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Alsatian ( gsw-als, Elsässisch or "Alsatian German";
Lorraine Franconian Lorraine Franconian (Lorraine Franconian: ''Plàtt'' or ''lottrìnger Plàtt''; french: francique lorrain or ''platt lorrain''; german: Lothringisch) is an ambiguous designation for dialects of West Central German (german: Westmitteldeutsch), ...
: ''Elsässerdeitsch''; french: Alsacien; german: Elsässisch or ) refers to the
Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialect The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Ue ...
dialects spoken in most of
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German Low Alemannic German (german: Niederalemannisch) is a branch of Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancie ...

Alsace
, a formerly disputed region in eastern France that has passed between French and German control five times since 1681.


Language family

Alsatian is closely related to other nearby
Alemannic dialects Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialect The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Ue ...
, such as
Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise th ...
, Swabian, and Markgräflerisch as well as Kaiserstühlerisch. It is often confused with
Lorraine Franconian Lorraine Franconian (Lorraine Franconian: ''Plàtt'' or ''lottrìnger Plàtt''; french: francique lorrain or ''platt lorrain''; german: Lothringisch) is an ambiguous designation for dialects of West Central German (german: Westmitteldeutsch), ...
, a more distantly related Franconian dialect spoken in the northwest corner of Alsace and in neighbouring
Lorraine Lorraine , also , , ; Lorrain language, Lorrain: ''Louréne''; Lorraine Franconian: ''Lottringe''; german: Lothringen ; lb, Loutrengen; nl, Lotharingen is a cultural and historical region in northeastern France, now located in the Regions of ...
. Like other dialects and languages, Alsatian has also been influenced by outside sources. Words of
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
origin can be found in Alsatian, and modern conversational Alsatian includes adaptations of French words and English words, especially concerning new technologies. Many speakers of Alsatian could, if necessary, write in reasonable
standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise the varieties of German spoken south ...
. For most this would be rare and confined to those who have learned German at school or through work. As with other dialects, various factors determine when, where, and with whom one might converse in Alsatian. Some dialect speakers are unwilling to speak standard German, at times, to certain outsiders and prefer to use French. In contrast, many people living near the border with
Basel Basel ( , ) or Basle ( ; french: link=no, Bâle ; it, Basilea ; rm, Basilea ) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river High Rhine, Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's List of cities in Switzerland, third-most-populous city (after Zürich and ...

Basel
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, will speak their dialect with a Swiss person from that area, as they are mutually intelligible for the most part; similar habits may apply to conversations with people of the nearby German Markgräflerland. Some street names in Alsace may use Alsatian spellings (they were formerly displayed only in French but are now bilingual in some places, especially
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
and
Mulhouse Mulhouse (; Alsatian: or , ; ; meaning ''mill Mill may refer to: Science and technology * Mill (grinding) * Milling (machining) * List of types of mill * Mill, the arithmetic unit of the Analytical Engine early computer * Textile manufacturi ...

Mulhouse
).


Speakers


Status of Alsatian in France

Since 1992, the constitution of the Fifth Republic states that
French
French
is the official language of the Republic. However, Alsatian, along with other
regional language A regional language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
s, is recognized by the
French government The Government of the French Republic (french: Gouvernement de la République française ) exercises executive power ''Executive Power'' is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for t ...

French government
in the official list of
languages of France Of the languages of France, French is the sole official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the langua ...
. France is a signatory to the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and internationa ...
but has never ratified the law and has not given regional languages the support that would be required by the charter. The policies of the Paris government have had the deliberate effect of greatly weakening the prevalence of native languages in France that are not "French". As a result, Alsatian has gone from being the prevalent language of the region to one in decline. A 1999 INSEE
survey Survey may refer to: Statistics and human research * Statistical survey Survey methodology is "the study of survey methods". As a field of applied statistics concentrating on Survey (human research), human-research surveys, survey methodology s ...
counted 548,000 adult speakers of Alsatian in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, making it the second most-spoken regional language in the country (after
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evol ...
). Like all regional languages in France, however, the transmission of Alsatian is declining. While 43% of the adult population of Alsace speaks Alsatian, its use has been largely declining amongst the youngest generations. A dialect of Alsatian German is spoken in the United States by a group known as the
Swiss AmishThe Swiss Amish ( pdc, Schweizer-Amisch) are a subgroup of the Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German and Alsatian Anabaptist origins. They are closely r ...
, whose ancestors emigrated there in the middle of the 19th century. The approximately 7,000 speakers are located mainly in
Allen County, Indiana Allen County is a county in the U.S. state of Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Cont ...
, with "daughter settlements" elsewhere.


Orthography

''C'', ''Q'', and ''X'' are only used in loanwords. Y is also used in native words, but is more common in loanwords.


Orthal

Orthal (Orthographe alsacienne) is a revised Orthography meant for use by all dialects of Alsatian promoted by the Office pour la langue et le cultures d'alsace et de moselle. The latest version (2016) of Orthal is described below. Not all dialects are expected to use all letters & diacritics. For example - Owerlandisch from Southern Alsace primarily uses the additional vowel letters- Ä À Ì Ü. Dialects from the north (Strasbourg region) make use of more letters including Ë, Ö, Ù and the diphthong ÈI. In general the principles of Orthal are to - # Follow standard German orthography for the regular vowels A, E, I, O, U and their Umlauted Standard German forms Ä, Ö, Ü # For Diphthongs & Triphthong that do not exist in Standard German Orthal combines standard German letters to create anew E.g. - ia, üe (or üa), öi, àui, äi (or èi) # For vowel sounds not represented in the Standard German orthography, it uses the French
acute Acute may refer to: Science and technology * Acute angle ** Acute triangle ** Acute, a leaf shape in the glossary of leaf morphology#acute, glossary of leaf morphology * Acute (medicine), a disease that it is of short duration and of recent onset. ...

acute
&
grave A grave is a location where a dead body A cadaver or corpse is a dead human body that is used by medical students A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and award ...

grave
accent marks to create new graphemes that can represent sounds unique to the Alsatian dialects # It also follows standard German orthography for consonants as well. The vowels are pronounced short or long based on their position in the syllable besides the letter type. A vowel at the end of a syllable, without a subsequent consonant, is a long vowel "V" = Long Vowel (LV). E.g. hà, sì A vowel followed by a single consonant in a syllable is pronounced as a long vowel "V + C" = Long Vowel (LV). E.g. Ros ''Note'' - A vowel followed by several consonants ("V + C + C") in a syllable is pronounced as a Short Vowel. E.g. Ross


Monophthong - Short vowels


Monophthong - Long vowels


Phonology


Consonants

Alsatian has a set of 19 consonants: Three consonants are restricted in their distribution: and only occur at the beginning of a word or morpheme, and then only if followed immediately by a vowel; never occurs at the beginning of a word or morpheme. Alsatian, like some German dialects, has
lenited In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
all
obstruentAn obstruent () is a speech sound such as , , or that is formed by ''obstructing'' airflow. Obstruents contrast with sonorant In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant or resonant is a speech sound that is manner of articulation, produced with continuo ...
s but . Its lenes are, however,
voiceless In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
as in all Southern German varieties. Therefore, they are here transcribed , , . Speakers of French tend to hear them as their , which also are voiceless and unaspirated. The phoneme has a velar allophone after back vowels (, , , and in those speakers who do not pronounce this as ), and palatal elsewhere. In southern dialects, there is a tendency to pronounce it in all positions, and in Strasbourg the palatal allophone tends to conflate with the phoneme . A labiodental voiced fricative sound is also present as well as an approximant sound. // may have phonetic realizations as , , and .


Vowels

Short vowels: ( in Strasbourg), . Long vowels:


Diphthongs


Grammar

File:Alsatian definite articles.svg, Declension of definite articles in Alsatian (all equivalent to English "the"). File:Alsatian indefinite articles.svg, Declension of indefinite articles in Alsatian (all equivalent to English "a/an"). Alsatian nouns inflect by case, gender and number: * Three cases:
nominative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
,
accusative The accusative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of (some or all) prepositions. It is ...
,
dative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
. Unlike
Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German ...

Standard German
, Alsatian does not have a
genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
case, and, instead, utilises dative to fulfill that roles in certain cases. * three
genders Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, femininity and masculinity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gende ...
: masculine, feminine and neuter. * two numbers: singular and plural.


Comparative vocabulary list


See also

*
Adolphe Stoeber Adolphe Stoeber, or Adolf Stöber (Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Depa ...

Adolphe Stoeber


Notes

# When Amish communities become too big, a number of families move away and form a new settlement, which is referred to as a ''daughter settlement''. The settlement from which they leave is the ''mother settlement''.http://thecommonlife.com.au/c/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Let-Us-Reason-Together.wps_.pdf


References


Sources

* Marthe Philipp and Arlette Bothorel-Witz. 1990. Low Alemannic. In Charles V. J. Russ (ed.), The Dialects of modern German: a linguistic survey, 313–336. Routledge.

François Héran, et al. (2002) "La Dynamique des langues en France au fil du XXe siècle". ''Population et sociétés'' 376, Ined. * Le système ORTHAL 2016 – Orthographe alsacienne - Quelques règles de base pour faciliter l’écriture et la lecture de l’alsacien dans toutes ses variantes », Jérôme Do Bentzinger, 2016 * * Brunner, Jean-Jacques. ''L'Alsacien sans peine''. ASSiMiL, 2001. * Jung, Edmond. Grammaire de L'Alsacien. Dialecte de Strasbourg avec indications historiques. 1983. Straßburg: Ed. Oberlin. * Laugel-Erny, Elsa. ''Cours d'alsacien''. Les Editions du Quai, 1999. * Matzen, Raymond, and Léon Daul. ''Wie Geht's ? Le Dialecte à la portée de tous'' La Nuée Bleue, 1999. * Matzen, Raymond, and Léon Daul. ''Wie Steht's ? Lexiques alsacien et français, Variantes dialectales, Grammaire'' La Nuée Bleue, 2000. * Steible, Lucie. ''Le contrôle temporel des consonnes occlusives de l’alsacien et du français parlé en Alsace''. Linguistique. Université de Strasbourg, 2014.


External links

'' :als:Kategorie:Artikel uf Elsässisch, Articles in Alsatian'' on the '' Alemannic/Swiss German edition'' of
Wikipedia Wikipedia ( or ) is a free content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creati ...

Wikipedia

'Hover & Hear' Alsatian pronunciations
and compare with equivalents in English and other Germanic languages.

The status of Germanic languages in France (on website of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).


Wörterbuch der elsässischen Mundarten

Alsatian artists


article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on new versions of Microsoft programs in Alsatian
Office pour la langue et les cultures d'Alsace et de Moselle


{{DEFAULTSORT:Alsatian Language Alemannic German language German dialects Languages of France