Alemannic, or rarely Alemmanish (German: Alemannisch (help·info)), is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. The name derives from the ancient Germanic alliance of tribes known as the Alemanni ("all men").
|Native to||Switzerland: entire German-speaking part.|
Germany: most of Baden-Württemberg and Bavarian Swabia.
Austria: Vorarlberg and some parts of Tyrol.
Liechtenstein: entire country.
France: most of Alsace.
Italy: some parts of Aosta Valley and northern Piedmont
United States: Amish in Adams and Allen counties, Indiana
Venezuela: Alemán Coloniero
|Latin, Historically Elder Futhark|
Blue indicates the traditional distribution area of Western Upper German (=Alemannic) dialects.
Alemannic dialects are spoken by approximately ten million people in several countries:
Linguists dispute whether Alemannic varities are dialects of German or languages in their own right.
Alemannic comprises a dialect continuum, from the Highest Alemannic spoken in the mountainous south to Swabian in the relatively flat north, with more of the characteristics of standard German the farther north one goes.
In Germany and other European countries, the abstand and ausbau language framework is used to decide what is a language and what a dialect. According to this framework Alemannic forms of German form a dialect continuum and are clearly dialects. Some linguists and organisations that differentiate between languages and dialects primarily on the grounds of mutual intelligibility, such as SIL International and UNESCO, describe Alemannic as one of several independent languages. ISO 639-3 distinguishes four languages: gsw (Swiss German), swg (Swabian German), wae (Walser German) and gct (Alemán Coloniero, spoken since 1843 in Venezuela).
Alemannic comprises the following variants:
The Alemannic dialects of Switzerland are often called Swiss German or Schwiizerdütsch.
The oldest known texts in Alemannic are brief Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the sixth century (Bülach fibula, Pforzen buckle, Nordendorf fibula). In the Old High German period, the first coherent texts are recorded in the St. Gall Abbey, among them the eighth century Paternoster,
Due to the importance of the Carolingian abbeys of St. Gall and Reichenau Island, a considerable part of the Old High German corpus has Alemannic traits. Alemannic Middle High German is less prominent, in spite of the Codex Manesse compiled by Johannes Hadlaub of Zürich. The rise of the Old Swiss Confederacy from the fourteenth century leads to the creation of Alemannic Swiss chronicles. Huldrych Zwingli's bible translation of the 1520s (the 1531 Froschauer Bible) was in an Alemannic variant of Early Modern High German. From the seventeenth century, written Alemannic was displaced by Standard German, which emerged from sixteenth century Early Modern High German, in particular in the wake of Martin Luther'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 published his Allemannische Gedichte in 1803. Swiss authors often consciously employ Helvetisms within Standard German, notably Jeremias Gotthelf in his novels set in the Emmental, and more recently Tim Krohn in his Quatemberkinder.
Lower High Alsace
|Upper Swabian||Eastern Swiss German||Western Swiss German||Sensler|
|I ben||Ich bìn
|I bi||Ich bi||I bee||I bi||I(g) bi [ɪɡ̊ b̥ɪ]||I bü/bi|
|you (sg.) are
|du bisch||dü bìsch||du bisch||du bisch||d(o)u bisch||du bisch||du bisch [d̥ʊ bɪʒ̊]||du büsch/bisch|
|er isch||är ìsch||är isch||är isch||är isch||är isch||är isch [æɾ ɪʒ̊]||är isch|
|sia isch||sie ìsch||sia isch||sie isch||si isch||si isch||si isch [sɪ ɪʒ̊]||sia isch|
|es isch||äs ìsch||as isch||as isch||äs isch||äs isch||äs isch [æz̊ (əʒ̊) ɪʒ̊]||as isch|
|mr sen(d)||mir sìnn||mir send/sönd||mir sin||mr send||m(i)r send/sön/sinn||mir sy [mɪɾ si]||wier sy|
|you (pl.) are
|ihr sen(d)||ihr sìnn||ihr send||ihr sin||ihr send||i(i)r sönd/sind||dir syt [d̥ɪɾ sit]||ier syt|
|se sen(d)||sie sìnn||dia send||si sin||dia send||si sind/sönd||si sy [sɪ si]||si sy|
|I have been
(ich bin ... gewesen)
|i ben gwäa||ich bìn gsìnn
[eç]~[ex] [ben] [ɡsenn]
|i bi gsi||ich bi gsi||i bee gsei||i bi gsi||i bi gsy [ɪ(ɡ̊) b̥ɪ ksiː]||i bü/bi gsy|
Alsatian (Alemannic German: Elsässerditsch "Alsatian German"; Frankish: Elsässerdeitsch; French: Alsacien; German: Elsässisch or Elsässerdeutsch) is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken in most of Alsace, a formerly disputed region in eastern France that has passed between French and German control five times since 1681. A dialect of Alsatian German is spoken in the United States by the so-called Swiss Amish, whose ancestors emigrated there in the middle of the 19th century. The approximately 7,000 speakers are located mainly in Allen County, Indiana, with "daughter settlements"[Note 1] elsewhere.Biederthal
Biederthal (Alemannic German: Bierthel) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. It is located on the border with Switzerland, next to the Swiss villages of Rodersdorf and Metzerlen-Mariastein.High Alemannic German
High Alemannic is a dialect of Alemannic German spoken in the westernmost Austrian state of Voralberg, on the border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein.Highest Alemannic German
Highest Alemannic (Hegschtalemannisch) 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.
Highest Alemannic dialects are spoken in alpine regions of Switzerland: In the Bernese Oberland, in the German-speaking parts of the Canton of Fribourg, in the Valais (see Walliser German) and in the Walser settlements (mostly in Switzerland, but also in Italy and in Austria; see Walser German). In the West, the South and the South-East, they are surrounded by Romance languages; in the North, by High Alemannic dialects. In the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons) only the Walser exclaves in the Romansh part and the Prättigau, Schanfigg and Davos are Highest Alemannic; the Rhine Valley with Chur and Engadin are High Alemannic.Knœringue
Knœringue (Alemannic German: Knehrige; German: Knöringen) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Kœstlach
Kœstlach (Alemannic German: Cheschli; German: Köstlach) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Kœtzingue
Kœtzingue (French pronunciation: [kœtsɛ̃ɡ]; Alemannic German: Ketzige; German: Kötzingen) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.
The composer and organist Alphonse Schmitt (1875–1912) was born in Kœtzingue.Liebenswiller
Liebenswiller (Alemannic German: Liebedswíller; German: Liebensweiler) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. It is located close to the border with Switzerland, near the Swiss village of Rodersdorf.Low Alemannic German
Low Alemannic (German: Niederalemannisch) is a branch of Alemannic German, which is part of Upper German. Its varieties are only partly intelligible to non-Alemannic speakers.Magstatt-le-Bas
Magstatt-le-Bas (Alemannic German: Màschgetz; German: Niedermagstatt) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Uffholtz
Uffholtz (Alemannic German: Üffholz; German: Uffholz) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. The organist and composer Aloÿs Claussmann (1850–1926) was born in UffholtzUrschenheim
Urschenheim (Alemannic German: Ürsche) is a communes in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Vogelgrun
Vogelgrun (Alemannic German: Vogelgrien; German: Vogelgrün) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Volgelsheim
Volgelsheim (Alemannic German: Volgelse) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. The population in 2007 was 2,322.Vœgtlinshoffen
Vœgtlinshoffen (Alemannic German: Vegelshofe; German: Vögtlinshofen) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France, approximately 9 kilometers south of Colmar.Wahlbach, Haut-Rhin
Wahlbach (Alemannic German: Wàhlbi) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Waltenheim
Waltenheim (Alemannic German: Wàltene) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Wuenheim
Wuenheim (Alemannic German: Wüene; German: Wünheim) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Zimmersheim
Zimmersheim (Alemannic German: Zímmersche) is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace in eastern France. It forms part of the Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération, the inter-communal local government body for the Mulhouse conurbation.
See Also: Minority languages of Austria
See Also: Language policy in France
|Major dialect groups|
According to contemporary philology