Riograndenser Hunsrückisch German

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Riograndenser Hunsrückisch
Pronunciation [hunsɾɪk]
Native to Brazil
Native speakers
unknown (undated figure of 3 million)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hrx
Glottolog riog1239[2]

Riograndenser Hunsrückisch (Portuguese: hunsriqueano riograndense, English: Hunsrik, Hunsriker or Rio Grande Hunsriker), spoken in parts of Brazil, is a Brazilian West Germanic language derived primarily from the Hunsrückisch dialect of the German Language.

Riograndenser Hunsrückisch developed from the Hunsrückisch dialect when immigrants from the Hunsrück region of Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) settled in southern regions such as Rio Grande do Sul.

While primarily based on the Hunsrückisch branch of the German language it has also been greatly influenced by other German dialects such as Pommersch-Platt and Plautdietsch and by Portuguese, the national language of Brazil and, to a lesser extent, by indigenous languages such as Kaingang and Guarani and by immigrant languages such as Italian and Talian.

Portuguese expressions and words are commonly imported into Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, particularly in reference to fauna and flora (which are different from that of Germany) and to technological innovations that did not exist when the original immigrants came to Brazil, leading to words like Aviong for airplane (Portuguese avião) instead of Flugzeug, Kamiong (Pt. caminhão, truck), Televisaum (Pt. televisão), etc. Daily expressions are often literal translations of Portuguese, such as Alles gut? (literally "everything good?", modeled after the Portuguese "tudo bem?", instead of the German "wie geht's?").

Also common are the use of German suffixes attached to Portuguese words, such as Canecachen, "little mug", from Portuguese caneca, "mug", and German diminutive suffix chen; hybrid forms such as Schuhloja, "shoe shop", from German Schuh and Portuguese loja, and Germanized forms of Portuguese verbs: lembrieren, "to remember"; namorieren "to flirt"; respondieren, "to answer" (Portuguese lembrar, namorar, and responder). However, regardless of these borrowings, its grammar and vocabulary are still largely German.

Although Riograndenser Hunsrückisch is the most common German dialect in south Brazil, the use of this language - particularly in the last three to four generations - continues to decrease.

Famous persons and this endangered language[edit]

As endangered languages often suffer from chronic lack of social prestige, they often are not publicly associated with persons of great fame and or popularity. However, regarding this subject, here are some names to bear in mind:

Recent catholic papal candidate Odilo Scherer[3] of Cerro Largo, located in the northwest of Rio Grande do Sul, like many from his native region grew up with this language, side-by-side with Portuguese, the national language.

World famous cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Montenegro, Rio Grande do Sul (in the Altkolonie region of the state) grew up speaking Portuguese together with this regional variety of German.[4]

According to the famous world model Gisele Bündchen her parents and siblings still speak this Brazilian regional variety of German, although, also according to her, she has forgotten everything herself.[5]

During an interview in 2011, renowned Brazilian writer, translator and International Relations professor Aldyr Schlee talked in detail about having been an eyewitness to the State repression of the German language in his native state of Rio Grande do Sul during World War II.



Pronunciation /a/ /ɑ/ /ai/ /au/ /ɛ/ /ɛɪ/ /eɪ/ /ey/ /ɪ/ /i/ /o~ɔ/ /ø/ /øy/ /u/ /y/


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive ‹p› /p/, ‹b› /b/ ‹t› /t/, ‹d› /d/ ‹kh› /k/, ‹k› /g/
Affricate ‹ph› /pf/ ‹ts› /ts/ ‹ti› /tʃ/, ‹di› /dʒ/
Fricative ‹f› /f/, ‹w› /v/ ‹s› /s/, ‹z› /z/ ‹x› /ʃ/, ‹j› /ʒ/ ‹ch~h› /χ~x/ ‹h› /h/
Nasal ‹m› /m/ ‹n› /n/ ‹ng~n› /ŋ/
Approximant ‹l› /l/ ‹y› /j/
Rhotic ‹r› /ɾ/

The contrast between plosives, under more precise analysis, is not of voice, but of articulatory force, a phenomenon observed in some other dialects of German.


Chapter 23, 1-5 of Luke's Gospel in Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, according to Dr. Ursula Wiesemann's orthography:

Yeesus un Pilatos

23 Too sin ti kanse layt uf kextii, hon Yeesus pis Pilatos kenom un hon aan kefang aan se këwe un saare: 2 Mëyer hon too te man aan ketrof unser folek am uf hëtse. Tee is te keeche em khayser xtayer petsaale un saat wëyer te Mësiias un Kheenich. 3 Too hot te Pilatos kefroot: Pixt tu te Yute sayne Kheenich? Is woer, hot Yeesus keantwort. 4 Too hot Pilatos fer te hooche priister un tsum folek kesaat: Ich khan khee xult an tëm man fine! 5 Awer tii hon aan kehal un hon kesaat: Tee tuut unortnung aan richte unich em folek mit sayn untricht iweraal in Yuteeya. In Kalileeya hot er aan kefang, un yëts is er too pay uns.

The same text in a spelling based on Standard German spelling:

23 Do sin di Leit ufgestije, hon Jesus bis Pilatus genomm un hon angefang anzegewe un sage: 2 Mier hon do de Mann angetroff unser Volk am ufhetze. De is degege em Kaiser Steier bezahle und saat wär er de Messias und Kenig. 3 Do hot de Pilatus gefroot. Bist du de Jude seine Kenig? Is wohr, hot Jesus geantwort. 4 Do hot Pilatus fer de Hochepriester un zum Volk gesaat: Ich kann kee Schuld an dem Mann finne! 5 Awer di hon angehal und hon gesaat: De tut Unordnung anrichte unnig em Volk mit sein Untericht iwerall in Judäa. In Galiläa hot er angefang un jetz is er do bei uns.

(23 Then the whole company of them arose, and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king." 3 And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." 4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no crime in this man." 5 But they were urgent, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Riograndenser Hunsrückisch at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Riograndenser Hunsrückisch". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ BBC BRASIL: Aldeira de antepassados alemães torce para Scherer ser papa March 11, 2013.
  4. ^ Kardinal Hummes kehrt in den Hunsrück zurück. Newspaper Rhein-Zeitung: Buch, Hunsrück, 07/05/2012
  5. ^

External links[edit]