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English Department Zurich in Anglophone Literatures

German: Language

Under Construction

Content will be added in the fall semester 2021 and the spring semester 2022.


  • A character in Tom Stoppard's play Travesties shows himself to be utterly surprised at the thought that English could be considered a foreign language – even in a German-language library.

Representing (Swiss) German

  • "A noisy family of five occupied one corner; next to them sat two bearded young students who were intently debating a political issue she didn’t recognize in their hideous, throaty Zurich dialect. Only Swiss Germans could gibber in that way—a throat disease, they aptly called their sublanguage." (Paul Henissart. Margin of Error. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980. 52.)
  • "As they made their way across the busy city streets, Luc tried to teach Danny a few key phrases he might need. The language sounded strange and guttural, a dialect of Swiss German spoken mainly in Zurich." (Mindy Starns Clark. Elementary, My Dear Watkins. Eugene: Harest House, 2007. 89.)
  • "From the streets below came the click of well-shod feet over the cobbles and the chesty cough of Schweizerdeutsch." (Will Self. "Leberknödel." 76. In: Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes. 2007. London: Penguin, 2008. 61-184.)


Novels and Novellas

  • Paul Henissart, Margin of Error
  • Will Self, "Leberknödel"

Weiterführende Informationen

Zurich in Anglophone Literatures

Zurich in Anglophone Literatures

Project Editor

Martin Mühlheim

UZH English Department, Plattenstrasse 47, CH-8032 Zürich, Switzerland