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Swiss German For Members

Swiss German word of the day: Poschtiwägeli

The Local Switzerland
The Local Switzerland - [email protected]
Swiss German word of the day: Poschtiwägeli
Photo: Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you're going shopping in Swiss-German speaking parts of Switzerland, this is a useful word to know.

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Switzerland is a nation of many languages. Yes, there are the four official ones (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh) but there's also a lot variety within those. 

For instance the various Swiss German dialects (also known as Schweizerdeutsch, Schwiizerdütsch and Schwyzerdütsch to name a few variations) are like languages in themselves. 

READ ALSO: Swiss German vs Hochdeutsch - what are the key differences?

People in German-speaking areas in Switzerland (that includes the 17 Swiss German, three bilingual and one trilingual cantons) know standard German or Hochdeutsch but in everyday life people tend to speak a Swiss-German dialect. 

Language experts recommend that people get familiar with the dialect in their local area so they can integrate better. 

Today we're sharing a word we think is an important one to recognise in everyday Swiss life (at least in some areas): the noun das Poschtiwägeli.

When you hear Poschtiwägeli, you might think at first it has something to do with the Swiss Post-Auto bus service, but it has nothing to do with that.

It's an object that is part of daily life in Switzerland and means a trolley, shopping cart or a shopper. 

Some Swiss German words are recognisable to speakers of standard German but this one might leave you perplexed. 

That's because the high German word for a shopping trolley is Einkaufswagen. 

A shopping trolley or Poschtiwägeli.

A shopping trolley or Poschtiwägeli. Image by 652234 from Pixabay

While "Wägeli" is close to the German "Wagen", "Poschti" could perhaps be derived from the English "push". After all, a shopping trolley is pushed. However, it's not entirely clear where the term comes from.

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Use it like this:

Swiss German: Für s Poschtiwägeli bruchemer en Zwoifränkler.

Standard German: Für den Einkaufswagen brauchen wir ein Zwei-Franken-Stück.

English: We need a two-franc piece for the trolley. 

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Comments (1)

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Tim McCabe 2024/03/14 20:33
I suggest that in the future, for English speakers, you include how to pronounce the Swiss German words you post.

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