Highest Alemannic German
Highest Alemannic is a branch of Alemannic German
Alemannic German
Alemannic is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy...

 and is often considered to be part of the German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, even though mutual intelligibility
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

 with 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...

 and other non-Alemannic German dialects is very limited.

Highest Alemannic dialects are spoken in alpine
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 regions of 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....

: 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...

, in the German-speaking parts of the Canton 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:...

, in the 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...

 (see Walliser German) and in the 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 (mostly in Switzerland, but also in 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...

 and in 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...

; see 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...

). In the West, the South and the South-East, they are surrounded by Romance languages; in the North, by 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....

 dialects. In the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons)
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

 are only the Walser exclaves in the Romansh part and the Prättigau
The Prättigau Valley, in the canton of Graubünden , Switzerland, is home to the world famous ski resorts of Klosters and neighbouring Davos in the Landwasser Valley....

, Schanfigg and Davos
Davos is a municipality in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 11,248 . Davos is located on the Landwasser River, in the Swiss Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range...

 Highest Alemannic, the Rhine Valley with Chur and Engadin are High Alemannic.


The distinctive feature of the Highest Alemannic dialects is the lack of 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....

A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

ization, for instance [ˈʃniː.ə(n)] 'to snow', [ˈb̥uː.ə(n)] 'to build' vs. High Alemannic [ˈʃnei̯jə], [ˈb̥ou̯wə].

Many High Alemannic dialects have different verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

al plural endings for all three persons, for instance wir singe(n) 'we sing', ir singet 'you (plural) sing', si singent 'they sing'. Almost all other German dialects use the same ending for the first and third persons in the plural.

There are High Alemannic dialects that have preserved the ending -n which has been dropped in most 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...


The Highest Alemannic dialects are considered to be the most conservative dialects of German. The dialect of the Lötschental
The Lötschental is the largest valley on the northern side of the Rhône valley in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It lies in the Bernese Alps, with the river Lonza running down the length of the valley from its source within the Langgletscher....

, for instance, preserved the three distinct classes of weak verbs
Germanic weak verb
In Germanic languages, including English, weak verbs are by far the largest group of verbs, which are therefore often regarded as the norm, though historically they are not the oldest or most original group.-General description:...

 (as in 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...

) until the beginning of the 20th century.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.