Swiss German: A practical guide with exercises for English speakers with a basic knowledge of Standard German
- Schwiizertüütsch – the German of the Confederates
- Sag Chuchichäschtli: 100 Dinge, an denen man einen Schweizer erkennt
- Schweizerdeutsch leicht gemacht: S Schwiizerdüütsch vo Züri
- Das unverzichtbare illustrierte Schweizerdeutsch-Wörterbuch
- Schweizerdeutsch in 30 Tagen: Schweizerdeutsch verstehen und sprechen
- Schwyzerdütsch für Anfänger
Keep reading to learn more about them!
Here are the best books to learn Swiss German. Unfortunately there are not that many!
Hoi: Swiss German Survival Guide
Hoi: Swiss German Survival Guide (English and German Edition), by Sergio Lievano and Nicole Egger:
this book is definitely pretty good. It’s very complete, because it includes illustrations, over 2000 words and phrases, and a Swiss German to English (and vice versa) dictionary. It is focused on daily life content, and derived mostly from the Zürcher dialect.
Swiss German for English Speakers
Swiss German for English Speakers: Book 1, by Rahel Roth: this book has more dialect diversity than others because it gives you tips on how to communicate in different cities such as Bern, St Gallen or Zurich. It is also thought for beginners, since it does’t require you to have any previous German knowledge. This book includes grammar, vocabulary, and reading exercises. We recommend it because of how complete it is.
Chuchichäschtli is not really a book, but rather a famous pocket-size Swiss German dictionary. Vocabulary comes from all over Switzerland so that might be confusing, but it is still very complete.
Complete Grammar Guide to Swiss German
Complete Grammar Guide to Swiss German: A practical guide with exercises for English speakers with a basic knowledge of Standard German, by Johanna Dornbierer-Stuart: this book might be for you if you already have a German base knowledge and are more focused on grammar or prefer that to more illustrative or interactive books. It is (as the title says) a grammar guide. What I like about it is that it draws on the common points of grammar in all languages and then specifies it into Swiss German. It comes with exercises and a table with irregular verbs.
Schwiizertüütsch – the German of the Confederates is a fun book by Christine Eggenberg that has humorous elements and teaches you Swiss German to use for daily life occasions. It also describes peculiarities about Swiss people from different regions, and readers seem to be very happy with it, because the book has great reviews. It’s part of the Klauderwelsch series. It is written in German though, so it might be better for you if you are already a bit familiar with the language. However, since the content is about daily life, you don’t need the highest level in German to understand this book.
Sag Chuchichäschtli: 100 Dinge, an denen man einen Schweizer erkennt by : if you already know German and don’t really like learning grammar but rather learn by reading, this book tells in a humorous way how to better understand Switzerland, its people, and its language. Its not a Swiss German learning book per se, but a lot of people find fun and interesting learning this way.
Schweizerdeutsch leicht gemacht
Schweizerdeutsch leicht gemacht: S Schwiizerdüütsch vo Züri, by Verena Schorn is a great and very complete book that teaches you Swiss German as spoken in Zurich in 17 lessons. A good knowledge of High German is required, since the book points out the differenced between standard German and the Swiss dialect regarding verbs, tenses and sentence positions. It its also suitable for self-lerners, which can be ideal.
Das unverzichtbare illustrierte Schweizerdeutsch-Wörterbuch
Das unverzichtbare illustrierte Schweizerdeutsch-Wörterbuch is an illustrated dictionary by Sergio Lievano and Nicole Egger, the same authors of Swiss German Survival Guide. It includes over 1000 Swiss German words, focused on Zürcher dialect, with respective images. It is an ideal complement for their first book, and also ideal for visual learners.
Schweizerdeutsch in 30 Tagen
Schweizerdeutsch in 30 Tagen: Schweizerdeutsch verstehen und sprechen is a book by Michael Jakob and Silas Dietler, aimed at people that want to integrate quickly in Switzerland. The book is structured in 30 lessons that cover everyday topics in Swiss German to help you integrate as quick as possible. It is recommended for self-learners. I’ve added an excerpt of the book to the left so that you can get an idea of how it’s structured. The book is written in High German, so make sure to have a base knowledge of it if you’re planning on learning with this resource.
Schwyzerdütsch für Anfänger
Schwyzerdütsch für Anfänger by Ruth Troxler and Thomas Gsteiger has a comprehensive list of 2500 words and idioms in Swiss German. It is quite useful if you already have a knowledge of the dialect and want to deepen it with specific words. This small Wörterbuch includes, besides the translations, explanations for idioms and certain words that confuse Swiss German learners.
I hope you had enjoyed this list of books. Let me know in the comments if there is a book for learning Swiss German that you love and I haven’t included!