Studying grammar is not everyone’s cup of tea, and there are certainly more exciting things to do. However, compared to other languages, Swiss German grammar is a piece of cake  because Swiss German is not a codified language. Nevertheless, there are certain rules in our language that you should know if you want to improve your current language level.

Knowing how to form the plural in Swiss German is another step in your learning
Knowing how to form the plural in Swiss German is another step in your learning

How, for example, is the plural formed in Swiss German? Everything you need to know about pluralism can be found here.

Swiss German mainly knows 4 different forms of pluralism:

1. the plural is equal to the singular
2. the plural is formed by “umlaut”
3. the plural is formed by ending -e, always without umlaut
4. the plural is formed by ending -er, whereby always umlaut occurs, if the stem vowel is “umlautable”

1. The plural is equal to the singular

For most masculina and neutra that do not have an umlaut-enabled stem vowel

Singular Plural English
de Stai d Stai the stone
de Tisch d Tisch the table
s Bai d Bai the leg
s Bschtek d Bschtek the cutlery

With the Feminina ending on -e

Singular Plural English
d Bire d Bire the pear
d Fläsche d Fläsche the bottle
d Wulche d Wulche the cloud
d Hose d Hose the pants

With the Feminina ending on -ere and -le

Singular Plural English
d Fädere d Fädere the feather
d Leitere d Leitere the ladder
d Chugle d Chugle Tte bullet
d Gabel d Gabel the fork

With the Maskulina and Neutra ending on -er and -el

Singular Plural English
s Faischter d Faischter the window
s Mässer d Mässer the knife
de Stiefel d Stiefel the boots
de Tüüfel d Tüüfel the devil

With the Maskulina and Neutra ending on -i, -li and -eli

Singular Plural English
s Omi d Omi the grandmother
s Chindli d Chindli the child
s Herzli d Herzli the heart
s Maiteli d Maiteli the girl

2. The plural is formed by umlaut

In almost all masculina with umlaut-capable stem vowel

Singular Plural English
de Huet d Hüet the hat
de Baum d Böim the tree
de Hund d Hünd the dog
de Ofe d Öfe the oven

For some femininas with umlautable stem vowels

Singular Plural English
d Nacht d Nächt the night
d Huut d Hüüt the skin
d Chue d Chüe the cow
d Bruscht d Brüscht the chest

3. The plural is formed by ending -e, always without umlaut

Singular Plural English
de Buur d Buure the farmer
de Schef d Schefe Tte boss
de Maa d Maane the man
de Fründ d Fründe the friend

For almost all femininas

Singular Plural English
d Nase d Nasene the nose
d Tüür d Tüüre the door
d Chatz d Chatze the cat
d Vorschtellig d Vorschtellige the imagination

For all femininas ending on -ig, -igung, -et, -häit, -t, -ei and -schaft

Singular Plural English
d Hoffnig d Hoffnige the hope
d Entschuldigung d Entschuldigunge the apology
d Aarbet d Aarbete the work
d Freihäit d Freihäite the freedom
d Scghwangerschaft d Schwangerschafte the pregnancy

For some Neutra

Singular Plural English
s Ohr d Ohre the ear
s Aug d Auge the eye
s Haar d Haare the hair
s Ei d Eier the egg

4. The plural is formed by ending -er, whereby umlaut always occurs if the stem vowel is umlautable

Singular Plural English
s Ross d Rösser the horse
s Huus d Hüüser the house
s Bild d Bilder the image
s Buech d Büecher the book

Exceptions and special cases

Kinship

Singular Plural English
d Tochter d Töchtere the daughter
d Brüeder d Brüedere the brother
de Vater d Vättere the father
d Schwöschter d Schwöschtere the sister

Feminina ending on -i

Singular Plural English
d Chuchi d Chuchene the kitchen
d Hööchi d Höchene the hight
d Chetti d Chettene the neckless
d Mängi d Mängene the crowd

Special plural formation in words with “a” in the stem

Singular Plural English
S Glas d Gleser the glass
S Raad d Reder the wheel
d Stadt d Stedt the city
de Sack d Seck the bag

Swiss German in the course of time

Even though Swiss German is not a codified language, our dialect is constantly changing. At present, a new form of pluralism is being identified by local language connoisseurs: the ‘Endungs-S’ (ending with S).

Derived from English, an “s” is more and more often added to the end of a word in Swiss German as well. In coffee you suddenly hear people ordering “drü Kafis” instead of “drü Kafi”. And children scream with joy when they see “two Chätzlis” instead of “two Chätzli”.

In addition to the influence of the English language, many Swiss also feel the need for a “real” form of majority. Especially when the plural corresponds to the singular, more and more Swiss people like to use newly created plural forms. The correct majority of “Theme” (theme) is “Theme”, but you often hear people say “Themes”. The same applies to the word “place”. The plural is identical to the singular, so also “place”. But many say “place”, which is grammatically wrong, but accepted by all.

Learn with us beyond the plural

With the plural education you have made a first big step to understand or speak Swiss German even better. If you want to learn more, sign up for our online course and benefit from lifelong access to all course material.

 

That’s how you learn the plural in Swiss German
Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *