Erzgebirgisch

Erzgebirgisch
Native to Germany
Region Saxony, Lower Saxony
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
Central German dialects
  Erzgebirgisch (9)

Erzgebirgisch (Standard German pronunciation: [ˈeːɐ̯tsɡəbɪɐ̯ɡɪʃ]; Erzgebirgisch: Aarzgebèèrgsch [ˈaːɰtskəpɛːɰjkʃ]) is a Central German dialect, spoken mainly in the central Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) in Saxony. It has received relatively little academic attention. Due to the high mobility of the population and the resulting contact with Upper Saxon, the high emigration rate and its low mutual intelligibility with other dialects, the number of speakers is decreasing.

Language area and history

As the following sections will show, Erzgebirgisch is very close to Upper Saxon but also has commonalities with Upper German dialects.

As of today, the Erzgebirgisch area comprises roughly the districts of Mittweida (southern area), Stollberg, Central Ore Mountain District, Annaberg-Buchholz, Freiberg (South) and Aue-Schwarzenberg. Some more speakers live in the town of Lichtenstein, in the Chemnitzer Land district.

Another community live in the Upper Harz Mountains in the Clausthal-Zellerfeld region (Lower Saxony). Their ancestors were miners and emigrated in the 16th century. Here it is referred to as the Upper Harz dialect.

Up to 1929, Erzgebirgisch was also spoken in other parts of Mittweida and Freiberg, in Chemnitz, Zwickau and in the extreme West of the Weißeritzkreis, but these areas are now dominated by ThuringianUpper Saxon dialects.

Until 1945, the bordering Sudetenland also harbored some Erzgebirgisch speakers, namely in the Kaaden-Duppau area, in whose dialect an anthology of words, proverbs and anecdotes was published (see references). After World War II these speakers had to leave Czechoslovakia and settled down all over the FRG and the GDR. This meant that dialect usage was reduced to the family homes, entailing a shift to the local varieties of their new home towns.

No official attempts to create an orthography have been made, nevertheless there are countless short stories, poems and songs written in Erzgebirgisch. The Sächsischer Heimatverein guidelines to writing in Erzgebirgisch were established in 1937, but are by and large not respected by the majority of authors. This means that linguistic analysis of this dialect has to be done in a field work setting with native speakers. An additional threat to Erzgebirgisch is the popular misconception that Erzgebirgisch was a hillbilly variety of Saxonian, which does not help the conservation efforts.

Erzgebirgisch is classified as a Central German dialect in linguistics, but also includes Upper German features.

Many of these languages show a tendency to substitute the German verbal prefix er- by der- (Erzg. and Bair.) or ver- (Bair and Suabian). (e.g. westerzgeb. derschloong [tɔɰʃloːŋ] German ‚erschlagen‘, to slaughter derzeeln [tɔɰtseːln] German ‚erzählen‘ to tell, to narrate).

Extended use of the particle fei is typical for Upper German and popular in Erzgebirgisch.

Furthermore, German [o/ɔ] corresponds to [u/ʊ] in the mentioned varieties (e.g. westerzgeb. huus [huːs] ‚Hose‘), and German [a] corresponds to [A.

An [n] in the coda, following a long vowel, is regularly deleted in Erzgebirgisch (e.g. Lichtenst. Huuschdee [huːʂʈeː] ‚Hohenstein‘. Rarely, this is also found with monosyllabic words with a short vowel, which undergo compensatory vowel lengthening in the process (e.g. Lichtenst. màà [mʌː] ‚Mann‘ man).

Another typical feature of Upper German is the apocope of schwa and /ɪ/ (e.g. Lichtenst. Reedlz [ɣeːtˡl̩ts] ‚Rödlitz‘ )

The following table illustrates the similarities between Erzgebirgisch and Upper German dialects. We list Thuringian/Upper Saxon as a control parameter. An 'X' means that the feature is present in most subdialects, a 'x' means that it is only found in border areas.

Feature Erzgebirgisch East Franconian Bavarian-Austrian Alemannic Thuringian
Rendering er- as der-/ver-XXXX
feiXXXX
o/u-PronunciationXXXx
n-apocopeXXXX
Schwa-apocopeXXXXx
Convergence of ch and schxX

Subdialects

Eastern Erzgebirgisch dialects indicate negation with ni(ch) [nɪ(ç)] whereas nèt [nɛt] is used in the West. However, this subdialectal boundary is not clearly demarcated. Thus, both forms are found in the town of Lichtenstein, which lies on the northwestern dialect boundary (although ni is perhaps more common).

In both Eastern Erzgebirgisch and in the Lichtenstein dialect, Standard German kl... together with gl... and kn... together with gn... are realized as [tl...] and [tn...] respectively (e.g. dlee [tˡleː] "klein" small, dnuchng [tⁿnʊxŋ̍] "Knochen" bone).

It is not possible to include the Upper Harz varieties in either of these groups. Furthermore, there is a strong influence from the neighbouring non-Erzgebirgisch dialects in the region bordering Meißenisch, which makes subclassification cumbersome.

Summarizing these findings, we can list four dialects:

Dialect Area today Historic area
Eastern ErzgebirgischMittlerer Erzgebirgskreis, districts of Annaberg (northern half), Mittweida (south), Freiberg (south)districts of Freiberg (northwest), Mittweida (west), Dippoldiswalde (western fringe), City of Chemnitz, Sudetenland (around Katharinaberg)
Western ErzgebirgischDistricts of Aue-Schwarzenberg, Annaberg (southern half)Sudetenland (triangle from Graslitz through Schlaggenwalde to Pressnitz)
Northern ErzgebirgischRural districts of Chemnitzer Land (Region Lichtenstein), StollbergCity and Rural District of Zwickau
Upper HarzischClausthal-Zellerfeld Region and Sankt Andreasberg (Lower Saxony) 

Phonology

As mentioned above, there is no unified orthography. In order to render the language data close to their actual pronunciation, we establish the following conventions:

Consonants

The rendering of the consonants follows the notation commonly used for Bavarian. The following table lists the phonemes of the most important Erzgebirgisch dialects, with IPA value and the character used in this article, if it differs from the IPA character.

labial alveolar postalveolar
/ retroflex
palatal velar uvular glottal
stops aspirated (k)
unaspirated p (b) t (d) k (g)
affricates pf ts (z) / (tsch)
fricatives voiceless f s ʃ / ʂ (sch) ç (ch) x (ch) χ (ch) h
voiced v (w) ɣ (r)
nasals m n ŋ (ng)
lateral approximant l
central approximants j ɰ (r)

No subdialect shows phonemic contrast between postalveolar ([tʃ], [ʃ]) and retroflex ([tʂ], [ʂ]; they have one or the other.

An important sound change in Erzgebirgisch is found with respect to r. When r precedes a velar consonant, a [j] is inserted between the two. As an example, Baarg (German Berg mountain) is pronounced [paːɰjk]. Since this phonological process is completely regular, it is not reflected in orthography.

The velar approximant ([ɰ]) is normally realized as a velarization of the preceding vowel. However, for the sake of clarity, this article will use [ɰ] throughout.

Vowels

The writing of the vowels presented here follows in part the official Schwyzertütsch orthography. The orthographic representation of a vowel follows after the IPA characters, if different.

Front Central Back
unrounded unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close i u
Near-close ɪ (i) ʊ (u)
Close-mid e o
Mid ə (e)
Open-mid ɛ (è) ʌ (à) ɔ (e/o)
(Near-)open æ ~ a (a)

No subdialect has both [a] or [æ]. A schwa followed by an r is pronounced [ɔ], but still written e.

The high back vowels ([u/ʊ]) are often rather unrounded.

Vowel length is indicated by doubling the vowel sign in writing: ii, ee, èè, aa, uu, oo and àà.

Furthermore it should be noted that all vowels (with the exception of a and schwa) are centralized, this means that the back vowels à, o, u are more front and the front vowels ee, è und i more back than in Standard German.

Short vowels preceding a stressed syllable are reduced to schwa (e.g. gremàdig [kxəˈmʌtɪk] ‚Grammatik‘ grammar).

A short vowel preceding a r is lengthened (e.g. Aarzgebèèrgsch).

In dialects spoken at higher altitudes, àà is often realized as oo. The pronunciation as àà is the default case for closed syllables. This might be due to overgeneralization of a pattern found in adjacent Saxonian dialects.


Stress

Erzgebirgisch has lexical stress. There is a tendency to stress the first syllable even in French loanwords, where Standard German stresses the final syllable (e.g. biro [ˈpiːɣo] ‚Büro‘ office), but loan words which follow the Standard German pattern are more numerous (e.g. dridewààr [txɪtəˈvʌːɰ] ‚Gehsteig‘ sidewalk (from French le trottoir)).

Morphology

Nominal morphology

Gender

Erzgebirgisch numbers three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter. Most Erzgebirgisch lexemes have the same gender as their Standard German equivalents.

Gender Erzgebirgisch Standard German Gloss (sg./pl.)
masculinemààMann (m.)man/men
gungJunge (m.)boy/boys
baamBaum (m.)tree/trees
femininefraaFrau (f.)woman/women
subSuppe (f.)soup/soups
dàschTasche (f.)bag/bags
neuterkindKind (n.)child/children
dridewààrGehsteig (m.)sidewalk
dunlTunnel (m./n.)tunnel

Case

In distinction to Standard German, the Erzgebirgisch genitive is no longer productive. Other constructions have to be used to indicate possession. For animate possessors, a construction involving the possessor in the dative and an agreeing possessive pronoun is used (dem B sein A). For inanimate possessors, a construction involving f(u)n (German von) is used. A third possibility is compounding.

examples (North Western dialect):

(1)n'Hànsseinehitsch
dem HansseineFußbank
the Hanshisfoot.bench
"Hans's foot bench"
(2)defansderfundenhaus
thewindowsofthehouse
dieFensterdesHauses(Standard German - genitive)
"The windows of the house"

The only case marking available for nouns is dative plural, which is marked by -n , but can often assimilate to other consonants. Nominative and accusative are not marked in the singular on nouns, but articles, adjectives and possessive pronouns help to disambiguate in these cases. Personal pronouns also have some special forms for nominative, accusative and dative.

The following table shows some Erzgebirgisch nominal declension paradigms.

Case/Number tree (m.) bag (f.) child (n.)
Nominative singularder baamde dàschs kind
Dative singularn baamder dàschn kind
Accusative singularn baamde dàschs kind
Nominative pluralde beemede dàschnde kiner
Dative pluraln beemmn dàschnn kinern
Accusative pluralde beemede dàschnde kiner

For more information on articles, see below.

Number

There are different ways to form the plural in Erzgebirgisch, a feature shared with Standard German. Next to the suffixes -e, -er, -n and -s, ablaut can also be used. Some suffixes trigger umlaut.

There are some nouns which differ in their plural marking between Erzgebirgisch and Standard German. E.g. Erzgebirgisch has -n for nouns ending in -(e)l in the singular, where Standard German most often has umlaut.

Examples (North Western dialect):

singular (Erzg.) singular (Std.G.) plural (Erzg.) plural (Std.G.) gloss
fuuchlVogelfuuchl-nVögelbirds
nààchlNagelnààchl-nNägelnails
maadlMädchenmaadl-nMädchengirls
màstMastmasd-e (along with mosd-n)Mastenmasts
kindKindkin-erKinderchildren
bàrgParkbààrg-sParksparks
fuusFußfiisFüßefeet
wààngWagenweeng(-e)Wagencoaches

Articles

Erzgebirgisch distinguishes three kinds of articles: emphatic definite article, atonal definite article, indefinite article. The emphatic definite articles are used where Standard German would use deictics like dieser and jener. The other two types closely resemble their Standard German counterparts.


All articles agree in gender, number and case with their head noun. The emphatic articles may also occur without a head noun and often replace the rarely used third person personal pronouns.

Erzgebirgisch has a negative indefinite article just like German, but the similarity to the positive indefinite article is less obvious.

The North-Western dialect has the following forms:

Form masculine feminine neuter
indefinite article
Nominative singularenee
Dative singularnnern
Accusative singularnnee
non-stressed definite article
Nominative singularderdes
Dative singular(de)nder(de)n
Accusative singular(de)ndes
Nominative pluralde
Dative pluraln
Accusative pluralde
stressed definite article
Nominative singulardaardiidàs
Dative singulardaan/dèèndaardaan/dèèn
Accusative singulardaan/dèèndiidàs
Nominative pluraldii
Dative pluraldaann/dèènn
Accusative pluraldii
negative article
Nominative singularkeekeenekee
Dative singularkeenkeenerkeen
Accusative singularkeenkeenekee
Nominative pluralkeene
Dative pluralkeenn
Accusative pluralkeene

The article n assimilates in place of articulation to the preceding consonant. It is m before p, pf, f, w and m and ng before k, g, ch ([x] or [χ]) and ng.

Examples:

(3)SkindhàdsnHànsgesààd
[skʰɪnt][hʌtsn̩][hʌns][kəsʌːt]
DasKindhates/dieseseinemHansgesagt.
Thechildhasit/thatto a Hanssaid.
(4)DerHànshàddàsbuuchngmààgaam
[tɔɰ][hʌns][hʌt][tʌs][puːxŋ̍][mʌː][kæːm]
DerHanshatdiesesBucheinemManngegeben.
TheHanshasthisbookto amangiven.
(5)Eschiinsdleedlhàddiiàà
[ə][ʂiːns][tˡleːtˡl̩][hʌt][tiː][ʌː]
EinschönesKleidchenhatsie/diesean.
Abeautifuldress.DIMhasshe/this oneon.
(6)Chhàbmkinernkeegaldgaam
[ʂhʌpm̩][kʰɪnɔɰn][kʰeː][kælt][kæːm]
IchhabedenKindernkeinGeldgegeben.
Ihavethechildrennomoneygiven.

Pronouns

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns distinguish emphatic and atonal forms, just like articles. The emphatic forms are used to highlight a participant. They are free words, whereas the atonal forms are phonologically reduced clitics.

There is no emphatic form for third person personal pronouns. The emphatic forms of the definite article have to be used instead. To outsiders this may often come across as impolite.

Unlike nouns, personal pronouns distinguish both number and case.

Person/Number/Gender Nominative Dative Accusative
emphatic personal pronouns
1. Person singulariichmiirmiich
2. Person singularduudiirdiich
3. Person singular m.daardaan/dèèndann/dèèn
3. Person singular f.diidaardii
3. Person singular n.dàsdaan/dèèndàs
1. Person pluralmiirunsuns
2. Person pluraliireicheich
3. Person pluraldiidaann/dèènndii
Politesiiiinnsii
atonal personal pronouns
1. Person singular(i)chmermich
2. Person singularde/duderdich/tsch
3. Person singular m.ernn
3. Person singular f.seerse
3. Person singular n.sns
1. Person pluralmerunsuns
2. Person pluralereicheich
3. Person pluralsense
Politeseiin(n)se

Pronouns with ch have sch in the Northwestern dialect. The atonal second person singular pronoun is de when it precedes a verb, and du when following. There are extra pronouns to express politeness, unlike German, which uses third person plural for this function.

Examples:

(7)Hàd-er-s-nschuugesààd
[hʌtɔɰsn̩][ʂuː][kəsʌːt]
Hateresihmschongesagt?
Hasheitto himalreadysaid?
(8)Chhàbdèènnnischdgaam
[ʂhʌp][tɛːnn̩][nɪʂt][kæːm]
Ichhabedenen/ihnennichtsgegeben.
Ihavethose ones/themnothinggiven.

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns agree in case, number and gender with their head noun.

Person/Genus singular plural
1. Personmei(n)-un(s)(e)r-
2. Persondei(n)-ei(e)r-
3. Person masc..sei(n)-iir-
3. Person fem.iir-iir-
3. Person neut.sei(n)-iir-

singular pronouns lose the n before another n or a -suffix.

First person plural loses the s everywhere but in the North Western dialect. First and second person plural lose the e before a suffix starting with a vowel.

Form masculine feminine neuter
Nominative singular-e
Dative singular-n-er-n
Accusative singular-n-e
Nominative plural-e
Dative plural-n
Accusative plural-e

This paradigm makes use of only three letters e, n and r.

examples:

(9)meihund
[maɪ][hʊnt]
meinHund
mydog
(10)eirerschwasder
[aɪɣɔɰ][ʂvastɔɰ]
eurerSchwester
to y'all'ssister

Third person pronouns make heavy use of the dative construction (see above), just like nouns.

(11)daariiredàsch
[taːɰ][iːɣə][tʌʂ]
dieser/ihrihreTasche
this one/herherbag
"her bag"

vgl.:

(12)daarfraaiiredàsch
"die Tasche dieser Frau"
"The woman's bag"

Prepositions

The following construction is found mainly in Western dialects, but also in Lichtenstein:

(13)nei(n)derschdàd
hineininderStadt
inwardsinthetown
"in die Stadt (hinein)"
"inwards in the town"

The canonic preposition n (in) is never deleted in Lichtenstein, but almost always in the western dialects due to the more widespread dropping of n. This leads to the impression that nei is the preposition. One should also notice that goal of motion is encoded by the dative, and not by the accusative as in Standard German. The motion component is expressed by nei. This construction is also found with many other prepositions: dràà der kèrch ("an der Kirche", "bei der Kirche" at the church).

Adjectives

Agreement

Adjectives agree with their head word in case, number, gender and definiteness. A difference to Standard German is the non-distinction of forms with indefinite article and forms without any article.

Standard German Erzgebirgisch English
teur-em Schmuckdeier-n schmukfor expensive jewels
einem teur-en Ringn'deier-n ringfor an expensive ring

The following table lists all agreement suffixes for adjectives:

Form masculine feminine neuter
without article/with indefinite article
Nominative singular-er-e-(e)s
Dative singular-n-er-n
Accusative singular-n-e-(e)s
Nominative plural-e
Dative plural-n
Accusative plural-e
with definite article
Nominative singular-e-e-e
Dative singular-n-n-n
Accusative singular-n-e-e
Nominative plural-n
Dative plural-n
Accusative plural-n

More examples

(14)egruus-ermàà
[ə][kxuːsɔɰ][mʌː]
eingroßerMann
abigman
(15)daarschiin-nfraa
[taːɰ][ʂiːnn̩][fxaː]
dieserschönenFrau
thisbeautifulwoman
to this beautiful woman

Comparison

The comparative is formed with the suffix -er. The standard of comparison is marked with the preposition wii (wie).
The superlative is obtained by adding -(e)sd. Agreement suffixes come after these suffixes.

examples:

(16)egrès-(e)r-ermààwiidaar
[ə][kxɛsɔɣɔɰ][mʌː][viː][taːɰ]
eingröß-er-erMannalser/dieser
abiggermanthanhe/this one
(17)derschèn-sd-nfraa
[tɔɰ][ʂɛnstn̩][fxaː]
derschönstenFrau
to theprettiestwoman

Verbs

The verb agrees in person and number with the subject of the sentence. This is true of both full verbs and auxiliaries.

Two tense/aspects are morphologically distinguished, present tense and preterite. Use of the preterite is found almost exclusively with strong verbs, i.e. verbs involving ablaut.

The other tenses are formed with auxiliaries: Perfect, Pluperfect, Futur I and Futur II. Perfect and preterite are used interchangeably. Pluperfect expresses anteriority in the past. Futur II is mainly used for epistemic statements about past events (cf. German: Er wird wohl wieder nicht da gewesen sein. He has probably not attended again.)

Infinitive and participles

The infinitive and the present participle and the past participle are formed with the following affixes:

Form schbiil- gii- sei- hàb- wèèr-
class weak strong irregular irregular irregular
Std.G. spiel- geh- sei- hab- werd-
Engl. play go be have become
Infinitiveschbiil-ngii-nsei(-n)-mwèèr-n
participle Ischbiil-endgii-endsei-endhàà-mdwèèr-nd
participle IIge-schbiil-d(ge-)gàng-ngge-waas-nge--dge-wur-n

Present tense

Erzgebirgisch distinguishes strong verbs, involving ablaut, and weak verbs, without ablaut. Both classes take the same suffixes. The present tense can be used to refer to events in the present or future.

Form schbiil- gii- sei- hàb- wèèr-
class weak strong irregular irregular irregular
Std.G. spiel- geh- sei- hab- werd-
Engl. play go be have become
1. Person singularschbiil-∅gii-∅bii-∅hàb-∅wèèr-∅
2. Person singularschbiil-sdgi(i)-sdbi-sd-sdwèr-sd
3. Person singularschbiil-dgi(i)-dis-dwèr-d
1. Person pluralschbiil-ngii-nsei-∅-mwèèr-n
2. Person pluralschbiil-dgii-dsei-dhàb-dwèèr-d
3. Person pluralschbiil-ngii-nsei-∅-mwèèr-n

The suffixes are sometimes assimilated to the stem, as can be seen from hàm, `to have'.

Preterite

As mentioned above, the preterite form is only used with strong verbs. Weak verbs use the perfect instead. This is also gaining ground with strong verbs. Formation of the preterite does not always follow the same pattern as in Standard German e.g. schmecken `to taste' is a weak verb in Standard German (preterit schmeckte), but a strong verb is Erzgebirgisch (present tense: schmègng preterite:schmoog with ablaut. Another verb which is weak in Standard German but strong in Erzgebirgisch is frààn (Standard German fragen to ask), preterite fruuch (Standard German fragte, asked).

Agreement with the subject is indicated as follows:

Form gii- sei- hàb- wèèr-
class strong irregular irregular irregular
Stg.G. geh- sei- hab- werd-
Engl. go be have become
1. Person singularging-∅wààr-∅hàd-∅wurd-∅
2. Person singularging-sdwààr-sdhàd-sdwurd-sd
3. Person singularging-∅wààr-∅hàd-ewurd-e
1. Person pluralging-ngwààr-nhàd-nwurd-n
2. Person pluralging-dwààr-dhàd-edwurd-ed
3. Person pluralging-ngwààr-nhàd-nwurd-n

Perfect, pluperfect

Perfect and pluperfect are construed with a finite form of the auxiliaries sei- and hàb- and the past participle of the full verb.

Examples:

(18)Miirseigasdern(a)fderkèèrmsgàngng
[miːɰ][saɪ][kæstɔɰn][(a/ə)f][tɔɰ][kʰɛːɰms][kʌŋŋ̍]
WirsindgesternaufderKirmesgegangen.
Weareyesterdayonthefunfairgone.
(19)Chhàd-s-nààwergesààd
[ʂhʌtsn̩][ʌːvɔɰ][kəsʌːt]
Ichhatteesihmabergesagt.
Ihadithimneverthelesssaid.

Future

Two future tenses are distinguished. Future I is used for any reference time in the future, Future II has the meaning of future anterior. Future is formed with the auxiliary wèèr- (Standard German werden). Future I adds the infinitive of the full verb, future II the auxiliary sei or hab in the infinitive and the past participle of the full verb.

Examples:

(20)MurngwèrdderHànsnààchKamsfààrn
[moːɰjŋ][vɛɰt][tɔɰ][hʌns][nʌːχ][kʰæms][fʌːɰn]
MorgenwirdderHansnachChemnitzfahren.
TomorrowwilltheHanstoChemnitzgo.
(21)Erwèrdwuuwiidernèddoogewaasnsei
[ɔɰ][vɛɰt][vuː][viːtɔɰ][nɛt][toː][kəvaːsn̩][saɪ]
Erwirdwohlwiedernichtdagewesensein.
Hewillratheragainnottherebeenbe.

Subjunctive

Erzgebirgisch has a productive subjunctive for most of the auxiliaries and some other frequently used verbs. The form is derived from the preterite by ablaut. Other verbs have to use duun support in order to appear in the subjunctive.

Form gii- sei- hàb- wèèr-
class strong irregular irregular irregular
Std.G. geh- sei- hab- werd-
Engl. go be have become
1. Person singulargèng-∅waar-∅hèd-∅daad-∅
2. Person singulargèng-sdwaar-sdhèd-sddaad-sd
3. Person singulargèng-∅waar-∅hèd-edaad-∅
1. Person pluralgèng-ngwaar-nhèd-ndaad-n
2. Person pluralgèng-dwaar-dhèd-eddaad-ed
3. Person pluralgèng-ngwaar-nhèd-ndaad-n

Imperative

The imperative is identical to first person present tense indicative. In order to obtain the plural imperative, -d is suffixed to the singular form.

example:

(22)Biinurmààruich!
[piː][nəɰ][mʌː][ɣʊɪʂ]
Seiendlichruhig!
Befinallyquiet!

Passive

The passive is formed with the auxiliary wèèr- (German werden) and the past participle of the full verb.

Example:

(23)Wiiwèrddèèdàsgemàchd
[viː][vɛɰt][tɛː][tʌs][kəmʌχt]
Wiewirddenndasgemacht?
Howisnowthismade?


A sample of Erzgebirgisch speech (Lichtenstein dialect)

(24)Wuukimsddeeduuizehaar?
[vuː][kʰɪmst][teː][tuː][ɪtsə][haːɰ]
Wherecomestthenthounowfrom?
Whereonearthareyoucomingfromrightnow?
(25)Dàskàà(i)chderfeinisààn.
[tʌs][kʰʌː][(ɪ)ʂ][tɔɰ][faɪ][nɪ][sʌːn]
ThatcanItheeat.allnotsay
Icannottellyouatall.

Sample text

The following snippet contains the introduction and the first stanza of a wedding poem from Clausthal (1759) and is written in the Oberharz dialect:[1]

Aſs t'r Niemeyer ſeine Schuſtern in de Kerch zur Trauer kefuͤhrt prengt aͤ Vugelſteller Vugel un hot Baͤden kratelirt iſs k'ſchaͤn d. 25. Oktober 1759. Clasthol kedruͤckt bey den Buchdrucker Wendeborn.

Klick auf mit enanner, ihr ſtatlig'n Harrn!
Do ſtellt ſich d'r Toffel ahch ein aus der Farrn,
Har hot ſich ju kraͤts ſchunt de Fraͤhaͤt kenumme,
Su iſs'r ahch diesmol mit reiner kekumme.
Se hahn ne ju ſuͤſt wos zu luͤſenA kekahn:
Ich hoh' ſchiene Vugel, wolln Sie ſe beſahn?

Translation

When Niemeyer lead his bride to the church to marry her, a bird trapper brought birds and congratulated them; This happened on October 25 in 1759. Clausthal, printed at the Wendeborn Printing House.

Hello you all, you honorable men!
Here comes the lad from far away,
He has already taken the liberty,
So he came in this time again.
They have sometimes given him something to earn:
I have nice birds, do you want to have a look on them?

A According to Borchers 1929 luͤſen was pronounced [liːsən] – Erzg. doesn't have the sound [y] – and means "to earn, to get money". According to Radlof it means lösen (which does mean remove, loosen, solve, buy in English depending on the context). In Neues Vaterländisches Archiv it's spelled lißen in the text, and it's ließen) – lösen. in the notes.

Lexicon

Like all dialects, Erzgebirgisch has some words which are difficult to grasp for outsiders. These include contractions of long words, but also some words unknown to other dialects or even other subdialects of the same lineage.

Nouns

Lexeme pronunciation
(NW dialect)
Standard German English Notes
aarbwerzg. [ˈaːɰp]Arbeitworkonly in the western dialect
aardabl[ˈaːɰtæpl̩]Kartoffelpotatoliteral: earth apple
ààziizeich[ˈʌːˌtsiːtsaɪ̯ʂ]Kleidungclothingliteral: Anziehzeug
àbort[ˈʌpɔɰt]Toiletteloo (toilet)
bèg[ˈpɛk]Bäckerbaker
bèremèd[ˌpɛɣəˈmɛt]WeihnachtspyramideChristmas pyramid
bèrschd[ˈpɛɰʂʈ]Bürstebrush
burschdwich[ˈpʊɰʂʈvɪʂ]Besenbroom
dibl[ˈtɪpl̩]Tassecupliteral: Töpfchen
dridewààr[ˌtxɪtəˈvʌːɰ]Gehsteigsidewalkderived from French trottoir
fauns[ˈfaʊ̯ns]Ohrfeigeslap
feier[ ˈfaɪ̯ɔ]Feuerfire
fuuchlbaarbaam[ˈfuːxl̩ˌpaːɰpaːm]Eberescherowanliteral: bird berry tree (rowanberry tree)
gaacher[ˈkæːχɔɰ]Jägerhunter
gudsàger[ˈkʊtsʌkɔɰ]Friedhofcemeteryliteral: God's acre
hèm[ˈhɛm]Hemdshirt
hiidrààbradl[ˈhiːˌtxʌːpxætl̩]Serviertabletttrayliteral: little bring here tray
hitsch[ˈhɪtʂ]Fußbankfootbench
huchtsch[ˈhʊxtʂ]Hochzeitwedding
lader[ˈlætɔɰ]Leiterladder
nààmitsch[ˈnʌːmɪtʂ]Nachmittagafternoon
pfaar[ˈpfaːɰ]Pferdhorse
reeng[ˈɣeːŋ]Regenrain
schdagng[ˈʂʈækŋ̍]Stecken, Stockstick
schduub[ˈʂʈuːp]Wohnzimmer, Stubeliving room
(scheier)hààder[ˈʂaɪ̯ɔɰhʌːtɔɰ]Wischtuchcloth for wiping
schmiich[ˈʂmiːʂ]Zollstockyardstick
zemitschasn[tsəˈmɪtʂasn̩]Mittagessenlunchliteral: midday meal
zèrwànsd[ˈtsɛɰvʌnst]Akkordeonaccordion

Verbs

Erzgebirgisch has many onomatopoetic verbs (see also I. Susanka). Due to the high precipitation in the Ore Mountains, many different verbs for different kinds of rain or drizzle exist.

Word Pronunciation
(Northwest dialect)
Standard German English Comments
besuudln[pəˈsuːtl̩n]beschmutzen(get) dirty
blààtschn[ˈplʌːtʂn̩]stark regnen (Platzregen)heavy shower
blèègng[ˈplɛːkŋ̍]laut schreienscream
deebern[ˈteːpɔɰn]toben, schimpfenbe angry
derlaamwerzg. [tɔɰˈlaːm]erlebenexperiencenot in northwest dialect
drààschn[ˈtxʌːʂn̩]stark regnen (Dauerregen)continuous heavy rain
eisàgng[ˈaɪ̯sʌkŋ̍]einfüllen, einpackentake, put inLiteral: einsacken
gwèstern[ˈkvɛstɔɰn]immer wieder rein und raus gehenrepeatedly getting in and out
kambln[ˈkʰæmpl̩n]sich prügelnbeat each other
siifern[ˈsiːfɔɰn]leicht nieselnlight drizzle

Other words

Like many other German dialects, Erzgebirgisch is rich in adverbs, like the notorious fei, whose use is extremely complex and needs further research. It appears in commands (Gii fei wag!, Go away!), but also in affirmations (S´reengd fei, It's raining, by the way.).

Lexeme Pronunciation
(Nordwestdial.)
Standard German English Notes
dingenauf[ˌtɪŋəˈnaʊ̯f]bergauf, nach obenuphill, upward 
emènde[əˈmɛndə]möglicherweisepossiblyliteral: at the end
feeder[ˈfeːtɔɰ]vorwärts, weiterfurtherfrom English
fei[ˈfaɪ̯]aber, nämlich, endlich, ziemlichbut, indeed, finally, quite
fiir[ˈfiːɰ]vorforalso in expressions
gaaling[ˈɡæːlɪŋ]heftigvehement
heier[ˈhaɪ̯ɔɰ]dieses Jahrthis year
hèm[ˈhɛm]nach Hauseat homeliteral: home
hiimundriim[ˌhiːmʊnˈtxiːm]auf beiden Seitenon both sidesliteral: hüben und drüben
hinewiider[ˌhɪnəˈviːtɔɰ]hin und herhere and there
ize[ˈɪtsə]jetztnow
nààchert[ˈnʌːxɔɰt]nachherto here
zàm[ˈtsʌm]zusammentogether

Interjections

The interjections used in Erzgebirgisch differ considerably from the Standard German ones. The language area being dominated by mining, some linguistic patterns peculiar to this business have attained general usage, like the salute Glig auf! (dt. "Glück auf").

English does not have a specialized form to affirm negative questions, unlike French (si), Dutch (jawel) or German (doch). Erzgebirgisch uses Ujuu! [ˈʊjuː], or sometimes Ajuu! [ˈajuː], (dt. "Doch!") in these contexts. For the negation of a question expecting a positive answer È(schà)! [ˈɛ(ʂʌ)] (dt. "Nein!") is used. This interjection is also used to express surprise, albeit with a different intonation.

References

  1. Mustersaal aller teutschen Mund-arten, enthaltend Gedichte, prosaische Aufsätze und kleine Lustspiele in den verschiedenen Mund-arten aufgesetzt; und mit kurzen Erläuterungen versehen von Dr. Joh. Gottl. Radlof. Erster Band, Bonn, 1821, pp. 275ff. (google):
    Differently in Neues Vaterländisches Archiv oder Beiträge zur allseitigen Kenntniß des Königreichs Hannover und des Herzogthums Braunschweig. Begründet von G. H. G. Spiel. Fortgesetzt von Ernst Spangenberg. Jahrgang 1831. Erster Band, Lüneburg, 1831, pp. 279ff. (google);
    Differently cited in Erich Borchers: Sprach- und Gründungsgeschichte der erzgebirgischen Kolonie im Oberharz. Marburg, 1929. pp. 135–136.

Literature

Grammars and other linguistic publications

  • Oswin Böttger: Der Satzbau der erzgebirgischen Mundart. Leipzig 1904. – An analysis of the syntax.
  • Erich Borchers: Sprach- und Gründungsgeschichte der erzgebirgischen Kolonie im Oberharz. Marburg 1929. – Grammar of the Upper Harz variety.

Other literature

  • Irmtraud Susanka: Wie mir drham geredt homm. Unsere Mundart im Bezirke Kaaden-Duppau. Verlag des Kaadener Heimatbriefs, Bayreuth (no year, no ISBN). – Collection of words, phrases, poems and short stories of the southern variety formerly spoken in the Sudetenland.


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