|Westfalish (less common), Westphalien|
|Native to||Germany, Netherlands|
|Region||Westphalia, southwest Lower Saxony, eastern Netherlands|
Westphalian or Westfalish (Standard High German: Westfälisch, Standard Dutch: Westfaals) is one of the major dialect groups of Low German. Its most salient feature is its diphthongization (rising diphthongs). For example, speakers say iäten ([ɪɛtn̩]) instead of etten or äten for "to eat". (There is also a difference in the use of consonants within the Westphalian dialects: North of the Wiehengebirge, people tend to use unvoiced consonants, whereas south of the Wiehengebirge they tend to use the voiced equivalents, e.g. Foite > Foide.)
The Westphalian dialect region includes the north-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, i.e. the former Prussian province of Westphalia, without Siegerland and Wittgenstein, but including the southern part of former government district Weser-Ems (e.g. the region around Osnabrück and the landscape of Emsland in modern Lower Saxony).
Traditionally, all Dutch Low Saxon dialects are considered Westphalian, with the notable exception of Gronings, which is grouped with the Northern Low Saxon and Friso-Saxon dialects. The rising diphthongisation is still noticeable in the dialects of Rijssen, Enter and Vriezenveen.
Among the Westphalian language there are different subgroups of dialects:
- South Westphalian (Ostwestfälisch)
- East Westphalian (Südwestfälisch) in East Westphalia (possibly including the dialect of Osnabrück)
Westphalian dialects in the Netherlands:
Westphalian has many lexical similarities and other proximities to Eastphalian, extending to the East and slightly to the North of the area where Westphalian is spoken.
The personal pronouns in Störmede are as follow:
|1st person||2nd person||3rd person|
|(Genitive)||(van meune)||(van deune)||(van seune)||(van iähre)||(van seune)|
|(Genitive)||(van use)||(van jiue)||(van iähre)|
German Westphalian is currently spoken mostly by elderly people. The majority of the inhabitants of Westphalia proper speak (regionally coloured) standard German. This accent, however, does not stand out as much as for example Bavarian, because Westphalia is closer to the Hanover region, whose speech variety is generally considered to be standard modern German.
The Low Saxon dialects in the bordering Twente and Achterhoek regions in the east of the Netherlands are traditionally classified as Westphalian dialects, albeit with some notable traits from Standard Dutch. A 2005 study showed 62% of the population of Twente spoke the language daily, and efforts are made to insert the language into the local school curriculum.
One of the reasons for the diminishing use of Westphalian in Germany is the rigorous enforcement of German-only policies in traditionally Low German-speaking areas during the 18th century. Westphalian, and Low German in general, unlike many of the High German dialects, were too distant from standard German to be considered dialects and were therefore not tolerated and efforts were made to ban them. In an extreme case, Hannover and its hinterland were forced to adopt rather unnaturally a form of German based on the written standard.
Westphalian was spoken in Kruppwerke up to the 19th century.
Nevertheless, the Westphalian regiolect of Standard High German includes some words that originate from the dying Westphalian dialects, which are otherwise unintelligible for other German speakers from outside Westphalia. Examples include Pölter [ˈpœltɐ] "pyjamas/pajamas", Plörre [ˈplœʁə] "dirty liquid", and Mötke [ˈmœtkə] "mud, dirt".
Westphalian authors include:
- Augustin Wibbelt
- Richard Knoche
- Wilhelm Bleicher
- Wilhelm Bröcker
- Theodor Ellbracht
- Friedrich Wilhelm Grimme
- Walter Höher
- Carl Hülter
- Fritz Kuhne
- Fritz Linde
- Horst Ludwigsen
- Franz Nolte
- Westphalian language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
- Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) (ed.). "Online-Angebote". Retrieved 11 September 2023. → Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) (ed.). "Mundartregionen Westfalens" (PDF). Retrieved 11 September 2023. [a map; PDF]
- Franz Kemper: Stürmeder Platt: Wi et lutt düt un dat. 1998, p. 18
- Daniela Twilfer: Dialektgrenzen im Kopf. Der westfälische Sprachraum aus volkslinguistischer Perspektive. Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-89534-903-4.
- Niederdeutsche Mundarten. In: Geographisch-landeskundlicher Atlas von Westfalen. Themenbereich V. Kultur und Bildung. Münster 1996 (Karten und Begleittext).
- Hermann Niebaum: Geschichte und Gliederung der sprachlichen Systeme in Westfalen. In: Der Raum Westfalen VI,1, Münster 1989, ISBN 3-402-05554-6, S. 5–31.
- Rudolf Ernst Keller: Westphalian: Mönsterlänsk Platt. In: German Dialects. Phonology & Morphology, with selected texts. Manchester University Press, Manchester 1961, S. 299–338.
- Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe:
- Map: Dialect Regions of Westphalia (PDF; 1,2 MB)
- Interactive Language Atlas of Westphalian
- Hans Taubken: Low German Language - Westphalian Dialects on the page Geographische Kommission für Westfalen – Westfalen Regional – The geographical and cultural online documentation about Westphalia, retrieved 17 September 2018.
- Kommission für Mundart- und Namenforschung Westfalens (Commission for Dialect and Name-Research in Westphalia)
- Audio: Podcast with Low German proverbs and idioms, which are explained in Standard High German
- Language Borders in Westphalia and the surrounding area – interactive map (regionalsprache.de, Deutscher Sprachatlas)