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Pronunciation & Spelling

Pronunciation is basically German (accent mostly on first syllable). Spelling is Ger­man, except as follows:


•  I often use double vowels to indicate long pronunci­ation. (Once upon a time, the Germans did likewise.) This may hint at additional vowels in the root language, e.g. sii (sein), and it helps with different meanings, e.g. aaha­/­aha­!


•  At times, but not always, I have retained the German use of the mute h after a vowel to indicate long pronun­ciation, e.g. gseh. I have not used the ie combination for long pronunciation, for the simple reason that I needed these two vowels in their own right, e.g. Bieli (hatchet) is pro­noun­ced with i and e, not with a long i.

A long i is, therefore, represented by ii, e.g. liislig (leise).


•  On the subject of diphthongs the main difference is with eu and äu, because I  needed these combinations in their own right, e.g. a Teu (ein Teil), or äuä (­allweg). In their place, you will find öi, e.g. Söiblueme (dande­lion). See also the notes for the letter l.


•  In matters of ligatures, I have by and large adhered to the German rules on ch, ck, and sch. There is a ten­dency in Swiss to pronounce the g in ng, if the word is distinct enough from German, e.g. Chüngu (Kaninchen), mängisch (manchmal). Ng is also used to render the French nasal sound in such words as Balangs and Brangsche. Most peo­ple pronounce these with the German sound of ng, because they deem the French nasal sound affected.


•  I have followed the German rules on tz and ck, ex­cept when I felt otherwise.


•  The choice between b and p is a matter of regional preference. It is not always reflecting the root. Some say plag­iere, some blagiere (to brag), or Püu­ger­e/Büug­ere (gum). Make an ar­tis­tic choice.


•  R is more dental than guttur­al, contrary to High German usage.

•  D and t are also often a matter of local preference. Some say düssele, oth­ers tüssele (to sneak), or Täfeli and Däf­eli (candy). An individual will be quite definite about this. Doubt, at any rate, is not a Swiss thing.


•  P and t are pronounced without the ensueing unwrit­ten h, unlike in German and English, more as in French, e.g. poschte as in la poste, not as in die Post or the post.


•  The ending l is considered elegant and studied, and in the Nideramt vernacular it is mostly replaced by a vowel or a diph­thong, e.g. Mehl/Mäu, gelb/gääu, einmal/emu, Stelle/Steu. See also the notes concerning diphthongs.


•  I have rarely used y. It is a habit to use it in Baselditsch to indi­cate a long i, and they can have it, e.g. Zyt (Zei­t). Strangely, I used it for yo.


•  The liaison n is often incorporated into the words so linked, and just what are you going to do about it? You will have to put up with

schteu drHafenafenufenofenufe­, that's what.


•  Schwizerdütsch is in need of more Umlauts than ä, ö, and ü, but it is the convention to make do with what we have. The ü, in particular, has many shades, from near i to near ö, e.g. fuchstüfuswüud, -wiud?, -wöud? (hopping mad), or wüu (weil), (as opposed to är wöu, er wolle), or Bischpüu (Beispiel), which could be Bischpeu.


•  German st and sp are mostly represented the way they are pronounced, namely as sht and shp (scht/schp), and not in line with German usage, e.g. Gschpängscht (Gespenst).


•  The Swiss do not use the ß, even when writing in High German. In its place they use ss. (The sign ß itself is pronounced "estset" (sz) in German, "ästsät" in Swiss.)


•  The apostrophy is used to signal a partly hidden article, preposition, or pronoun (not a possessive decli­nation).

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