Home » Switzerland Today

Switzerland Today

Switzerland Today

Are you a slow talker? Then, you’ll feel at home in Bern according to the research.

How do you say candy in Swiss German? Täfeli or Zückerli? What about doll? Is it Bääbi or Puppe? That depends of course on where you live in the Swiss German part of the country. Now apparently, it seems that it isn’t just what you say but how fast you say it that distinguishes one dialect from another.

That’s according to the “Swiss German Dialects Across Time and Space” research project at the University of Bern, which is investigating language change in German-speaking Switzerland.

As Tages-Anzeiger reportedExternal link today, the cliché that the Bernese speak slowly is true. But it isn’t necessarily all Bernese. The project found that men in Bern are the slowest speakers. “Young men from Bern stand out with their slow speaking speed. The cliché of the slow Bernese seems to originate mainly from them,” writes the author.

So, who are the fast talkers? Apparently, women from Zurich top the charts. Why are there such big differences? The researchers offer one possible explanation – “stance-taking”, which is how people project and position themselves vis-à-vis others. How do you say that in Bärndütsch?