Learn Key Phrases When Traveling to Switzerland
It amazed me when I landed in Switzerland how much English was around me. Not just written, but also spoken. When I landed, the bus, airport, train, shop fronts, announcements, and the music was all dual language with English being prominent. I had a conversation with one of the servers during dinner because I was amazed at how well her English was. I asked her why everyone spoke English. I truly was expecting to have a struggle with language, but I had not one issue. She mentioned that in grade school you start learning three languages, and in high school, you can add another, but you have to learn English starting in kindergarten. So essentially they are raised to speak Swiss German and English correctly. One of the main reasons is because Switzerland works in tandem with London for banking and financial reasons.
With that being said I still believe you should be making an effort to speak the native language out of respect. Here are the key phrases I would speak in Swiss German each day.
Hello - Grüezi (pronounced Groot-zee)
Thanks or Thank you - Dangge (Dong-gay)
Good-Bye - Adieu (Ah-Do)
Chocolate - Schoggi (Show-ghee)
Wine - Wii (whee)
Good Morning - Guete Morge (Goot-E More jay)
Do not be afraid to try and speak in their native language (they appreciate it, even if you can't get the accent right), or even ask them how to say something. While they are not an in your face kind culture, they are extremely helpful and will give you a moment of their time when asked politely.