Talk:Bavarian language

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Tried to NPOV this a little, but I still think the content could be merged with Austrian_language under some other title. Any opinions? Kosebamse 17:58 Mar 14, 2003 (UTC)

I think that the original writer is correct that "Austro-Bavarian" is the more common name of the language. Also, Austrian language in fact discusses several different languages. I'm inclined to change the latter into a discussion of the languages (or Germanic languages) of Austria. -- Toby 19:11 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)

Pronouncing schr-[edit]

See Talk:German_phonology#Pronouncing_schr-.

Y is Hellenic?[edit]

This statement needs more explanation:

Because of King Ludwig I's passion for everything Hellenic, the German name for Bavaria today is spelled "Bayern", while the language spoken there has retained its original spelling "Bairisch" — note the I versus the "Hellenic" Y.

The letter "I" has just as much of a Greek pedigree as "Y": "I" comes from iota, y from upsilon. I'm guessing that the reason "Y" is more Greek is because the name of the letter "Y" in German is "Ypsilon" (or maybe from the French "I grec", literally "greek I"). But this should be explained. --Saforrest 00:18, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Retroflex non-lateral allophone of /l/[edit]

Today I heard a Bavarian woman speak grammatically Standard German with a very strong Bavarian accent. One thing I noticed is that she had an allophone of /l/ after /a/ that sound practically like [ɻ]. It sounded quite retroflex and hardly lateral at all. Verwalten was [fɛɐˈvaɻtn], nochmal was [nɔxmaɻ], and alle was [aɻə]. /l/ in other positions was a perfectly normal /l/. Has anyone else heard of this? Is it normal for Bavarian, or for a specific subdialect of Bavarian? Or did she just have a speech impediment that is highly restricted in its environment? —Angr 15:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

No, this doesn't sound anywhere near standard Bavarian. /al/ is pronounced [ɔɪ] before a consonant; before a vowel it remains unchanged. — Sebastian 07:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay. Though just to make clear: she wasn't speaking Bavarian dialect, she was speaking Standard German with a Bavarian accent. —Angr 08:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
In that case, she might have been trying to overcompensate in some weird way? — Sebastian 08:27, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I think I know that from some people South West of Munich (Fürstenfeldbruck). They're certainly Bavarian, though I don't know if they originate from there. -- 16:43, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Bavarian speakers that attempt talking in "standard" German often sound like that. I'm Bavarian but my family speaks standard German, so I speak Bavarian and German perfectly without "cross-referencing". Most Eastern and Southern Dialects substitute the "l" in the examples you've given. So "Welt" becomes "Wà'id", "Geld" becomes "Gà'id" and "Gold" becomes "Gó'id". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

wenn vs. wann[edit]

The article claims that Standard German "wenn" is "wenn" in Bavarian but "wann" in Austrian dialects. Can anybody confirm this? I have the impression, though I cannot verify it, that Bavarians say "wann" as well.Unoffensive text or character 16:37, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for catching this. This is indeed wrong. I just doublechecked in Ludwig Merkle, Baierische Grammatik, Hugendubel 1990, and there is no mention of "wenn". — Sebastian 07:30, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
No, it's not wrong. I'm from Western-Austria, next to Bavaria, and the people here use the word "wann" for "wenn" sometimes. In Eastern-Austria and also in the Carinthia they also use it, but more often than here. They really use it more often than the word "wenn". (Sorry for my poor english.) 18:20, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
That seems to be a misunderstanding. The distinction between "wenn" and "wann" is not between Bavarian and Austrian. Bavarian has "wann", as well. There is a distinction, of course, between people who are more influenced by Standard German and more traditional speakers. Maybe that's what you're observing; maybe the people where you live are just more "spoiled".  ;-) — Sebastian 02:52, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
It depends greatly on context and case. In Eastern Bavarian we certainly use "wann" as "wenn" in certain cases: "Wannst'as schaffst." (When you get around to it). It's highly variable though between dialects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Speakers from Austria or Bavaria[edit]

The article claims that it is difficult for a foreigner, including non-bavarian Germans, to distinguish between an Austrian and a Bavarian by language. From my personal experience I must say that I find it very easy, as Austrians, even when speaking a near-standard variety of German, have a very characteristic intonation. I hardly ever fail to notice it. Unoffensive text or character 08:07, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

As a Bavarian I second that. It may be difficult with people from border regions. I think it's a North German opinion. -- 16:48, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
How can you second that not being a non-Bavarian? For me, a non-Bavarian German, it's not that difficult to distinguish them when they are speaking Standard German but quite difficult when they actually speak dialect. -- (talk) 10:15, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I am both a non-Bavarian and a non-Austrian and I have no difficulty at all telling the dialects apart. But this, of course, is not the question. The question should rather be (unfortunately I did not recognize that when I wrote my first comment over a year ago): Is there anything that can source the claim? If so, we would need to name the source. If not, I think I will simply remove the sentence. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 12:47, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe, but its obvious stated that for "strangers" it in fact is a hard time to distinct between Bavarians and Austrians just by their language. For sure locals are able to. But not cause of the very border between Austria and Bavaria but cause each Region knows its own Dialects, those spoken in Vorarlberg (part of Austria) aren't even part of the Bavarian linguistic area! No offense, but most people referring to a very certain intonation of "Austrians" mostly point to Viennese - something Austrians from Tyrol would strongly disagree in. I modified the sentence and hope you agree. (talk) 10:18, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Number of speakers[edit]

The quoted ethnologue report gives about 200 000 speakers of Bavarian in Germany. That can't be true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd assume they are pointing to Bavarians speaking in their dialect only and without any standard German skills - even if they would try to speak standard German they wouldn't really be able to and would end up speaking fractioned German like aliens. That way this number would make sense, but it's still too confusing to be mentioned without any further annotation! (talk) 10:22, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'd say: Utter nonsense. 246,050! Ridiculous.Unoffensive text or character (talk) 08:10, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

I can't speak for Munich, but it is certainly untrue to imply that the majority of young people in Vienna speak with little or no accent if by that one means they speak a hochdeutsch similar to that spoken throughout non-Bavarian Germany. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Has more letters than Standard German?[edit]

Going through the differences down the bottom of the page, I've noticed several letters (or diacritic marks) which are said to exist in written Austro-Bavarian. I'm not familiar with the area, but I've never seen these letters used really in such a context, nor do the respective wiki pages on these letters say they're used by this dialect. Comments? (talk) 12:29, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

There's no official orthography. This dialect isn't used as a written language. --Maturion (talk) 14:54, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Good question.
That there's no official orthography is quite right. However, it's sometimes used in writing, and there's even a feeling of what is wrong and what is right in doing so.
First of all, Bavarian has three vowels that, among the Standard German ones, most closely resemble "a". (As the guitar-player said when after the d string, the A string broke too: "Jetz is as A â å", now the A's off as well.) The middle one of these is written a. The light one is actually regularly the equivalent of Standard German ä, but as ä is pronounced e and we want to express the difference in writing, à or â (or, in some contexts, aa) are usually used (sometimes with rather flexible representation of the length of the vowel). And then there's a dark one, with a not entirely clear phonemic status as opposed to the middle one (though I consider Ståd [dark] "city" - Staat [middle] "state" - staad [light] "silent" a minimal triple). In some occasions, the dark one too can be written as simple a, but sometimes you need to distinguish, or you want to stress the fact that this is really pronounced in a Bavarian way: and then there's one sensible way to do it and this is borrow å from Swedish. You very often see it written as o, especially by non-Bavarians and those who want to impress non-Bavarians with their Bavarian, but that is wrong as o is a different sound (though writing oa for "åà" is usual).
Apart from that, sometimes the long äh sound where not corresponding to a German ä is written ê, to make clear that it's pronounced differently than in high German. The long eh sound on the other hand may be written é; any use of the silent h that in German is used for for lenthening will be inconsistent (silent h is used, but sometimes only because it's there in Standard German too). Also, é (and è) may be written to indicate that the e sound is closed resp. open where in Standard German it's different (Béttn "beds", bètn "pray"). Finally, we sometimes find ô to indicate that the o sound is closed and rather long (i. e., Nô "well, let's see" is not pronounced either like the English nor the Italian negation - the Bavarian negation is Nâ, by the way).--2001:A60:1577:9A01:F406:58CE:C7B6:145C (talk) 17:23, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Written Bavarian and Austrian[edit]

I don't agree with the Austrian examples. For instance, i would not say "S' Boarische is a Grubbm vô Dialektn im Sü(i)dn vôm daitschn Språchraum.". Instead, my pronounciation would rather be "Des Bayrische is a gruppm vô Dialekte im Südn vôm daitschn Språchraum." Besides, I have never heard an Austrian saying Minga, except when he is trying to imitate the Bavarian dialect —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

You are right about "Minga" (hardly anybody in Austria would say so), but not with the fi.rst example. I can only guess that you are from the "east", but here in OOe "'s Boarische" is just what one would say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:46, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

That's not korrekt, I'm from Salzburg and lot's of people here say Minga.--Mucalexx (talk) 10:32, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

I would like to point out as a linguist that the /y/ spelling of Bayrisch, is a political and geographical designation often referring to a person of Bavaria, while the original spelling (pre-King Ludwig I in 1825) with an /i/, Bairisch, is sustained as the language dialect designation. As as source, please see the German page Bairische Dialekte: Etymologie and Bairisch und Bayern Agentxp22 (talk) 22:33, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

More details?[edit]

An interesting article, but it would be good to have more details of the phonological and grammatical differences from Standard German. ☸ Moilleadóir 02:06, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I have been working on the page of the Northern Austro-Bavarian language. There you are able to see some differences between the German language and one of the Austro-Bavarian languages, both phonologically and morphologically. -- Llonydd (talk) 11:25, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

South Tyrolean flag[edit]

The wrong flag is up representing Bozen province, the northern part of Trentino-South Tyrol. It is currently the flag of Trentino-South Tyrol but I think that the proper flag of Bozen (South Tyrol) with its red eagle would be more accurate. The Italian version is different than the Austrian Land Tirol flag too but the same historic design. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Naming conventions[edit]

It is a troublesome topic I'm taking up to debate, but wouldn't it be better to move the page to Austro-Bavarian languages, as each of the varieties (Northern-, Central- and Southern) have their own pages anyway, and may be thought languages on their own. As far as I know, there is no such "Austro-Bavarian language," and no united grammar or description of such language - but there are such literature for each of the varieties! Also, wouldn't it be better to rename the varieties, Northern Austro-Bavarian, Central Austro-Bavarian and Southern Austro-Bavarian to Northern Austro-Bavarian language, Central Austro-Bavarian language and Southern Austro-Bavarian language, respectively, and perhaps make some redirects such as Northern Bavarian language, Central Bavarian language and Southern Bavarian language pointing to their respective pages, as those are the names used in some literature. -- Llonydd (talk) 11:39, 27 December 2009 (UTC)


What about the south-west corner of Saxony? I thought they spoke Bavarian. What about the former areas of Bohemia in the Czech Rep.

former is former and not anymore. The map represents the today's situation quite accurately. --El bes (talk) 09:18, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

There are tiny remnant populations on the Czech side of the border still and the people of Saxony were not expelled. The map is wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:13, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

have a look here!

Moving article to Austro-Bavarian dialects[edit]

The Austro-Bavarian language is not an own language. It's a dialect. Therefor we should change the article title, the current one is confusing. I speak it natively but I'd never go so far and call it an own language. The German Wikipedia also calls it a dialect. --Maturion (talk) 15:03, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

While I do not oppose the move I am going to create a redirect so searches for Austro-Bavarian dialect come here. μηδείς (talk) 04:28, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Any other opinion on that? I think it's really not appropriate to have this article under Austro-Bavarian language. It is not a language, it's not even one dialect, but a group of very similiar but different dialects. Linguists say the same actually. And nearly every native speaker I know, including myself, does so, too.--Maturion (talk) 21:59, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

It's been months so I suggest moving it. If there is a problem someone will move it back or start a discussion. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 14:23, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Use in schools[edit]

In Austria, some parts of grammar and spelling are taught into Standard German lessons. This sentence does not make sense to me. Does anybody have an idea what is meant? Unoffensive text or character (talk) 08:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Samples of Austrian[edit]

The samples of Austrian section is unreferenced. This section is misleading at best. I figure that Austrian means Austrian German? Also that 'Austrian' isn't a language despite it's comparision to the language of the article name. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:49, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

It does NOT mean Austrian German since Austrian German is a form of Standard German, Austrian means Austrian dialect of the Austro-Bavarian language, which IS a language no matter how it's treated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Do you have a reference for that claim? Regards, SunCreator (talk) 18:56, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Well given all the differences in phonology, grammar and vocabulary between Austro-Bavarian and German it should be classified as a separate language. Dialects within Austro-Bavarian should be called dialects, not Austro-Bavarian itself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:28, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
No, it should not. Linguists call it a dialect, not a language. --Maturion (talk) 22:03, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a reference for that counter claim? Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 14:22, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Mood inflection[edit]

Moreover, Bavarian features verbal inflection for several moods, such as indicative, subjunctive, and imperative. Along with Swiss German and Icelandic, it is one of few Germanic idioms to preserve mood inflection. Cf. the table below for inflection of the Bavarian verb måcha 'make; do':
What the hell? I assume I misunderstand this sentence because Standard High German (and theoretically Low German for that matter) still has indicative, subjunctive and imperative.Dakhart (talk) 12:54, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

"Bavarian language"[edit]

Bavarian is not a language. It's variety or dialect of German. It just isn't a language. Even in Bavaria it is not recognized as a language. --Maturion (talk) 15:43, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

And perhaps you would like to provide a citation for that view, or is it just original research? You see, the problem is that both Ethnologue and the ISO consider it to be a "language". And frankly, I trust their view more than I trust your personal opinion. Whether a language is "recognised" by a state does not determine whether it is a language or not (for many years Scots, Ulster Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish and Welsh were not "recognised" by the United Kingdom: that didn't mean that they failed to exist and be spoken by people). Skinsmoke (talk) 03:22, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Citation needed? No problem: Ludwig Zehetner: Das bairische Dialektbuch. Verlag C.H. Beck. München 1985, p. 16 and passim. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 07:44, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
No need to get personal, Skinsmoke. It's just semantics. We consider s.t. a language when it's not intelligible to other varieties, but many people will call anything without a standardized literature a dialect. — kwami (talk) 07:58, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
If I may quote Wikipedia: There is no universally accepted criterion for distinguishing a language from a dialect. A number of rough measures exist, sometimes leading to contradictory results. (...)
Language varieties are often called dialects rather than languages:
if they have no standard or codified form,
if they are rarely or never used in writing (outside reported speech),
if the speakers of the given language do not have a state of their own,
if they lack prestige with respect to some other, often standardised, variety.
In Germany, including Bavaria, Bavarian is almost universally considered a dialect, not a language. At least three of the four criteria listed above apply.Unoffensive text or character (talk) 13:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but those are nonscientific criteria. In linguistics, two varieties are generally considered separate languages when their speakers cannot understand each other. And intuitively it makes little sense to claim that two people speak the same language when they are unable to communicate effectively. That's the point that should be addressed if we wish to claim that Bavarian is a dialect of one of the other German languages. — kwami (talk) 21:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Note that Alemannic German skirts the issue by using a more neutral title.
In principle, of course, I am in full agreement that while Bavarian is not an Ausbausprache, calling it "a dialect of German" is entirely misleading. At least it is a dialect group, just like Scots is not "a dialect of English" but a collection of related dialects.
Worse, the "German dialects" are an essentially randomly picked group of West Germanic varieties, part of a huge dialect continuum that also includes Dutch, although this dialect continuum is less and less an actual continuum. It is a motley group of Low German (Low Saxon), Low Franconian, Central German, and Upper German dialects that happen to be natively and traditionally spoken in certain countries, and have Standard German as their Dachsprache for this very reason. The state border between Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg cannot and should not be used to determine whether a dialect is "German" or "Dutch" in a linguistic sense, as the state border does not follow any major or even minor isogloss. Even including Dutch, the "German dialects" do not form a natural, coherent subgroup of West Germanic: there is no such thing as a "German protolanguage" that is not identical to the "West Germanic protolanguage", from which, however, the Anglo-Frisian group descends as well. West Germanic sans Anglo-Frisian (or worse, sans Anglo-Frisian and "Dutch") is not a "language", but a mere historical artifact. How arbitrary the notion of "German dialect" (or worse, "dialect of German") is is shown by the fact that Frisian varieties for which Standard German is the Dachsprache (as they are spoken inside Germany) are not considered "German dialects".
The only true "dialects of German" (since the only coherent linguistic meaning of "German" is "Standard German", and this is what laypeople, who are usually unaware of the far longer tradition of the traditional dialects, also tend to assume) are those which are based on the standard language, i. e., the so-called Regionalsprachen, which are supplanting the traditional rural dialects in many regions, especially everywhere except the south away from the big cities. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:14, 16 June 2015 (UTC)


There is something funny going on here. Here is the current text of an example from Austrian:

  • * * * * * * * *

Serwas*/Zers/D'Ehrè/Griaß Di, i bî da Pèda und kumm/kimm vô Minga/Minchn.

   Serwas surname as defined by Gerhard Serwas, 31/08/1905-14/07/1976 schnee eiffel schwirzheim

- Gerhard Serwas states "SERWAS" derived from master/masterful. Serwas family history dates - from middle 1300s in regions presently known as West German, Belgium, and France.

  • * * * * * * * *

I think this stuff about Gerhard Serwas has been copied in by accident. I am deleting it as it makes no sense here. Hope that is consensual. The greeting 'servus' is from the Latin for servant; so '(I am your) servant' [cf Wahrig dictionary]. Vronks (talk) 14:51, 24 August 2014 (UTC)


The article says Bavarian has an extensive vowel inventory, but it doesn't provide any list. There should be one.-- (talk) 17:52, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

a [ɑ], à [between [a] and [ɐ], more towards the latter], å [ɔ], ê [ɛ] (written è or e when short, ä when so written in Standard German), é [e] (written e when long, variant ö [ø, œ]), i [i, ɪ] (variant ü [y, ʏ]), o [o] (may be written ô on occasion to signify length or the fact that it's closed - note: the open o as in High German exist but in diphthongs, then written o, or in the context of German a variety of the A vowel and thus written å), u [u, ʊ]. In loanwords , ö and ü/y are pronounced correctly. For the sound "åa" write "oa" (the [oɐ] appears in but one word, Oah "ear", whereas [ɔɐ] is very common), but if it stems from an "ar", Bavarians will usually pronounce the r (or leave it away the way Standard German colloquial language does), while Austrians will turn it to oa as well.
As for unstressed vowels, there are two: a (this is the à sound, but it's always written without the accent if it's clear that it's unstressed) and one variously ranging between (real) e and i and variously spelled either way. There is no Schwa as in Standard German (Schwa has been turned to à).
Diphtongs: ea, ia, oa [ôa in the word for "ear"], ua, ai [frequently written ei as it is in Standard German], ej [or ey, not written "ei" for precisely that reason], oi, ui, au, ou [mostly a variant of plain ô, as in "rot/roud" red]. Where we should have an "ij", it is sometimes (somewhat) pronounced, but mostly replaced by "ui" or "ey" ("spey ma des Spey wås ma speyt wemma net woas wås ma speyn soi", let's play the game you play when not knowing what to play - in very Lower Bavarian pronunciation). ej may be replaced by oi somewhere... --2001:A60:1577:9A01:F406:58CE:C7B6:145C (talk) 17:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)