Swabian German

Swabian German

Infobox Language
name = Swabian
nativename = Schwäbisch [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=swg Ethnologue entry] ]
pronunciation =
states = Germany
speakers = 820,168
familycolor = Indo-European
fam2 = Germanic
fam3 = West Germanic
fam4 = High German
fam5 = Alemannic
script = Latin (German variant)
nation =
iso3 = swg

Swabian ("Schwäbisch") is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German, spoken in the region of Swabia. Swabia covers much of Germany's southwestern "Bundesland" (state) of Baden-Württemberg (including the capital Stuttgart and the rural area known as the Swabian Alb) and the southwest of the "Bundesland" Bavaria. Swabian is also spoken by part of the German minorities in Hungary, former Yugoslavia, Romania, and the former Soviet Union.

The dialect ranges from a 'standard' Swabian, spoken in Stuttgart, to slightly differing and 'thicker' forms found in smaller towns in the countryside. Older people can often tell the exact village a person comes from merely by hearing their accent.

Swabian is difficult to understand for speakers of Standard German (SG). It contains vocabulary that differs altogether from Standard German (e.g. 'jam' in SG is "Marmelade" while in Swabian it becomes "Gsälz").



Characteristics (in comparison to Standard German) include:
* The Middle High German monophthongs "î" and "û" have become [IPA|e͡i] and [IPA|o͡u] , not [IPA|a͡ɪ] and [IPA|a͡ʊ] .
* the ending "-et" for verbs in the first person plural (e.g. "mir ganget" instead of SG. "wir gehen" ("we go")
* as in other Alemannic dialects, the pronunciation of "s" before consonants as [IPA|ʃ] (e.g. "Fest" 'party' is pronounced as "Fescht")
* All plosives are pronounced in a voiced fashion, removing the distinction between the consonants 'b' and 'p' as well as 'd' and 't', which is made in Standard German.
* the diminutive ending "-le" (spoken very quickly, e.g. "Haus" may become "Häusle", "Bisschen" may become "Bissle") and "-la" for plurals (e.g. "Spätzle" becomes "Spätzla")
* In many regions the Swabian dialect is spoken with a unique melody that is also present when Swabian native speakers talk in Standard German.

The voiced plosives, the post-alveolar fricative, and the frequent use of diminutives based on "l" suffixes gives the dialect a very "soft" or "mild" feel, that is often felt to be in sharp contrast to the harder varieties of German spoken in the North.

Many Swabians feel that other Germans associate their dialect and melodic style of intonation with simple-mindedness. They hence sometimes try to avoid it outside Swabia, with varying success. Conversely, the Baden-Württemberg chamber of commerce was highly praised for its advertising campaign with the slogan: "We can do anything. Except speak Standard German." The campaign was clever in boosting Swabian pride for their dialect and industrial achievements.


Swabian is categorized as an Alemannic dialect, which in turn is one of the two types of Upper German dialects (the other being Bavarian). The ISO 639-3 language code for Swabian is "swg".


The Swabian dialect is composed of numerous sub-dialects, each of which has its own variations. These sub-dialects can be categorized by the difference in the formation of the past participle of 'sein' (to be) into "gwä" and "gsi." The Gsi group is nearer to other Alemannic dialects, such as Swiss German.

wabian dialect writers

*Sebastian Sailer (1714-1777)
* [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_L%C3%A4mmle August Lämmle]
* [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Eberle Josef Eberle] aka Sebastian Blau
* [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schlack_(Dichter) Peter Schlack] , b. 1943

ee also



External links

* [http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/documentation.asp?id=swg Code for Swabian German (swg)]
* The [http://www.schwaebisch-englisch.de/ Swabian-English dictionary]
* [http://www-personal.umich.edu/~robfelty/academic/FeltyQRP.pdf The Ongoing (Un)merging of Stops in the Swabian Dialect of Isny im Allgäu]
* [http://www.valpo.edu/germanhouse/eberle/index.html The Josef Eberle Endowment] at the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center, Valparaiso University

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