Bavarian dialect dying out / Das Bairische stirbt aus

Somewhat off topic: an article in the Sueddeutsche reports that most under-25-year-olds in the Munich language area don’t understand dialect; in contract, two-thirds of those over 65 under words like Irta (Tuesday) and Pfinzta (Thursday).

According to Hermann Scheuringer of Vienna University and others, the universities in Bavaria proper, Munich and Passau, do nothing to encourage the use of dialect (‘wie Scheuringer kürzlich selber in Passau erleben musste: „Hier kommen nur noch Theoretiker und Preußen zum Zuge“’). Augsburg University encourages Swabian and Würzburg University Franconian.

In the 1970s, the use of dialect was discouraged in schools because it was believed to hinder education. Now it appears that speaking dialect and writing standard German makes people express themselves more flexibly and makes it easier for them to learn a foreign language.The dialectologist Bernhard Stör believes it is too late to save the dialect now.

I live in a Franconian area. I do have a copy of Otto Hietsch, Bavarian into English. A Lexical and Cultural Guide, a Bavarian-English dictionary (the English is rather shaky). ISBN of the first volume is 3 9801769 5 9

Würzburg University has a dialect telephone for teachers (see report at lehrer-online, Koanscht net Hoachdeitsch redn?). Here is the link for dialectology at Würzburg University, with many further references and some materials such as a test to discover if you speak Franconian (I didn’t bother to try).

At the site of the Förderverein Bairische Sprache und Dialekte, if you can stand the graphics, you can heard a Bavarian greeting.

Here some links about German dialects for teachers (University of Wisconsin), including some audio links.

languagehat has an entry on diglossia – Swiss German is an example and German in Germany used to be: a form of standard German is used in writing, but the spoken language is quite different.

bq. Diglossia is a situation in which one form of a language (the H variety) is used for formal purposes (writing, speeches, &c.) and another (L) is used for conversation (and is rarely if ever written down); a typical example is Arabic in those countries where a dialect of it is the vernacular.

2 thoughts on “Bavarian dialect dying out / Das Bairische stirbt aus

  1. Thanks, Noel.

    Two other flefoids with weblogs on a simpler system are Nicht-alle-Tage-Buch (in German, though) and Schon wieder ein Weblog (everything appears in full in both German and English).

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