Franconian languages

Franconian languages


legend|#ffc684|Transitional Upper German dialects.] Franconian is a linguistic marker for a number of West Germanic languages and dialects spoken in the former core of the Frankish Empire: the Low Countries (The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) and western Germany (around Aachen, Cologne and Trier) [The tribal settlement of the Franks between 260 and 537 saw them expand slowly from the border of the Rhine to the south and west. By 480 they occupied lands almost totally unrelated to their original holdings, although by 537 there was again some overlap with the original boundaries of their lands. The driving forces for their migrations have not been recorded, however if we apply the principle of uniformitarianism it seems probable that it had something to do with the weather. Accompanying [ ] ] . Within this groups there are a number of well known languages and dialects, such as Dutch and Afrikaans but also the Pennsylvania German language spoken in North America.


Linguists doubt whether there really is a Franconian linguistic family as no proof exists that the present Franconian languages and dialects historically developed from a common ancestor language.

Low Frankish dialects and languages (via Old Dutch), for instance, are commonly accepted to be a descendant of Old Frankish [ [ "Old Dutch came forth from Old Frankish"] (Dutch)] , the proposed common ancestor and language of the Franks, together with West Central German that might have been partially influenced by High German dialects.

Three groups

Low Frankish

Low Frankish, also called Low Franconian, consists of Dutch, Afrikaans and their dialects. They are spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Namibia, the western tip of Germany, Suriname, the Caribbean as well as in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.With a total of over 40 [ The total of speakers of all Low Franconian dialects and languages, based on ethnologue gives a number of over 40 million speakers: 22 million Dutch speakers, 16 million Afrikaans speakers and the various dialects of these 2 languages (Flemish for example, has 1 million speakers) creates a number around, and probably over 40 million speakers.] million speakers this is the most numerous of the 3 groups, as well as most spread globally and the only group that has members which are official, national and standard languages.

Sometimes, Low Franconian is grouped together with Low German. However, since this grouping is not based on common linguistic innovations, but rather on the absence of the High German consonant shift and Anglo-Frisian features, there are linguistic reference books that do not group them together. [Glück, H. (ed.): "Metzler Lexikon Sprache", pages 472, 473. Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler, 2000 (entries "Niederdeutsch" and "Niederfränkisch")] A transitional zone between Low Frankish and Middle Franconian is formed by the "Meuse-Rhenish" Franconian varieties, which are to be found in Belgium, the Netherlands, and in German Lower Rhineland. [Welschen, Ad : Course "Dutch Society and Culture", International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam 2000-2005.]

**Zuid-Gelders (part of "Meuse-Rhenish" Franconian, variants also spoken in Germany)
***Pella Dutch
**West Flemish
**East Flemish
**Limburgish (part of "Meuse-Rhenish" Franconian, variants also spoken in Germany)
**Low Dietsch (in the northeast of the Belgian province of Liege)


West Central German dialects

The West Central German dialects (also known as "Middle Franconian dialects") are spoken in the German states of South-Western North Rhine-Westphalia, Western Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, in the bordering French "département" Moselle, in Luxembourg, by the Transylvanian Saxons in Romania, and by the Amish in North America. It is estimated that these dialects have about 1,700,000 native speakers [When taking all West Central German dialects as listed by [ ethnologue] the number 1,535,000 appears, 2 dialects have no speaker data, however considering the area in which they are spoken and the demographics of the area as well as comparable dialects an estimate of about 400,000 can be made.]

*Moselle Franconian
*Transylvanian Saxon
*Rhine Franconian
**Limburgish (part of "Meuse-Rhenish" Franconian, variants also spoken in the Belgian and Dutch provinces of Limburg and in the Belgian province of Liege)
**Palatinate German
*Ripuarian Franconian
*Pennsylvania German (locally known as "Pennsylfaanisch (Deitsch)" and more commonly known as Pennsylvania Dutch)

Moselle Franconian, Luxembourgish, Transylvanian Saxon, Ripuarian Franconian are also known as "Middle Franconian dialects" - Palatinate German, Pennsylvania German, Hessian, and the Rhinehessian dialect (in Rhenish Hesse around Mainz, Bingen, Bad Kreuznach and in Hessen in the Rheingau area and in Wiesbaden) are also known as "Rhine Franconian dialects".

Transitional High German dialects

High German dialects are spoken in the transition area between Central and Upper German dialects. An estimated 700,000 people speak these dialects, most of them are located in Eastern France (in northern Alsace, in the region of Strasbourg) and South-West Germany. [Very little data is available about these speakers but considering the population of the area (about 1,500,000) a general assumption (as with many German dialects in heavily industrialised post World War II areas) can be made that about half of the population speaks the dialect.]

*East Franconian German
*South Franconian German



*cite book|title=Wie såchd denn Ihr dezu?: Ein fränkisches Mundart-Wörterbuch für den Landkreis Kronach|last=Feulner|first=Hans-Jürgen et al.|publisher=Schirmer Druck, Mitwitz|year=1997|id=ISBN 3-9803467-3-0
*cite book|title=Bavarian Linguistic Atlas (Linguistic Atlas of Bavaria-Swabia, Linguistic Atlas of Middle Franconia, Linguistic Atlas of Lower Franconia, Linguistic Atlas of North East Bavaria, Linguistic Atlas of Lower and Upper Bavaria)|last=Munske|first=Horst Haider and Hinderling, Robert|publisher=University Press, Heidelberg|year=1996|id=ISBN 3-8260-1865-6
*cite book|title=Linguistic Atlas of Middle Franconia|last=Munske|first=Horst Haider and Klepsch, Alfred|publisher=University Press, Heidelberg|year=2003, updated in 2004|id=
*cite book|title=Introduction to Old Dutch|last=van der Horst|first=J. M.|publisher=University Press, Leuven|year=2002| id=
*cite book|title=German. A Linguistic History to 1945|last=Wells|first=Chris | publisher=Clarendon Press, Oxford|year=1985

ee also

*Frankish language
*Low Franconian language
*Low Dietsch
*East Central German

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