German is one of the European
languages of longer tradition and rougher history. Clear and ordered, the German language
reflects the spirit of a nation of clear ideas and admirable organization in all the
fields of life. It is comprehensible why it is the language of some of the greatest
thinkers of century XIX and of gorgeous literary works that last in the cultural heap of
the humanity. Nowadays, German is native language of 98 million people in the world, who
not only live in the countries where it is official language (such as Germany and
It is also a language of increasing commercial
importance, since Germany locates itself between the first places of economic relevance in
the world. It is, in short, a language that is due to know for reasons of pure work
as by pleasing or by culture.
The German language dialects
German is very uniform across Germany and Austria. The spoken German however,
presents many dialects which belong to either the High German or to the Low German
dialectal groups (note that 'Low German' is not a negative term but just the name of a
As this division of dialects is rather complicated to describe, we have designed a frame
which we hope will help you to better understand it (See below).
High German and Low German dialectal
groups are different mainly in their system of sounds, particularly with respect to the
consonants. However, it does not exist a generally accepted standard
of German pronunciation (although some norms of pronunciation published in 1957 as Deutsche
Hochsprache were accepted).
Even the pronunciation of highly educated Germans is affected by their native dialects.
Some German-speaking groups, such as the Swabians, Saxons, Austrians, and Swiss, can be
distinguished readily by their characteristic types of pronunciation.
Some dialects can be even ininteligibles for the
others. Such is the case of the German spoken in Switzerland as much writing as spoken.
Spoken in Southern regions of Baden-Württemberg and Alsace, southwestern corner of
Bavaria, German-language areas of Switzerland, including the major cities of Basel,
Zürich, and Bern
Spoken in Southeastern section of Germany east of the Lech River and south of Nürnberg,
including Munich, and in Austria, including the cities of Innsbruck, Vienna, and Graz
Used between Karlsruhe and Heilbronn
Used in the vicinity of Nürnberg, Würzburg, Bamberg, and Fulda
Surviving today only in certain geographical names of Lombardy
Spoken in most of the Palatinate and Hessen, which contain
the cities of Mainz, Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main, and Marburg an der Lahn
Used on both sides of the Mosel River and centering in the
city of Trier
Used between Aachen and Cologne
Heard in the environs of Weimar, Jena, and Erfurt
Spoken in Saxony (Sachsen), including the cities of Dresden
Used in Lower and Upper Silesia, northwest and southeast of
Wroc³aw (formerly called Breslau, now in Poland).
Spoken only in the west, in a narrow fringe along the border between the
Netherlands and Germany
Used in the northern lowlands as far east and northeast as the Elbe River,
including the cities of Münster, Kassal, Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg, and Magdeburg.