Arnold Research Page 3

Research Notes for Arnold Surname

The following may not necessarily pertain to my family line but were

interesting side notes that I have kept for future reference. They are from
personal correspondence, mailing lists & my finds while surfing the internet.

After the events of September 11, 2001, Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 1:49 PM, Subject: [SWITZ] Switzerland gives us a Hug!
Dear Listers, From my sister in Riehen/Basel I hear that at 12o'clock noon on Wednesday all church bells across  Switzerland rang out for several minutes in heartfelt sympathy for all Americans who mourn. In the evening,  again the bells called the Swiss faithful to their places of worship to pray for those affected by the enormous tragedy in America. We are loved! The lawns of the U.S. Embassy in Bern are filling up with flowers, candles and tributes from our friends in Switzerland. My heart overflows. God bless America! The first time I heard all the church bells of Switzerland ring for what seemed to be an hour was in 1939, when all of Switzerland was mobilized to defend our borders. Most people did not have telephones and few even had radios at that time. So the bells were the messengers for our ablebodied men to get into their uniforms, pack up their tornister, shoulder their rifles and strap on their bayonnets and report to the nearest trainstation. All trains immediately went over to "war time schedule" and transported the soldiers to their required station. Very somber  hours. It seemed like the bells would not stop their call to arms. And the second and last time I heard their now jubilant ringing was when Worldwar II ended. An unbelievably spiritual moment. How greatful we all were to the many brave Americans and other Allies who risked so much for us to regain our precious Freedom. Indeed, God bless America! Hanneli

Subj: [SWITZ] Swiss Dialects, Date: 8/20/2001 1:29:54 AMPacific Daylight Time, From: (Jan Blotz) To:
Could someone please explain Swiss dialects to me?  I was always told that my grandfather, who was from Brugg, spoke five languages...  German, French, Italian, English & Swiss dialect. I have a few old family letters and they seem to be written in some form of German, but I find that many German/Americans have trouble translating them.  I assumed it was because they were in an older German language.  Any information would be most helpful. Sincerely, Jan Arnold-Blotz, California, USA

There are dialects of French, German and Italian  languages in Switzerland, as well as of the Romansh and Laden language isolates. I am only, and to a small degree, familiar with development of the Germanic. Construction of Germanic dialects in Switzerland and Germanic northern Italy (GER: The Pomat / ITA: Piemonte) occurred broadly in three phases. In the north and east, the Alemanni had already penetrated over the Swiss Alps and into northern Italy by year 200. In 506, the Allemanni met their match and were defeated at the Rhine by the Frank (GER) Chlodwig. Finding protection under Theodoric who had conquered Italy and all of Rhaetia by 493, the fleeing Alemanni were settled in theTheodoric territories of Rhaetia I & II, (now Graubuenden and adjoining territories). Unable to escape the powerful invading Franks (GER) to the north, these Alemanni were incorporated into the advancing Frankish state in 538 by the Merovingian king Theudebert (by now Theodoric was dead). During this period, large groups of  Alemanni continued to move south  over the Splügen Pass. This constituted Phase I in the Germanization of Rhaetia and northern Italy. It was the descendants of these Alemanni who directed the linguistic development (including dialects) of south and eastern Switzerland. The situation in eastern situation was this: Rhaetia belonged secularly to the Frankish (GER) kingdom but the Bishopric for Rhaetia was at Chur and belonged to Milan.

Phase II began upon the death of Bishop Remedius in 806AD, when the Frankish King Charlemagne separated the secular authority from the bishopric and formed the duchy of Raetia Curiensis,or Curiensis, the precursor of modern Graubuenden.  Full Germanization occurred in 843 when the Treaty of Verdun transferred authority over the bishopric of Chur from Milan in Italy to Mainz in Germany.

Phase III in the establishmentof German dialects in central (The Rhône River valley of Wallis/Valais) and eastern Switzerland as well as in northern Italy is marked by waves of German settlers passing over the Theodul and adjoining passes and settling in the Monte Rosa  area of the Italian Piemonte. The establishment of various Germanic dialects in the resulting settlements was largely a function of their location in isolated high Alpine lateral valleys where they were effectively walled off from outside linguistic influences. Two generations later these hard-working Germans originally from Wallis (now known as The Walsers) were invited to settle in eastern Switzerland by the Lords of the Land in Curatia. Emigrating into eastern Switzerland both from northern Italy and from their original homeland of The Goms in the Rhônental, a large scale occupation of eastern Switzerland took place. These new settlers were  hard-working and so effective at clearing land and served so effectively   in the Barons’ armies in time of war, that they were given new liberties that were unprecedented at that time and in that place. Thus were born The Free Walsers. Organizations such as the Walser Vereinigung Graubuenden (Graubuenden), International Vereinigung für Walsertum (Brig, Switzerland), Die Walser Gemeinschaft (Gressoney-Eischëme), and others are dedicated to protecting the various Walser dialects in their pure original states.

Studies of Germanic dialects in central and eastern Switzerland exist exclusively (to the best of my knowledge)  in the German and German-Swiss languages.Studies of Germanic dialects in northern Italy are in a few cases
available in English. Some are:
1) The vocabulary of Gressoney
2) A vocabulary of the German dialect of Issime
3) Language function and language change in minority languages (dialects)
4) On language contact and syntactic change
5) The Swiss-German dialect of Bosco Gurin (transactions of the philological Society)
(The above list provided byAnna Pia Mattioli of Como, Italy.)

One other English-language book needs to be mentioned. “German-Romance Contact: Name-giving in WalserSettlements” by the well known American linguist and author Peter Nichols Richardson is available at online bookstores from time to time. It deals with naming traditions mainly, but is widely quoted, even by Swiss
authors, for its authoritative coverage of  Germanic settlement and influence in Switzerland and northern Italy. The towering intellect of Richardson is apparent throughout the book. Unfortunately, the cost of the book, presently still underpriced, has been escalating rather swiftly in the past few years. It is still a buy today, but not for long. Pete Mattli   [3-ggg’s] Ft.Myers, FL

PS:  I am always glad to share (snail mail) any of my Walser material with interested persons for the cost of postage. In this regard, I have fairly representative coverage of the German dialects found in the Aosta Valley (Italy), Bosco-Gurin (on the Swiss-Italian border), Rima, Rimella, Gressoney, Issemi, Alagna (all in the Aosta valley of northern Italy), as well as the dialects of Macugnaga and to a much lesser extent that of the Formazzatal in The Pomat (northern Italy).

This may give some insight on the travel to LeHavre (Havre): According to exerpts from my g-g-grandfather's diary written in 1858: The Amiet family departed from Moutier, Switzerland,  at 2:00 in the morning on April 12, 1858; arrived at Basle at 1:00 in the morning of April 13th, and left Basle at 10:00 the same morning.  They were "obliged to stop at St. Louis" where they were searched, "even into their shoes", by French Custom House officials. They took the train to Strasburg, were served dinner at the hotel "Ville de Viana", and went sightseeing in city. They left on the 8:00pm train to Paris, arriving at 11:00 (don't know if this was a.m. or p.m.), and then the train to Havre, where they arrived at 5:00 in the morning.  Lodging was at the Hotel Swiss.  (Employees at the hotel were Swiss, and were able to render service to the emigrants). After staying at Havre for 2 days, purchasing provisions for the voyage, the ship, Harvest, departed on April 17th, 1858, and arrived in New York harbor on May 19th. This diary contains much more, and is very detailed, including the amount of provisions taken on the voyage, costs, difficulties on the voyage, seasickness, quarantine in New York, etc. If anyone is interested in further details of this voyage, please contact me: Joy Schaffter Wengerd

From: "Heinz Radde" <> To: <> Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 6:06 AM Subject: RE: [SWITZ] Swiss Dialects
Jan, Swiss German is a collective name for all dialects in the German speaking part of Switzerland. There are many different dialects of Swiss German. But, of course, it's not a separate language. Everywhere the written language is "Standard German" and (nearly) the same like in all German speaking regions of Europe and Namibia. ("Nearly", because there are some minor differences like: no ß (always ss) etc.)

German dialects are spoken in Germany, Austria, Belgium, South Tyrol (Italy), etc. (as far as I do remember, in 12 European countries and in Namibia is German one of the official languages, or at least used in certain regions). In fact, nowhere in private life they do speak real "Standard German" (the area of Hanover comes close to it, but they still do have their own pronunciation).

However, maybe the main difference about Swiss German is, that these dialects are used mostly in "official" life too. Even in churches, offices, TV, Radio (except news) etc. The German speaking Swiss do use Standard German only in company of French and Italian speaking Swiss and foreigners. It's worth to mention, that some Swiss dialects are more related to foreign German dialects than to other Swiss German dialects (for example Basel Dytsch comes close to the dialects in the neighbour regions of Baden (Germany) and Alsace (France), but is very different to the dialect in the Swiss Wallis. As in opposite the people from Baden do understand the Swiss much better than Low German (Plattdeutsch) speaking Germans from the Frisian islands. Hope, it helps a bit. Heinz Radde Switzerland

From: <> To: <> Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 2:53 AM Subject: Re: [SWITZ] Swiss Dialects
Dear Jan, It is easy to mix languages with dialects. But they are not the same thing. Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch. Dialects are local variations of each of these languages. German, for instance has as many dialects as there are high Alpine valleys in the German-speaking areas of Switzerland and northern Italy. Picture yourself living in a high Alpine lateral valley around the year 1900. Your settlement has been isolated from other nearby high Alpine valleys for over 700 years. That is because transportation is by foot, mule or horse. And usually no roads or paths connect the adjacent high lateral valleys, indeed they are effectively walled off from each other by the intervening Alpine mountain ranges. To visit someone in the neighboring settlement, perhaps only six miles away by crow, you would follow your valley eighteen miles or so until you came to the main river valley. Then you would locate the base of the adjacent lateral valley and walk eighteen miles up it to the settlement which is only six miles from your own. You have just walked thirty-six miles to say "hi" to a neighbor who lives only six miles away. Now you have to retrace your steps thirty-six miles again to get back home for supper. You won't do this often. That is the main reason dialects develop for each isolated high Alpine village. The same can be said for the Walser settlements of Gressoney, Issime, Macugnaga, and others located in the Piedmont Region of northern Italy, the area known as The Pomat. A separate German dialect is spoken in each of these communities.

If you are interested, books have been written on the dialects of these latter mentioned, as well as the very interesting dialect of  Uri's Urseren Valley. I mention these because the books are written in English. If you wish to have their title and source, let me know. I have them in my library (somewhere!).

As you might expect, there is a not-very-well-defined line where you cross over from dialect to language. I suppose an example of this could be the Ladin language which is found in only a few valleys of northern Italy (around Bolzano) and also in Graubunden and The Tessin of eastern Switzerland. A language can become so restricted in geographical extent that it more resembles a local dialect. Ladin is still a language in it's own right, but with the advent of highways and motorized travel, its use has become less widespread as German, Italian and Romansch encroach.

Hopefully, Hanneli Grenny will also respond to your letter, a debillitating earache notwithstanding. Her knowledge in areas such as this is both seminal and authoritative. Pete Mattli   [3-ggg's] Ft. Myers, FL

----- Original Message ----- From: "Seelentag Wolfhart Dr. KSSG_RO" <> To: <>; "'Jan Blotz'" <> Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 2:06 AM Subject: AW: [SWITZ] Swiss Dialects Von: Jan Blotz[]
> Gesendet: Montag, 20. August 2001 10:28

Dear Jan, it's quite impossible to "explain" dialects in a few words (i.e. suitable for a mailing list). If your grandfather came from Brugg, Swiss-German will have been his native language (with dialects you should also consider Swiss-French and Swiss-Italian, though I've been told the differences are less pronounced than with Swiss-German and "proper" German). Like with all dialects, the differences will be most pronounced in the spoken language - and less obvious in the written language - I would guess this is pretty much the same with dialects accross the USA. Though there are quite a few specific "Swiss-German" words, translating a printed Swiss text shouldn't be much different from translating a German text. With a handwritten letter this might be different - some people try on purpose to put down the dialect in writing, or just by being less strict about grammar plus using a larger number of dialect words it becomes more difficult. Another problem might be the old script - plus the individual handwriting. Even if each of these points makes it only a little bit more diffocult, the sum of several such factors might cause real problems when translating. Best regards  -  Wolf

From: <> To: <> Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 10:57 AM Subject: [SWITZ] Relation of the German tribes to Helvetia

Those tribes which at a later period constituted “the Germans, were at firstknown by separate names. The early tribes could be as small as a single clan of 5-600, or a tribal unit under a powerful leaderwith a force of several hundred thousand fighting men. These early tribeslater, for the most part, lost their original names
> and coalesced together or were defeated by larger tribes until the original tribal units and their names  no longer existed. According to the earliestGreek accounts, the SCYTHIANS were a simple but brave people divided intoseveral tribes. They dwelt to the north of the black sea, and their name means “marksmen.” Neither Alexander the Great not the Persian Xerxes were able tosubdue them. According to the Greeks, Europe was divided into a north or hyperborean side, and a southern side separated by the long mountain range formed by the Caucasus Mountains and the Alps. The term “Hyperborean” literally refers to “beyond the abode of Boreas, the northwind.” The CELTS dwelt to the west of the SCYTHIANS, with an intermediate nationbetween the two named the “CELTO-SCYTHIANS”. The CELTS were noted for bravery.A large segment of the Celtic nation, the Cimmerii or Cimbri previously dwelt in England, Denmark  and the low countries where traces of them havebeen found. These Cimbri later invaded Asia Minor and Italy. Cimbri means “warrior.”

Originally, The SCYTHIAN nation also included the Germans and Tartars as well as the Slavonians (Sclavonians). To the HYPERBOREANS  belonged some German tribes, and also the Finns of Lapland, Finland, Courland, Esthonia, Livonia and Lithuania. Under the CELTIC Nation  we find: The GAULS  (the Gallic and the Welsh tribes originated in Scotland, Ireland, Wales  and  Brittany). Others of the CELTS dwelt in Italy. The CIMMERII dwelt in England. The AMBRONES on the Rhône. The UMBRI in Italy. The Celtic CIMBRI who lived  next to  the TEUTONES at the mouth of the Elbe, and who later migrated into Italy, were of pure German descent. The SCICAMBRI were of German FRANKISH descent. The first mention of the name “Germans” was as the appellation “Germani”shortly after the time of Christ. They were referred to as such by theRomans. The latin word “Germanus” means brother, and may or may not have relevancehere. After 450 AD a number of the stronger tribes conquered the weaker ones,
and the weaker were taken in as members of the ever growing stronger tribes. These dominant tribes were: the Goths,  Franks,  Bavarians, Germans, Thuringians, Burgundians, Langobardi, Angli, Saxons, Danes,  Swedes and Norwegians. These disparate groupsof peoples, allied by common descent, but politically independent of each other, hardly could be classed as one people. Not, that is, until Charlemagne, who gave all of these nations the denomination of Germans. Under Charlemagne, 800 AD, the Franks were the largest and strongest of the Germanic nation. The bond which united these tribes into one nation under Charlemagne was tenuous at best. Internecine wars frequently broke out between them. Of the three original tribes, the  INGAVONES  developed into the  SAXONS, the ISTAVONES  into the FRANKS,  and the HERMIONES  into the GOTHS.   The German tribes may with great justice be compared to a swarm of bees. The mere love of warfare occasioned continual combat between them. But when they opposed a common enemy they constituted a fighting force to be reckoned with.

They had the custom , whenever their population became too great for the land to support them, of sending forth forces of their young men into other lands sothat the excess of their warlike population was unceasingly pouring across frontiers. These hordes met measured resistance from the Romans and were turnedeastward where they finally coalesced under the great German leader Hermanarichthe Goth. At this time the wholetribal mass poured fourth with irresistible fury against the Roman Empire: the Goths,  Alani, Vandals, Burgundians,  Langobardi,  Alemanni,  Franks, Angli, and  Saxons. When these people overspread the ancient Roman Empire about 450AD, it left the northern homeland bare untilre-peopled by fresh settlers. The SUEVI, who remained in Upper Germany, were renamed the ALAMANNI  [Menzel, Vol.I,  p. 19]. These ALAMANNI had already  (264AD)  swept into Gaul,leveling the Roman Augusta Rauracorum and severely decimating  Aventicum.  At the end of the third century,  the Romans relinquished their limes fortifications between the Rhine and the Danube,  and fell back upon their old military frontier which occasioned  a military  re-occupation of Helvetia. In 305AD the ALAMANNI also overran Helvetia and completed the ruin of Aventicum.  With the Goths pressing into Italy, the Romans once again withdrew from Helvetia. This left the Helvetians to fend for themselves when the ALAMANNI once more burst into the land in 406 AD. The ALAMANNI secured for  themselves  the entire eastern portion of Helvetia which, however, at that time did not include the area known asGraubuenden today. In 443 AD the BURGUNDIANS, another German tribe, followed suit and established themselves in the western  reaches of Helvetia. The extreme eastern part of Helvetia,  then known as Rhaetia I and Rhaetia II, now Graubuenden (Grisons), wasalone free of the tide of German invasions.  The Ticino we know today, was at that time still a province of Rome. The  ISTAVONES  were the German  FRANKS  on the Rhine. The  SAXONS  were the SAXONS  onthe North Sea. These two always remained in their ancient dwellingplaces whilst sending out vast hordes which, some centuries before Christ, under the names of Cimbri & Teutones, spread terror throughout Italy, and later peopled France and England. To the ISTAVONES, later known as the  FRANKS , belonged the Sicambri,Tencteri,Usipetes, Ubii, Marsi, Amsibari, Angrivarii, Chamavi, Mattiaci, etc.on the  lower Rhine. To the  INGUAVONES  belonged the  Cimbri and  Teutones, who migrated to the south. The  CHAUCI  who later appear as  SAXONS  alsobelonged.  As well as the Frisii, Fasi, Dulgibines,  Ambrones, Tubantes, etc. The Fifth century was remarkable for the rampant dislocation of the peoples of Europe. The migrations into the Roman Empire was now taking place. The tottering Roman Empire could not defend itself against a whole world of barbarian tribes. The great  Germannation was now forming. It would be profitless to try to remember all the German tribes beyond the Danube and the Rhine.  A well-nigh endless list of names, to besure. From this point on, the petty tribesand clans dropped their ancient names and formed alliances with each other forgreater security and  for strength inbattle. The resultant collective groupings are more familiar to our ears:  SAXONS ,  FRANKS, THURINGI ,  BURGUNDIANS , ALAMANNI  and BAVARIANS. Of these,the Swiss are descended from the  ALAMANNI and the  BURGUNDIANS.

These people occupied the area around the Lauterbrunnen  Valley south of Interlaken 300-800AD. They then sent waves of their people south to the Upper Rhône River valley to an area called The Goms. Here they stayed until the 1200’s, when they again out-peopled the land. Searching for available land on which to feed their sheep and cattle, they crossed the southern Alps (1250 AD) into Italy in the area of Monte Rosa. They established twenty-four settlements inthe Piemonte part of northern Italy,where they stayed for two generations. In the 1300’s,again out-peopling the available land they sent large groups of farmers into Graubuenden where the lords of the land (the German nobility) made them welcomeand allowed them to settle on any land not already taken.  They paid rent to the lords and fought forthem in times of strife. In time they became a very valuable segment of  Graubuenden’s population.

They became the neighbors of the  ALAMANNI  in Helvetia in about 480 AD after a severe defeat by the HUNS. Aëtius, the Roman general, gave the BURGUNDIANS safe passage to the Roman province of Sabaudia (Savoy) and the area around Geneva. There they settled. BURGUNDY later became incorporated into the new FRANKISH  empire, as did the ALAMANNI. Once again, the whole of what is now modern Switzerland found itself united under a single power. Ticino was at that time still a part of Italy.

The Indo-European language tree has five main branches. They are: Indo-Iranian (includes Persian, Pashto, Bengali, and Hindustani), Germanic (includes English, German, Dutch-Flemish, and the four Scandinavian languages: Icelandic, Norwegian,  Swedish,  Danish), Romance (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese &Romanian), Celtic (includes Irish [Gaelic], Scots [Gaelic], Welsh &Breton), Balto-Slavic (includes Russian, Ukranian, Polish, Czech,Slovak, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, and Latvian.

From: "Frank Stapel" <> Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 7:01 PM, Todays Topics #1 [SWITZ] Re: Swiss Dialects
I remember my mother telling us that my father's parents, born in northern Germany, talked with her parents, born in Kanton Zurich, that they "couldn't understand a word". However, my Swiss grandparents said they had no trouble understanding the "Tiefduetsch" (low German ?) that they spoke. I think it was an ego problem, not a grammatical or dialect problem. All the children of these great people had a good laugh over it, and it stays as a family folk-joke. Frank Stapel, Phoenixville, PA

From: "Hueber" <> Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 9:58 AM, Subject: [SWITZ] Re: Swiss Dialects
With great interest I read all the explanations about the Swiss Dialects. However, nobody could explain what a dialect means to the people who use it daily. Just by chance, a newspaper article on this subject was published in the "Neue Zuercher Zeitung" last saturday, titled: "Die heimliche Sprache" (The stealthy Language) Those who understand German can read it at:$79PLH$T.html If I had to explain the significance of the word dialect, I would say: its the same as a bottle of wine; the same type of grape gives a different taste, depending on soil, geography, climate etc. If I had to explain the meaning of the word, I would say: it is the smell of my grandmothers kitchen that comes to mind wenn I hear someone speaking in her dialect. Regards, Gusti  Hueber

From: <> Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 11:09 PM, Subject: [SWITZ] German dialects

The website for this excellent presentation on German dialects was sent to me by Guillaume Roelly. The author, Frank Mailänder, has graciously permitted its posting to Switzerland-L. It is best viewed in your largest possible window.,,,,

This list is an attempt to bring a little light into the jungle of German dialects. There is no claim of completeness. We would be glad to receive further information, expecially on the geographic distribution of the individual dialects. Please note that the terms "High German" and "Low German" are often used in a different sense from the scientific sense used here. The common, though technically incorrect linguistically, use of these terms is:

High German or Hochdeutsch The official language of Germany as promulgated in the schools, the press, the broadcast media, and specifically in the dictionary series called the Duden. Low German or Plattdeutsch Any dialect that differs from High German. This list adheres to the definitions used by linguists in describing German dialects, and thus differs from the common definitions given above. High German (Oberdeutsch): To the High German dialects belong Swabian-Alemannic (Schwäbisch-Alemannisch), Bavarian (Bairisch), East Franconian (Ostfränkisch) and South (Rhine) Franconian (Süd(rhein)fränkische). Swabian-Alemannic (Schwäbisch-Alemannisch): Includes Wuerttemberg (Württemberg), Baden, German-speaking Alsace (Elsaß), Bavaria (Bayern) west of the Lech, and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland (Schweiz) and Vorarlberg. Swabian (Schwäbisch) Low Alemannic (Niederalemannisch) High Alemannic (Hochalemannisch): High Alemannic is used in Switzerland. Highest Alemannic (Höchstalemannisch, or Walserdeutsch): A form of High Alemannic spoken in parts of the Canton of Wallis (in Oberwallis) is Highest Alemannic, also called Walserdeutsch or Walserish. The Walsers spread their dialect also into Graubünden and Vorarlberg and into other Walser settlements. Some parts of Walser German in Graubünden show influence from Rhaeto-Romanic. Alsatian (Elsässisch): Very ancient dialects, whose northern forms belong to Upper Rhenish, and whose southern forms belong to South Badensian and to Swiss German. To be pointed out especially is the so-called "Hanauer Land" near by Strassburg, the Münster valley country of the Vosges and to the south in the Sundgau. Bavarian (Bairisch): Bavarian is divided into South, Middle, and High Bavarian, where the broad plains on the Isar and Danube rivers connect Upper and Lower Bavaria with the main parts of Upper and Lower Austria to the central territories of the largest German dialectal region of Middle Bavarian. Through this north-south gradation goes the broad West-East Bavarian dialectal boundary through Upper Austria, Salzburg, the Styrian Enns valley, and Upper Carinthia. This boundary goes back to the time of the first Bavarian land acquisition and follows approximately the outer boundary of East Carolingia and the former Duchy of Austria. South Bavarian (Südbairisch) South Bavarian is spoken mostly in Styria, Carinthia, and Tyrolia. Salzburgish (Salzburgisch) Salzburgish is an intermediate form between South and Middle Bavarian. Middle Bavarian (Mittelbairisch or Donaubairisch): This dialect, also called Danube Bavarian, occupies most of the Bavarian region including the Danube and the middle and lower Inn valleys and already in the early Middle Ages extended from the Lech to Bratislava (Pressburg). North Bavarian (Nordbairisch or Oberpfälzerisch): This dialect, also called Upper Franconian, is spoken in the region around Regensburg, Naab, the Fichtelgebirge (Fir Mountains), and in the northern Bohemian Forest. East Franconian (Ostfränkisch, Main- or Oberfränkisch): This dialectal area, also called Main Franconian (after the river Main) or Upper Franconian, extends as a well-defined area around Würzburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, to southern and western Thuringia and out to the Vogtland. Nuremburg and its vicinity are also included. South Franconian (Südfränkisch or Südrheinfränkisch): This is a linguistic region that lies as a border swath between the Swabian-Alemannic, North Bavarian, East Franconian, and Rhine Franconian regions.

Middle German (Mitteldeutsch): Middle German divides into West Middle German, with Rhine Franconian, to which Hessian belongs, and East Middle German, with Thuringian, Upper Saxon, Lausitzian, and formerly also Silesian. Mosel Franconian and Ripuarian also belong to Middle German. Former Rhine Franconian or Hessian (Ehemaliges Rheinfränkisch or Hessisch): The western part is taken up by Rhine-Palatinian (the region around Mainz), the eastern part by Hessian, and covers approximately the Archbishopric of Mainz. A Rhine-Palatinian island persists on the lower Rhine in Lower Franconia, where Palatines, who wanted to emigrate to join their countrymen in America, settled at the end of the 18th century. They come mostly from Simmern and Kreuznach. The boundary region between Hessian and Thuringian follows the watershed between the Werra and Fulda valleys over the High Meissen hills. Middle Franconian (Mittelfränkisch): The entire Middle Franconian region is one of linguistic transition between Rhine Franconian and Lower Franconian. Mosel Frankconian (Moselfränkisch): Mosel Franconian is spoken in the region of the old Electorate of Trier. Ripuarian (Ripuarisch): Ripuarian is the region of the old Electorate of Cologne (Köln). Thuringian (Thüringisch): The southern linguistic boundary to East Franconian is formed by the ridge of the Thuringian forest. Central Thuringian (Zentralthüringisch): Most strongly expressed in the Arnstadt-Erfurt-Gotha triangle. Upper Saxon (Obersächsisch or Meißnisch: Also called Meissenish, it is marked by Thuringian and Hessian characteristics. Low German, even Middle and Low Franconian (Flemish) elements have influence in the north, while characteristics of Main and last Franconianin appear in the south. Osterlandic (Osterländisch): Ostlandic extends north of around the Groitzsch-Grimma-Strehla line in a wedge shape out past Leipzig to Lower Lusatia. North Meissenish (Nordmeißnisch): The region of Grimma-Döbeln-Riesa. Northeast Meissenish (Nordostmeißnisch): A small region around Lommatzsch-Großenhain. West Meissenish (Westmeißnisch): West Meissenish, on both sides of the lower Zwickauer Mulde around Rochlitz, occupies an intermediate position between North Meissenish and South Meissenish on one side and Altenburgish on the other side. South Meissenish (Südmeißnisch): Lies in the region Öderan-Frankenberg-Hainichen-Freiberg. Southeast Meissenish (Südostmeißnisch): Southeast Meissenish, spoken in the region Dippoldswalde-Meißen-Radeburg-Bad Schandau, was influenced extensively by Dresden. It is identical in many circumstances with the former Silesian. Osterzgebirgisch: Represents a transition dialect between West Erzgebirgish and Meissenish. West Erzgebirgish (Westerzgebirgisch): West Erzgebirgish lies in front of the Hither Erzgebirgish (with strong features of slang) in the north in the region, while in the west it borders on the Vogtlandish. Lausitzian (Lausitzisch) and former Silesian (Schlesisch): West Lausitzian (Westlausitzisch): East of the upper course of the Pulsnitz and west of the so-called "New Lausitzian" spoken in the Sorbian region lies the small backwater territory of West Lausitzian around Pulsnitz and Kamenz. Former Silesian (Schlesisch):
> North of the Riesengebirge (Giants' Mountains) in the region of Glatz, in eastern Bohemia, and in Kuhländchen in the upper Oder area. Lower Lausitzian (Niederlausitzisch) Former High Prussian (Hochpreußisch): Lower Lausitzian and its neighboring Lower Silesian overlap geographically with the former High Prussian in central East Prussia and its neighboring West Prussia.

Low German (Niederdeutsch): Low German is more uniform than High or Middle German. There are three large dialect regions: Low Franconian, Low Saxon (also West Low German) with Westphalian and Eastphalian, and East Low German with Mark-Brandenburg (with Middle Pomeranian) and Mecklenburgish (with Anterior Pomeranian). Low Franconian (Niederfränkisch): It is not to be equated with Dutch, rather it is spoken even on the northern German Lower Rhine, while the northeastern part of the Netherlands around the region of Groningen is Lower Saxon. Lower Saxon (Niedersächsich): To Lower Saxon belong the dialect regions of North Lower Saxon, Westphalian, and Eastphalian. A sharp boundary from the Rothaar mountains on divides Lower Saxon from Franconian and Hessian. Westphalian (Westfälisch): Among other places in the region Soest-Gütersloh-Paderborn. Also in the Münster area, while in the Ruhr region only oldtimer farmers speak Westphalian any more. Eastphalian (Ostfälisch): In the southeast part of Eastphalian lies the Elbe Eastphalian region. North Lower Saxon (Nordniedersächsich, Holsteinisch, Plattdeutsch): Region between Kiel, Lübeck, Hamburg, and the North Sea coast. Includes Holsteinish and Plattdeutsch. Plattdeutsch: In addition to the aforementioned area, it is also spoken in the regions of East Frisia, Oldenburg, Bremen, Northern Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and in some parts of Mecklenburg. Mark-Brandenburgish (Märkisch-Brandenburgisch): Brandenburgish includes the March of Brandenburg and a basis determined by Low German settlements that is best preserved in the Prignitz and Lower Lusatian regions. Middle Markish (Mittelmärkisch): Shows characterstics that can be traced to the Netherlands. North Markish (Nordmärkisch) Middle Pomeranian (Mittelpommersch): A broad stripe west of the Oder to the Baltic Sea, in the south though there is no dialectal boundary to North Markish. Berlinish (Berlinisch): Differs from Mark-Brandenburgish phonetically and in the style of speaking. Mecklenburgish (Mecklenburgisch): Mecklenburgish is well delineated in the west and south. In the east it has extended its dialectal range since the German settlement of Anterior Pomerania and Rügen. That is why it is also called Mecklenburgish-Anterior Pomeranian. Frisian (Friesisch): It is not a dialect, but rather its own language, which tends toward English. West Frisian (Westfriesisch): The largest area is occupied today by West Frisian, and above all west of Groningen, including the islands of Schiermonnikoog and Terschelling. This region is bounded by North Lower Saxon and by the Zuidersee. City Frisian (Stadtfriesisch): Since the 16th century, a mixed dialect of Frisian and Dutch has been spoken in spots in the Dutch regions. This is the so-called "City Frisian", e.g., in Leeuwarden, the central point of the Dutch province of Friesland, in Dokkum, Franeker, Harlingen, and Staveren. East Frisian (Ostfriesisch): It is spoken between the Lauwersee and the mouth of the Weser, but especially on the island of Wangeroog. Saterlandish (Saterländisch): Only Saterlandish, with its parishes of Ramsloh, Stücklingen, and Scharrel in the high moors of the interior of northern Lower Saxony betwen the lower Weser and Ems in the vicinity of Friesoythe, has been able to maintain its identity in the midst of Middle Low German. North Frisian (Nordfriesisch): North Frisian is spoken on the Hallig islands and the neighboring strip of mainland on the western coast of southern Jutland and Schleswig, with elements of Danish and Low German mixed in. Helgoland Frisian (Helgoländer Friesisch): Quite different from the other Frisian dialects is the one spoken on the island of Helgoland.

Extracts from the book "Die Deutsche Sprache", 1969, published by VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, and translated by Jim Eggert, Last update: 18-Feb-2000 Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-Page to: Frank Mailänder or to Webmaster,

I would greatly appreciate it if you would please comment on the accuracy of the following description of the Rhine River and the German language. (Time about 1600-1750.  I am speaking of EGOLFF of Engstadt, District of Bahlinger, Dutchy of Wuettenberg. Lucas Chalet SHALLEY in Theirwassen, Palatinate. Johannes WILTENSINN - assumed to be from the Palatinate. MATTER from Engwiller and Duntzenheim,  Bas-Rhin, Hochfelden, arrondissement of Strasbourg. The Rhine flowed north from its headwaters in the Alps, then west making the northern border of the Swiss Confederation.  At the great Free City of Basel it turned abruptly north through the rich forest lands of the Palatine - this was the Middle Rhine Valley, ancestral home of this branch of our family. They were all German speaking, and since they lived so close together they all spoke the same Middle German dialect. It was neither the High German of the Swiss mountain folk nor the Low German of the lowlanders to the north. If you would be so kind as to take the time to comment I will thank you - sorry no other recompense.  Regards Hal


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