Several “foreign” visitors to the region — and by that I mean non-native speakers of German who learned their German in other regions — have mentioned that they find the German spoken here to vary from disconcerting to bewildering to unrecognizable. At several meetups, we’ve commented on how refreshing it is to hear natives speak German in areas where the spoken dialect is closer to the dialect we learned in classroom instruction.
Here’s an example of the kind of removal from Hochdeutsch you hear in everyday interaction — conveniently written out phonetically, thanks to my apple supplier Ökofranz (seriously, he has the best Topaz apples I’ve ever tasted):
- “Alles” → “ois”
- Vowel shifts are so common between dialects. a → o is well known, but there’s also ei → oa (oans, zwoa, droa!) and eu → ei
- ell sounds directly following a vowel are often “left slack”, and this results in “alles” sounding like “ois”, “gespielt” sounding like “gespuit”, “viel” sounding like “fui”, and the knowhutimean word “gell” sounding more like “gehh” or even “gö”
- “Angebaut” → “o’baut”
We’ve seen this before in two different aspects of the great tradition of beer drinking:
- Obatzda, which belongs in every Biergarten
- “Ozapft is!” — the announcement that the beer at Oktoberfest may start flowing
In both cases, “an” has changed to “o”, and the Bavarian people decided to do away that inefficient past participle-marking infixed “ge”. So we’re missing a complete syllable.
OK, onto something more directly related to my own personal language situation. We’ve lived in Germany a fairly long time, and yet my brain (and Sarah’s too, she confirmed it) still tries to make sense of the printed word out on the street in English first. It might be partially related to the geographical location; the corner on which the gentlemen below are standing is a popular community outreach spot: PETA and local political party representative often have a stand set up there for preaching, too.
The poster hanging off the table is not denouncing anything at all as untrue. It is merely imploring us (in German) to read the materials the guys are distributing.
Enough with the brain games already. Here’s the Danube bank awash with pedestrians, enjoying the weather.