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The return of dialects

Dialects are in again and they are being used in several cultural fields

Read the article in Swabian!

Dialects become more and more important. To the extent that dialects are not only being spoken but also written. Street signs, comics, books, and classrooms are some examples. Theater and TV interpret dialects, and many bands sing in dialect in the German and Austrian music scene.

There are 53 dialects in Germany, divided into Frisian, Low German, Central German, and Upper German language regions. The dialect was originally spoken in Germany. Every village had its own and even though there were differences, people could understand each other. However, over the years these dialects changed so much that two villages could barely make out what the other said. So when they needed to understand each other, a standard language was developed.

A few years ago, people were embarrassed to speak dialect, and when they did speak dialect they were regarded as uneducated. However, dialects are in again and they are being used in every social class and in several cultural fields.

More and more teachers consider dialects to be an enrichment for school and class nowadays, something which wasn’t the case in recent decades. In Hamburg and Bavaria, the dialect is encouraged and it is even on the schedule of elementary schools.

There are signposts with printed dialect on them spread all over Germany. In Rhineland-Palatinate, you often see street signs in Palatinate German such as “Aller dann” (see ya), which means “Also dann, bis später” (see you later) in High German.

It’s not uncommon that dictionaries and online services do not translate German text into foreign languages but into dialects. Books such as “Dampfnudelblues” or “Winterkartoffelknödel” became bestsellers in Germany long ago.

In Bavaria, theater professionals train young actors in Bavarian dialects. Radio-Tatort, the radio drama in which the inspectors speak an even stronger dialect than the inspectors on TV, has been available since January.

76 volumes of Asterix have been translated into 33 German dialects. For example, the title of the Main-Franconian translation of “Asterix and the Golden Sickle” is “Asterix un di Wengert-Scheer“, the title of the Berlin dialect translation of “The Mansions of the Gods” is “Die Platte Jottweedee”.

In the music industry, people sing in Bavarian dialect with success. All over Bavaria, there are many successful bands such as "Kellerkommando", "Wassd scho? Bassd scho!", "Los Dos y Compañeros", "Fuadadeimuada", "Ziehgäuner", "Die Bayerischen Löwen", "Da Huawa, Da Meier und i", "Doppel D", "Irxn", "Losamol", "Kofelgschroa", "Keller Steff", "LaBrassBanda" and "Django 3000". But does it sound good when bands sing in their dialects? That’s something you have to hear for yourself!

Wilgen and your alugha team

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#doitmultilingual