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The High German languages or High German dialects (German: Hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Uerdingen isoglosses in central and southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, as well as in neighboring portions of France (Alsace and northern Lorraine), Italy (South Tyrol), the Czech Republic (Bohemia), and Poland (Upper Silesia). They are also spoken in diaspora in Romania, Russia, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Namibia. The High German languages are marked by the High German consonant shift, separating them from Low German and Low Franconian (Dutch) within the continental West Germanic dialect continuum.

Contents

1 Classification 2 History 3 Family tree 4 References 5 Further reading

Classification[edit]

The present-day distribution of continental High German languages:   Central German dialects   Upper German dialects

As a technical term, the "high" in High German is a geographical reference to the group of dialects that forms "High German" (i.e. "Highland" German), out of which developed Standard German, Yiddish and Luxembourgish. It refers to the Central Uplands (Mittelgebirge) and Alpine areas of central and southern Germany, it also includes Luxembourg, Austria, Liechtenstein and most of Switzerland. This is opposed to Low German, which is spoken in the lowlands and along the flat sea coasts of the North German Plain.[2] High German in this broader sense can be subdivided into Upper German (Oberdeutsch, this includes the Austrian and Swiss German dialects), Central German (Mitteldeutsch, this includes Luxembourgish, which itself is now a standard language), and High Franconian which is a transitional dialect between the two.[3] High German (in the broader sense) is distinguished from other West Germanic varieties in that it took part in the High German consonant shift (c. AD 500). To see this, compare English/Low German (Low Saxon) pan/Pann with Standard German Pfanne ([p] to [p͡f]), English/Low German two/twee with Standard German zwei ([t] to [t͡s]), English/Low German make/maken with Standard German machen ([k] to [x]).[4] In the southernmost High Alemannic dialects, there is a further shift; Sack (like English/Low German "sack/Sack") is pronounced [z̥ak͡x] ([k] to [k͡x]). History[edit] See also: Theodiscus Old High German evolved from about 500 AD. Around 1200 the Swabian and East Franconian varieties of Middle High German became dominant as a court and poetry language (Minnesang) under the rule of the House of Hohenstaufen. The term "High German" as spoken in central and southern Germany (Upper Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria) and Austria was first documented in the 15th century. Gradually driving back Low German variants since the Early modern period, the Early New High German varieties, especially the East Central German of the Luther Bible, formed an important basis for the development of Standard German.[5] Family tree[edit] Divisions between subfamilies within Germanic are rarely precisely defined, because most form continuous clines, with adjacent dialects being mutually intelligible and more separated ones not. In particular, there has never been an original "Proto-High German". For this and other reasons, the idea of representing the relationships between West Germanic language forms in a tree diagram at all is controversial among linguists. What follows should be used with care in the light of this caveat.

Central German (German: Mitteldeutsch)

East Central German, including the Standard German variant[6]

Thuringian Upper Saxon, including Erzgebirgisch Lausitzisch-neumärkisch

South Markish Lusatian

Silesian (mostly spoken by the German minority in Upper Silesia) High Prussian, nearly extinct

West Central German

Central Franconian

Ripuarian Moselle Franconian, including the Luxembourgish language

Rhine Franconian

Palatine, including Lorraine Franconian (France)

Pennsylvania German (in the United States and Canada)

Hessian

High Franconian, in the transitional area between Central and Upper German

East Franconian South Franconian

Upper German (German: Oberdeutsch)

Alemannic, including Swiss German dialects

Swabian Low Alemannic, including Alsatian and Basel German High Alemannic Highest Alemannic

Bavarian, including Austrian German dialects

Northern Bavarian Central Bavarian, including Viennese Southern Bavarian, including Mócheno in Trentino, Italy Cimbrian, nearly extinct Hutterite German (in Canada and the United States)

Yiddish, evolved from Middle High German Lombardic, extinct, categorization disputed

References[edit]

^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "High German". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ See the definition of "high" in the Oxford English Dictionary (Concise Edition): "... situated far above ground, sealevel, etc; upper, inland, as ... High German". ^ Russ, Charles. The Dialects of Modern German: A Linguistic Survey. Routledge, 1989 ^ Robinson, Orrin. Old English and its Closest Relatives. Routledge, 1994. ^ Russ, Charles. The German Language Today: A Linguistic Introduction. Routledge, 1994. ^ "Ethnologue: East Middle German". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 

Further reading[edit]

Friedrich Maurer (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur germanischen und frühdeutschen Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Strasbourg: Hünenburg, [designation of High German languages as Irminonic].

v t e

Germanic languages and dialects

West Germanic

Anglo- Frisian

Anglic

English

dialects Yola Fingallian

Scots

Frisian

East Frisian

Saterland Frisian Wangerooge Frisian Wursten Frisian

North Frisian

Söl'ring Fering Öömrang Heligolandic Mooring Halligen Frisian Strand Frisian Eiderstedt Frisian

West Frisian

Clay Frisian Wood Frisian

Low German

East Low German

Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian

Mecklenburgish West Pomeranian

Brandenburgisch East Pomeranian-West Prussian

Western East Pomeranian Eastern East Pomeranian Bublitzisch Pommerellisch

Central Pomeranian

West Central Pomeranian

Low Prussian

Mennonite Low German

West Low German

Dutch Low Saxon

Stellingwarfs Tweants Gronings Drèents Gelders-Overijssels

Achterhooks Sallaans Urkers

Veluws

Northern Low Saxon

East Frisian Low Saxon Schleswigsch Holsteinisch Hamburgisch Ollnborger North Hanoveranian Dithmarsch Emsländisch

Westphalian Eastphalian

Low Franconian

Standard variants

Dutch Afrikaans

West Low Franconian

Hollandic West Flemish

French Flemish

Zeelandic East Flemish Brabantian Surinamese Dutch Jersey Dutch Mohawk Dutch Stadsfries Bildts Yiddish Dutch

East Low Franconian

Meuse-Rhenish

Limburgish

Southeast Limburgish

South Guelderish

Transitional

Low Dietsch

High German

 

German

Namibian German Namibian Black German Brazilian German Unserdeutsch Barossa German Belgranodeutsch Parana Volga German

Yiddish

Eastern Western Litvish Poylish Ukrainish Galitzish Scots Yiddish Alsatian Yiddish Klezmer-loshn Ganovim Balagole Katsoves Lachoudisch

Yenish Rotwelsch

Lotegorisch

Central German

West Central German

Central Franconian

Ripuarian

Colognian

Moselle Franconian

Luxembourgish Transylvanian Saxon Hunsrückisch

Rhine Franconian

Lorraine Franconian Palatine

Volga German Pennsylvania German

Hessian

Amana

East Central German

Thuringian Upper Saxon Lusatian-Neumarkish

Berlinerisch

Silesian High Prussian Wymysorys Pragerisch

High Franconian

South Franconian East Franconian

Main Franconian Vogtlandian

Upper German

Alemannic

Low Alemannic

Alsatian Coloniero

High Alemannic

Swiss German

Highest Alemannic

Walser German

Swabian

Bavarian

Northern Bavarian Central Bavarian

Viennese German

Southern Bavarian

South Tyrolean Cimbrian Mòcheno Hutterite German

Langobardic

Standard German

German Standard German Austrian Standard German Swiss Standard German

North Germanic

West Scandinavian

Norwegian

Bokmål

Bergensk Kebabnorsk Sognamål Trøndersk Valdris Vestlandsk Vikværsk

Nynorsk

Elfdalian Insular Scandinavian

Faroese Icelandic Gronlandsk Norn

East Scandinavian

Swedish

Åland Estonian Finlandic Gotlandic Jamtlandic Kalix Kiruna Luleå Norrland Ostrobothnian Småländska South Swedish

Scanian

Stockholm Rinkeby Uppländska Västgötska Westrobothnian

Danish

Bornholmsk Gøtudanskt Insular Danish Jutlandic South Jutlandic Perkerdansk

Dalecarlian

East Germanic

Gothic

Crimean Gothic

Burgundian Vandalic

Italics indicate extinct languages Bold indicates languages with more than 3 million speakers Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on