The Info List - German Dialects

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German dialect is dominated by the geographical spread of the High German consonant shift, and the dialect continua that connect German to the neighbouring varieties of Low Franconian
Low Franconian
(Dutch) and Frisian. The varieties of German are conventionally grouped into Upper German, Central German
Central German
and Low German; Upper and Central German
Central German
form the High German subgroup. Standard German
Standard German
is a standardized form of High German, developed in the early modern period based on a combination of Central German
Central German
and Upper German
Upper German


1 Dialects

1.1 In relation to varieties of standard German 1.2 Dialects in Germany 1.3 Low German 1.4 High German

2 Overseas dialects

2.1 Amana German 2.2 Brazilian German 2.3 Chilean German 2.4 Texas

3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Dialects[edit] In relation to varieties of standard German[edit] In German linguistics, German dialects
German dialects
are distinguished from varieties of Standard German.

The German dialects
German dialects
are the traditional local varieties. They are traditionally traced back to the different Germanic tribes. Many of them are hardly understandable to someone who knows only Standard German, since they often differ from Standard German
Standard German
in lexicon, phonology and syntax. If a narrow definition of language based on mutual intelligibility is used, many German dialects
German dialects
are considered to be separate languages (for example, in the view of Ethnologue).[citation needed] However, such a point of view is unusual in German linguistics.[citation needed] The varieties of standard German refer to the different local varieties of the pluricentric language standard German. They only differ slightly in lexicon and phonology. In certain regions they have replaced the traditional German dialects, especially in Northern Germany.

Dialects in Germany[edit]

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The variation among the German dialects
German dialects
is considerable with only the neighbouring dialects being mutually intelligible. Low German, most Upper German, High Franconian
High Franconian
dialects, and even some Central German dialects when spoken in their purest form, are not intelligible to people who know only Standard German. However, all German dialects belong to the dialect continuum of High German
High German
and Low German. In the past (roughly until the end of the Second World War), there was a dialect continuum of all the continental West Germanic languages because nearly any pair of neighbouring dialects were perfectly mutually intelligible. The German dialect continuum is typically divided into High German
High German
and Low German. The terms derive from the geographic characteristics of the terrain where they are spoken rather than from social status accorded to them. Low German[edit] Main article: Low German Low German
Low German
varieties (in Germany usually referred to as "Platt" or "Plattdeutsch") are considered dialects of the German language
German language
by some but a separate language by others (then often termed "Low Saxon"). Linguistically Low German
Low German
(that is, Ingvaeonic) and Low Franconian (that is, Istvaeonic) dialects are grouped together because both did not participate in the High German
High German
consonant shift. Low German
Low German
is further divided into Dutch Low Saxon, West Low German
Low German
and East Low German. Middle Low German
Low German
was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League.[citation needed] It was the predominant language in Northern Germany, and several translations of the Bible were printed in Low German. This predominance changed in the 16th century. In 1534, the Luther Bible
Luther Bible
was printed by Martin Luther; this translation is considered to be an important step towards the evolution of the Early New High German. It aimed to be understandable to an ample audience and was based mainly on High German
High German
varieties. The Early New High German language
German language
gained more prestige than Low Saxon[citation needed] and became the language of science and literature. Other factors included the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
losing its importance around the same time (as new trade routes to Asia and the Americas
were established) and that the most powerful German states of that period were located in Middle and Southern Germany. The 18th and 19th centuries were marked by mass education with the language of the schools being standard German.[citation needed] Slowly Low Saxon was pushed back and back until it was nothing but a language spoken by the uneducated and at home.[citation needed] Today, Low Saxon could be divided in two groups: Low Saxon varieties with a sizable standard German influx,[citation needed] and varieties of standard German with a Low Saxon influence (Missingsch).[citation needed] Today Low Saxon dialects are still widespread, especially among the elderly in the Northern parts of Germany,[citation needed] many of these being able to understand and speak the language, but younger people in Northern Germany are at least able to understand these dialects, though not to speak them.[citation needed] The local media take care not to let the Low Saxon language die out, so there are several newspapers published entirely in this language; other newspapers at least have recurring articles in Low Saxon. The North German Broadcasting (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) also offers TV programs (e.g. " Talk
op Platt") and radio programs in Low Saxon.

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On the other hand, Northern Germany is considered to be the region where the purest Standard German
Standard German
is spoken, and in everyday life little influence of dialect is heard. Still, there are notable differences in pronunciation even among North German speakers, e.g. lengthening of vowels, differences in accentuation etc. There are also some North German expressions in use even in Standard High German, which are seldom heard in Southern parts (e.g. the word "plietsch" for "intelligent"). High German[edit] Main article: High German High German, that is, Irminonic, is divided into Central German, High Franconian, and Upper German. Central German
Central German
dialects include Ripuarian, Moselle Franconian, Central Hessian, East Hessian, North Hessian, Thuringian, North Upper Saxon, Rhine Franconian, Lorraine Franconian, Silesian German, High Prussian, Lausitzisch-neumärkisch and Upper Saxon. It is spoken in the southeastern Netherlands, eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France, and in Germany approximately between the River Main and the southern edge of the Lowlands. Modern Standard German
Standard German
is based on Central and Upper German, but the usual German term for modern Standard German
Standard German
is Hochdeutsch, that is, High German. The Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian
varieties spoken in Luxembourg
have been officially standardized and institutionalized and are therefore usually considered a separate language known as Luxembourgish. High Franconian
High Franconian
dialects are transitional dialects in between the two greater High German
High German
groups. High Franconian
High Franconian
dialects include East Franconian and South Franconian. Upper German
Upper German
dialects include Alsatian, Swabian, Low Alemannic, Central Alemannic, High Alemannic, Highest Alemannic, Southern Austro-Bavarian, Central Austro-Bavarian
Central Austro-Bavarian
and Northern Austro-Bavarian. They are spoken in parts of the Alsace, southern Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and Italy. Wymysorys, Sathmarisch and Siebenbürgisch
are High German
High German
dialects of Poland
and Romania. The High German
High German
varieties spoken by Ashkenazi Jews (mostly in Czarist Russia, then the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and Poland) have several unique features, and are usually considered as a separate language, Yiddish. It is the only Germanic language that does not use the Latin script
Latin script
as its standard script. Since it developed in the Danube area, there are some similarities with Central und Upper German
Upper German
dialects in this region.

Map showing the Uerdingen line, which divides Low German
Low German
from High German.

The Speyer line, dividing the Central German
Central German
dialects from the High Franconian dialects.

The Uerdingen and the Karlsruhe line. The Karlsruhe line divides the High Franconian
High Franconian
dialects from the Upper German
Upper German

Overseas dialects[edit] The dialects of German that are or were primarily spoken in colonies or communities founded by German speaking people resemble the dialects of the regions the founders came from. For example, Pennsylvania German resembles dialects of the Palatinate, and Hutterite German resembles dialects of Carinthia, whereas Venezuelan Alemán Coloniero is a Low Alemannic
Low Alemannic

Approximate distribution of native speakers of German or a German variety outside Europe (according to Ethnologue
2016[1] unless referenced otherwise) Numbers of speakers should not be summed up per country, as they most likely overlap considerably. Table includes varieties with disputed statuses as separate language.

Standard German Hunsrik/Hunsrückisch Low German & Plautdietsch Pennsylvania Dutch Hutterite

Argentina 400,000 N/A 4,000 N/A N/A

Australia 79,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Belize N/A N/A 9,360 N/A N/A

Bolivia 160,000 N/A 60,000 N/A N/A

Brazil 1,500,000 3,000,000 8,000 N/A N/A

Canada 430,000 N/A 80,000 15,000 23,200

Chile 35,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Costa Rica N/A N/A 2,000 N/A N/A

Israel 200,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Kazakhstan 30,400 N/A 100,000 N/A N/A

Mexico N/A N/A 40,000 N/A N/A

Namibia 22,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A

New Zealand 36,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Paraguay 166,000 N/A 40,000 N/A N/A

Russia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

South Africa 12,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Uruguay 28,000 N/A 2,000 N/A N/A

United States 1,104,354[2] N/A 12,000 118,000 10,800

Sum 4,597,392 3,000,000 357,360 133,000 34,000

Amana German[edit] Main article: Amana German Amana German is a dialect of West Central German. It is spoken in the Amana Colonies
Amana Colonies
in Iowa, which were founded by Inspirationalists of German origin. Amana is derived from Hessian, another West Central German dialect. Amana German is called Kolonie-Deutsch in Standard German. Brazilian German[edit] Main article: Brazilian German In Brazil, the largest concentrations of German speakers (German Brazilians) are in Rio Grande do Sul, where Riograndenser Hunsrückisch was developed, especially in the areas of Santa Catarina, Paraná, and Espírito Santo, as well as in Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro). Chilean German[edit] Lagunen-Deutsch is a variety of High German
High German
spoken in Chile. Most speakers of Lagunen-Deutsch live around Lake Llanquihue. Lagunen-Deutsch has integrated elements of the Spanish language. This includes the integration of false cognates with the Spanish language, transferring the Spanish meanings into Lagunen-Deutsch. The geographical origin of most or all speakers of Lagunen-Deutsch is Chile, to where the ancestors of the speakers immigrated from Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Texas
German[edit] Main article: Texas
German German was at one time the main language used in schools, churches and businesses in certain parts of Texas
surrounding Austin
and San Antonio.[3] As of October 2013, the Texas German
Texas German
Project at the University of Texas
is recording residual German dialect in central Texas. The dialect is characterised by a loss of lip-rounding on the /yː/ phoneme.[3] See also[edit]

History of the German language German as a minority language Ethnic Germans Petuh, German vocabulary on a Danish base Wisconsin German


^ Ethnologue
19th Edition (2016) ^ U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - Language
Use in the United States: 2007 ^ a b German dialect in Texas
is one of a kind, and dying out, 15 May 2013

Further reading[edit]

Friedrich Maurer (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur germanischen und frühdeutschen Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Bern: Francke Verlag. "German Dialects, Teenagers' Argot: Purists May Disapprove, but Multi-ethnic Dialects Are Spreading", The Economist, no. 8771 (11 Feb. 2012), p. 56. N.B.: Unsigned article, concerning the German urban dialect called "Kiezdeutsh".

External links[edit]

Datenbank fuer Gesprochenes Deutsch (DGD2) - a database with several dialect corpora covering German and overseas (North American, Australian) varieties of German An example sentence spoken in different German dialects
German dialects
(German) German Dialects - Links, Paul Joyce, University of Portsmouth (extensive collection of links on each dialect) Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache (University of Augsburg, German) with recent research and maps on everyday language in the German-speaking countries

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