Table of Contents Chapter 3 3.1 German Dialects

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Chapter 3: Pronunciation

  3.1 German Dialects

The German language has many dialects like for example the Aleman, Bavarian, Swabian, Swiss German or the Saxonian. The map below shows where the different dialects are spoken.

And how do the differenct dialects sound? You might ask. We'll give you some examples. Listen to the same poem recited in different dialects. It's by a German poet Matthias Claudius (1740 - 1815).

   Gedicht Deutsch   Poem in English
Der Mond ist aufgegangen

Seht ihr den Mond dort stehen
er ist nur halb zu sehen
und ist doch rund und schön
so geht´s mit vielen Sachen
die wir getrost verlachen
weil unsere Augen sie nicht sehen.
The moon has risen

Do you see the moon up there
you only see half of it
b ut it is round and beautiful
this is like with many other things
at which we laugh
because our eyes can't see them.

  Let's listen to the different dialects
standard German
Swabian German
Saxonian German
Swiss German
upper Bavarian German

* Plattdeutsch is actually not a dialect but a language in its own right. Plattdeutsch is so different from standard German that you can't call it a dialect any more. It is spoken in areas in Northern Germany.

  With different accents it sounds like this
French accent
English accent

Note: For a German the poem is most beautiful in standard German. The dialects and their own coloration is so strong that the even the rhyme is lost. In other circumstances a dialect can be very beautiful. This what we are going to present is standard German (= Hochdeutsch). We'd rather not discuss the differences of the dialects and the standard German. But it general you can say that standard German is accepted as the normative. Depending where you mind land in Germany and have first contacts with "native inhabitants" it might sound quite different to that what we present here. But you can be assured that you will be understood and usually people do know Hochdeutsch. Anyway the same happens when looking at all the different countries that have English as the official language. There are some places in the language where words are different, but in general people are able to communicate and that's the most important.

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