Alemannic German
Overview
 
Alemannic is a group of dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of the Upper German
Upper German
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

 branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The name derives from the ancient Germanic alliance of tribes known as the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

.
Alemannic itself comprises a dialect continuum
Dialect continuum
A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the...

, from the Highest Alemannic spoken in the mountainous south to Swabian
Swabian German
Swabian is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German. It is spoken in Swabia, a region which covers much of Germany's southwestern state Baden-Württemberg, including its capital Stuttgart, the rural area known as the Swabian Alb, and Bavaria...

 in the relatively flat north, with more of the characteristics of Standard German
Standard German
Standard German is the standard variety of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas...

 the farther north one goes.

Some linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

s and organisations that differentiate between languages and dialects primarily on the grounds of mutual intelligibility, such as SIL International
SIL International
SIL International is a U.S.-based, worldwide, Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document languages, especially those that are lesser-known, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy, translate the Christian Bible into local languages,...

 and UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, describe Alemannic as one or several independent languages.
Encyclopedia
Alemannic is a group of dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of the Upper German
Upper German
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

 branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The name derives from the ancient Germanic alliance of tribes known as the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

.

Status

Alemannic itself comprises a dialect continuum
Dialect continuum
A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the...

, from the Highest Alemannic spoken in the mountainous south to Swabian
Swabian German
Swabian is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German. It is spoken in Swabia, a region which covers much of Germany's southwestern state Baden-Württemberg, including its capital Stuttgart, the rural area known as the Swabian Alb, and Bavaria...

 in the relatively flat north, with more of the characteristics of Standard German
Standard German
Standard German is the standard variety of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas...

 the farther north one goes.

Some linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

s and organisations that differentiate between languages and dialects primarily on the grounds of mutual intelligibility, such as SIL International
SIL International
SIL International is a U.S.-based, worldwide, Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document languages, especially those that are lesser-known, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy, translate the Christian Bible into local languages,...

 and UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, describe Alemannic as one or several independent languages. ISO 639-3
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-3:2007, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages, is an international standard for language codes in the ISO 639 series. The standard describes three‐letter codes for identifying languages. It extends the ISO 639-2...

 distinguishes four languages: gsw (Swiss German
Swiss German
Swiss German is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy. Occasionally, the Alemannic dialects spoken in other countries are grouped together with Swiss German as well, especially the dialects of Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg...

), swg (Swabian German
Swabian German
Swabian is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German. It is spoken in Swabia, a region which covers much of Germany's southwestern state Baden-Württemberg, including its capital Stuttgart, the rural area known as the Swabian Alb, and Bavaria...

), wae (Walser German
Walser German
The Walser language , also known as Walliser German , is a group of Highest Alemannic dialects spoken in Walser settlements in parts of Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Austria and in the German-speaking part of the Canton of Wallis , in the uppermost Rhône valley.The terms Walser and...

) and gct (Alemán Coloniero
Alemán Coloniero
Alemán Coloniero, spoken in Colonia Tovar, Venezuela, is a dialect that belongs to the Low Alemannic branch of German.-Characteristics:The language, like other Alemannic dialects, is not mutually intelligible with Standard German. It is spoken by descendants of Germans from the Black Forest region...

, spoken since 1843 in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

).

At this level, the distinction between a language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and a dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 is frequently considered a cultural and political question, in part because linguists have failed to agree on a clear standard. Standard German
Standard German
Standard German is the standard variety of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas...

 is used in writing, and orally in formal contexts, throughout the Alemannic-speaking regions (with the exception of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and Switzerland), and Alemannic varieties are generally considered German dialects
German dialects
German dialect is dominated by the geographical spread of the High German consonant shift, and the dialect continuum that connects the German with the Dutch language.-German dialects in relation to varieties of standard German:...

 (more precisely, a dialect group within Upper German
Upper German
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

) rather than separate languages.

Variants

The following variants comprise Alemannic:
  • Swabian
    Swabian German
    Swabian is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German. It is spoken in Swabia, a region which covers much of Germany's southwestern state Baden-Württemberg, including its capital Stuttgart, the rural area known as the Swabian Alb, and Bavaria...

     (mostly in Swabia
    Swabia
    Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

    , in Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    ). Unlike most other Alemannic dialects, it does not retain the Middle High German
    Middle High German
    Middle High German , abbreviated MHG , is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German...

     monophthongs û, î but shifts them to [ou], [ei] (as opposed to Standard German [aʊ], [aɪ]). For this reason, "Swabian" is sometimes used in opposition to "Alemannic".
  • Low Alemannic
    Low Alemannic German
    Low Alemannic is a branch of Alemannic German and is often considered to be part of the German language, even though it is only partly intelligible to speakers of German.Variants:*Vorarlbergisch*Upper Rhenish*Alsatian, spoken in the Alsace, France...

     dialects. Retain German initial /k/ as [kʰ] (or [kx]) rather than fricativising to [x] as in High Alemannic. Subvariants:
    • Lake Constance Alemannic (in Southern Württemberg
      Württemberg
      Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

      , Southeastern Baden, Northwestern Vorarlberg
      Vorarlberg
      Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area and population , it borders three countries: Germany , Switzerland and Liechtenstein...

      )
    • Upper-Rhine Alemannic in Southwestern Baden and its variant Alsatian
      Alsatian language
      Alsatian is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken in most of Alsace, a region in eastern France which has passed between French and German control many times.-Language family:...

       (in Alsace
      Alsace
      Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

      , France
      France
      The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

      )
    • Alemán Coloniero
      Alemán Coloniero
      Alemán Coloniero, spoken in Colonia Tovar, Venezuela, is a dialect that belongs to the Low Alemannic branch of German.-Characteristics:The language, like other Alemannic dialects, is not mutually intelligible with Standard German. It is spoken by descendants of Germans from the Black Forest region...

       (in Venezuela
      Venezuela
      Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

      )
    • Basel German
      Basel German
      Basel German or Baseldytsch is the dialect of the city of Basel, Switzerland. Among the Swiss German dialects, it is the only Low Alemannic one.- Aspirated plosives :...

       (in Basel
      Basel
      Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

      , Switzerland
      Switzerland
      Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

      )
  • High Alemannic
    High Alemannic German
    High Alemannic is a branch of Alemannic German and is often considered to be part of the German language, even though it is only partly intelligible to non-Alemannic speakers....

     (mostly in Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    , parts of Vorarlberg
    Vorarlberg
    Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area and population , it borders three countries: Germany , Switzerland and Liechtenstein...

    , and in the southern parts of the Black Forest
    Black Forest
    The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

     in Germany). Complete the High German consonant shift
    High German consonant shift
    In historical linguistics, the High German consonant shift or second Germanic consonant shift is a phonological development that took place in the southern parts of the West Germanic dialect continuum in several phases, probably beginning between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, and was almost...

     by fricativising initial /k/ to [x]. Subvariants:
    • Bernese German
      Bernese German
      Bernese German is the dialect of High Alemannic German spoken in the Swiss plateau part of the canton of Bern and in some neighbouring regions.- Varieties :There is a lot of regional variation within Bernese German dialects...

    • Zürich German
      Zürich German
      Zürich German, or Züritüütsch is the High Alemannic dialect spoken in the Canton of Zürich, Switzerland.It is divided in six sub-dialects, covering the entire Canton with the exception of the parts north of the Thur and the Rhine....

    • Vorarlbergisch
    • Liechtensteinisch
  • Highest Alemannic
    Highest Alemannic German
    Highest Alemannic is a branch of Alemannic German and is often considered to be part of the German language, even though mutual intelligibility with Standard German and other non-Alemannic German dialects is very limited....

     (in the Canton of Wallis
    Valais
    The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

    , in the Walser
    Walser
    The Walser are German-speaking people who live in the Alps of Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein and Austria. The Walser people are named after the Wallis , the uppermost Rhône River valley...

     settlements (e.g., in the canton of Grisons), in the Bernese Oberland
    Bernese Oberland
    The Bernese Oberland is the higher part of the canton of Bern, Switzerland, in the southern end of the canton: The area around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and the valleys of the Bernese Alps .The flag of the Bernese Oberland consists of a black eagle in a gold field The Bernese Oberland (Bernese...

     and in the German-speaking part of Fribourg
    Canton of Fribourg
    The Canton of Fribourg is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the west of the country. The capital of the canton is Fribourg. The name Fribourg is French, whereas is the German name for both the canton and the town.-History:...

    ). Do not have the hiatus
    Hiatus (linguistics)
    In phonology, hiatus or diaeresis refers to two vowel sounds occurring in adjacent syllables, with no intervening consonant. When two adjacent vowel sounds occur in the same syllable, the result is instead described as a diphthong....

     diphthongisation of other dialects of German with [ʃniːə(n)], [buːə(n)] and not [ʃneijə bouwə]. Subvariants:
    • Walliser German
    • Walser German
      Walser German
      The Walser language , also known as Walliser German , is a group of Highest Alemannic dialects spoken in Walser settlements in parts of Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Austria and in the German-speaking part of the Canton of Wallis , in the uppermost Rhône valley.The terms Walser and...



Note that the Alemannic dialects of Switzerland are often called Swiss German
Swiss German
Swiss German is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland and in some Alpine communities in Northern Italy. Occasionally, the Alemannic dialects spoken in other countries are grouped together with Swiss German as well, especially the dialects of Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg...

 or Schwyzerdütsch.

Written Alemannic

The oldest known texts in Alemannic are brief Elder Futhark
Elder Futhark
The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabet, used by Germanic tribes for Northwest Germanic and Migration period Germanic dialects of the 2nd to 8th centuries for inscriptions on artifacts such as jewellery, amulets, tools, weapons and runestones...

 inscriptions dating to the 6th century (Bülach fibula
Bülach fibula
The Bülach fibula is a silver disk-type fibula with almandine inlay found in Bülach, Canton Zürich in 1927. The Alemannic grave in which it was found dates to 6th century and contained the remains of an adult woman...

, Pforzen buckle
Pforzen buckle
The Pforzen buckle is a silver belt buckle found in Pforzen, Ostallgäu in 1992. The Alemannic grave in which it was found dates to the end of the 6th century and was presumably that of a warrior, as it also contained a lance, spatha, seax and shield...

, Nordendorf fibula
Nordendorf fibula
thumb|300px|right|The Nordendorf II fibulaThe Nordendorf fibulae are two mid 6th to early 7th century Alamannic fibulae found in Nordendorf near Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany....

). In the Old High German
Old High German
The term Old High German refers to the earliest stage of the German language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of...

 period, the first coherent texts are recorded in the St. Gall Abbey, among them the 8th century Paternoster
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

,
Fater unser, thu bist in himile
uuihi namu dinan
qhueme rihhi diin
uuerde uuillo diin,
so in himile, sosa in erdu
prooth unseer emezzihic kip uns hiutu
oblaz uns sculdi unsero
so uuir oblazem uns skuldikem
enti ni unsih firleit in khorunka
uzzer losi unsih fona ubile


Due to the importance of the Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 abbeys of St. Gall
Abbey of St. Gall
The Abbey of Saint Gall is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century, and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was...

 and Reichenau Island
Reichenau Island
Reichenau Island lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany, at approximately . It lies between Gnadensee and Untersee, two parts of Lake Constance, almost due west of the city of Konstanz. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that was completed in 1838...

, a considerable part of the Old High German corpus has Alemannic traits. Alemannic Middle High German
Middle High German
Middle High German , abbreviated MHG , is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German...

 is less prominent, in spite of the Codex Manesse
Codex Manesse
The Codex Manesse, Manesse Codex, or Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift is a Liederhandschrift , the single most comprehensive source of Middle High German Minnesang poetry, written and illustrated between ca. 1304 when the main part was completed, and ca...

 compiled by Johannes Hadlaub of Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

. The rise of the Old Swiss Confederacy
Old Swiss Confederacy
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland....

 from the 14th century leads to the creation of Alemannic Swiss chronicles. Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

's bible translation of the 1520s (the 1531 Froschauer Bible) was in an Alemannic variant of Early Modern High German. From the 17th century, written Alemannic was displaced by Standard German
Standard German
Standard German is the standard variety of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas...

, which emerged from 16th century Early Modern High German, in particular in the wake of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's bible translation of the 1520s. The 1665 revision of the Froschauer Bible removed the Alemannic elements, approaching the language used by Luther. For this reason, no binding orthographical standard for writing modern Alemannic emerged, and orthographies in use usually compromise between a precise phonological notation, and proximity to the familiar Standard German orthography (in particular for loanwords).

Johann Peter Hebel
Johann Peter Hebel
Johann Peter Hebel was a German short story writer and dialectal poet, most famous for his collection of alemannic tales Schatzkästlein des rheinischen Hausfreundes .-Life:...

 published his Alemannische Gedichte in 1803. Swiss authors often consciously employ Helvetism
Helvetism
Helvetisms are a large group of words typical for Swiss Standard German, which do not appear in either of Standard German or Standard German dialects...

s within Standard German, notably Jeremias Gotthelf
Jeremias Gotthelf
Albert Bitzius , Swiss novelist, best known by his pen name of Jeremias Gotthelf, was born at Murten, where his father was pastor.In 1804 the home was moved to Utzenstorf, a village in the Bernese Emmental...

 in his novels set in the Emmental
Emmental
For the cheese made in the region, see Emmental .The Emmental is a region in west central Switzerland, forming part of the canton of Bern. It is a hilly landscape comprising the basins of the Emme and Ilfis rivers. The region is mostly devoted to farming, particularly dairy farming...

, and more recently Tim Krohn
Tim Krohn
Tim Krohn is an author of Swiss literature, recipient of the 1994 Conrad-Ferdinand-Meyer-Preis.Born in Wiedenbrück, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Krohn grew up in Glarus...

 in his Quatemberkinder.

Characteristics

  • The diminutive
    Diminutive
    In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

     is used frequently in all Alemannic dialects. Northern and eastern dialects use the suffix -le; southern dialects use the suffix -li (Standard German suffix -lein or -chen). Depending on dialect, thus, 'little house' could be Häusle, Hüüsle, Hüüsli or Hiisli (Standard German Häuslein or Häuschen).
  • A significant difference between the high and low variants is the pronunciation of ch after the front vowels (i, e, ä, ö and ü) and consonants. In Standard German and the lower variants, this is a palatal [ç] (the Ich-Laut), whereas in the higher variants, a uvular or velar [χ] or [x] (the Ach-Laut) is used.
  • The verb to be is conjugated differently in the various dialects:
    (The common gs*-forms do historically derive from words akin to ge-sein, not found in modern standard German.)

The conjugation of the verb to be in Alemannic dialects
English
(standard German)
Low Swabian Alsatian
Lower High Alsace
Allgäuerisch Lower
Markgräflerland
Voralpenland Eastern Swiss German Western Swiss German Sensler
I am
(ich bin)
I ben Ich bìn
[eç]~[ex] [ben]
I bi Ich bi I bee I bi I(g) bi I bü/bi
You are
(du bist)
du bisch dü bìsch du bisch du bisch dou bisch du bisch du bisch du büsch/bisch
He is
(er ist)
er isch är ìsch är isch är isch är isch är isch är isch är isch
She is
(sie ist)
sia isch sie ìsch sia isch sie isch si isch si isch sia isch
It is
(es ist)
es isch äs ìsch as isch as isch äs isch äs isch as isch
We are
(wir sind)
mr send mir sìnn mir send/sönd mir sin mr send m(i)r send/sön/sinn mir sy wier sy
You are
(ihr seid)
ihr send ihr sìnn ihr send ihr sin ihr send i(i)r sönd/sind dihr syt ier syt
They are
(sie sind)
se send sie sìnn dia send si sin dia send di sönd si sy si sy
I have been
(ich bin ... gewesen)
i ben gwäa ich bìn gsìnn
[eç]~[ex] [ben] [gsenn]
i bi gsi ich bi gsi i bee gsei i bi gsi i(g) bi gsi/gsy i bü/bi gsy

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