Does the flower forget-me-not have the same name and spelling in Swiss-German as in German?


2 Answers 2


The flower has the same name in both languages:


Before the German spelling reform in the 1990s, there was a slight difference. In Germany, it was written:


which was changed in the reform to Vergissmeinnicht. The ß character was changed to ss in all words where ß follows a single short vowel.

Swiss German did and does not use the ß (Eszett or scharfes S) character, it was always Vergissmeinnicht there.

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    A note about the name of the letter ß: In Germany it is called »Eszett« but in Austria it is »scharfes S«. Mar 7, 2022 at 7:34
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    @HubertSchölnast: Since I hear more often scharfes S in Bavaria, the borderline seems to deviate significantly from the national border.
    – guidot
    Mar 7, 2022 at 15:43
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    I hear both interchangeably, and I seem to have generalized that I can just use either. I edited the answer to include both.
    – HalvarF
    Mar 7, 2022 at 17:37
  • @guidot: Yes, the German spoken in Bavaria and that of Austria are very similar, but the term »scharfes S« is, as far as I know, not used in German textbooks for German children. But it is used in Austrian textbooks (in Austrian textbooks you won't find the term »Eszett«.) (Btw. In Austrian textbooks you find the term »Komma« only in books about math, not in books about German. There it is »Beistrich«) Mar 8, 2022 at 8:57
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The Idiotikon has an entry Vergiss-mĭ-nüd, -nit. It says dialectal forms are found in Basel, Schwyz, Solothurn, and the Visp valley:

  • Vergiss-mi-nüd/-nit

It says the word is not really native to Switzerland («nicht recht volkstümlich»), so it is a “dialectized” version of the standard German name «Vergissmeinnicht». According to the Idiotikon, other regions use an unaltered standard German form in the dialect:

  • Vergissmei(n)nicht

The use of the standard German form in the dialect is corroborated by its use in the work of the traditional Bernese German author Rudolf von Tavel in the story Ds verlorne Lied (published 1925, reproduced in Beat Siebenhaar, Fredy Stäheli 2000: Stadtberndeutsch, pp. 47–61, p. 56).

The Zürcher Volksbotanik (Höhn-Ochsner 1977, in: Viertelsjahrsschrift der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Zürich, 117/1, pp. 1–99, p. 67) also reports the dialectized version of «Vergissmeinnicht»:

  • Vergisminit

The Idiotikon entry Chatzen-Äugli says that a different plant name is used for ‘forget-me-not’ in Aarau, Appenzell and Graubünden:

  • Chatzen-Äugli

This means ‘small cat eye’, but it is more commonly used for plants in the Veronica genus.

The Soorser Wörterbüechli (Claudio Hüppi 1999, p. 190) reports yet another Swiss German name:

  • tänkali

This appears to be derived from the verb «dänke» ‘to think’, so it could be a calque from German «Vergissmeinnicht».

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