Upper Saxon German
Upper Saxon is a Central German
Central German
Central German is a group of High German dialects spoken from the Rhineland in the west to the former eastern territories of Germany.-History:...

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,...

 spoken in much of the modern German states of Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 and Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

. Contrary to its name it is not a descendant of Old Saxon
Old Saxon
Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, is the earliest recorded form of Low German, documented from the 8th century until the 12th century, when it evolved into Middle Low German. It was spoken on the north-west coast of Germany and in the Netherlands by Saxon peoples...

. The degree of accent
Accent (linguistics)
In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside , the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class, their first language In...

 varies from place to place within the states, with it being anywhere from a relatively mild accent in the larger cities such as Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 or Chemnitz
Chemnitz is the third-largest city of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Chemnitz is an independent city which is not part of any county and seat of the government region Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz. Located in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is a part of the Saxon triangle...

, to a stronger form in rural areas. Erzgebirgisch
Erzgebirgisch is an Upper German dialect, probably belonging to the Franconian dialect group, spoken mainly in the central Erzgebirge . It has received relatively little academic attention...

, a distinct dialect, is spoken in the villages of the Ore Mountains. Upper Saxon German includes nordwestböhmisch.

The most notable distinguishing feature of the dialect is that the letters o and u are pronounced as centralized vowels ([ɵ] and [ʉ], which are also used in Swedish, for instance). Speakers of other German dialects that do not have these sounds tend to perceive these sounds as being ö [ø] and ü [y] respectively. For example, they hear [ʔæʉs] 'out' as if written aüs (Standard aus [ʔaʊs]) and [ˈʔɵːma] 'grandma' as if written Öma (Standard Oma [ˈʔoːma]). Front rounded vowels are pronounced as non-rounded (ö = [eː], ü = [iː]). Final -er is pronounced [ɚ], which speakers of other German dialects tend to hear as [oː]; e.g. [ˈheː(h)ɚ] 'higher' (Standard [ˈhøːɐ] höher) is misheard as if written he(h)o.

The Upper Saxon dialects outside the Ore Mountains can be easily recognized by the supposed "softening" of the voiceless stop consonants /p/, /t/ and /k/. Speakers of other dialects hear these as if they were "b", "d" and "g" respectively. In reality, these are merely non-aspirated versions of the same /p/, /t/ and /k/, a widespread feature among Central German dialects, as opposed to strongly aspirated [pʰ], [tʰ] and [kʰ] in dominant German dialects.

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