Distribution and history
Vogtländisch is mainly spoken in rural and small town areas. The speakers are mainly to be found among the elderly, as school and preschool education tend to be negligent about fostering this linguistic tradition — nowadays, dialect use tends to be discouraged from an early age. Just like Lusatia and the Erzgebirge, the Vogtland is one of few areas in Saxony still having regions of comparatively self-contained dialect. There is a relation between Vogtländisch and Erzgebirgisch, including sharing some linguistic features, which originates in similarities and interdependencies in their respective settlement history.
The dialects of the Vogtland are anything but uniform. The sub-dialects that can be spotted in the various sub-regions sometimes differ drastically. In Plauen, for instance, a Vogtländisch is to be heard differing completely from that spoken in Klingenthal (vogtl. Klengedohl /klenɡədoːl/) — a common remark between speakers from neighboring regions is "die singe doch ihre Wördder" (en.: they are singing [contrasted to articulately speaking] their words).
This is the main reason there is an extra differentiation to be made between the following sub-varieties:
- Core — or Middle Vogtländisch (in the area around Mühltroff – Treuen – Oelsnitz)
- Northern — or Nether Vogtländisch (along the line Reichenbach – Mylau – Netzschkau – Elsterberg – Pausa)
- Eastern Vogtländisch (in the Göltzschtal area, from Falkenstein – Lengenfeld)
- Upper Vogtländisch (south to the line Bobenneukirchen – Oelsnitz – Werda – Schöneck)
Do, wu de Hasn Hoosn haaßen un de Hosen Huusn haaßen, do bi iech dr ham.
Translated literally: "There, where hares are called a pair of pants and a pair of pants are called Husen, that's the place I call home." This proverb is also quite common in neighboring Erzgebirge due to the shift of vowels described in it, which is also a feature of Erzgebirgisch.
Commonalities and differences
Vogtländisch appears as a more than less fluent transition between Meißenisch in the area Chemnitz – Zwickau, Upper East Franconian in the area south to Hof, and South Eastern Thuringian in the area around Gera.
Pre-Vogtländisch is the name for the transitional area to Sächsisch, which surrounds Reichenbach. Here the originary singing of words is only audible rudimentally, which also holds true for the over-emphasis of intonation within a sentence. Following the Göltzsch upstream, these phenomena will increase strongly.
Vogtländisch and Erzgebirgisch
- See main article Erzgebirgisch
As in the upper and less densely populated areas of the Vogtland everyday Vogtländisch is more in use than in the other distributional areas of the variety, Upper Vogtländisch is commonly perceived to be highly (ab)original and representative for all Vogtländisch varieties. Upper Vogtländisch shows but few differences compared to Western Erzgebirgisch, while diachronic change within the distribution area of Erzgebirgisch seems to be currently occurring. Making a difference between Upper Vogtländisch and Western Erzgebirgisch seems impossible when not having detailed experience or data of their distinctive features.
One shared feature seems to be double negation:
- Aufm Bersch liecht kaa Schnee net. (Western Erzgebirgisch)
- /ʔaufm beʳʃ liːxt kɑː ʃneː nətʰ/
On the mountain lies no snow not.
Vogtländisch and Oberostfränkisch (Upper East Franconian)
Also the delineation of Vogtländisch against Oberostfränkisch seems to be rather troublesome, if tried within small-scale regional comparisons. One tendency seems to be the absence of the "rolled R" in Vogtländisch, while distinctive exceptions may still occur.
The area surrounding Hof, also referred to as Bavarian Vogtland, is part of the transitional zone where many originally Vogtländisch features occur, while phonologically Oberostfränkisch seems to be closer.
Vogtländisch and Sächsisch
In addition to Pre-Vogtländisch as a transitional form common features are recognizable on a geographically somewhat larger scale. In similarity to Sächsisch, in Vogtländisch there are almost none but de-labialized vowel sounds and aspiration of consonants is almost completely absent. Especially recipients from southern and western Germany may perceive of the sound of Vogtländisch in a way encouraging the misconception, they would actually hear spoken Sächsisch. Furthermore, ne instead of oder is used as a Question tag at the end of sentences, which is commonly perceived as a typicality of Sächsisch and Saxon use of High German.
Yet, big differences occur in Vogtländisch morphosyntax, giving it features that encourage it be ranked among the East Franconian dialects. Accordingly, many monosyllabic words of Vogtländisch are not intellibible for speakers of Sächsisch, for instance aa /ɑː/ or ae /ɑːᵊ/ (en: also, High German auch /aux/, Sächsisch ooch /oːx/) or the affirmation hoa /haː/ or hae /haᵊ/, which, while it can be used meaning "yes", does not have an equivalent in Standard English or High German, but corresponds with Sächsisch nu /nu/ (in meaning roughly equivalent to aye in Scots).