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German Dialects Survey

  Tags: Dialect | German
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LanguageGeek
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 Message 9 of 39
26 March 2008 at 10:26am | IP Logged 
Dialects are fun. When I served in the German army I always listend closely to the way people spoke. I was exposed to a multitude of different dialects and became really good at guessing where people came from.

I speak dialect myself, for example when talking to my mom. If I spoke Hochdeutsch with her or as one of the above posters so succinctly called it "cold Tagesschau-Deutsch" she would certainly think I am angry or acting somehow weird. It would be quite rude.

Some regions actually have Hochdeutsch as their "dialect", i.e. there is no dialect, but I would say this is a relatively small area in Germany, roughly stretching from Hannover over Göttingen down to Kassel.


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Earle
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 Message 10 of 39
26 March 2008 at 10:50am | IP Logged 
Quote:
I would say this is a relatively small area in Germany, roughly stretching from Hannover over Göttingen down to Kassel.


That's interesting. I wouldn't have thought it extended so far southwest. I had a German exchange student for a year and both his parents were eastern refugees, the father from Stettin, and the mother from Königsberg. Both of them seemed to speak pretty clear hochdeutsch to me. They had settled in Maulbach, a village about 100 kilometers or so to the southwest of Kassel. Once, after their son had returned home, they drove down to meet us in Switzerland, where we were on vacation. The father spoke no English, and the mother spoke broken English. (I finally had to refrain from speaking German with her, because she would talk to me for hours - from Germany, but that's a different story.) In a conversation with the father, he told me that he felt isolated in Maulbach, mostly because of dialect. He went on that, when he'd visit a local bistro, no one would speak hochdeutsch with him and he couldn't understand the local dialect. I asked him what they spoke. He replied "Platt." I was a bit puzzled, because I'd always associated Platt with extreme northern Germany, and I thought that someone from Stettin should certainly be familiar with it (Theodor Storm, and all that). Perhaps he just called any dialect he didn't understand "Platt." Have any insights, Geek?
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LanguageGeek
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 Message 11 of 39
26 March 2008 at 11:12am | IP Logged 
I was stationed near Kassel in northern Hessen when I was in the army. I also heard numerous references to this mysterious Platt. Most locals told me they dont speak it, only their parents or even just their grandparents and I have never really heard it. On the other hand I had the impression that people in Kassel speak accent free. I would consider Hannover to be the utmost northern extent of this Standard speech zone...Hamburg is definitely not a place you hear Hochdeutsch although some North Germans think it is.

This North-Hessian Platt is not the northern Platt, rather the word is used as a generic name for the local dialect, wich is on the verge of extinction for all what is worth, since I never heard it the two years I lived there. Then again I never visited any small villages.

Edited by LanguageGeek on 26 March 2008 at 11:13am

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Earle
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 Message 12 of 39
26 March 2008 at 11:22am | IP Logged 
I have found across the entire German-speaking region that the small towns (I've been in plenty of them) have the most distinctive accents. I'm sure that it's the same in the other languages. Come to think of it, it's the same in the States...
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LanguageGeek
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 Message 13 of 39
26 March 2008 at 11:31am | IP Logged 
As an addendum: The three most beautiful and idiosyncratic German dialects are spoken in Vienna, Cologne and Berlin ( no value judgement in the order). I can vividly imagine typical speakers of the respective dialects and subconsciously ascribe certain features to their personalities... to the point were the dialect becomes an intrinsic, defining property of a person.

I know Italians and Turks who never looked into a German book, they just learned by hearing the language. I live in Baden-Württemberg now and those guys got the dialect internalized to a degree I could never dream of trying to imitate ( Actually I don't intend to)
Real German comes in many guises and we would be so much poorer without these many faces of our language.
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Earle
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 Message 14 of 39
26 March 2008 at 11:48am | IP Logged 
I've been to both Vienna and Cologne, and I know what the dialect sounds like there. I've never visited Berlin. However, living in the town where Marshall Space Flight Center is located, and where the von Braun team settled, I've heard a good bit of Berlinerisch. I had a good friend from there, Fritz Vandersee, who died much too early from lung cancer. Even when Fritz was trying to speak hochdeutsch, "gut" still came out "jut." His wife was from Pomerania and also had a very distinct accent. She always used "aber" as a "speech-filler," the way Americans use "you know?"
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SamD
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 Message 15 of 39
26 March 2008 at 12:17pm | IP Logged 
I think German students would be well served to learn a variety of German that allows them to communicate with as many speakers of their language as possible. If you speak a distinctive variety of your language, it's helpful to be able to switch over so that an outsider can understand you.

Of course, it may also help students who speak a variety of German close to "Tagesschau" to be exposed to some other varieties of German.
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paparaciii
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 Message 16 of 39
26 March 2008 at 10:34pm | IP Logged 
Leopejo wrote:

- but if it really lacks dialects it definitely is a minus, not a plus.

Just of curiosity, why do you think so?


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