Monday, April 7, 2014

Another lesson of Baseldütsch

A couple of weeks ago I arrived to my Russian course a little sooner than usual. The previous group was still in the classroom so I looked for a place to sit and wait and saw another classmate of mine also waiting outside the classroom. I walked towards him to do some small talk and said the only word I've mastered in Baseldütsch so far, 'Griezi!'. He looked at me perplexed and said something I didn't fully understand - as it happens anytime someone speaks to me in any of the Swiss dialects. After several tries I realised he was surprised because I was using a very polite greeting to address him when we had already agreed in the course that after six months we could start addressing each other informally, rather than sticking the to formalities German-speakers are used to. That was my lesson for the day, griezi (or whichever way you choose to write it) is a formal greeting and there I was smiling and saying griezi to almost everyone instead of a much more normal and informal hallo!.

Oh, Baseldütsch or any other Schwizerdütsch dialect! This is definitely one of my least favourite parts of living in Switzerland. As much as I try to listen and get used to it I simply can't and I feel that this is going to be a lifetime struggle. Sometimes, I can follow a conversation when I know what it is about but most of the time I'm clueless. And that's a pity because people can be really chatty here and I really wish I could understand what they say to me. They will start talking about anything at the supermarket queue, the tram stop or wherever and all I do is smile and nod politely. I feel terrible but so relieved when I drive to Germany and I suddenly understand everything and, oh, so grateful when Boyfriend is watching German tv or even Austrian instead of Swiss because then I can actually know what's going on. I especially like ProSieben and its realities and I laugh at most of the jokes. But while I had so much fun watching The Voice of Germany last autumn I cannot stand The voice of Switzerland and I know it's all about the dialect, sorry!

Anyway, I have learnt a few more words of Baseldütsch since I moved to Basel last summer. Now I am able to understand numbers and the days of the week correctly. So, nine months later, here's a new lesson of Baseldütsch, in case you ever plan a holiday around Switzerland and need some help with the local dialects.

0 null - 1 eis - 2 zwäi - 3 drai - 4 vier - 5 füüf - 6 sächs - 7 siebe - 8 acht - 9 nün - 10 zäh 
11 elf - 12 zwölf - 13 drüzäh - 14 vierzäh - 15 füfzäh - 16 sächzäh - 17 sibzäh - 18 achzäh - 19 nünzäh - 20 zwänzg

Mäntig (Montag) - Monday
Zischtig (Dienstag) - Tuesday
Mittwoch (Mittwoch) - Wednesday
Donnstig (Donnerstag) - Thursday
Fritig (Freitag) - Friday
Samschtig (Samstag) - Saturday
Suntig (Sonntag) - Sunday

Well, that was all for today! You can take a look at the very basics of Baseldütsch in this post. And who knows, maybe I'll be back with a new lesson learnt soon. Maybe next time will be food names - yeah, that's also a funny one!

Have a lovely week!


  1. They should've been honored that you were greeting them formally. Lol Well at least you know now. I think it's just going to take time Irene. Learn in pieces. Take it slow. One day it's all going to click my friend.

  2. Oh gosh, I had no idea Switzerland was full of so many dialects! I thought it was plainly, SwissGerman and French. What a fool I am. That must be so difficult for you, I can't even imagine. You will get a lot out of it though! Don't be disheartened, I'm sure you're coping a lot better than you think you are. Rosemary x

  3. I would be so confused living there but you sound to be doing pretty good learning. It will soon click since you hear it everyday. I love learning new languages but it is difficult to maintain the knowledge when you don't use/hear everyday. How nice people there sound so friendly.

  4. Madre mía! de verdad que te admiro con todos los idiomas que tienes que saber. Aprendiendo ruso y "lidiando" como puedes con los habitantes de Basilea. Esto de los malentendidos es algo que a todos los que intentamos hablar otra lengua diferente a la nuestra nos ha pasado alguna vez. Ánimo y pa´ lante que seguro que de aquí al verano ya puedes entablar una conversación en el metro con alguien. Bss:)

  5. I did not know that griezi is the formal way to say hello! Thanks for teaching me something new! I had a pen pal from Switzerland when I was a teenager and one time he called me and we chatted on the phone a bit and I did not understand most of what he said. It was really horrible!

  6. This is so cool (: I will never understand how people survived in a foreign country and speaks a native language, I personally find it really cool and amazing (: x


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