He’s Danish… so he speaks English

I am only just beginning to get my head around the babble of language here.


It must be one of the “most foreign” places we could have moved to in that there are four official languages (German, French, Italian and the oral Romansh) as well as the dialect of Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German). And yet, that also sort of makes it the “least foreign” because there’s such a wash of different words being spoken that English is often the default and no one necessarily expects you to speak the language they do (kinda). Documents and labels and stuff are generally in German, French and Italian, and you often get an English option too.

And you get weird experiences such as the electrician who was recommended to fit our lights – “This guy is good and he’s Danish, so he speaks English.” You have to provide all your own light fittings here – when we moved in, the apartment just had a bunch of wires sprouting from each ceiling. Luckily we knew this ahead of time and shopped up a storm in John Lewis before leaving the UK! As for HI, he was mostly keen to ask the Danish sparky if he knew where in Switzerland you could buy Lurpak (you have to go to Germany, apparently). Priorities.

Meanwhile I had my first German lesson today. I missed the first two weeks of the course because: moving. But it doesn’t seem to matter too much – I had a quick read through the early stuff and maybe I did know a few more basic words than I thought. It’s an ECAP course over six months, two mornings per week so I’ve got plenty of time to catch up.The teacher only speaks German to us, which is fair enough, considering the varied backgrounds of the people attending. But also, eek!

The other students are all women who mostly have children I think (it’s a course designed for mums with young children and ECAP also offers childcare). There’s a huge range of different nationalities — English, Aussie (me!), Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Spanish, French, Italian, African, Middle Eastern, Eastern European…

I hope to make some new friends while I learn. 🙂 Sehr Gut!


  1. I’m surprised they don’t have lurpak, and light fittings for that matter. Although in a way how lovely to be able to set the home up to your taste, not rely on golden chandeliers or something. Although those are probably hipster trendy again anyway :-\

  2. I always love the differences in getting flats/houses in different countries. Pretty much every person in London was weirded out that in Aus you have to buy your own fridge/washing machine and now I’m surprised at the light fittings thing.

    Need to work on your German otherwise, speaking from experience, before you know it little mister will be having secret conversations you can’t decipher.

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