Central German dialects after 1945 and the expulsions of the Germans
Thuringian is an East Central German dialect group spoken in much of the modern German Free State of Thuringia north of the Rennsteig ridge, southwestern Saxony-Anhalt and adjacent territories of Hesse and Bavaria. It is close to Upper Saxon spoken mainly in the state of Saxony, therefore both are also regarded as one Thuringian-Upper Saxon dialect group. Thuringian dialects are among the Central German dialects with the highest number of speakers.
Thuringian emerged during the medieval German Ostsiedlung migration from about 1100, when settlers from Franconia (Main Franconia), Bavaria, Saxony, and Flanders settled in the areas east of the Saale River previously inhabited by Polabian Slavs.
The Thuringian dialect is characterized by a rounding of the vowels, the weakening of consonants of Standard German (the lenition of the consonants "p," "t," and "k"), a marked difference in the pronunciation of the "g" sound (which is most common in the areas of North Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt areas), and a highly-idiosyncratic, melodic intonation of sentences. The second German consonant shift manifested itself in a manner different from that elsewhere in the areas that spoke High German. In many words, "b" is pronounced as "w" or "f" would be in Standard German. For example, the word "aber" (but) is pronounced as "awer". The Thuringian dialect has advanced beyond the stage of basilect.
Grouping according to German dialectology:
Another way to subdivide it is:
Franconia is a region in Germany, characterised by its culture and language, and may be roughly associated with the areas in which the East Franconian dialect group, colloquially referred to as "Franconian", is spoken. There are several other Franconian dialects, but only the East Franconian ones are colloquially referred to as "Franconian".
German is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a national language in Namibia. German is most similar to other languages within the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German, Luxembourgish, Scots, and Yiddish. It also contains close similarities in vocabulary to some languages in the North Germanic group, such as Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language after English.
The High German dialects, or simply High German, comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Uerdingen isoglosses in central and southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and eastern Belgium, as well as in neighbouring portions of France, Italy, the Czech Republic (Bohemia), and Poland. They are also spoken in diaspora in Romania, Russia, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Namibia.
West Low German, also known as Low Saxon in a strict sense is a group of Low German dialects spoken in parts of the Netherlands, northwestern Germany and southern Denmark. It is one of two groups of mutually intelligible dialects, the other being East Low German dialects. A 2005 study found that there were approximately 1.8 million "daily speakers" of Low Saxon in the Netherlands. 53% spoke Low Saxon or Low Saxon and Dutch at home and 71% could speak it. According to another study the percentage of speakers among parents dropped from 34% in 1995 to 15% in 2011. The percentage of speakers among their children dropped from 8% to 2% in the same period.
Silesian, Silesian German or Lower Silesian is a nearly extinct German dialect spoken in Silesia. It is part of the East Central German language area with some West Slavic and Lechitic influences. Silesian German emerged as the result of Late Medieval German migration to Silesia, which had been inhabited by Lechitic or West Slavic peoples in the Early Middle Ages.
Low German or Low Saxon is a West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the Netherlands. It is also spoken to a lesser extent in the German diaspora worldwide.
A stem duchy was a constituent duchy of the Kingdom of Germany at the time of the extinction of the Carolingian dynasty and through the transitional period leading to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire later in the 10th century. The Carolingians had dissolved the original tribal duchies of the Frankish Empire in the 8th century. As the Carolingian Empire declined in the late 9th century, the old tribal areas assumed new identities as subdivisions of the realm. The five stem duchies were: Bavaria, Franconia, Lotharingia (Lorraine), Saxony and Swabia (Alemannia). The Salian emperors retained the stem duchies as the major divisions of Germany, but they became increasingly obsolete during the early high-medieval period under the Hohenstaufen, and Frederick Barbarossa finally abolished them in 1180 in favour of more numerous territorial duchies.
Hessian is a West Central German group of dialects of the German language in the central German state of Hesse. The dialect most similar to Hessian is Palatinate German of the Rhine Franconian sub-family. However, the Hessian dialects have some features which set them somewhat apart from other West-Central German dialects.
Upper Saxon is an East Central German dialect spoken in much of the modern German state of Saxony and in adjacent parts of southeastern Saxony-Anhalt and eastern Thuringia. As of the early 21st century, it's mostly extinct and a new regiolect has emerged instead. Though colloquially called "Saxon", it is not to be confused with the Low Saxon dialect group in Northern Germany. Upper Saxon is closely linked to the Thuringian dialect spoken in the adjacent areas to the west.
Central German or Middle German is a group of High German dialects spoken from the Rhineland in the west to the former eastern territories of Germany.
East Franconian or Mainfränkisch, usually referred to as Franconian in German, is a dialect which is spoken in Franconia, the northern part of the federal state of Bavaria and other areas in Germany around Nuremberg, Bamberg, Coburg, Würzburg, Hof, Bayreuth, Meiningen, Bad Mergentheim, and Crailsheim. The major subgroups are Unterostfränkisch, Oberostfränkisch and Südostfränkisch.
East Central German or East Middle German is the eastern, non-Franconian Central German language, part of High German. Present-day Standard German as a High German variant has actually developed from a compromise of East Central and East Franconian German. East Central German dialects are mainly spoken in Central Germany and parts of Brandenburg, and were formerly also spoken in Silesia and Bohemia.
German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line are dominated by the geographical spread of the High German consonant shift, and the dialect continuum that connect German to the neighboring varieties of Low Franconian (Dutch) and Frisian.
The Duchy of Franconia was one of the five stem duchies of East Francia and the medieval Kingdom of Germany emerging in the early 10th century. The word Franconia, first used in a Latin charter of 1053, was applied like the words Francia, France, and Franken, to a portion of the land occupied by the Franks.
Franconian or Frankish is a collective term traditionally used by linguists to refer to many West Germanic varieties, some of which are spoken in what formed the historical core area of Francia during the Early Middle Ages. Linguistically, there are no typological features that are typical for all the various dialects conventionally grouped as Franconian. As such, it forms a residual category within the larger historical West Germanic dialect continuum rather than a homogeneous group of closely related dialects. For most of the varieties grouped under the term "Franconian", the diachronical connection to the Frankish language, which was spoken by the Franks, is unclear.
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in the southern German-speaking area.
Central Germany (Zentraldeutschland/Mitteldeutschland), in geography, describes the areas surrounding the geographical centre of Germany.
Itzgründisch is an East Franconian dialect, which is spoken in the eponymous Itz Valley and its tributaries of Grümpen, Effelder, Röthen/Röden, Lauter, Füllbach and Rodach, the valleys of the Neubrunn, Biber and the upper Werra and in the valley of Steinach. In the small language area, which extends from the Itzgrund in Upper Franconia to the southern side of the Thuringian Highlands, East Franconian still exists in the original form. Because of the remoteness of the area, this isolated by the end of the 19th century and later during the division of Germany, this language has kept many linguistic features to this day. Scientific study of the Itzgründisch dialect was made for the first time, in the middle of the 19th century, by the linguist August Schleicher.
Franconia is a region that is not precisely defined, but which lies in the north of the Free State of Bavaria, parts of Baden-Württemberg and South Thuringia and Hesse in Germany. It is characterised by its own cultural and linguistic heritage. Its history began with the first recorded human settlement about 600,000 years ago. Thuringii, Alemanni and Franks, who gave the region its name, settled the area in the Early Middle Ages. From the mid-9th century, the Stem Duchy of Franconia emerged as one of the five stem duchies of the Empire of East Francia. On 2 July 1500, during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I, as part of the Imperial Reform, the empire was divided into Imperial Circles. The Franconian Circle, which was formed as a result of this restructuring, became decisive in the creation of a Franconian national identity. A feature of Franconia in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period was its Kleinstaaterei, an extreme fragmentation into little states and territories. In the 19th century under Napoleon, large parts of Franconia were incorporated into the newly created Kingdom of Bavaria.
South Thuringia refers to all the Franconia regions in the German Free State of Thuringia south of the Rennsteig and the Salzbogen, but including the entire former county of Bad Salzungen. The region is, if the Eisenach area is excluded, almost identical with the Southwest Thuringian Planning Region in the state of Thuringia.