SCHWEIZERDEUTSCH VS. HOCHDEUTSCH: A DIGLOSSIC SITUATION
Published: 25 Aug 2014
Abstract: Swiss German, referred to as Schweizerdeutsch, covers any of the German dialects spoken in Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy. The various dialects of Swiss German must not be confused with Swiss Standard German, a variety of Standard German, referred to as Hochdeutsch. Schweizerdeutsch is not usually intelligible by German people. This unintelligibility is to the extent that, for example, in a talk with a Swiss German speaker on German television, subtitles are necessary. This does not rule out the fact that every literate Swiss German speaker is also able to use Standard German. This linguistic situation is referred to as ‘diglossia’. This article aims to scrutinize the linguistic differences between Hochdeutsch and Schweizerdeutsch, at lexical, semantic and morpho-syntactic levels, to show the reasons behind this unintelligibility.
Keywords: standard german (hochdeutsch), swiss german (schweizerdeutsch), diglossia
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