SWISS GERMAN ( Standard German : _Schweizerdeutsch_, Alemannic German : _Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizertüütsch, Schwizertitsch_, and others) is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland. Occasionally, the Alemannic dialects spoken in other countries are grouped together with Swiss German, as well, especially the dialects of Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg , which are closely associated to Switzerland's.
Linguistically, Swiss German forms no unity. The linguistic division of Alemannic is rather into Low , High and Highest Alemannic , varieties of all of which are spoken both inside and outside of Switzerland. The only exception within German-speaking Switzerland is the municipality of Samnaun where a Bavarian dialect is spoken. The reason "Swiss German" dialects constitute a special group is their almost unrestricted use as a spoken language in practically all situations of daily life, whereas the use of the Alemannic dialects in other countries is restricted or even endangered.
The dialects of Swiss German must not be confused with Swiss Standard German , the variety of Standard German used in Switzerland. Most people in Germany do not understand Swiss German. Therefore, when an interview with a Swiss German speaker is shown on German television, subtitles are required. Although Swiss German is the native language, from age 6, Swiss school students additionally learn Swiss Standard German at school and are thus fully capable of understanding, writing and speaking Standard German with varying abilities mainly based on the level of education.
* 1 Use * 2 Variation and distribution * 3 History
* 4 Phonology
* 4.1 Consonants * 4.2 Vowels * 4.3 Suprasegmentals
* 5 Grammar * 6 Vocabulary * 7 Literature * 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 External links
Unlike most regional languages in modern Europe, Swiss German is the spoken everyday language of all social levels in industrial cities, as well as in the countryside. Using the dialect conveys neither social nor educational inferiority and is done with pride. There are a few settings where speaking Standard German is demanded or polite, e.g., in education (but not during breaks in school lessons, where the teachers will speak in the dialect with students), in multilingual parliaments (the federal parliaments and a few cantonal and municipal ones), in the main news broadcast or in the presence of non-Alemannic speakers. This situation has been called a "medial diglossia ", since the spoken language is mainly the dialect, whereas the written language is mainly (the Swiss variety of) Standard German .
Swiss German is intelligible to speakers of other Alemannic dialects, but poses greater difficulty in total comprehension to speakers of Standard German, including French- or Italian-speaking Swiss who learn Standard German at school. Swiss German speakers on TV or in films are thus usually dubbed or subtitled if shown in Germany.
Dialect rock is a music genre using the language; many Swiss rock bands, however, alternatively rather sing in English.
VARIATION AND DISTRIBUTION
Swiss German is a regional or political umbrella term , not a linguistic unity. For all dialects, there are idioms spoken outside Switzerland that are more closely related to them than some Swiss German dialects. The main linguistic divisions within Swiss German are those of Low , High and Highest Alemannic, and mutual intelligibility across those groups is almost fully seamless, though with some minor exceptions, mainly regarding vocabulary. Low Alemannic is only spoken in the northernmost parts of Switzerland, in Basel and around Lake Constance . High Alemannic is spoken in most of the Swiss Plateau , and is divided in an eastern and a western group. Highest Alemannic is spoken in the Alps . Language distribution in Switzerland ------------------------- French ( Romandy ) German Italian Romansh
* Low Alemannic
* in a middle position between eastern and western are
* Highest Alemannic
* dialects in parts of Canton of Fribourg (FR) * dialects of the Bernese Oberland (BE) * dialects of Unterwalden (OW /ˈtheː/ 'tea' (standard German _Tee_ ); /ˈkhalt/ 'salary' (standard German _Gehalt_ ). In the dialects of Basel and Chur, aspirated /k/ is also present in native words.
Unlike Standard German, Swiss German /x/ does not have the allophone , but is always , or in many dialects even . The typical Swiss shibboleth features this sound: _Chuchichäschtli_ ('kitchen cupboard'), pronounced .
Most Swiss German dialects have gone through the Alemannic n-apocope , which has led to the loss of final _-n_ in words such as _Garte_ 'garden' (standard German _Garten_) or _mache_ 'to make' (standard German _machen_). In some Highest Alemannic dialects, the n-apocope has also been effective in consonant clusters, for instance in _Hore_ 'horn' ( High Alemannic _Horn_) or _däiche_ 'to think' (High Alemannic _dänke_). Only the Highest Alemannic dialects of the Lötschental and of the Haslital have preserved the _-n_.
The phoneme /r/ is pronounced as an alveolar trill in many dialects, though certain dialects, especially in the Northeast or in the Basel region, have a uvular trill like the one heard in many German varieties of Germany.
Monophthongs of the Zürich dialect, from Fleischer /huə̯t/ 'hat' (standard German _Hut_ /huːt/); /xyə̯l/ 'cool' (standard German _kühl_ /kyːl/). Note that some of those diphthongs have been unrounded in several dialects.
Like the Low German language, most Swiss German dialects have preserved the old West-Germanic monophthongs /iː, uː, yː/, e.g. /pfiːl/ 'arrow' (standard German _Pfeil_ /pfaɪ̯l/); /b̥uːx/ 'belly' (standard German _Bauch_ /baʊ̯x/); /z̥yːlə/ 'pillar' (standard German _Säule_ /zɔʏ̯lə/). A few Alpine dialects show diphthongization similar to Standard German, especially some dialects of Unterwalden and Schanfigg (Graubünden) and that of Issime (Piedmont).
Diphthongization in some dialects MIDDLE HIGH GERMAN/MANY SWISS GERMAN DIALECTS UNTERWALDEN DIALECT SCHANFIGG AND ISSIME DIALECTS STANDARD GERMAN TRANSLATION
Some Western Swiss German dialects (e.g. Bernese German ) have preserved the old diphthongs /ei̯, ou̯/, whereas the other dialects have /ai̯, au̯/ like Standard German or /æi̯, æu̯/. Zurich German and some other dialects distinguish primary diphthongs from secondary ones that arose in hiatus position, i.e. Zurich German /ai̯, au̯/ from Middle High German /ei̯, ou̯/ versus Zurich German /ei̯, ou̯/ from Middle High German /iː, uː/, e.g. Zurich German /bai̯, frau̯/ 'leg, woman' from M.H.G. _bein, vrouwe_ versus Zurich German /frei̯, bou̯/ 'free, building' from M.H.G. _frī, būw_.
In many Swiss German dialects, consonant length and vowel length are independent from each other, whereas they are dependent in other modern Germanic languages. Examples from Bernese German:
SHORT /A/ LONG /Aː/
SHORT /F/ /hafə/ 'bowl' /d̥i b̥raːfə/ 'the honest ones'
LONG /Fː/ /afːə/ 'apes' /ʃlaːfːə/ 'to sleep'
Stress is more often on the first syllable than in standard German, even in French loans such as or "thanks". Note that there are many different stress patterns even within dialects. Bernese German is one of the dialects where many words are stressed on the first syllable, e.g. 'casino', whereas standard German has . However, no Swiss German dialect is as consistent as the Icelandic language in this respect.
The grammar of Swiss dialects has some specialties compared to Standard German:
* There is no preterite indicative (yet there is a preterite subjunctive ). * The preterite is replaced by perfect constructs (this also happens in spoken Standard German, particularly in Southern Germany and Austria). * It is still possible to form pluperfect phrases, by applying the perfect construct twice to the same sentence. * There is no genitive case , though certain dialects have preserved a possessive genitive (for instance in rural Bernese German ). The genitive case is replaced by two constructions: The first of these is often acceptable in Standard German as well: possession + Prp. _vo_ (std. German _von_) + possessor: _es Buech vomene Profässer_ vs. Standard German _ein Buch von einem Professor_ ("a book of a professor"), _s Buech vom Profässer_ vs. Standard German _das Buch des Professors_ ("the professor's book"). The second is still frowned on where it appears in Standard German (from dialects and spoken language): dative of the possessor + the possessive pronoun referring to the possessor + possession: _em Profässer sis Buech_ ("the professor his book"). * The order within verb groups may vary, e.g. _wo du bisch cho/wo du cho bisch_ vs. standard German _als du gekommen bist_ "when you have come/came". * All relative clauses are introduced by the relative particle _wo_ (‘where’), never by the relative pronouns _der, die, das, welcher, welches_ as in Standard German, e.g. _ds Bispil, wo si schrybt_ vs. Standard German _das Beispiel, das sie schreibt_ (‘the example that she writes’); _ds Bispil, wo si dra dänkt_ vs. Standard German _das Beispiel, woran sie denkt_ (‘the example that she thinks of’). Whereas the relative particle _wo_ replaces the Standard German relative pronouns in the Nom. (subject) and Acc. (direct object) without further complications, in phrases where _wo_ plays the role of an indirect object, a prepositional object, a possessor or an adverbial adjunct it has to be taken up later in the relative clause by reference of (prp. +) the personal pronoun (if _wo_ refers to a person) or the pronominal adverb (if _wo_ refers to a thing). E.g. _de Profässer won i der s Buech von em zeiget ha_ ("the professor whose book I showed you"), _de Bärg wo mer druf obe gsii sind_ ("the mountain that we were upon"). * In combinations with other verbs, the verbs _gah_ or _goh_ "go", _cho_ "come", _la_ or _lo_ "let" and _aafa_ or _aafo_ "begin" reduplicate , prefixed to the main verb.
EXAMPLE: Si chunt üse Chrischtboum cho schmücke.
LITERAL TRANSLATION: she comes our Christmas tree _come_ decorate
TRANSLATION She comes to decorate our Christmas tree.
STANDARD GERMAN: Sie kommt unseren Christbaum schmücken.
EXAMPLE: Si lat ne nid la schlafe.
LITERAL TRANSLATION: she lets him not _let_ sleep
TRANSLATION: She doesn't let him sleep.
STANDARD GERMAN: Sie lässt ihn nicht schlafen.
This is probably a generalization of a close association of these verbs with the following verb in perfect or modal verb constructions:
PERFECT: Si het ne nid _la schlafe_.
LITERAL TRANSLATION: she has him not let sleep
TRANSLATION: She hasn't/didn't let him sleep.
STANDARD GERMAN: Sie hat ihn nicht schlafen lassen. _or_ Sie ließ ihn nicht schlafen.
MODAL VERB: Si wot ne nid _la schlafe_.
LITERAL TRANSLATION: she wants him not let sleep
TRANSLATION: She doesn't want to let him sleep.
STANDARD GERMAN: Sie will ihn nicht schlafen lassen.
The vocabulary is varied, especially in rural areas: many specialised terms have been retained, e.g., regarding cattle or weather. In the cities, much of the rural vocabulary has been lost. A Swiss German greeting is _Grüezi_, from _Gott grüez-i_ ( Standard German _Gott grüsse Euch_) or "God bless you".
Most word adoptions come from Standard German. Many of these are now so common that they have totally replaced the original Swiss German words, e.g. the words _Hügel_ 'hill' (instead of _Egg, Bühl_), _Lippe_ 'lip' (instead of _Lefzge_). Others have replaced the original words only in parts of Switzerland, e.g., _Butter_ 'butter' (originally called _Anken_ in most of Switzerland). Virtually any Swiss Standard German word can be borrowed into Swiss German, always adapted to Swiss German phonology. However, certain Standard German words are never used in Swiss German, for instance _Frühstück_ 'breakfast', _niedlich_ 'cute' or _zu hause_ 'at home'; instead, the native words _Zmorge_, _härzig_ and _dehei_ are used.
Swiss dialects have quite a few words from French and Italian, which are perfectly assimilated. _Glace_ (ice cream) for example is pronounced /ɡlas/ in French but or in many Swiss German dialects. The French word for 'thank you', _merci_, is also used as in _merci vilmal_, literally "thanks many times". Possibly, these words are not direct adoptions from French but survivors of the once more numerous French loanwords in Standard German, many of which have fallen out of use in Germany.
In recent years, Swiss dialects have also taken some English words which already sound very Swiss, e.g., ('to eat', from "food"), ('to play computer games', from "game") or or – ('to snowboard', from "snowboard"). These words are probably not direct loanwords from English, but have been adopted through standard German intermediation. While most of those loanwords are of recent origin, some have been in use for decades, e.g. (to play football , from "shoot").
There are also a few English words which are modern adoptions from Swiss German. The dishes müesli , and rösti have become English words, as did loess (fine grain), flysch (sandstone formation), kepi , landamman , kilch , schiffli , and putsch in a political sense. The term bivouac is sometimes explained as originating from Swiss German, while printed etymological dictionaries (e.g. the German _Kluge _ or _Knaurs Etymological Dictionary_) derive it from Low German instead.
Written forms that were mostly based on the local Alemannic varieties, thus similar to Middle High German , were only gradually replaced by the forms of New High German . This replacement took from the 15th to 18th centuries to complete. In the 16th century, the Alemannic forms of writing were considered the original, truly Swiss forms, whereas the New High German forms were perceived as foreign innovations. The innovations were brought about by the printing press and were also associated with Lutheranism . An example of the language shift is the Froschauer Bible : Its first impressions after 1524 were largely written in an Alemannic language, but since 1527, the New High German forms were gradually adopted. The Alemannic forms were longest preserved in the chancelleries, with the chancellery of Bern being the last to adopt New High German in the second half of the 18th century.
Today all formal writing, newspapers, books and much informal writing
is done in
Swiss Standard German , which is usually called
_Schriftdeutsch_ (written German). Certain dialectal words are
accepted regionalisms in
Swiss Standard German and are also sanctioned
There are no official rules of Swiss German orthography. The orthographies used in the Swiss German literature can be roughly divided into two systems: Those that try to stay as close to standard German spelling as possible and those that try to represent the sounds as well as possible. The so-called _Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift_ was developed by Eugen Dieth , but knowledge of these guidelines is limited mostly to language experts. Furthermore, the spellings originally proposed by Dieth included some special signs not found on a normal keyboard , such as ⟨ʃ⟩ instead of ⟨sch⟩ for or ⟨ǜ⟩ instead of ⟨ü⟩ for . In 1986, a revised version of the _Dieth-Schreibung_ was published, designed to be written "on a normal typewriter".
A few letters are used differently from the Standard German rules:
* ⟨k⟩ (and ⟨ck⟩) are used for the affricate /kx/. * ⟨gg⟩ is used for the unaspirated fortis /k/. * ⟨y⟩ (and sometimes ⟨yy⟩) traditionally stands for the /iː/ (in many dialects shortened to /i/, but still with closed quality) that corresponds to Standard German /aɪ̯/, e.g. in _Rys_ ‘rice’ (standard German _Reis_ /raɪ̯s/) vs. _Ris_ ‘giant’ (standard German /riːzə/). This usage goes back to an old ij-ligature . Many writers, however, don't use ⟨y⟩, but ⟨i⟩/⟨ii⟩, especially in the dialects that have lost distinction between these sounds, compare Zürich German _Riis_ /riːz̥/ ‘rice’ or 'giant' to Bernese German _Rys_ /riːz̥/ 'rice' vs. _Ris_ /rɪːz̥/ (‘giant’). Some use even ⟨ie⟩, influenced by Standard German spelling, which leads to confusion with ⟨ie⟩ for /iə̯/. * ⟨ä⟩ usually represents , and can also represent or . * ⟨ph⟩ represents , ⟨th⟩ represents , and ⟨gh⟩ represents . * Since is written as ⟨ei⟩, is written as ⟨äi⟩, though in eastern Switzerland ⟨ei⟩ is often used for both of these phonemes.
Since the 19th century, a considerable body of Swiss German literature has accumulated. The earliest works were in Zurich German (Johann Martin Usteri, Jakob Stutz); the works of Jeremias Gotthelf which were published at the same time are in Swiss Standard German, but use many expressions of Bernese German. Some of the more important dialect writing authors and their works are:
* Anna Maria Bacher (born 1947), _Z Kschpel fam Tzit; Litteri un Schattä; Z Tzit fam Schnee_ (South Walser German of Formazza/Pomatt) * Albert Bächtold (1891–1981), _De goldig Schmid; Wält uhni Liecht; De Studänt Räbme; Pjotr Ivanowitsch_ (Schaffhausen dialect of Klettgau) * Ernst Burren (born 1944), _Dr Schtammgascht; Näschtwermi_ (Solothurn dialect) * August Corrodi (1826–1885), _De Herr Professer; De Herr Vikari; De Herr Dokter_, translation of Plautus's _Mostellaria_ (Zurich dialect) * Barbara Egli (1918–2005), _Wildi Chriesi_ (Zurich Oberland dialect) * Fritz Enderlin (1883–1971), _De Sonderbunds-Chrieg,_ translated from C. F. Ramuz's French poem La Grande Guerre du Sondrebond (Upper Thurgovian dialect) * Martin Frank (born 1950), _Ter Fögi ische Souhung; La Mort de Chevrolet_ (Bernese dialect with Zurich interferences) * Simon Gfeller (1868–1943), _Ämmegrund; Drätti, Müetti u der Chlyn; Seminarzyt_ (Bernese dialect of Emmental) * Jeremias Gotthelf (1797–1854), only parts of his works are written in dialect (Bernese dialect) * Paul Haller (1882–1920), _Maria und Robert_ (Western Aargau dialect) * Frida Hilty-Gröbli (1893–1957), _Am aalte Maartplatz z Sant Galle; De hölzig Matroos_ (St Gall dialect) * Josef Hug (1903–1985), _S Gmaiguet; Dunggli Wolgga ob Salaz_ ( Graubünden Rhine Valley dialect) * Thomas Hürlimann (born 1950), _Dr Franzos im Ybrig_, loosely based on Morel's play * Guy Krneta (born 1964), _Furnier_ (collection of short stories), _Zmittst im Gjätt uss_ (prose), _Ursle_ (Bernese dialect) * Michael Kuoni (1838–1891), _Bilder aus dem Volksleben des Vorder-Prättigau's_ ( Graubünden Walser dialect of Prättigau) * Maria Lauber (1891–1973), _Chüngold; Bletter im Luft; Der jung Schuelmiischter_ ( Bernese Oberland dialect) * Pedro Lenz (born 1965), _Plötzlech hets di am Füdle_ (Bernese Dialect) * Meinrad Lienert (1865–1933), _Flüeblüemli; 's Mireli; Der Waldvogel_ (Schwyz dialect of Einsiedeln) * Carl Albert Loosli (1877–1959), _Mys Dörfli; Mys Ämmitaw; Wi's öppe geit!_ (Bernese dialect of Emmental) * Kurt Marti (born 1921), _Vierzg Gedicht ir Bärner Umgangssprache; Rosa Loui_ (Bernese dialect) * Mani Matter (1936–1972), songwriter (Bernese dialect) * Traugott Meyer (1895–1959), '_s Tunnälldorf; Der Gänneral Sutter_ ( Basel-Landschaft dialect) * Gall Morel (1803–1872), _Dr Franzos im Ybrig_ (Schwyz German of Iberg) * Viktor Schobinger (born 1934), _Der Ääschme trifft simpatisch lüüt_ and a lot of other _Züri Krimi_ (Zurich dialect) * Caspar Streiff (1853–1917), _Der Heiri Jenni im Sunnebärg_ (Glarus dialect) * Jakob Stutz (1801–1877), _Gemälde aus dem Volksleben; Ernste und heitere Bilder aus dem Leben unseres Volkes_ (Zurich Oberland dialect) * Rudolf von Tavel (1866–1934), _Ring i der Chetti; Gueti Gschpane; Meischter und Ritter; Der Stärn vo Buebebärg; D’Frou Kätheli und ihri Buebe; Der Frondeur; Ds velorene Lied; D’Haselmuus; Unspunne; Jä gäl, so geit’s!; Der Houpme Lombach; Götti und Gotteli; Der Donnergueg; Veteranezyt; Heinz Tillman; Die heilige Flamme; Am Kaminfüür; Bernbiet; Schweizer daheim und draußen; Simeon und Eisi; Geschichten aus dem Bernerland_ (Bernese dialect) * Alfred Tobler (1845–1923), _Näbes oß mine Buebejohre_ ( Appenzell dialect) * Johann Martin Usteri (1763–1827), _Dichtungen in Versen und Prosa_ (Zurich German) * Hans Valär (1871–1947), _Dr Türligiiger_ ( Graubünden Walser dialect of Davos) * Bernhard Wyss (1833–1889), _Schwizerdütsch. Bilder aus dem Stilleben unseres Volkes_ (Solothurn dialect)
Parts of the Bible were translated in different Swiss German dialects, e.g.:
* _Ds Nöie Teschtamänt bärndütsch_ (Bernese New Testament, translated by Hans and Ruth Bietenhard, 1989) * _Ds Alte Teschtamänt bärndütsch_ (parts of the Old Testament in Bernese dialect, translated by Hans and Ruth Bietenhard, 1990) * _D Psalme bärndütsch_ (Psalms in Bernese dialect, translated by Hans, Ruth and Benedikt Bietenhard, 1994) * _S Nöi Teschtamänt Züritüütsch_ ( Zurich German New Testament, translated by Emil Weber, 1997) * _D Psalme Züritüütsch_ (Psalms in Zurich German, translated by Josua Boesch, 1990) * _Der guet Bricht us der Bible uf Baselbieterdütsch_ (parts of the Old and the New Testament in Basel dialect, 1981) * _S Markus Evangelium Luzärntüütsch_ (Gospel of Mark in Lucerne dialect, translated by Walter Haas, 1988) * _Markusevangeeli Obwaldnerdytsch_ (Gospel of Mark in the dialect of the Obwalden County, translated by Karl Imfeld, 1979)
* ^ Because of the many different dialects, and because there is no defined orthography for any of them, many different spellings can be found.
* ^ "Sprachen, Religionen – Daten, Indikatoren: Sprachen – Üblicherweise zu Hause gesprochene Sprachen" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-13. Zu Hause oder mit den Angehörigen sprechen 60,1% der betrachteten Bevölkerung hauptsächlich Schweizerdeutsch * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Swiss German". _ Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ "10vor10 – Nachrichtenmagazin von Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen" (in German). 3sat – ZDF ORF SRG ARD, the television channel collectively produced by four channels from three countries. Retrieved 2015-09-18. Swiss German talks and interviews on the daily night news show 10vor10 by the major German Swiss channel SRF1 is consistently subtitled in German on 3sat * ^ See, for instance, an Examination of Swiss German in and around Zürich, a paper that presents the differences between Swiss German and High German. * ^ Translations of Hochdeutsche Lautverschiebung * ^ Tranlslations of High German consonant shift * ^ Astrid Krähenmann: Quantity and prosodic asymmetries in Alemannic. Synchronic and diachronic perspectives. de Gruyter, Berlin 2003. ISBN 3-11-017680-7 * ^ Werner König: dtv-Atlas zur deutschen Sprache. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989. ISBN 3-423-03025-9 . S. 149. * ^ _A_ _B_ Andreas Lötscher: Schweizerdeutsch – Geschichte, Dialekte, Gebrauch. Huber, Frauenfeld/Stuttgart 1983 ISBN 3-7193-0861-8 * ^ See Rudolf Hotzenköcherle, Rudolf Trüb (eds.) (1975): _Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz_ II 261s. * ^ _Schweizerisches Idiotikon_, Volume II, pages 511-512 * ^ Cf. the entry bivouac of the Online Etymology Dictionary * ^ Entry _Deutsch_ (\'German\') in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland * ^ Dieth, Eugen: _Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift. Dieth-Schreibung_. 2nd ed. revised and edited by Christian Schmid-Cadalbert, Aarau: Sauerländer, 1986. ISBN 3-7941-28