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Gottscheerisch, Kočevarščina
Native toSlovenia
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Inscription in Gottscheerish on a plaque at the wall of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre near the Church of Corpus Christi in Trata, Kočevje
The traditional Gottscherish placenames are not always the same as the German names
The Gottscherish placenames show that the stage of the sound system of Gottscheerish is different from Standard German
Name of the City of Kočevje in Slovene, German and Gottscheerish
Melody and first strophe of the Gottscheer folk song Də mêrarin ("The Woman by the Sea")[1]

Gottscheerish[2][3] (Göttscheabarisch,[4] German: Gottscheerisch, Slovene: kočevarščina) is an Upper German dialect which was the main language of communication among the Gottscheers in the enclave of Gottschee, Slovenia, before 1941. It is occasionally referred to as Granish or Granisch in the United States (< German Krainisch 'Carniolan'), a term also used for Slovene.[5][6][7] Today[when?] there are only a few speakers left in Slovenia and around the world.

Language history[edit]

Gottscheerish belongs to Southern Bavarian within the Bavarian dialect group. The Bavarian dialects of Carinthia are closest to it. Gottscheerish shares a lot of properties with the Bavarian dialects of the German language islands of the eastern Alps, among them Cimbrian in Veneto, Sappada (Pladen), and Timau (Tischelwang) in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Sorica (Zarz) in Upper Carniola (Slovenia).

Gottscheerish developed independently for more than 600 years from the settlement of the first German-speaking settlers from Eastern Tyrol and Western Carinthia around 1330.

The Gottscheer Germans used Gottscheerish as oral language for daily communication, whereas their written language was Standard German. However, folk songs and folk tales collected in the 19th and 20th century have been published in Gottscheerish.

Already in the 19th century many speakers of Gottscheerish left their homes to emigrate to the United States. After resettlement of most Gottscheers by the German occupation forces in 1941 during the Second World War only a few hundred speakers of Gottscheerish remained in their homeland. After the war Gottscheerish was forbidden in Yugoslavia.

Present situation[edit]

According to the UNESCO, Gottscheerish is a "critically endangered language". The majority of its speakers live in the U.S., with a significant community in Queens, New York City.[8] Most of them are of the oldest generation, who spent their childhood in Gottschee County. There are speakers in Canada, Austria and Germany as well, but just as in the U.S. they have hardly any opportunity to practice it. Everyday language in the family and elsewhere is English and German or the local dialect, respectively.[9]

In Slovenia there are some families who preserved Gottscheerish in spite of the ban after World War II. Today, however, there are probably no more children learning it as first language. Most Gottscheerish speakers live in Moschnitze valley (Črmošnjiško-Poljanska dolina) between Kočevske Poljane and Črmošnjice, where some Gottscheer families collaborated with the partisan movement and therefore were allowed to stay.[4][10]

Written representation[edit]

As a primarily or exclusively spoken language, the written representation of Gottscheerish has varied considerably. The following table shows how some of the more problematic phonemes have been represented in different writing systems.

Phoneme Schröer (1870)[11] Tschinkel (1908)[12] Schauer (1926)[13] Contemporary[14]
/ɛ/ e ä
/ə/ ə ä ə
/j/ j j j
/kʰ/ kh k kh
/ɵ/ ö ȯ ó ö
/s/ s, ß s ß s, ß
/ʃ/ sch š sch sch
/ts/ z ts z ts
/tʃ/ tsch tsch tsch
/ʉ/ ü u ü
/x/ ch χ ch ch
/ʑ/ ż
/ʒ/ ş ž sh sh

The symbol ə for schwa is frequently distorted in representations of Gottscheerish, incorrectly replaced by the partial differential symbol or umlauted ä.


The phonological inventory of Gottscheerish differs from standard German in a number of ways, especially regarding palatal consonants. The phonological inventory here is based on Hans Tschinkel's 1908 grammar.[12] Tschinkel does not explicitly distinguish between phonemic and phonetic status.


Consonants in parentheses are either phonetic/positional variants, idiolect variants, or dialect variants.[15]

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Palatal Velar Pharyngeal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d g
Fricative voiceless f s (ɕ) ʃ x h
voiced w v z (ʑ) ʒ
Affricate pf ts kx
Nasal m n (ɲ) ŋ
Trill r
Lateral l (ʎ)

In the westernmost part of Gottschee, known as the Suchen Plateau (German: Suchener Hochtal), the phonemes /s/ and /ʃ/ merged to yield /ɕ/ and the phonemes /z/ and /ʒ/ merged to yield /ʑ/.[16] The phoneme /r/ is rarely realized as [ʁ].[17] The phoneme /l/ is realized as [ʟ] after front vowels and after labial/velar obstruents.[18]


Tschinkel gives a large vowel inventory for Gottscheerish, especially for vowel clusters. He does not strictly distinguish between phonemic and phonetic values.[19]

Front Central Back
High i ʉ ʉː u
Hi-Mid e ɵ ɵː o
Lo-Mid ɛ ə
Low a

Falling diphthongs: ai, ao, au, aʉ, ea, ei, ia, iə, oa, oɛ, oi, ou, ɵi, ɵʉ, ua, ui, uə, ʉi, ʉə, əi, aːi, aːo

Rising diphthongs: i̯a, i̯aː, i̯ɛ, i̯e, i̯eː, i̯i, i̯iː, i̯o, i̯oː, i̯ɵ, i̯ɵː, i̯u, i̯uː, i̯ʉ, i̯ʉː, i̯ə

Falling triphthongs: oai, uai, eau, iəu, ʉəu, oːai, uːai

Rising-falling triphthongs: i̯ai, i̯au, i̯aʉ, i̯ea, i̯ei, i̯iə, i̯ou, i̯ɵʉ, i̯uə, i̯əi, u̯ai

Tetraphthongs: oai, i̯uai, i̯oːai, i̯uːai


Personal pronouns[edit]

The following pronouns are given in Hans Tschinkel's transcription.[20]

Singular Plural Formal (sg./pl.)
Case 1st person 2nd person 3rd person 1st person 2nd person 3rd person 2nd person
(English nominative) I you he it she we you they you
Nominative iχ, ī, i, iχχe dū̇, du̇ ār, ar, a īns, is, əs, ’s žī, ži biər, bər iər, ər, dər žai žai
Genitive maindər daindər žaindər (īmonš) īrdər inžər, inžə(r)dər aijər, airər, aijə(r)dər īr īr
Dative miər, miərə, mər diər, diərə, dər īmon (īmonə), mon īr (īrə), ir inš ai in, ən, ’n, nən in, ən, ’n, nən
Accusative mī, mi dī, di in, ən, ’n īns, əs, ’s žai, žə inš ai žai, žə, ž’ žai, žə, ž’


The following numbers are given in abridged form in Hans Tschinkel's transcription.[21]


A text in Karl Schröer's orthography (1870):

Gottscheerish[22] German[22] English

Bie wrüe işt auf dar Hanşel junc,
ar stéanot şmóaronş gûr wrüe auf,
ar legot şih gûr schíander ån,
ar géanot ahin of es kîrtàgle.

Wie früh ist auf der Hänsel jung,
er stund des morgens gar früh auf,
er legte sich gar schön (schöner) an,
er gieng hin auf den Jahrmarkt.

How early young Johnny is up,
He got up very early this morning,
He put on his fine clothes,
He went to the parish fair.

A text partially based on Hans Tschinkel's orthography (ca. 1908):

Gottscheerish[23][Note 1] German[24] English

Du̇ hoscht lai oin Ammoin,
oin Attoin dərzu̇ə,
du̇ hoscht lai oin Hoimət,
Gottschəabarschər Pu̇ə.

Du hast nur eine Mutter
einen Vater dazu,
du hast nur eine Heimat,
Gottscheer Bub.

You have only one mother
One father as well.
You have only one homeland,
Gottschee boy.


  1. ^ The spelling and first two lines of this verse (Ammoin, Attoin) by Wilhelm Tschinkel differ considerably among publications.


  1. ^ Adolf Hauffen: Die deutsche Sprachinsel Gottschee. Graz 1895, p. 245. After Karl Bartsch, Karl Julius Schröer: Das Fortleben der Kudrunsage. In: Germania 14, pp. 323–336: p. 333.
  2. ^ Andrew Willis: Brussels faces shortage of English-language interpreters., 19-02-2009
  3. ^ UN says 2,500 languages face extinction Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine, p. 2.
  4. ^ a b Maridi Tscherne: Wörterbuch Gottscheerisch-Slowenisch. Einrichtung für die Erhaltung des Kulturerbes Nesseltal, Koprivnik/Nesseltal 2010.
  5. ^ Moseley, Christopher. 2007. Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. New York: Routledge.
  6. ^ Zarja / The Dawn. 1996. 68(5–6) (May–June), p. 27.
  7. ^ Planinšič, J. 1976. "Bodimo ponosni, da smo Slovenci." Slovenska država 27(2): 3.
  8. ^ Turin, Mark. 2012. "New York, a graveyard for languages." BBC, 16 December.
  9. ^ Anja Moric: Usoda Kočevskih Nemcev - Ohranjanje identitete kočevskih Nemcev. Diplomsko delo, Univerza v Ljubljani, 2007
  10. ^ Pokrajinski muzej Kočevje: Vsi niso odšli / Not all of them left Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Schröer, Karl Julius. 1870. Wörterbuch der Mundart von Gottschee. Vienna: K. u. k. Staatsdruckerei.
  12. ^ a b Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer.
  13. ^ Schauer, August (ed). 1926. Gottscheer Kalender. Author.
  14. ^ ""Help with Pronunciation," Gottscheer Relief Association, New York". Archived from the original on 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  15. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, pp. 20–30.
  16. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, p. 26.
  17. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, p. 22.
  18. ^ "Glover, Justin. 2012. "Coronal Dissimilation in Gottschee German." Paper presented at the 4th Annual Tampa Workshop in Linguistics, 9–10 March 2012. Tampa" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  19. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, pp. 12–20.
  20. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, pp. 267–270.
  21. ^ Tschinkel, Hans. 1908. Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Halle: Max Niemeyer, pp. 265–266.
  22. ^ a b Schröer, Karl Julius. 1870. Wörterbuch der Mundart von Gottschee. Vienna: K. u. k. Staatsdruckerei, p. 266.
  23. ^ Tschinkel, Hans et al. 1984. Gottscheer Volkslieder. Nachträge zu Bd. 1. Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne, p. 470.
  24. ^ Petschauer, Erich. 1980. Das Jahrhundertbuch der Gottscheer. Klagenfurt: Leustik, p. 79.


  • Karl Julius Schröer: Wörterbuch der Mundart von Gottschee. K. k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Wien 1870.
  • Adolf Hauffen: Die deutsche Sprachinsel Gottschee. Geschichte und Mundart, Lebensverhältnisse, Sitten und Gebräuche, Sagen, Märchen und Lieder. K. k. Universitäts-Buchdruckerei und Verlags-Buchhandlung ‚Styria‘, Graz 1895. S. 19-33: Die Gottscheer Mundart.
  • Hans Tschinkel: Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart. Niemeyer, Halle a. S. 1908.
  • Walter Tschinkel: Wörterbuch der Gottscheer Mundart. 2 Bände. Mit Illustrationen von Anni Tschinkel. Studien zur Österreichisch-Bairischen Dialektkunde. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 1973.
  • Maridi Tscherne: Du höscht lai oin Hoimöt. Domovina je ena sama. Pesmarica pesmi v kočevarskem narečju. Slovensko kočevarsko društvo Peter Kosler, Ljubljana 2010.
  • Maridi Tscherne: Beartərpiəchla - Göttscheabarisch-Kroinarisch. Kočevarsko-slovenski slovarček. Zavod za ohranitev kulturne dediščine Nesseltal Koprivnik, Koprivnik/Nesseltal 2010.

External links[edit]