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Bavarian German

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Bavarian German

Bavarian
Bairisch
Region Austria, Bavaria (Germany), South Tyrol (Italy)
Native speakers 13 million  (2005)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bar
Linguist List
 
 
 
 
 
Location map of Bavarian

Bavarian (German: Austria.

History and origin

The Bavarian regional language has its origins in the Germanic tribe known as the Bavarii, who established a tribal duchy, which covered much of what is today Bavaria and some of Austria in the early Middle Ages and was eventually subdued by Charlemagne. However, they gradually migrated down the Danube and into the Alps to all those areas where Bavarian dialects are spoken. German linguists refer to this speech variety, a group of three East Upper German dialects, as Bairisch "Bavarian". They are divided into Oberpfälzisch (Upper Palatinian, i.e. Northern Bavarian), Donaubairisch (Danube or Danubian Bavarian, i.e. Central Bavarian) and Alpenbairisch (Alpine Bavarian, i.e. South[ern] Bavarian).

These areas had been provinces of the Roman Empire, and the languages of the population were based on Latin, but this language was replaced by the Germanic dialects of the immigrants as the previous inhabitants were assimilated or forced out. This development contrasts with that in the provinces of Gallia and Hispania, where the Germanic languages of the conquerors of those territories were able to exert only a limited influence on the Romance dialects of the local populations.

In German, the very old word "Bairisch", referring to the language, is typically differentiated from the 19th-century term "Bayerisch", which refers to the state of Bavaria. Because of King Ludwig I's passion for all things Hellenic, the German name for Bavaria today is spelled "Bayern", using the Greek 'y', it also reflects the growth of Bavaria after the Congress of Vienna into culturally non-Bavarian areas, e.g. Franconia and Swabia, and the attempts to integrate them into the newly formed kingdom. The language spoken there has retained its original Germanic spelling "Bairisch", using the Roman 'i'.

Latin influence

Because of its interaction with the Romance dialects of pre-Germanic inhabitants, some Latin language influence may be seen in Bavarian's morphology and lexicon. Examples of Latinate vocabulary include Semmel or Semmi (bread roll) from the Latin simila "wheat flour", Gaudi (fun, joy) from the Latin gaudium and toponyms like Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicorum), Kempten (Cambodunum), Regensburg (Castra Regina), Passau (Castra Batavia), Wels (Ovilava), Linz (Lentia), Wien (Vindobona).

Classification

The ISO 639-3 code for the Bavarian language is "bar". It had no ISO 639-2 code of its own, but was classified under the "Germanic (Other)" collective language code "gem". Genetically, Bavarian is part of the Upper German family along with Alemannic (which includes Swabian and Swiss German), whereas Standard German is part of the Middle German family, closer to Upper Saxon German, which – linguistically – is a Thuringian dialect.

Regions where Bavarian is spoken

Dialects

Three main dialect groups in Bavarian are:

Differences are clearly noticeable within those three subgroups, which in Austria often coincide with the borders of the particular states. For example, each of the accents of Carinthia, Styria and Tyrol can be easily recognised. Also there is a marked difference between eastern and western central Bavarian, roughly coinciding with the border between Austria and Bavaria. In addition, the Viennese dialect has some characteristics distinguishing it from all other dialects. In Vienna, minor, but recognizable, variations are characteristic for distinct regions of the city.

However, the various Bavarian dialects are normally mutually intelligible, with the possible exception of some versions of Tyrolean.

Use

In contrast to many other varieties of German, Bavarian differs sufficiently from Standard German to make it difficult for native speakers to adopt standard pronunciation. All educated Bavarians and Austrians, however, can read, write and understand Standard German, but may have very little opportunity to speak it, especially in rural areas. In those regions, Standard German is restricted to use as the language of writing and the media. It is therefore often referred to as Schriftdeutsch (written German) rather than the usual term Hochdeutsch (High German or Standard German).

School

Bavaria and Austria officially use Standard German as the primary medium of education. With the spread of universal education, the exposure of speakers of Bavarian to Standard German has been increasing, and many younger people, especially in the region's cities, and larger towns speak Standard German with only a slight accent. This accent usually only exists in families where Bavarian is spoken regularly. Families that do not use Bavarian at home usually use Standard German instead. In Austria, some parts of grammar and spelling are taught into Standard German lessons. There is no authoritative documented grammar or spelling system for Bavarian. As reading and writing in Bavarian is generally not taught at schools, almost all literate speakers of the language prefer to use Standard German for writing. Regional authors and literature may play a role in education, as well, but by and large Standard German is the lingua franca.

Literature

Although there exist grammars, vocabularies, and a translation of the Bible in Bavarian, there is no common orthographic standard. Poetry is written in various Bavarian dialects, and many pop songs use the language as well, especially ones belonging to the Austropop wave of the 1970s and 1980s.

Although Bavarian as a spoken language is in daily use in its region, Standard German, often with strong regional influence, is preferred in the mass media.

On the use of Bavarian and standard German in Austria see Austrian German.

Ludwig Thoma is a noted author who wrote works such as Lausbubengeschichte in Bavarian.

Grammar

  • Bavarian features case inflection in the article only. Nouns are not inflected for case, with very few exceptions given.
  • The simple past tense is very rare in Bavarian, and has been retained with only a very few verbs, including 'to be' and 'to want'. In general, the perfect is used to express past time.
  • Moreover, Bavarian features verbal inflection for several moods, such as indicative, subjunctive, and imperative. See the table below for inflection of the Bavarian verb måcha, 'make; do':
måcha indicative imperative subjunctive inverse subjunctive
1. Sg i måch i måchad måchadi
2. Sg (informal) du måchst måch! du måchast måchast
3. Sg er måcht er måch! er måchad måchada
1. Pl mia måchan* måchma! mia måchadn måchadma
2. Pl eß måchts måchts! eß måchats måchats
3. Pl se måchan(t) se måchadn måchadns
2. Sg (formal) Si måchan måchan’S! Si måchadn måchadn’S

Society

Bavarians usually cultivate a large variety of nicknames for those who bear traditional Bavarian or German names like Josef, Theresa or Georg (becoming Sepp'l or more commonly Sepp, Resi and Schorsch, respectively). Bavarians often refer to names with the family name coming first (like der Stoiber Ede instead of Edmund Stoiber). The use of the article is considered mandatory when using this linguistic variation. In addition, there exist for almost every family (especially in little villages), nicknames different from the family name. They consist largely of their profession, names or professions of deceased inhabitants of their homes or the site where their homes are located. This nickname is called Hausname (en: name of the house) and is seldom used to name the person, but more to state where they come from, live in or to whom they are related.

Samples:

  • Mohler (e.g. Maler - painter)
  • Bachbauer (farmer who lives near a brook)
  • Moosrees (Resi who lives near a brook)
  • Schreiner (joiner)

Samples of Bavarian and Austrian

Austrian[dubious ] Is Bairische is a Grubbn vô Dialektn im Sü(i)dn vôm daitschn Språchraum.
Bavarian S' Boarische is a Grubbm vo Dialekt im Sidn vom daitschn Språchraum.
Standard German Das Bairische ist eine Gruppe von Dialekten im Süden des deutschen Sprachraumes.
English Bavarian is a group of dialects in the south of the German-speaking area.
Austrian Serwas/Zers/D'Ehrè/Griaß Di, i bî da Pèda und kumm/kimm vô Minga/Minchn.
Bavarian Serwus/Habèderè/Griaß Di/Grüß Gott, i bin/bî da Pèda und kumm/kimm vo Minga.
Standard German Hallo/Servus/Grüß dich, ich heiße Peter und ich komme aus München.
English Hello, I'm Peter and I come from Munich.
Austrian D'Lisa/'s-Liasl håd se an Hàxn brochn/brocha.
Bavarian D'Lisa/As Liasal håd se an Hàxn/Hàx brocha.
Standard German Lisa hat sich das Bein gebrochen.
English Lisa broke/has broken her leg.
Austrian I hå/håb/hã/hò a Göid/Gòid gfundn.
Bavarian I hå/håb a Gèid/Gòid/Göld gfundn/gfuna.
Standard German Ich habe Geld gefunden.
English I (have) found money.

See also

References

External links

  • The Rosetta Edition

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