Are you a hare, a little mouse or just a beetle? Swiss-German is decidedly zoological when it comes to pet names for one’s better half. If you’re at a loss for how to address your special Swiss someone check out our list of ten romantic nicknames.
In cutesy German, the lovely Schatz, or treasure, becomes Schätzchen (meaning “little treasure”). In Swiss German, you can smother that treasure with a separate layer of cuteness by tacking on the ubiquitous -li suffix.
A little boy, for example, might ask a girl: “Vötsch mis Schaetzli si?” (Do you want to be my girlfriend?). But be warned: that line doesn’t work for anyone over about the age of 12. At least we hope not.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, little heart of mine”. Awww. Too much? Yeah, maybe slight overkill.
But the opposite of this – the charming German word “Lebensabschnittspartner” (literally ‘life stage partner) – might be taking this just a little too far in the other direction.
Not to be confused with Switzerland’s enduring contribution to global breakfast culture, this term of endearment turns your lover into a little mouse. You could try saying for example: ‘I ha di gern mis Müsli’ (I love you my little mouse).
What can you say about a culture that uses “little beetle” as a romantic nickname? Oh that’s right: we have sweet cheeks. And stud muffin.
The Swiss may give their bears names that resemble motorways (e.g. the recently-sighted M29) but call your other half a little bear and you might even get yourself some sweet honey.
This darling name derives from the French chéri(e). It’s yet another example of the Swiss Germans using French words like the ubiquitous ‘merci’ for thank you, ‘trottoir’ for footpath or ‘cordon bleu’…for cordon bleu.
C’mere my little snuggle buddy. A lovely word that stems from the verb knuddeln, to cuddle. Deploy judiciously.
This also has ‘Partnerlook’ (the disconcerting habit some couples have of wearing the same clothes) written all over it, but is more Swiss than the even the a bowl of müesli eaten in the Alps during a blizzard.
A superb diminutive to whip out when you fancy a snuggle. Or something a bit more serious.
You can also choose to show your partner that you really care… by calling them a little hare.
Plain old -li
Run out of romantic words? Just add -li to your loved one’s name. So George becomes Tschötschli and Hans is Hansli and Esther is Estherli. Do this repeated-li.
And last but not least: if your relationship is running into trouble, or just getting a bit stale, men might want to substitute the words above for the less-than-delightful and decidedly politically incorrect ‘chefin’ (the boss) or “mini alti” (my old lady).
Warning: don’t try these at home.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Local in 2016.