Tongues

I am sitting here eating a snack (crackers and grape tomatoes) and attempting to write about snacks. I am challenged by the word for some reason. As a start I went ahead and googled it. I got the standard definition of “a small amount of food eaten between meals” and that morsel of information didn’t really get me anywhere. I found a link to the Urban Dictionary and immediately things became a lot more interesting. The direction the word snack takes on in slang is not what I want to write about in my blog. Hint, hint!

Looking at all the different colloquial and slang meanings of the word I started thinking about language. My native tongue is Swiss German, which a very heavy dialect of “regular” German and it is only spoken. As a Swiss German child you have to learn a whole new language by the time you start school, speaking and writing. It isn’t as bad as it sounds though, most TV programs are in “regular” German and it is therefore already wired into your brain.

Swiss German on its own has a bazillion dialects that often vary from town to town. It is a fascinating language to say the least. When I say Swiss German is only spoken, I mean that there are no grammatical or spelling rules for Swiss German, you simply write it all the way you feel it in your gut and what how it sounds like to you. Let’s take the word “I” for example. I write it as “Ig”, my cousin “Ech”, my friend “Ich”, my Dad “Eg”. And it all means the same thing. Are you spellbound yet?

As a child I never much thought about my language, it wasn’t until I moved to the States and started speaking English as my everyday language, that I realized how special my native tongue really is. I would hear it on the street in Los Angeles sometimes when tourists passed me by and then start rolling the words around in my mouth and my head and not seldom laugh out loud. Swiss German is a hilarious language!

I have now been speaking English as my everyday language for almost 18 years, yet I still speak Swiss German without any major issues. And I am proud of my language! I may have a few hiccups the first few days being in Switzerland, mostly with not so common words. But once the Swiss flood gates in my brain open, there is no stopping me.

Mir gfaut mis Schwizerdütsch, und verlehre wird is nie! (I love my Swiss German and will never lose it!)

Snack

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