swiss german

Last updated 2020-02-10 10:37:55


Verbs are negated with nöd, not kei.

To Be

1 bi sind
2 bisch sind
3 isch sind

Regular Verbs

There are 4 classes of regular verbs. they are more or less the same, but differ in where additional vowels are placed in the 2nd and 3rd person singular. In all cases, the pluarl suffixes are the same, -ed. The root, upon which these endings are attached, is found by taking the dictionary form and removing the final e. Thus, bringebring.

Armin refers to these 4 classes as A, B1, B2, and C.

Present Tense (PRS)

1 -e -ed
2 -(i)sch -ed
3 -(e)t -ed
  A B1 B2 C
verb bringe hebe bhalte butze
1SG bringe hebe bhalte butze
2SG bringsch hebsch bhaltisch butzisch
3SG bringt hebet bhalet butzt
PL bringed hebed bhaled butzed

Seperable Verbs

Some verbs have detachable prefixes, conventionally indicating the way something is done (e.g. as a direction), but are also fossilized formations. For example, the aa, ab, etc. attached to aafange:to begin and abbüüge:to turn. When there is an object, the prefix moves to the end of the clause. For example, Si stellt de Stroom aa. ⧸ She turns on the electricity.


Nouns are negated with kei, not nöd. Nöd is often pronounced with a long ö when sentence final.

Nouns are divided into three classes, masculine, feminine, and neutral.

According to Hoi, pg 10, the standard 4 noun cases of High German are reduced to two: common (NOM, ACC) and dative (DAT, GEN). However, some speakers say that the ACC and NOM are distinct.Armin


If the 2nd person plural is used as the polite form, the pronouns must be capitalized.

1s. ich mir
2s. du dir dich
3sm. er sich
3sf. si sich
3sn. es
1p. mir üs
2p. si ine sii
3p. ir sich


Most articles in Swiss German are single letters. However, two, the masculine definite article, de and the feminine indefinite article, e, have variations. de becomes der and e becomes en if followed by a vowel.

de/der is also used when making introductions and sometimes with countries (ex. der USA or der Schwiiz). For example, Ich bi der Armin ⧸ I am Armin.

Class Def. Indef. Plural
masc. de(r) en d
fem. d e(n) d
neut. s es d


Due to the difficulty of pronouncing some consonant clusters, the pronunciation (but not written form) of article+noun pairs can change. In the list below, the capital letter indicates the start of the noun.


Nouns are negated with kei, not nöd.

Add n if ends in vowel and following adjective begins with a vowel. For example, gueten aabig:good night.

Sentence Structures

Liking something (gèrn)

Liking to do something can be expressed with the conjugated verb plus gèrn. For example, Ich lise gèrn Gschichtsbüecher ⧸ I like reading history books. In the negative, use nöd:not between the verb and gèrn. Thus, Ich lise nöd gèrn Gschichtsbüecher ⧸ I like reading history books.

Negation (kei and nöd)

nöd for negating how you are doing something and kei for when you are not something or don't have something

I am kei a good student
and the sweater is nöd under the table

sort of a how vs what dichotomy

I think that the ending of kei also changes based on the gender of the following noun?

kei Schoggi
kein Öpfelchueche
keis Schuelbüech


Swiss German has two different forms of emphatic sentence forms.

① Duplication of gaa:to go
Used to emphasis the activity that's going to be done. Formed by conjugating gaa and then following the noun with go.

tue:to do
:Formed by conjugating tue and placing the infinitive form of the verb at the end of the clause. Can emphasize the activity being done or that the activity is currently occurring.

  1. Dänn gaat si go poschte.
    Then she went to go shopping.
  2. Ich tue Fuessball spile.
    I'm playing football right now.


diminutive suffix. Never append to Franken:Swiss Franks, as Germans use it to make fun of the Swiss.


around, Elfi ume:Around 11 o'clock.


Cardinal Numbers

Teens are formed by adding to the end of the single number, except for 11 and 12, which have their own forms. Tens are more or less formed by appending zg. Numbers such as 21 or 22 are formed by {ones} + e + {tens}, except for numbers one and seven, which use ne, and 80, which require a d before achtzg.

0 - null
1 - äis
2 - zwäi
3 - drüü
4 - vier
5 - föif
6 - sächs
7 - sibe
8 - acht
9 - nüün
10 - zää
11 - elf
12 - zwölf
13 - drizä
20 - zwänzg
21 - äinezwänzg
25 - föifezwänzg
27 - sibenezwänzg
30 - driissg
40 - vierzg
50 - füfzg
60 - sächzg
70 - sibzg
80 - achtzg
81 - äinedachtzg
90 - nüünzg
100 - hundert
101 - hundertäis
200 - zwäihundert
1000 - tuusig

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers are created by appending additional letters, depending on the number. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd do not append anything.

1st - eerscht
2nd - zwäit
3rd - dritt

4th-12th: +t
4th - viert

13th-19th: +ät
13th - drizäät

Tens: +ischt
20th - zwängzgischt

Hundreds/Thousands: +scht
100th - hundertscht

Ages and Hours

Both ages and hours are said by appending +i to the number, or +ni, if the number ends in a vowel. Note that when saying one's age, +(n)i is only appended when not saying Jaar alt:years old after the number.

  1. Wie alt bisch du?
    Ich bi achtezwängzgi.
    I am 28.


Prices can be said in three forms:

  1. Wie viil choschtet das?
    What does that cost?
  2. s Rivella choschtet zwäi Franke füfzg Rappe.
    The Rivella costs 2 Franks and 50 cents.
    Rivella is a type of Swiss pop


There are 4 different time phrases, depending on the minutes being said.


Note that quarter hours are also said as viertel. Some variations may also occur near the :30 mark. For example, 10:25 may be read as föif vor halbi elfi, 5 to half (before) eleven.

If reading the exact time, number for number, the 0 in times like 9:08 is often read for clarity.