Zürich German

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Zurich German
Native toCanton of Zürich
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Monophthongs of the Zürich dialect, from Fleischer & Schmid (2006:256)
Zuercher Mundarten.png
Isoglosses in the canton of Zurich. The red line marks the transition of /äng/ "narrow" vs. /eng/ in the dialect of the Thurgau. The green line separates the /o:big/ "evening" of the Oberland from /a:big/ elsewhere.

Zürich German (German: Zürichdeutsch, natively Züritüütsch [ˈtsyrityːtʃ]) is the High Alemannic dialect spoken in the Canton of Zürich, Switzerland. Its area covers most of the canton, with the exception of the parts north of the Thur and the Rhine, which belong to the areal of the northeastern (Schaffhausen and Thurgau) Swiss dialects.

Zürich German was traditionally divided into six sub-dialects, now increasingly homogenised due to larger commuting distances:

Like all Swiss German dialects, it is essentially a spoken language, whereas the written language is standard German. Likewise, there is no official orthography of the Zürich dialect. When it is written, it rarely follows the guidelines published by Eugen Dieth in his book Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift. Furthermore, Dieth's spelling uses a lot of diacritical marks not found on a normal keyboard. Young people often use Swiss German for personal messages, such as when texting with their mobile phones. As they do not have a standard way of writing they tend to blend Standard German spelling with Swiss German phrasing.

The Zurich dialect is generally perceived as fast spoken, less melodic than, for example, the Bernese. Characteristic of the city dialect is that it most easily adopts external influences; in particular, the second generation Italians (secondi) have had a crucial influence, as has the English language through the media. The wave of Turkish and ex-Yugoslavian immigration of the 1990s is leaving its imprint on the dialect of the city in particular.


The following text is an example of Zürich German taken from a news article:[citation needed][year needed]

"Wiä's Bieler Tagblatt uf sinnerä Online-Plattform am Namittag brichtet hät, sind d'Strassesperrigä z Biel wiedr ufghobe wordä. D'Strassä seged wiedr befahrbar und d'Polizeiaktion isch beändet wordä. D'Polizei hät am Mittwuch Morgä ufere Baustell äs verdächtigs Paket gfunde und churz druf abe s'Gebiet um d'Bieler Spitalstrass gsperrt. D'Öffentlichkeit sött i de nächschtä paar Stundä über di gnoierä Umständ informiärt werdä."

Here is the following text translated into standard German, or Hochdeutsch:

"Wie das Bieler Tagblatt auf seiner Online-Plattform am Nachmittag berichtet hat wurden die Strassensperren in Biel wieder aufgehoben. Die Strassen seien wieder befahrbar und die Polizeiaktion wurde beendet. Die Polizei hatte am Mittwochmorgen auf einer Baustelle ein verdächtiges Paket gefunden und kurz darauf das Gebiet um die Bieler Spitalstrasse abgesperrt. Die Öffentlichkeit soll in den nächsten Stunden über die genaueren Umstände informiert werden."

And finally, the text translated into English:

"As Biel's daily paper stated on its online platform in the afternoon, the roadblocks in Biel had been lifted. It stated the streets were driveable again and the police operation had finished. On Wednesday morning, the police found a suspicious package at a construction site and shortly after, they closed off the area around the 'Bieler Spitalstrasse.' The public will be informed about the situation with more detail in the next few hours."

Further reading[edit]

  • Dieth, Eugen (1986). Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift (in German). Aarau: Sauerländer. ISBN 978-3-7941-2832-7. (proposed orthography)
  • Salzmann, Martin: Resumptive Prolepsis: A study in indirect A'-dependencies. Utrecht: LOT, 2006 (=LOT Dissertation Series 136). Chapter 4: Resumptives in Zurich German relative clauses, online. open access
  • Weber, Albert: Zürichdeutsche Grammatik. Ein Wegweiser zur guten Mundart. With the participation of Eugen Dieth. Zürich (=und Wörterbücher des Schweizerdeutschen in allgemeinverständlicher Darstellung. Bd. I). (in German)
  • Weber, Albert and Bächtold, Jacques M.. Zürichdeutsches Wörterbuch. Zürich (=Grammatiken und Wörterbücher des Schweizerdeutschen in allgemeinverständlicher Darstellung. Bd. III).
  • Egli-Wildi, Renate (2007). Züritüütsch verstaa, Züritüütsch rede (108 pages + 2 CDs) (in German). Küsnacht: Society for Swiss German, Zürich Section. ISBN 978-3-033-01382-7.
  • Fleischer, Jürg; Schmid, Stephan (2006). "Zurich German". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 36 (2): 243–253. doi:10.1017/S0025100306002441.
  • Gallmann, Heinz (2009). Zürichdeutsches Wörterbuch [Zurich German Dictionary] (in German). Zürich: NZZ Libro [de]. ISBN 978-3-03823-555-2.


  1. ^ "Züri-Tüütsch". Linguasphere Observatory. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Territory Subdivisions: Switzerland". Common Locale Data Repository. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Swiss German". IANA language subtag registry. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2019.