English is a Germanic language, but that doesn’t mean that German is intuitive at all for English speakers. Because English also draws heavily on many other languages, especially romance languages such as French, German vocabulary looks almost unrecognizable to any English speaker!
German is spoken mainly in Central Europe, in the countries of Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the European Union and in the world, so as you can see, it’s pretty useful to know German!
If you come across these letters in German, pronounce them this way:
ä as in let
äu or eu as in toy
ei as in fine
ie as in green
ö as in worm (without the r sound afterwards)
sch as in shop
sp as in spiel
st as in sht
ü as in tea(while rounding the lower lip
z as in mats (ts sound)
ß as in moss (double s sound)
Or, if you prefer it in PDF form for printing, click here.
It’s no big secret that I adore Switzerland, maybe even more than my own native country (but don’t tell my fellow Canadians that!) Mountain ranges, skiing, villages that look like they haven’t changed a bit since the 1800s, chocolate, Bern, a hodgepodge of languages, fondue, the rail system, cobblestones, fresh air, and being able to avoid human contact are some of the reasons I love Switzerland as much as I do.
Are you not sold yet on the idea of the great Swiss country? Allow these photos to convince you otherwise.
Did you enjoy this post? Give us a thumbs up and tell us how much you love Switzerland in the comments below! Happy travels!
Switzerland is a beautiful country, but there are so many places there that you’d be driven crazy trying to visit them all. These are the major cities in Switzerland that you should visit when you go.
Often overlooked, Bern is actually the capital of Switzerland, contrary to what most think. It’s a real hidden gem, with a beautiful old town that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not yet filled with tourists and the streets are comfortably filled with mostly Swiss. The city has a certain old charm and appeal, and feels like history brought back to life with the cobblestones, decorative fountains, and farmers’ markets.
Geneva can certainly be considered the culture capital of Switzerland. Popping into the UN, seeing the Jet d”Eau, or visiting the Art and History Museum, all seem like the quintessential Geneva experience. Geneva is a mix of historical architecture in modern surroundings.
Zurich is the place to be for modernity. Even with it’s old architecture, Zurich manages to infuse its streets with irresistible post WWII feeling. There are many cultural attractions around town, but Zurich is also a city worth shopping in, with many high-end stores.
Both of these cities are gorgeous, but both are also essentially the same for tourists. I’d say pick one. Zermatt has the Matterhorn, Interlaken has the Jungfrau. Zermatt has the small town charm and winter skiing, Interlaken has two beautiful lakes and an ice carving cave. I recommend Interlaken for those with younger kids, and Zermatt for adults.
Lucerne, as well, is not often mentioned when people are recommending places to visit in Switzerland. The city is beautiful and there are a dearth of places to visit, but my favourite is the Kapellbrucke, the painted bridge spanning the Reuss River.