Berlin German

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Konsum-Genossenschaft, watercolor by Heinrich Zille, 1924

Berlin German or Berlin dialect (High German: Berliner Dialekt, Berliner Mundart, Berlinerisch or Berlinisch) is the dialect of Lusatian-New Marchian German spoken in the city of Berlin as well as its surrounding metropolitan area. It originates from a Brandenburgisch dialect. However, several phrases in Berlin German are typical of and unique to the city, indicating the manifold origins of immigrants, among them the Huguenots from France.


The area of Berlin was one of the first to abandon East Low German as a written language (in the 16th century) and later also as a spoken language. This was the first dialect of Standard German with definite High German roots but a Low German substratum apparently formed (Berlinerisch may therefore be considered an early form of Missingsch). Only recently has this new dialect expanded into the surroundings which until then used East Low German.

Since the 20th century, Berlinese has been a colloquial standard in the surrounding Brandenburg region. However, in Berlin proper, especially in the former West Berlin, the dialect is now seen more as a sociolect, largely through increased immigration and trends among the educated population to speak standard German in everyday life.[1]

Occasionally, the dialect is found on advertising.


Berlinese pronunciation is similar to that of other High German varieties. Nevertheless, it maintains unique characteristics that set it apart from other variants. Most notable are the strong contraction trends over several words and the rather irreverent adaptation of foreign words and Anglicisms that are difficult to understand among Upper German speakers. Also, some words contain the letter j (representing IPA: [j]) instead of g. This is exemplified in the word for good, in which gut becomes jut.


Berlinese grammar contains some notable differences from that of standard German. For instance, the accusative case and dative case are not distinguished. Similarly, conjunctions that are distinguished in standard German are not in Berlinese. For example, in standard German, wenn (when / if) is used for conditional, theoretical, or consistent events and wann (when) is used for events currently occurring or questions. There is no difference between the two in Berlinese.[2]

Genitive forms are also replaced by prepositional accusative forms, some still with an inserted pronoun. For example, dem sein Haus (the his house) rather than the standard sein Haus (his house). Plural forms often have an additional -s, regardless of the standard plural ending.[3]

Words ending in -ken are often written (colloquially) and pronounced as -sken.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berlinerisch, Deutsche Welle
  2. ^ Icke, icke bin Berlina, wer mir haut, den hau ich wieda Wölke Archived December 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Viertel-Dreiviertel-Verbreitungskarte

External links[edit]