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Piz Allegra – Decoding Swiss Dialects

pizAllegra - Swiss German Dialect

Trying to imitate a dialect is a slippery slope - especially so in Switzerland. In a country with countless words for something as trivial as the initial slice of a loaf of bread, dialect goes way beyond just pronunciation.

As implied by the Swiss German word for dialect, mouth art ("Mundart"), it is a form of art.

Bligg: Imitating Swiss German

Recently, popular Swiss performer Bligg has attempted to fake various accents in his latest song, "MundArt". On the surface, he seems to be doing quite well - at least for someone who only knows a few stereotypical words in each dialect.

But the song has become a conversation piece because obviously, not everyone feels appreciated by Bligg's "mouth art". The rapper's native dialect is Züridütsch, so the thought is "how can Bligg possibly know the subtleties of the Basel dialect?"...


pizAllegra: Linguistic Map of Switzerland

Many years ago, I remember playing around with the Chochichästli Orakel. This website is able to miraculously pinpoint someone's origin by providing a few dialect words. It was truly astonishing how accurate this script was back then, but it has since been enhanced!

pizAllegra - Swiss DialectpizAllegra is akin to Chochichästli-Orakel 3.0! At the core of the new Swiss dialect locator is a map of Switzerland. All 3200 Swiss cities and towns are represented and can be explored by hovering the mouse over the map. This will in turn reveal a name and postal code.

As I entered the standard words in my own Swiss dialect, my location was dynamically being narrowed down. Once all ten words had been entered, including window ("Fänschter") or today ("hüt"), the tool was pretty much spot on! It located me in my mother's hometown, not far from where I spent most of my childhood and teenage years...
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As an added bonus, pizAllegra now includes all four of Switzerland's national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

More Information

- Download Bligg - MundArt on iTunes
- Chochichästli-Orakel
- pizAllegra

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

Dimitri Burkhard

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