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Showing posts from September, 2012

Swiss German Tongue Twisters

Swiss German can be a funny language. The most famous Swiss word 'Chuchichäschtli'  (phonetic: [ˈχʊχːiˌχæʃːtli] ) is a good example for a uniquely Swiss word. It even has its very own Wikipedia article! Thousands of foreigners have tried themselves at saying 'little kitchen cupboard' in Swiss German and many have failed to say it correctly.

Also the famous diminutive suffix '-li' is a well known character of Swiss German: Guetzli, Blüemli, Zügli and Chätzli are just a few examples. In fact, the '-li' is so famous that it made it into a German Rivella commercial a few years ago. I imagine some of these Swiss German words must sound quite funny to foreign ears.
Funny sounding Swiss German tongue twisters There are also quite a few funny Swiss German phrases in various Swiss dialects. The more advanced speakers of Swiss German or those who are not afraid of a linguistic challenge can test their Swiss German skills with the following Swiss German tongue twi…

How to Cycle Around Lake Zurich

If you think about it, it is a bit strange that Switzerland is considered a nation of cyclists. Think about the topography of Switzerland: there aren't really any larger flat areas and what we Swiss call flat would be considered quite steep hills in other countries.

Despite the obvious difficulties this causes for cyclists, almost every Swiss owns a bicycle and many people use it quite frequently, e.g. to go to work or to do their shopping. Personally, I am somewhat in between the frequent users and the 'sometimes users'. If it's sunny I'll ride my bike to work but if it rains I prefer to sit in a dry bus in the morning. Wouldn't you as well?!

A Bike Ride Around Lake Zurich Today, I took my bicycle on a somewhat longer journey. Since it was warm and sunny outside I decided to use this chance and finally make a bicycle tour around Lake Zurich. Yes, I rode around all of the Untersee (the lower part of Lake Zurich between Rapperswil and Zurich) in about 4 hours. I…

Knabenschiessen in Zurich

It's time again for another of Zurich's very unique holidays this weekend. Next to the traditional Sechseleuten (an annual festival that marks the beginning of spring) there is the ZürcherKnabenschiessen that always takes place on the second weekend of September.
What is the Knabenschiessen? Literally, the name Knabenschiessen means 'young boys shooting competition' and this is what it was originally all about. In 1889, the first Knabenschiessen took place in Zurich. About 500 boys aged 13 through 17 took part in the competition. The winner received a necklace of coins and after the competition all participants marched through the city with flags and drums. Some drinks were offered to them but I honestly do not know if they were alcoholic or not.

The shooting competition of young boys and girls is still one of the central events of this holiday. However, the competition has lost some of its fame to the fun fairs, rides, booths with food, music events and more that now …