Like all Swiss German dialects, it is essentially a spoken language, whereas the written language is standard German. Likewise, there is no official orthography of the Zürich dialect. When it is written, it rarely follows the guidelines published by Eugen Dieth in his book Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift, in fact, only language experts know about these guidelines. Furthermore, Dieth's spelling uses a lot of diacritical marks not found on a normal keyboard. Young people often use dialect for personal messages, such as when texting with their mobile phones. As they do not have a standard way of writing they tend to blend high German spelling with Swiss German phrasing.
The Zürich dialect is generally perceived as fast spoken, less melodic than, for example, the Bernese. In the northern parts of the canton, the "r" is pronounced as a uvular trill, whereas in the city around the lake and in the southern parts, it is pronounced as an alveolar trill.
Characteristic of the city dialect is that it most easily adopts external influences; in particular, the second generation Italians (secondi) have had a crucial influence, as has the English language through the media. The wave of Turkish and ex-Yugoslavian immigration of the 1990s is leaving its imprint on the dialect of the city in particular.