Swiss German - Grammar

Grammar

The grammar of Swiss dialects has some specialties compared to Standard German:

  • There is no preterite indicative (yet there is a preterite subjunctive).
  • There is no genitive case, though certain dialects have preserved a possessive genitive (for instance in rural Bernese German). The genitive case is replaced by two constructions: The first of these is often acceptable in Standard German as well: possession + Prp. vo (std. German von) + possessor: es Buech vomene Profässer vs. Standard German ein Buch von einem Professor ("a book of a professor"), s Buech vom Profässer vs. Standard German das Buch des Professors ("the professor's book"). The second is still frowned on where it appears in Standard German (from dialects and spoken language): dative of the possessor + the possessive pronoun referring to the possessor + possession: em Profässer sis Buech ("the professor his book").
  • The order within verb groups may vary, e.g. wo du bisch cho/wo du cho bisch vs. standard German als du gekommen bist "when you have come/came".
  • All relative clauses are introduced by the relative particle wo (‘where’), never by the relative pronouns der, die, das, welcher, welches as in Standard German, e.g. ds Bispil, wo si schrybt vs. Standard German das Beispiel, das sie schreibt (‘the example that she writes’); ds Bispil, wo si dra dänkt vs. Standard German das Beispiel, woran sie denkt (‘the example that she thinks of’). Whereas the relative particle wo replaces the Standard German relative pronouns in the Nom. (subject) and Acc. (direct object) without further complications, in phrases where wo plays the role of an indirect object, a prepositional object, a possessor or an adverbial adjunct it has to be taken up later in the relative clause by reference of (prp. +) the personal pronoun (if wo refers to a person) or the pronomial adverb (if wo refers to a thing). E.g. de Profässer won i der s Buech von em zeiget ha ("the professor whose book I showed you"), de Bärg wo mer druf obe gsii sind ("the mountain that we were upon").
  • In combinations with other verbs, the verbs gah or goh "go", cho "come", la or lo "let" and aafa or aafo "begin" reduplicate, prefixed to the main verb.
example: Si chunt üse Chrischtboum cho schmücke.
literal translation: she comes our Christmas tree come decorate
translation She comes to decorate our Christmas tree.
standard german: Sie kommt unseren Christbaum schmücken.
example: Si lat ne nid la schlafe.
literal translation: she lets him not let sleep
translation: She doesn't let him sleep.
standard german: Sie lässt ihn nicht schlafen.
This is probably a generalization of a close association of these verbs with the following verb in perfect or modal verb constructions:
perfect: Si het ne nid la schlafe.
literal translation: she has him not let sleep
translation: She hasn't let/didn't let him sleep.
standard german: Sie ließ ihn nicht schlafen.
modal verb: Si wot ne nid la schlafe.
literal translation: she wants him not let sleep
translation: She doesn't want to let him sleep.
standard german: Sie will ihn nicht schlafen lassen.

Read more about this topic:  Swiss German

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