Anti-Germanism is a Left philosophy started by, you guessed it, Germans! They hold that Germany has been rotten from the start, that German culture is evil and irredeemably poisoned, and that Germany needs a complete Cultural Revolution to destroy German culture and replace it with something humane. There are only a few Jews in Germany right now, but there are quite a few Jews in the anti-German movement. The percentage of Jews in the anti-German movement is much higher than in the population. However, most anti-Germans are not Jewish. For the life of me, I cannot see why the Jews want to pick a fight with the Germans. Haven’t Germans and Jews fought enough and wreaked enough destruction on the world?
I came across this on Facebook and I think it sums up anti-Germanism quite well. I removed some crap about Communism, Frankfurt School, and postmodernism because this is some weird Alt Right crap that got tacked onto what is otherwise a Leftist discourse. It is interesting to see Leftist anti-German theory adopted, modified, and warped by some weird sort of Alt Right types.
The country that I despise the most is Germany. Germany has had only a history of destroying what is right and civilized, not to mention their Germanic love of totalitarianism.
During the days of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire, the Romans were spreading civilization throughout Europe, bringing technology and civilization to wherever they conquered. However, the greatest enemy of the Romans were the barbaric and savage Germanic tribes, who later spread all over the Roman world, plundering, destroying, and raiding wherever they went. They eventually managed to destroy the Roman world, annihilating its advancements, and pushing Europe into a Dark Age for nearly 1,000 years.
During this period of the Dark Ages, a new power, Prussia, emerged on the European theater. Born from Germanic knights slaughtering an entire ethnic group and enslaving Poles, they brought nothing of merit into the world, bringing only tyranny, militarism, and terror.
Once Europe fully recovered from the first large scale attack on civilization, a new Germanic Empire took hold, even surpassing the Roman world, with the spread of new ideas such as Protestantism. This empire was the Holy Roman Empire – which was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an empire; but in fact a Germanic tool to fight civilization and anti-totalitarianism. The empire waged brutal wars of religion in an attempt to reinstate corrupt Catholic rule all over Europe. This finally culminated in the 30 Years War, the bloodiest European War until the next European-wide war, also commenced by Germany. However, the German plot was stopped.
Finally, a bit later, in a book called Von Krieg (On War in English), the Germanic elite of Prussia revealed their plans, which are still being implemented to this day. Here are a couple of quotes from the book: Just as Prussia has been fated to be the core of Germany, so Germany will be the core of the future German Empire of the West..Conquered people shall be left with nothing but their eyes to weep with.
The Germanic states then clamped down further upon liberalism and liberty, maintaining an absolute monarchy until unification. Otto von Bismarck was their leader – an absolute monarchist/militarist. He then started three aggressive wars: against Denmark, against Austria, and against France. He created Germany as a brutal, totalitarian monarchy, hell bent on conquering the world. Prussia had become the core of Germany, and a new leader now needed to make it the future German Empire of the West.
That new leader came – Kaiser Wilhelm II. Plotting to destroy all other nations and achieve a worldwide German Reich, he took the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, as his opportunity. Knowing full well that the Habsburgs, his fellow Germans, would use the assassination carried out by one man, who just so happened to be a Serb, to carry out an aggressive war against Serbia, despite knowing full well it would lead to war with Russia and the rest of the world, Wilhelm promised to unconditionally support Austria-Hungary.
The Kaiser of Germany singlehandedly began the most destructive conflict the world had ever seen in an attempt to annihilate all non-Germans. He invaded neutral Belgium, raping and massacring innocent civilians; began using poison gas, which was banned by the rules of war; and sunk without warning merchant shipping. However, liberty and civilization won, and totalitarianism and barbarism lost.
After the war, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Ferdinand Foch had the correct analysis, “This is not a treaty, this is a 20 year armistice.” The way that quote is taken in our pro-German history books is that those evil Allies were so cruel, and those evil Allies forced the evil Treaty of Versailles upon those poor Germans. However, the quote meant what the real case was: this treaty was no hard enough, and why is Germany still allowed to exist? Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that it was not harsh enough. Worst of all, we didn’t even enforce the treaty and allowed Germany to expand and attempt to conquer the world again.
During the Weimar Republic, there was another Germanic ideology that was created in attempt to utterly annihilate the West – Nazism.
As we all know, the Nazis won at first, and with the power they had, they created one of the most totalitarian regimes ever been created in the world, and the Germans marched across Europe and spread genocide, tyranny, terror, and barbarism. However, the world finally managed to destroy the 3rd German Reich and discredit Nazism forever. We thought we destroyed Germanism, however, once again, we were wrong. We made the fatal mistake of feeling sorry for the Germans, and allow the continual existence of the German state.
We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.
Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.
US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.
I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.
Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!
Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.
I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.
Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.
Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.
Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.
African conservatives are OK.
Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!
Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist. The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.
Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.
You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.
PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out. *This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives. I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here. I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers. I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.
Here is a great article by Eric Zeusse about how the results of the MH17 jet downing investigation will apparently never be released. Four nations, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and the Ukraine have all signed a non-disclosure agreement about the investigation of the downing.
Although it is hard to make sense of the weasel-worded text from the Ukrainian government, it appears that any one of these nations will have veto power over the results of the investigation.
So, if the investigation shows that Ukraine shot down the jet (which is precisely what happened) then presumably Ukraine would never release the results of the investigation as they would veto its release. The way I read this is that it looks like the results of the investigation will be sealed forever. Crazy!
Regarding what caused the downing of the Malaysian airliner MH-17 in Ukraine on July 17th, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, reported in a brief Russian-language news story on August 12th, that four days earlier (August 8th) a representative of that nation’s Prosecutor General office, Yuri Boychenko, had said that (as auto-translated by Google),
the results [of the investigation] will be announced upon completion of the investigation and with the consent of all the parties who signed the corresponding agreement.
This UNIAN report said that,
As part of the four-party agreement signed on August 8 between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia [all of which nations are allies of the United States and are cooperating with its new Cold War against Russia], information on the investigation into the disaster Malaysian ‘Boeing-777’ will not be disclosed.
In other words: the official ‘investigation’ is being carried out by four nations that, as U.S. allies, are hostile toward Russia. One of those four nations, Ukraine, is not only a prime suspect in possibly having shot this airliner down, but is currently waging a hot war to ethnically-cleanse the pro-Russian population out of southeastern Ukraine; and the initial ‘news’ reports in Western ‘news’ media regarding the downing of MH-17 had stenographically repeated the Ukrainian Government’s line that said that this airliner was probably downed by the local rebels there, who were trying to shoot down the Ukrainian Government’s bombers that are constantly bombing them.
Some Western ‘news’ reports even speculated that perhaps Russia itself had shot this airliner down. If the UNIAN news-report is correct, then there is no way that the ‘investigation’ will be able to be released to the public if it indicates that the Ukrainian Government (which, according to that news-report has veto power over the making-public of the study’s findings) is blamed for having shot the airliner down.
On August 12th, another pro-Ukrainian-Government ‘news’ site, gordonua.com, headlined, as auto-translated by Google, “GPU: The results of the investigation [into the] crash [of] the Boeing 777 will be released with the consent of the parties,” and said,
“Information about the accident MH17 in the Donetsk region will be published in obtaining the consent of all the parties that are involved in the investigation.”
UNIAN was cited there as gordonua’s sole source. ‘News’ media didn’t probe the matter further.
Until 23 August 2014, that seems to have been the last of the matter, as far as news reports were concerned, and both of those two news reports were just tiny squibs in the Russian language, published only in Ukraine, by supporters of the Obama-installed Ukrainian Government. The news was ignored both inside and outside Ukraine.
Then, on 23 August 2014, Global Research News published the first English-language news-report on this matter; it was based on the second Russian-language news-report, the one that had appeared at gordonua.com on August 12th. Global Research concluded from it that, “The Causes of the MH17 Crash are ‘Classified’.”
Of course, this way of phrasing the matter is a slight oversimplification, because, actually, the findings will remain ‘classified’ only if, and to the extent that, the Ukrainian Government is found to have caused the airliner’s downing. In other words: this ‘investigation’ will not be published unless the Ukrainian Government and the other three nations that are performing it agree unanimously to publish it.
So: imagine a murder-case in which 298 innocents are slaughtered, and in which there are only three suspects (here: Ukraine, the pro-Russian rebels, and Russia itself), and one of those three suspects has veto-power on the making-public of the ‘investigation’ into that crime. Well: this is that murder-case, and the veto-holding ‘investigator’ and suspect is Ukraine. Neither of the other two suspects holds any such veto-power over this ‘investigation.’
In a sense, whether the official investigation into the downing will ever be made public is insignificant, just as would be any ‘investigation’ that is carried out by, or with veto-power from, one of the prime suspects in the crime that is being investigated.
The international public would obviously need to be fools in order for them to trust such an ‘investigation’ as that. Case closed?
President Obama got the economic-sanctions-increase against Russia, that he had wanted out of this shoot-down. Who needs any ‘investigation’ to determine this mass-killing’s actual perpetrator? Certainly not Obama. Ultimately, it is he who caused it, because he was the person behind this ethnic-cleansing campaign, without which ethnic-cleansing campaign the airliner itself wouldn’t have been downed.
The downing of this airliner goes straight back the U.S. White House, which has already won what it wanted from it.
Those 298 corpses are just casualties of this U.S.-caused war, like the Ukrainians are casualties of it who live in the portions of Ukraine that had overwhelmingly elected in 2010 the Ukrainian President whom Obama ousted from office in 2014. Obama doesn’t want a President like that elected ever again in Ukraine; so, those voters are being gotten rid of, and ethnic cleansing is how it’s being done. And the residents there are likewise not being heard from in Western ‘news’ media, and nobody in the West is asking these victims what they think of the Ukrainian Government that Obama installed. Perhaps that’s because they are increasingly becoming a guerilla army to defeat the regime that Obama installed.
As to the specific operation that downed the plane, there is already a lot more information about that than the official ‘investigation,’ if that’s ever published, is likely to reveal, and it points clearly to the Ukrainian military as the perpetrator, in yet another of their ‘false flag’ operations. And unlike the Ukrainian Government’s charges that rebels shot it down by mistake, Ukraine shot it down with deadly purpose and knowing full well what they were doing.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of Christ’s Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity.
Sorry for the long post, readers, but I have been working on this piece off and on for months now. It’s not something I just banged out. For one thing, this is the only list that I know of on the Net that lists all of the countries of the world and shows how many languages are spoken there in an easy to access format. Not even Wikipedia has that (yet).
Whether or not states have the right to secede is an interesting question. The libertarian Volokh Conspiracy takes that on in this nice set of posts. We will not deal with that here; instead, we will take on the idea that linguistic diversity automatically leads to secession.
There is a notion floating around among fetishists of the state that there can be no linguistic diversity within the nation, as it will lead to inevitable separatism. In this post, I shall disprove that with empirical data. First, we will list the states in the world, along with how many languages are spoken in that state.
States with a significant separatist movement are noted with an asterisk. As you can see if you look down the list, there does not seem to be much of a link between multilingualism and separatism. There does seem to be a trend in that direction in Europe, though.
Afterward, I will discuss the nature of the separatist conflicts in many of these states to try to see if there is any language connection. In most cases, there is little or nothing there.
I fully expect the myth of multilingualism = separatism to persist after the publication of this post, unfortunately.
*Starred states have a separatist problem, but most are not about language. Most date back to the very formation of an often-illegitimate state.
Canada definitely has a conflict that is rooted in language, but it is also rooted in differential histories as English and French colonies. The Quebec nightmare is always brought up by state fetishists, ethnic nationalists and other racists and nationalists who hate minorities as the inevitable result of any situation whereby a state has more than one language within its borders.
This post is designed to give the lie to this view.
Cyprus’ problem has to do with two nations, Greeks and Turks, who hate each other. The history for this lies in centuries of conflict between Christianity and Islam, culminating in the genocide of 350,000 Greeks in Turkey from 1916-1923.
Morocco’s conflict has nothing to do with language. Spanish Sahara was a Spanish colony in Africa. After the Spanish left in the early 1950’s, Morocco invaded the country and colonized it, claiming in some irredentist way that the land had always been a part of Morocco. The residents beg to differ and say that they are a separate state.
An idiotic conflict ensued in which Morocco the colonizer has been elevated to one of the most sanctioned nations of all by the UN. Yes, Israel is not the only one; there are other international scofflaws out there. In this conflict, as might be expected, US imperialism has supported Moroccan colonialism.
This Moroccan colonialism has now become settler-colonialism, as colonialism often does. You average Moroccan goes livid if you mention their colony. He hates Israel, but Morocco is nothing but an Arab Muslim Israel. If men had a dollar for every drop of hypocrisy, we would be a world of millionaires.
There are numerous separatist conflicts in Somalia. As Somalians have refused to perform their adult responsibilities and form a state, numerous parts of this exercise in anarchism in praxis (Why are the anarchists not cheering this on?) are walking away from the burning house. Who could blame them?
These splits seem to have little to do with language. One, Somaliland, was a former British colony and has a different culture than the rest of Somalia. Somaliland is now de facto independent, as Somalia, being a glorious exercise in anarchism, of course lacks an army to enforce its borders, or to do anything.
Jubaland has also split, but this has nothing to do with language. Instead, this may be rooted in a 36-year period in which it was a British colony. Soon after this period, they had their own postage stamps as an Italian colony.
There is at least one serious separatist conflict in Ethiopia in the Ogaden region, which is mostly populated by ethnic Somalis. Apparently this region used to be part of Somaliland, and Ethiopia probably has little claim to the region. This conflict has little do with language and more to do with conflicts rooted in colonialism and the illegitimate borders of states.
There is also a conflict in the Oromo region of Ethiopia that is not going very far lately. These people have been fighting colonialism since Ethiopia was a colony and since then have been fighting against independent Ethiopia, something they never went along with. Language has a role here, but the colonization of a people by various imperial states plays a larger one.
There was a war in Southern Sudan that has now ended with the possibility that the area may secede.
There is a genocidal conflict in Darfur that the world is ignoring because it involves Arabs killing Blacks as they have always done in this part of the world, and the world only gets upset when Jews kill Muslims, not when Muslims kill Muslims.
This conflict has to do with the Sudanese Arabs treating the Darfurians with utter contempt – they regard them as slaves, as they have always been to these racist Arabs.
The conflict in Southern Sudan involved a region in rebellion in which many languages were spoken. The South Sudanese are also niggers to the racist Arabs, plus they are Christian and animist infidels to be converted by the sword by Sudanese Arab Muslims. Every time a non-Muslim area has tried to split off from or acted uppity with a Muslim state they were part of, the Muslims have responded with a jihad against and genocide of the infidels.
This conflict has nothing to do with language; instead it is a war of Arab Muslim religious fanatics against Christian and animist infidels.
There is a separatist movement in the South Cameroons in the nation of Cameroon in Africa. This conflict is rooted in colonialism. During the colonial era, South Cameroons was a de facto separate state. Many different languages are spoken here, as is the case in Cameroon itself. They may have a separate culture too, but this is just another case of separatism rooted in colonialism. The movement seems to be unarmed.
There is a separatist conflict in Angola in a region called Cabinda, which was always a separate Portuguese colony from Angola.
As this area holds 60% of Angola’s oil, it’s doubtful that Angola will let it go, although almost all of Angola’s oil wealth is being stolen anyway by US transnationals and a tiny elite while 90% of the country starves, has no medicine and lives unemployed amid shacks along former roads now barely passable.
The Cabindans do claim to have a separate culture, but language does not seem to be playing much role here – instead, oil and colonialism are.
Syria does have a Kurdish separatist movement, as does Iran, Iraq, and Turkey – every state that has a significant number of Kurds. This conflict goes back to the post-World War 1 breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds, with thousands of years of history as a people, nominally independent for much of that time, were denied a state and sold out.
The new fake state called Turkey carved up part of Kurdistan, another part was donated to the British colony in Iraq and another to the French colony in Syria, as the Allies carved up the remains of the Empire like hungry guests at a feast.
This conflict is more about colonialism and extreme discrimination than language, though the Kurds do speak their own tongue. There is also a Kurdish separatist conflict in Iran, but I don’t know much about the history of the Iranian Kurds.
There is also an Assyrian separatist movement in Iraq and possibly in Syria. The movement is unarmed. The Assyrians have been horribly persecuted by Arab nationalist racists in the region, in part because they are Christians. They have been targeted by Islamo-Nazis in Iraq during this Iraq War with a ferocity that can only be described as genocidal.
The Kurds have long persecuted the Assyrians in Iraqi Kurdistan. There have been regular homicides of Assyrians in the north, up around the Mosul region. This is just related to the general way that Muslims treat Christian minorities in many Muslim states – they persecute them and even kill them. There is also a lot of land theft going on.
While the Kurdish struggle is worthwhile, it is becoming infected with the usual nationalist evil that afflicts all ethnic nationalism. This results in everyone who is not a Kurdish Sunni Muslim being subjected to varying degrees of persecution, disenfranchisement and discrimination. It’s a nasty part of the world.
In Syria, the Assyrians live up near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. Arab nationalist racists have been stealing their land for decades now and relocating the Assyrians to model villages, where they languish in poverty. Assad’s regime is not so secular and progressive as one might suspect.
There is a separatist conflict in Bougainville in New Guinea. I am sure that many different tongues are spoken on that island, as there are 800 different tongues spoken in Papua New Guinea. The conflict is rooted in the fact that Bougainville is rich in copper, but almost all of this wealth is stolen by Papua New Guinea and US multinationals, so the Bougainville people see little of it. Language has little or nothing to do with it.
There are separatist movements in the Ahwaz and Balochistan regions of Iran, along with the aforementioned Kurdish movement. It is true that different languages are spoken in these regions, but that has little to do with the conflict.
Arabic is spoken in Khuzestan, the land of the Iranian Arabs. This land has been part of Persia for around 2,000 years as the former land of Elam. The Arabs complain that they are treated poorly by the Persians, and that they get little revenue to their region even though they are sitting on a vast puddle of oil and natural gas.
Iran should not be expected to part with this land, as it is the source of much of their oil and gas wealth. Many or most Iranians speak Arabic anyway, so there is not much of a language issue. Further, Arab culture is promoted by the Islamist regime even at the expense of Iranian culture, much to the chagrin of Iranian nationalists.
The Ahwaz have been and are being exploited by viciously racist Arab nationalists in Iraq, and also by US imperialism, and most particularly lately, British imperialism, as the British never seem to have given up the colonial habit. This conflict is not about language at all. Most Ahwaz don’t even want to separate anyway; they just want to be treated like humans by the Iranians.
Many of Iran’s 8% Sunni population lives in Balochistan. The region has maybe 2% of Iran’s population and is utterly neglected by Iran. Sunnis are treated with extreme racist contempt by the Shia Supremacists who run Iran. This conflict has to do with the fight between the Shia and Sunni wings of Islam and little or nothing to do with language.
Iranian Azeris actually form a ruling class in Iran and occupy most of the positions of power in the government. They also control a lot of the business sector and seem to have a higher income than other Iranians. This movement has been co-opted by pan-Turkish fascists for opportunistic reasons, but it’s not really going anywhere. The CIA is now cynically trying to stir it up with little success. The movement is peaceful.
There is a Baloch insurgency in Pakistan, but language has little to do with it. These fiercely independent people sit on top of a very rich land which is ruthlessly exploited by Punjabis from the north. They get little or no return from this natural gas wealth. Further, this region never really consented to being included in the Pakistani state that was carved willy-nilly out of India in 1947.
It is true that there are regions in the Caucasus that are rebelling against Russia. Given the brutal and bloody history of Russian imperial colonization of this region and the near-continuous rebellious state of the Muslims resident there, one wants to say they are rebelling against Imperial Russia.
Chechnya is the worst case, but Ingushetia is not much better, and things are bad in Dagestan too. There is also fighting in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. These non-Chechen regions are getting increasingly radicalized as consequence of the Chechen War. There has also been a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chechens to expand the conflict over to the other parts of the Caucasus.
Past rebellions were often pan-Caucasian also. Although very different languages are spoken in these areas, different languages are still spoken all across Russia. Language has little to do with these conflicts, as they have more to do with Russian imperialism and colonization of these lands and the near 200-year violent resistance of these fierce Muslim mountain tribes to being colonized by Slavic infidels.
There is not much separatism in the rest of Russia.
Tuva reserves the right to split away, but this is rooted in their prior history as an independent state within the USSR (Tell me how that works?) for two decades until 1944, when Stalin reconquered it as a result of the conflict with the Nazis. The Tuvans accepted peacefully.
Yes, the Tuvans speak a different tongue, but so do all of the Siberian nations, and most of those are still with Russia. Language has little to do with the Tuvan matter.
There is also separatism in the Bashkir Republic and Adygea in Russia. These have not really gone anywhere. Only 21% of the residents of Adygea speak Circassian, and they see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. This conflict may have something to do with language. The Adygean conflict is also peripherally related the pan-Caucasian struggle above.
In the Bashkir Republic, the problem is more one of a different religion – Islam, as most Bashkirs are Muslim. It is not known to what degree language has played in the struggle, but it may be a factor. The Bashkirs also see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. It is dubious that the Bashkirs will be able to split off, as the result will be a separate nation surrounded on all sides by Russia.
The Adygean, Tuvan and Bashkir struggles are all peaceful.
The conflict in Georgia is complex. A province called Abkhazia has split off and formed their own de facto state, which has been supported with extreme cynicism by up and coming imperialist Russia, the same clown state that just threatened to go to war to defend the territorial integrity of their genocidal Serbian buddies. South Ossetia has also split off and wants to join Russia.
Both of these reasonable acts prompted horrible and insane wars as Georgia sought to preserve its territorial integrity, though it has scarcely been a state since 1990, and neither territory ever consented to being part of Georgia.
The Ossetians and Abkhazians do speak separate languages, and I am not certain why they want to break away, but I do not think that language has much to do with it. All parties to these conflicts are majority Orthodox Christians.
Myanmar is a hotbed of nations in rebellion against the state. Burma was carved out of British East India in 1947. Part of Burma had actually been part of British India itself, while the rest was a separate colony called Burma. No sooner was the ink dry on the declaration of independence than most of these nations in rebellion announced that they were not part of the deal.
Bloody rebellions have gone on ever since, and language has little or nothing to do with any of them. They are situated instead on the illegitimacy of not only the borders of the Burmese state, but of the state itself.
Thailand does have a separatist movement, but it is Islamic. They had a separate state down there until the early 1800’s when they were apparently conquered by Thais. I believe they do speak a different language down there, but it is not much different from Thai, and I don’t think language has anything to do with this conflict.
There is a conflict in the Philippines that is much like the one in Thailand. Muslims in Mindanao have never accepted Christian rule from Manila and are in open arms against the state. Yes, they speak different languages down in Mindanao, but they also speak Tagalog, the language of the land.
This just a war of Muslims seceding because they refuse to be ruled by infidels. Besides, this region has a long history of independence, de facto and otherwise, from the state. The Moro insurgency has little to nothing to do with language.
There are separatist conflicts in Indonesia. The one in Aceh seems to have petered out. Aceh never agreed to join the fake state of Indonesia that was carved out of the Dutch East Indies when the Dutch left in 1949.
West Papua is a colony of Indonesia. It was invaded by Indonesia with the full support of US imperialism in 1965. The Indonesians then commenced to murder 100,000 Papuans over the next 40 years. There are many languages spoken in West Papua, but that has nothing to do with the conflict. West Papuans are a racially distinct people divided into vast numbers of tribes, each with a separate culture.
They have no connection racially or culturally with the rest of Indonesia and do not wish to be part of the state. They were not a part of the state when it was declared in 1949 and were only incorporated after an Indonesian invasion of their land in 1965. Subsequently, Indonesia has planted lots of settler-colonists in West Papua.
There is also a conflict in the South Moluccas , but it has more to do with religion than anything else, since there is a large number of Christians in this area. The South Moluccans were always reluctant to become a part of the new fake Indonesian state that emerged after independence anyway, and I believe there was some fighting for a while there. The South Moluccan struggle has generally been peaceful ever since.
Indonesia is the Israel of Southeast Asia, a settler-colonial state. The only difference is that the Indonesians are vastly more murderous and cruel than the Israelis.
There are conflicts in Tibet and East Turkestan in China. In the case of Tibet, this is a colony of China that China has no jurisdiction over. The East Turkestan fight is another case of Muslims rebelling against infidel rule. Yes, different languages are spoken here, but this is the case all over China.
Language is involved in the East Turkestan conflict in that Chinese have seriously repressed the Uighur language, but I don’t think it plays much role in Tibet.
There is also a separatist movement in Inner Mongolia in China. I do not think that language has much to do with this, and I believe that China’s claim to Inner Mongolia may be somewhat dubious. This movement is unarmed and not very organized.
There are conflicts all over India, but they don’t have much to do with language.
The Kashmir conflict is not about language but instead is rooted in the nature of the partition of India after the British left in 1947. 90% of Kashmiris wanted to go to Pakistan, but the ruler of Kashmir was a Hindu, and he demanded to stay in India.
The UN quickly ruled that Kashmir had to be granted a vote in its future, but this vote was never allowed by India. As such, India is another world-leading rogue and scofflaw state on a par with Israel and Indonesia. Now the Kashmir mess has been complicated by the larger conflict between India and Pakistan, and until that is all sorted out, there will be no resolution to this mess.
Obviously India has no right whatsoever to rule this area, and the Kashmir cause ought to be taken up by all progressives the same way that the Palestinian one is.
There are many conflicts in the northeast, where most of the people are Asians who are racially, often religiously and certainly culturally distinct from the rest of Indians.
None of these regions agreed to join India when India, the biggest fake state that has ever existed, was carved out of 5,000 separate princely states in 1947. Each of these states had the right to decide its own future to be a part of India or not. As it turned out, India just annexed the vast majority of them and quickly invaded the few that said no.
“Bharat India”, as Indian nationalist fools call it, as a state, is one of the silliest concepts around. India has no jurisdiction over any of those parts of India in separatist rebellion, if you ask me. Language has little to do with these conflicts.
Over 800 languages are spoken in India anyway, each state has its own language, and most regions are not in rebellion over this. Multilingualism with English and Hindi to cement it together has worked just fine in most of India.
Sri Lanka’s conflict does involve language, but more importantly it involves centuries of extreme discrimination by ruling Buddhist Sinhalese against minority Hindu Tamils. Don’t treat your minorities like crap, and maybe they will not take up arms against you.
The Corsicans are in rebellion against France, and language may play a role. There is an independence movement in Brittany in France also, and language seems to play a role here, or at least the desire to revive the language, which seems to be dying.
There is a possibility that Belgium may split into Flanders and Wallonia, and language does play a huge role in this conflict. One group speaks French and the other Dutch.
There is a movement in Scania, a part of Sweden, to split away from Sweden. Language seems to have nothing to do with it.
There is a Hungarian separatist movement, or actually, a national reunification or pan-Hungarian movement, in Romania. It isn’t going anywhere, and it unlikely to succeed. Hungarians in Romania have not been treated well and are a large segment of the population. This fact probably drives the separatism more than language.
There are many other small conflicts in Europe that I chose not to go into due to limitations on time and the fact that I am getting tired of writing this post! Perhaps I can deal with them at a later time. Language definitely plays a role in almost all of these conflicts. None of them are violent though.
To say that there are separatists in French Polynesia is not correct. This is an anti-colonial movement that deserves the support of anti-colonial activists the world over. The entire world, evidenced by the UN itself, has rejected colonialism. Only France, the UK and the US retain colonies. That right there is notable, as all three are clearly imperialist countries. In this modern age, the value of retaining colonies is dubious.
These days, colonizers pour more money into colonies than they get out of them. France probably keeps Polynesia due to colonial pride and also as a place to test nuclear weapons and maintain military bases. As the era of French imperialism on a grand scale has clearly passed, France needs to renounce its fantasies of being a glorious imperial power along with its anachronistic colonies.
Yes, there is a Mapuche separatist movement in Chile, but it is not going anywhere soon, or ever.
It has little to do with language. The Mapudungan language is not even in very good shape, and the leaders of this movement are a bunch of morons. Microsoft recently unveiled a Mapudungan language version of Microsoft Windows. You would think that the Mapuche would be ecstatic. Not so! They were furious. Why? Oh, I forget. Some Identity Politics madness.
This movement has everything to do with the history of Chile. Like Argentina and Uruguay, Chile was one of the Spanish colonies that was settled en masse late. For centuries, a small colonial bastion battled the brave Mapuche warriors, but were held at bay by this skilled and militaristic tribe.
Finally, in the late 1800’s, a fanatical and genocidal war was waged on the Mapuche in one of those wonderful “national reunification” missions so popular in the 1800’s (recall Italy’s wars of national reunification around this same time). By the 1870’s, the Mapuche were defeated and suffered a devastating loss of life.
Yet all those centuries of only a few Spanish colonists and lots of Indians had made their mark, and at least 70% of Chileans are mestizos, though they are mostly White (about 80% White on average). The Mapuche subsequently made a comeback and today number about 9% of the population.
Because they held out so long and so many of them survived, they are one of the most militant Amerindian groups in the Americas. They are an interesting people, light-skinned and attractive, though a left-wing Chilean I knew used to chortle about how hideously ugly they were.
Hawaiian separatism is another movement that has a lot to do with colonialism and imperialism and little to do with language. The Hawaiian language, despite some notable recent successes, is not in very good shape. The Hawaiian independence movement offers nothing to non-Hawaiians (I guess only native Hawaiians get to be citizens!) and is doomed to fail.
Hawaiians are about 22% of the population, and they are the only ones that support the independence movement. No one else supports it. It’s not going anywhere. The movers and shakers on the island (Non-Hawaiians for the most part!) all think it’s ridiculous.
There are separatists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, but I doubt that language has much to do with it. Like the myriad other separatist struggles in the NE of India, these people are ethnically Asians and as such are not the same ethnicity as the Caucasians who make up the vast majority of the population of this wreck of a state.
This is another conflict that is rooted in a newly independent fake state. The Chittagong Hill Tracts were incorporated into Bangladesh after its independence from Pakistan in 1971. As a fake new state, the peoples of Bangladesh had a right to be consulted on whether or not they wished to be a part of it. The CHT peoples immediately said that they wanted no part of this new state.
At partition, the population was 98.5% Asian. They were Buddhists, Hindus and animists. Since then, the fascist Bangladesh state has sent Bengali Muslim settler-colonists to the region. The conflict is shot through with racism and religious bigotry, as Muslim Bengalis have rampaged through the region, killing people randomly and destroying stuff as they see fit. Language does not seem to have much to do with this conflict.
I don’t know much about the separatist struggle of the Moi in Vietnam, but I think it is more a movement for autonomy than anything else. The Moi are Montagnards and have probably suffered discrimination at the hands of the state along with the rest of the Montagnards.
Zanzibar separatism in Tanzania seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with language, but has a lot more to do with geography. Zanzibar is a nice island off the coast of Tanzania which probably wants nothing to do with the mess of a Tanzanian state.
The conflict also has a lot to do with race. Most residents of Zanzibar are either Arabs or descendants of unions between Arabs and Africans. In particular, they deny that they are Black Africans. I bet that is the root of the conflict right there.
There were some Talysh separatists in Azerbaijan a while back, but the movement seems to be over. I am not sure what was driving them, but language doesn’t seem to have been a big part of it. Just another case of new members of a fake new state refusing to go along for the ride.
There were some Gagauz separatists in Moldova a while back, but the movement appears to have died down. Language does seem to have played a role here, as the Gagauz speak a Turkic tongue totally unrelated to the Romance-speaking Moldovans.
Realistically, it’s just another case of a fake new state emerging and some members of the new state saying they don’t want to be a part of it, and the leaders of the fake new state suddenly invoking inviolability of borders in a state with no history!
In summary, as we saw above, once we get into Europe, language does play a greater role in separatist conflict, but most of these European conflicts are not violent. In the rest of the world, language plays little to no role in the vast majority of separatist conflicts.
The paranoid and frankly fascist notion voiced by rightwing nationalists the world over that any linguistic diversity in the world within states must be crushed as it will inevitably lead to separatism at best or armed separatism at worst is not supported by the facts.
Repost from the old site.
Commenter James Schipper of Canada points out what any economics student or especially Marxist ought to be able to figure out: that open borders is terrible for workers in high-wage countries. That the Left in high-wage countries supports such an obviously detrimental to workers agenda means that it completely misunderstands the economics of modern capitalism.
Nowadays, the Western Left can only be said to be worker-hostile towards native workers. They support immigrant workers, and it is a known fact that immigrant workers in many cases in the West have been shown to actually lower wages for native workers. The Left responds that this is a lie.
Even worse, the Left calls any Western Leftist who opposes certain modes of immigration racist. At best, this is a grotesque abuse of the term similar to the way many objectively reactionary groups are overusing this word these days. At worst, it is slander and name-calling.
The Left’s objective hostility to native workers in the West has resulted in historic losses in recent days in Belgium, Italy and the UK. It seems that only right-wing nativist parties are appealing to workers in these countries. Much of the vote for the rightwing is due to anger at uncontrolled immigration in these countries.
The extent to which these rightwing and often fascist or proto-fascist parties will actually work for the interests of workers is not known, but historically, they have not benefited workers much and have tended to side with capital over workers every time. As the Left grows more and more irrelevant, it continues piping away at the same old losing tune.
Things are much different here in the US, where both parties are 100% pro-mass immigration, and indeed both are apparently 100% pro-illegal immigration. In the US, there is no candidate for a voter wishing to express an anti-immigrant agenda. This is ominous in that it means that a demagogue of the Right could potentially win many votes on this issue alone.
The election of either Obama or McCain would probably result in a renewed attempt at mass amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens, with resulting chain migration of up to 30 million of their often-hazy and not too cool relatives over the next 20 years or so.
Such a monumental mass migration of poorly screened immigrants with a known tendency to form a vast underclass should at least be discussed by American voters. Instead, the entire elite supports this project as do all of their media. Most especially, 100% of the large business class and much of the small business class of the US support illegal immigration, fake guest H-1B workers, and mass legal immigration.
Studies show that up to 75-80% of the US public opposes broad aspects of this mass immigration project. It is ridiculous to characterize 75-80% of the US as “racist” for opposing this project and harkens to the abuse of this term by reactionaries above.
Anyway, take a look at James’ comments:
Let’s take two swimming pools, one with 6 feet of water and the other with 2 feet. If they are at the same level and connected with an underground pipe, what is going to happen? Obviously, water will flow from the first pool to the second, thereby lower the water level of the first and raising that of the second.Similarly, if there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between a high-wage and low-wage country, the wage level in the rich country will fall and that of the poor country will rise. The magnitude of the change will depend on the relative size of the high-wage and low-wage country.
If there are completely open borders between India and Australia, then wages in Australia will fall a lot, but they will barely rise in India. Conversely, if there are no barriers to the flow of goods, labor and capital between the US and Nicaragua, wages in the US will hardly go down, but they will rise a lot in Nicaragua. Numbers always matter.
Another problem with free international migration is that it creates an open demographic system. Open systems have the advantage that they make the import of solutions possible but they also have the disadvantage that they allow problems to be exported.
Suppose that Ruritania stabilizes its population, but that Slobodia’s population keeps growing. If there are open borders between the two countries, Slobodia will export people to Ruritania and Ruritania’s population will grow despite its demographic stabilization.
Likewise, if Ruritania succeeds in raising the standard of living of its workers while Slobodia does not, then, if there are open borders, many Slobodians will emigrate to Ruritania, thereby lower the standard of living of Ruritanian workers.
What is true of demographic open borders is also true of commercial open borders. If there is completely free trade between Ruritania and Slobodia, then any efforts to conserve non-renewable resources by Ruritania may be nullified by Slobodia. Under free trade, a country whose population remains below its carrying capacity may still experience starvation because a lot of its food will be exported to countries with populations above their carrying capacity.
If there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between countries, the fast breeders will export their problems to the slow breeders, the slow economic growers will export their problems to the fast growers and the depleters will export their problems to the conservers.
Finally, a quote by Wouter Bos, the leader of the Dutch Labor Party: “We have to choose between a generous welfare state and restrictive immigration on the one hand and a stingy welfare state and liberal immigration on the other hand.” Sensible words! if only more leftists saw things that clearly.
Here is a very nice map of the parts of the world that speak a Romance language, in whole or in part. The main languages covered here are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian.
The heavy Spanish speaking zone is Spain, Rio Muni, New Mexico and Latin America except for Brazil, the Guyanas, Haiti and some Caribbean islands that speak French. To a lesser extent, it is spoken Spanish Sahara and Belize. To a much lesser extent, it is spoken in parts of the US and in the Philippines where it is a dying colonial language.
The heavy Portuguese speaking zone is Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, other parts of Africa and East Timor. In the latter countries, it is a lingua franca.
French is heavily spoken in France, Quebec, French Guyana, French Polynesia, Belgium and Switzerland, less heavily in much of Africa, especially Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali, Togo, Cote d’Ivorie, Burkino Faso, Senegal, West Africa, Central Africa, Djibouti and Madagascar, less in the rest of Canada, and even less in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Louisiana, where it is a dying colonial language overtaken by national languages in Southeast Asia, Arabic in Northwest Africa and English in Louisiana
Italian is spoken heavily in Italy and less so in Libya and Albania.
Romanian is spoken heavily in Romania, Moldova and Serbia.
Warning! This post is quite long – it runs to 126 pages. Frequently updated – last updated May 24, 2015.
Where the Dutch language begins and where it ends is an important question. Ethnologue splits Low Franconian-Low Saxon (whatever that is) into 15 languages – Flemish, Dutch, Zeelandic, Afrikaans, Achterhoeks, Drents, Gronings, Plautdietsch, Sallands, Low Saxon, Stellingwerfs, Twents, Veluws, Westphalian and East Frisian Low Saxon. Instead of the confusing Low Franconian-Low Saxon, we will henceforth refer to the same as “Macro-Dutch.”
This treatment will lump together many of the Dutch Low Saxon lects as Dutch, put East Frisian Low Saxon into Dutch, put Westphalian and German Low Saxon into German, move Limburgish out of German to Dutch where it belongs, and create a dozen new Macro-Dutch languages.
An important question is the position of Frisian languages in all of this. Currently Ethnologue has them in Anglo-Frisian. Gooskens 2004 makes a good case that Frisian is better analyzed as Macro-Dutch than Anglo-Frisian based on Levenshtein distance. She is probably correct, but I am going to leave Frisian outside of Dutch until I can analyze it better.
Anyway, genetically, Frisian is a part of an Anglo-Frisian family (Gooskens 2004). However, Frisian has drifted far away from English due to massive influence from Dutch such that it now is closer to Dutch than the Scandinavian languages are to each other (Gooskens 2004). It depends on if you wish to analyze Frisian based on its genetic history or on which language it is closest to.
Neither is German intelligible to Dutch speakers, even after 3-4 years of studying German. This even holds for Low German, which is often held to be intelligible with Dutch. It’s not, even after 3-4 years of study and even to speakers of Dutch-German border lects in the Netherlands that are presumably closer to Low German than the rest of Dutch. After 3-4 years of German, Dutch speakers have only 55% intelligibility of Low German, and the ones on the border have only 59% intelligibility of Low German (Gooskens in publication).
Nor are Frisian and Dutch mutually intelligible, another common claim. They have combined intelligibility of 61% (Gooskens 2005). Neither are Afrikaans and Dutch mutually intelligible. Combined intelligibility of the two languages is 55%, the same as Spanish and Portuguese (Gooskens 2005).
The Dutch either have a nationalist complex or are possible simply ignorant or indifferent on the question of what constitutes “Dutch.” They take a very conservative, nationalist view of the language question. To the Dutch, every language spoken in the Netherlands and some spoken outside of it is Dutch. Brabantian, Flemish, Veluws, Afrikaans, Limburgish, Bergish, Guelderish, Kleverlandish and Dutch Low Saxon are often all considered to be dialects of Dutch.
To be fair to the Dutch, I’m making a similar claim here, but instead of calling all of the above dialects of Dutch, I will call them separate languages under an umbrella called Macro-Dutch which subsumes them all.
The Dutch do recognize Limburgs and Low Saxon as minority languages.
Spain, Germany, Italy, France and Sweden do not recognize the languages under the umbrellas of Macro-Spanish, Macro-German, Macro-Italian, Macro-French and Macro-Swedish umbrella.
Spain does not recognize Asturian, Aragonese or Extremaduran. France does not recognize the many langues d’oil. Italian does not recognize Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, Venetian, Emigliano, Romano, Neapolitan or Sicilian. Sweden does not recognize Scanian, Gutnish, Jamska or Dalecarlian. Germany does not recognize Bavarian, Swabian, High Franconian, Low German, Westphalian, Upper Saxon, Ripuarian or Pfaelzisch.
Probably the reasons that these languages are not recognized is due to the national consolidationist efforts behind a standard language and the fears of splintering the standard into substandard forms and the separatism that may ensue. So the Dutch are simply following in standard European modernist tradition.
This has resulted in problems and violations of language rights for speakers of other Low Franconian lects. For instance, Zeelandic is definitely a separate language, not a dialect of Dutch. Zeelandic speakers petitioned to have their language recognized as a minority language nine years ago, but the Dutch government has refused to grant this request.
The truth may disturb many Dutch speakers. For Dutch is not just the 15 languages confusingly listed in Ethnologue; it is actually 30 separate languages, which I will attempt to demonstrate below.
Method: Various “Dutch” and “Low Franconian” lects were analyzed on the basis of mutual intelligibility with Standard Dutch to see if they warranted treatment as separate languages. A rough guide was >90% intelligibility = Dutch dialect and <90% intelligibility = separate “Macro-Dutch” language. There are reasons for choosing 90% as a metric. Below 90%, and it gets difficult to discuss complex or technical subjects. Also, 90% seems to be where Ethnologue splits dialects from languages these days, and they are in charge of giving out ISO codes.
Other lects in Ethnologue’s treatment were analyzed to determine whether they belonged in “Macro-German” or “Macro-Dutch.” Westphalian and German Low Saxon were moved to Macro-German; the rest were moved to Macro-Dutch.
Anecdotal reports and scientific studies were reviewed, and native speaker informants were interviewed. Where intelligibility estimates are controversial, scientific intelligibility studies could always settle the matter. The creole was not counted.
Results:Ethnologue’s Low Franconian-Low Saxon was expanded from 15 into 32 languages based on mutual intelligibility. Below, separate languages are in bold, while dialects are in italics. Dutch, like Arabic, Italian, German, Chinese and so many others, is a macrolanguage.
Discussion: This work is merely a working hypothesis intended to be discussed and criticized by scholars and interested parties. I would be interested in criticism on a peer review basis. Criticism must be both constructive and friendly, otherwise it will be summarily rejected. This is very much a work in progress.
In recent years, there were five Dutch creoles spoken in Indonesia, Guyana and the US Virgin Islands. It appears that four of the five are extinct, and one is barely alive.
Berbice Creole Dutch is barely alive, spoken in Guyana by only four speakers. There are another 15 with limited competence. It is spoken in the Berbice River region of the country. About 1/3 of the words and most of the morphology is from the Nigerian Bantu language Izon, a language with 1 million speakers. The rest of the lexicon is mostly from Dutch. 10% of the words are borrowings from Guyanese Creole English and Arawak, an Indian language still spoken in Guyana.
Low Franconian Languages and Dialects
Standard Dutch, Algemeen Nederlands or AN (henceforth, AN) is a major world language spoken by all 15 million residents of the Netherlands and an additional 7 million speakers elsewhere. Although one might suspect that Dutch goes all the way back to the oldest Old Franconian, actually, the lects closest to Old Franconian are French Flemish, West Flemish and Zeeland Flemish. Dutch proper seems to have broken off sooner.
Dutch has many dialects, but they are all more or less intelligible. There are two forms of Dutch in general – Hollandic and Brabantian. Both are part of AN. Modern Belgian Dutch is much more Brabantian than Hollandic.
There is also Brabantian Netherlands Dutch, a dialect of Netherlands Dutch, and Brabantian Belgian Dutch, a dialect of Belgian Dutch or Vlaams (Grondelaers 2009).
Surinamese Dutch is a Dutch dialect, easily intelligible with AN, that is spoken in Suriname. It has 280,000 speakers, or 60% of the population. It is the official language of Suriname.
Netherlands Dutch is the Dutch dialect spoken in the Netherlands, differentiating with Belgian Dutch. It is widely understood throughout the country, especially the Standard Dutch variety of this dialect that has been popularized in the Netherlands since the 1960’s.
Netherlands Brabantian Dutch is a Dutch dialect spoken in North Brabant Province in the Netherlands (Grondelaers 2009). It is easily intelligible with AN. This dialect has about 2.45 million speakers.
Belgian Brabantian Dutch is the same thing as the Verkavelingsvlaams described below. It is spoken in North Brabant Province and in Antwerp Province by about 3.4 million speakers. It is being replaced by French in Brussels, but it is still widely spoken elsewhere.
Stadsfries is a mixed dialect spoken in certain urban areas of Friesland such as the towns of Leeuwarden, Dokkum, Bolsward, Sneek, Stavoren, Harlingen and Franeker. Originally Frisian speakers, they gave up Frisian for Dutch about 500 years ago. The vocabulary is mostly Dutch with Frisian pronunciation. AN speakers can understand this dialect pretty easily. Lately it is seriously declining and has low prestige, hence it is becoming a sociolect spoken mostly by low-income people in the cities.
Snekers is a Stadsfries dialect spoken in the Friesland city of Sneker. It traces back to 1600 or so when locals abandoned West Frisian for Hollandic speech as an elite gesture, since Hollandic was not spoken much outside of the Holland Provinces. By 1800, the rest of the city had modeled their elitist behavior after the rich and the whole city spoke Snekers. It continued to be a highly valued speech until 1900. People kept speaking it a lot until WW2.
The disdain towards Frisian, seen as peasant speech, continues in many Snekers speakers to this day. In the 20th Century, many rural people moved to the city, and many foreigners moved there too. Snekers became a speech used only by Sneker natives among themselves. They spoke Dutch or sometimes Frisian to newcomers. Nowadays, Snekers is dying. The youth have taken it up, but they speak a watered down version that is probably intelligible to AN speakers.
Hollandic Dutch is the other large dialect of Dutch besides Brabantian. Hollandic is spoken in the provinces of North Holland and South Holland by about 6 million speakers. This dialect is intelligible with AN. Hollandic Dutch is the variety that is closest to AN. It is divided into two lects, North Hollandic Dutch and South Hollandic Dutch.
IJmuidens is a dialect spoken in by the lower classes in IJmuiden, the third largest port in the Netherlands, in North Holland. The dialect is probably readily intelligible with AN.
Haarlems is the dialect spoken in Haarlem in North Holland, especially by the lower classes. It does not differ much from Amsterdams or AN. This area has long had the reputation for being the place where the purest Dutch is spoken, although this is no longer true anymore. Nowadays, the purest Dutch is spoken in places like Dronten on the Dutch polders in the IJsselmeer.
Nijmeegs is a very interesting dialect spoken in the city of Nijmegen in eastern Gelderland. Although strictly speaking it should be a South Gulderish dialect, it has heavy Hollandic features such that it may well be intelligible to AN speakers. Until the late 1800’s, residents of the city were speaking a typical South Gulderish dialect. However, in the late 1800’s, the upper class of the city began speaking a Randstad dialect similar to Amsterdams and Haags.
The lower classes quickly began speaking the same dialect, and the traditional dialect of the city disappeared, as it was poorly valued anyway. Nijmeegs still has some East Brabantian, Limburgish and Achterhoeks features, but it also lacks many characteristic Limburgish and Brabantian features of surrounding dialects.
Amsterdams is the dialect of the city of Amsterdam, spoken by the lower classes in the city. It is still spoken in the city, especially in certain neighborhoods. Although it is located in North Hollands, Amsterdams is more of a South Hollands dialect. A book published in 1874 found an astounding 19 different dialects spoken in the city.
Although it is still spoken, Amsterdams is associated with lower-classes, street toughs, etc, such that many Amsterdammers try to unlearn the dialect in order to improve their career chances. Amsterdams has many Yiddish words due to the fact that a large Jewish community has traditionally lived there. Amsterdams is intelligible with AN.
Haags is a South Hollandic dialect spoken by the lower classes in The Hague. It is easily intelligible with AN. The dialect is dying out and undergoing serious leveling, but since the 1980’s there has been a movement to bring back the dialect, and more residents of the city are speaking it, often with intentionally exaggerated features. Its syntax is similar to AN and is quite different from the nearby Rotterdams and Leids dialects.
Gouds is a South Hollandic dialect spoken in the city of Gouda, 20 miles northeast of Rotterdam. In many ways it is similar to AN. With mass immigration and compulsory education in AN, the real Gouds is hardly heard anymore.
Rotterdams is the South Hollandic dialect spoken in the city of Rotterdam. It differs little from AN. This is because the standard for Hollandic dialects, dating back to 1600, was the Rotterdams dialect. Its influence spread throughout the region, first to the upper classes and then to the lower classes as they imitated the speech of the rich.
The Rotterdams dialect does have many unique features, mostly due the waves of immigrants who have come to the city, each bringing their own language which added to the Rotterdams dialect. In the 1800’s, there was a large influence from Brabantian and Zeelandic speakers. In the 1900’s, the influences have become more varied, as speakers of Arabic and the Papiamento or Surinamese creoles added their words to the mix. It is still heard throughout the Rotterdam region and in the cities of Spijkenisse, Hellevoetsluis and Capelle aan den IJssel to the east and southwest.
Bildts is a mixed Frisian-Dutch lect spoken in the Het Bildt, a polder region in Friesland northwest of Leeuwarden that dates back to the 1500’s. Many immigrants came from the South Holland area to this part of Friesland to help create the polders. Their South Hollandic lects mixed with the Frisian spoken by the local farm workers to create this interesting mixed dialect.
Intelligibility between Bildts and AN is not known, but in a dialect map published in 1974 showed Bildts the furthest of all from AN (Berns 1991). On the basis of that study, Bildts may indeed be a separate language, but better intelligibility data would be nice.
Midslands is a North Hollandic dialect, similar to Stadsfries, that is still spoken in on Terschelling Island off the coast of Friesland in the village of Midsland. It has Hollandic and Frisian influences. Intelligibility data is lacking.
Amelands is a another dialect like Midslands and Stadsfries. It has mostly Hollandic vocabulary with Frisian grammar. There are four villages on the island, each with their own dialect. Nevertheless, all dialects are intelligible with each other.
The dialect developed in the 1700’s when Hollandic migrants moved to the island, probably for trade, and the locals gave up their Frisian speech for Hollandic. The process was not complete, and Amelands was the result. It is still very widely used. 85% of youth continue to speak Amelands. Intelligibility with AN is not known.
Westfries is a highly divergent dialect of Dutch spoken in West Friesland that is not to be confused with the West Frisian language. It is dying out and is only spoken by about 8% of the population. There are many subdialects, often one for every village or town they often differ considerably.
There is some confusion about the difference between this Dutch dialect and the West Frisian language proper. It has heavy Frisian influence. A better way to describe it might be to say that it is a mixed language of Dutch and West Frisian, almost a “creole.” It could also be described as Dutch with a heavy Frisian substrate.
Westfries was apparently a Frisian language for centuries until it died out about 200 years ago. It appears to have transformed from a full Frisian language to a form of Dutch. The strong variety is still used in cabaret performances.
Another way to look at it is that Westfries is one of the last of the more pure Hollandic dialects. Most of the rest of Hollandic has undergone serious leveling such that most of the peculiar features, such as the Frisian substrate that characterized all Hollandic, have washed out. AN speakers reportedly have a hard time understanding Westfries, and it is about as distant from AN as Zeelandic. There appears to be more than one language inside Westfries, since it’s not uncommon for speakers of varying Westfries lects to not understand each other.
Westfries consists of two parts. One, the Westfries language, which consists of Island Westfries. And two, Land Westfries, which is part of the North Hollandic language.
Island Westfries or Eland Westfries is a major split in Westfries. This is spoken on the islands and former islands of Texel, Vlieland and Wieringen and on land in the city of Enkhuizen. Island Westfries has poor intelligibility with the more common Land Westfries due to its archaic character, hence it may be a separate language.
Wierings is an Island Westfries dialect spoken on the former island of Wieringen. It is very close to Tess, the dialect of Texel Island. Wierings is rapidly disappearing and is only spoken by the older generation. Younger people speak a weak Wierings which looks more like Land Westfries. There is a navy base on Wieringen, so many non-islanders have come to live there.
Tessels is an Island Westfries dialect spoken on the island of Texel in North Holland that is so different from the rest of Island Westfries that it must be a separate language. It is still widely spoken, especially in the rural areas, but it is not much spoken in the larger cities. There are different varieties of Tessels spoken in the towns of Oudeschild, De Cocksdorp, Den Hoorn and Oosterend. The dialects differ greatly, and speakers from different towns do not necessarily understand each other fully, hence intelligibility is somewhat marginal among the dialects.
North Hollandic is a language spoken in North Holland Province. It consists of the Land Westfries, Zaans and Waterlands dialects. The situation is confusing, as there is also North Hollandic Dutch, a dialect of AN.
Land Westfries is a dialect of North Hollandic Dutch, a major split in the Westfries language. This variety is less conservative and has been influenced more by Dutch. The more archaic varieties of Island Westfries have poor intelligibility with Land Westfries, hence it may be a separate language.
Kennemerlands is a North Hollandic Dutch lect spoken in Kennermerland around the cities of Haarlem and Beverwijk. It arose in the Middle Ages due to contact between Frisian speaking fishermen and speakers of North Hollandic Dutch. Towards the north, it looks more like Westfries and the Zaans dialect. It is best analyzed as a transitional dialect between North Hollandic and Westfries. It is unintelligible to AN speakers, and is apparently a separate language.
Durkers or Egmonds is a strange dialect, often analyzed as either Westfries or Kennemerlands, spoken on Egmond aan Zee in the north of North Hollands Province. In this treatment, we will analyze it as Kennemerlands. It is not intelligible with AN (Anonymous January 2010)
Zaans-Waterlands is a North Hollandic lect spoken in North Holland Province. It is composed of two dialects, Zaans and Waterlands.
Zaans is an archaic North Hollandic dialect spoken in the Zaan, an old settled and industrial area between Amsterdam and Haarlem. It is spoken in the city of Zandam and in the towns of Wormerveer, Krommenie and Zaandijk. It apparently arose out of Westfries. Zaans has difficult intelligibility with AN.
Waterlands is a Zaans-Waterlands dialect that is spoken between the Zaan and the IJsselmeer, the inland sea in the Netherlands. This dialect is very archaic, though it is similar to Zaan and Westfries. It has difficult intelligibility with AN.
Volendams is a Waterlands dialect that is extremely divergent. It is unintelligible with AN, and even other Waterlands speakers have a hard time understanding it, so it is probably a separate language.
The city of Volendam was isolated for centuries, and this gave rise to its strange language. This isolation, combined with immigration of speakers of other odd dialects from fishing villages around the Zuiderzee, helped shape Volendams. Volendams received huge immigration in 1859 following the evacuation of the former Zuiderzee island of Schokland due to fierce storms. The Schokland residents spoke a strange dialect called Schokkers which was basically a Low Saxon dialect similar to Urkers.
Markens is a very unusual Waterlands dialect that is spoken on the former island of Marken. It also received large input from the fleeing residents of Schokland. Markens is one of the most unusual dialects in the Netherlands and has been the object of many studies. It has difficult intelligibility with AN, but intelligibility with the rest of Waterlands is not known.
Markens appears to have a heavy base of Frisian or even Old Frisian. It appears to be undergoing dialect leveling under the pressure of the mass media and immigration, and young people typically do not speak pure Markens.
Goois is a North Hollandic dialect spoken in Het Gooi, a region in the far southeast of North Hollands. Cities in this region include Naarden, Bussum, Huizon, Blaricum, Laren and Hilversum. Opinions on this dialect are varied. One view is it is a Dutch-Low Saxon transition dialect, mostly in the far east of Blaricum, Laren and Hilversum. That would be transitional to West Veluws. This view sees the rest of the area as Hollandic. There is also influence from the Utrechts dialects. The dialect is still alive, especially in the three eastern cities discussed above.
South Hollandic is a lect spoken in South Hollandic Province. A similar situation is going on here as with Brabantian and North Hollandic. As there is Brabantian Dutch and North Hollandic Dutch and Brabantian and North Hollandic languages, so there is South Hollandic Dutch and the South Hollandic language. The South Hollandic language is mostly gone now, as dialect leveling has moved most of the dialects to South Hollandic Dutch. However, it remains alive in the form of the Strandhollands and East IJsselmonds dialects.
Aalsmeers is a dialect spoken in the city of Aalsmeer in southern North Holland near the border with South Holland. Traditionally, it was a Strandhollands dialect, but it has lost most of its Strandhollands features and is probably not a part of that group anymore. It has a similar genesis with the Strandhollands language, in that it was formed by immigrants from the Frisian-speaking north moving down to the area long ago.
However, due to geographical isolation (they were cut off on three sides by marshes or lakes and only accessible via a sliver of land) they were cut off from the rest of Strandhollands and the convergent evolution with it ended. There was also a group of Mennonites who came down from Friesland and settled in the area.
Immigrants probably kept speaking Frisian here longer than in other places. In general, this dialect is best seen as transitional between North and South Hollandic. The original Aalsmeers dialect is nearly extinct. Intelligibility data with AN is not known.
Strandhollands is a very conservative dialect of the Hollandic language spoken in the fishing villages in the area of Sheveningen and Katwijik aan Zee in the Holland Provinces. Intelligibility in general is marginal at best and hardly possible at worst between this lect and AN (Anonymous January 2010), hence it is a separate language.
This is a very archaic South Hollandic language that has preserved many old features, while the rest of South Hollandic behind the dunes has trended towards Hollandic Dutch. Strandhollands retains many features of Medieval Dutch. It is interesting that the standard dialect of The Hague is close nearby.
It emerged about 400 years ago and its provenance is obscure. Probably fishermen from elsewhere on the coast, such as Friesland and and the Zuiderzee moved into the area to take up fishing. The language has a strong Frisian substrate. Probably the isolation of the villages helped to keep the lect different from surrounding evolving lects.
The Strandhollands dialects become more intelligible with AN, in general, as one moves to the south. The least comprehensible ones are generally in North Holland Province. Intelligibility data between this and the rest of South Hollandic, especially East IJsselmonds, is needed.
Wijk aan Zee is a Strandhollands dialect spoken in the fishing village of Wijk aan Zee that has poor intelligibility with AN (Anonymous January 2010). The town is located west of Beverwijk.
Zandvoort is a Strandhollands dialect that is hardly comprehensible to AN speakers (Anonymous January 2010). It is spoken in Zandvoort on the coast west of Haarlem.
Noordwijks is a Strandhollands dialect spoken in the fishing village of Noordwijks an Zee in South Holland Province. Intelligibility with AN is somewhat marginal (Anonymous January 2010). Noordwijks is probably the easiest Strandhollands lect for AN speakers to understand.
Katwijks is a Strandhollands lect spoken in the fishing village of Katwijks an Zee in South Holland Province. It is based on an archaic version of Leids, the dialect of the city of Leiden. Katwijks, like Zandvoort and Wijk aan Zee to the north, is barely comprehensible to AN speakers (Anonymous January 2010).
Schevenings is a Strandhollands dialect spoken in the fishing village of Scheveningen in South Holland Province. It has marginal intelligibility with AN (Anonymous January 2010). This dialect is said to be based an archaic version of Haags, the dialect of The Hague.
Zoetermeersis a very divergent South Hollandic dialect spoken in the city of Zoetermeer 10 miles east of the Hague. This was always an isolated farming village, so it was not effected much by the trends effecting the Haags dialect a short while away. In the 1960’s, the population grew from 10,000 to 120,000 as immigrants flooded into the Hague region. Hence, only a few locals speak the dialect anymore.
Westhoeks is spoken in the Westhoek in northwest North Brabant. It’s a Hollandic dialect spoken in Brabant. No one is sure why. They are Protestants, and this may have something to do with it, but it’s more likely a case similar to Bildts, where many Hollandic speaking immigrants moved to the area after the polders were created in the 1600’s and afterward. Intelligibility with the rest of South Hollandic is not known.
Westhoeks is divergent enough from the rest of South Hollandic to be given its own category in many analyses. It has some influence from Dordts, the old dialect of Dordrect not far to the north.
Fijnaarts is a Westhoeks dialect spoken in the village of Fijnaart in North Brabant.
Dordts is a South Hollandic dialect spoken in the city of Dordrect that is intelligible with the rest of South Hollandic. It has heavy Zeelandic and Brabantian influences. In the 20th Century, it underwent dialect leveling under the influence of the much less divergent Rotterdams dialect in Rotterdam. The strongest Dordts is now heard in the center of the city.
IJsselmonds is a South Hollandic lect spoken south of Rotterdam on the old island of IJsselmond, now reclaimed from the sea. The former island can now be seen via satellite as #9 on this map. In general, it is south of Rotterdam between the Niewe Maas and the Spijkenisse Rivers. The region is now heavily industrial, particularly gone over to shipbuilding. The lect is quite a bit different from both AN and Rotterdams. It has two main variants, West and East IJsselmonds.
West IJsselmonds has come under severe Rotterdams influence and can hardly be heard in its pure form anymore. It is only barely alive in the town of Pernis.
East IJsselmonds is extremely divergent from AN and Rotterdams and cannot be understood outside the region. It has mostly undergone dialect leveling and in general is rarely heard. The youth speak a watered down version that is intelligible with AN. Only in the city of Hedrik-Ido-Ambrecht can the true lect be heard on an everyday basis. Given that it’s unintelligible outside the region, it may be a separate language. Intelligibility data between this and the rest of South Hollandic, especially Strandhollands, is needed.
Ambachts is the last remaining holdout of the East IJsselmonds language. This is a deeply conservative dialect, the most conservative of the language, such that the lect of one village may differ greatly from the next. It has striking influences from the Umbrechts-Alblasserwards dialect group to the east.
Baorendrechts is a deeply conservative East IJsselmonds dialect that is spoken in the city of Barendrecht. It has been mostly superseded by AN these days.
Bulessers is another deeply conservative East IJsselmonds dialect spoken in the city of Bolnes. It is almost extinct, under heavy pressure from AN.
Zwindrechts is an East IJsselmonds dialect spoken in Zwijndrecht. It has undergone serious dialect leveling due to the effects of industrialization but can still be heard, mostly in farmers. It has some Dordts influence.
Rekkarkeks is a South Hollandic lect spoken in the city of Ridderkerk, halfway between Rotterdam and Dordrect. This is a very unusual lect that is very different from AN. Hence is has poor to marginal intelligibility with AN, and thus, it may well be a separate language.
It is located just to the east of the East IJsselmonds language, hence its unusualness is probably due to its East IJsselmonds features. It is barely alive and has only a few speakers left. A diluted version is still quite alive. Intelligibility data with the East IJsselmonds language is urgently needed.
Hoekschewaards is a South Hollandic dialect spoken on a former island southwest of Dordrecht, between the Spijkenisse River and the Haringvliet Channel. The city of Numansdorp is located in this region. This dialect has strong IJsselmonds and Albasserwards tendencies. These are much stronger than the Dordts influences. It has three divisions, West Hoekschewaards, East Hoekschewaards and Gravendeel. It is still very much alive, though it is coming under heavy influence from Rotterdams and AN.
West Albasserwards is spoken in the Western part of the Albasserwards, east of Rotterdam about halfway to the Utrecht border. The dialect is dying out in many areas, and there is little interest in preserving it. However, in many of the rural areas, a strong dialect is still alive.
In the eastern part of the Albasserwards, the dialect is like that of Utrecht, but in the west it is quite Hollandic, although it has some Utrecht influences. The dialect differs even from village to village. It is spoken in cities such as Sliedrecht and Papendrecht. The Papendrecht dialect is almost gone due to heavy immigration.
Slierechsis the very divergent West Albasserwards dialect spoken in the city of Sliedrecht. People here have taken more interest in their dialect than elsewhere in the region, and there are regular CD’s and books issued on it.
Utrechts-Alblasserwaards is a dialect group of Hollandic dialects spoken in Utrecht Province, far southeast South Hollands and a small part of Gelderland. To the south there are dialects heading into Brabantian and to the east, there are more dialects heading into South Gulderish. The dialect has low prestige, and there is little interest in it, even among speakers. Nevertheless, it is still learned by children, and there are 330,000 speakers of this dialect.
Utrechts is spoken by the lower classes of the city of Utrecht, capital of Utrecht Province. Nowadays it is spoken more in the rural areas around the city than in the city itself, but even in the city, it is still spoken in certain districts. There is a lot of immigration into the city and emigration out of it, so the dialect is dying.
Vijfheerenlands is an Utrechts-Alblasserwaards dialect spoken in the Vijfheerenland region in the southeast of South Holland. This area includes the cities of Vianen, Meerkerk, Leerdam and Lexmond.
Eemlands is a confusing set of dialects spoken in the eastern part of Utrecht and has strong Veluws influence. Some say that they are Utrechts-Alblasserwaards dialects, and others say that they are West Veluws. The best analysis is that they are transitional between the two varieties, in other words, that they are Low Franconian-Low Saxon transitional dialects. They are spoken in Soest, Amersfoort and Bunschoten. Amersfoort and Bunschoten tend to be considered more West Veluws, and Soest tends to be seen as more Utrechts. With the exception of Bunschoten, these dialects are highly endangered.
Geldersevalleis is a set of dialects spoken in the Gelders Valley, 2/3 of which is in Gelderland and 1/3 of which is in Utrechts. The towns of Ede, Wageningen and Veenendaal are located in this region. These dialects are very hard to characterize, as they have West Veluws, Utrechts and South Guelderish tendencies. They are seriously declining and becoming more Hollandized.
West Veluws is a strange dialect usually collated with Dutch Low Saxon, but which is in fact a Low Franconian dialect. Practically speaking it is best seen as transitional between Low Franconian and Low Saxon. For the most part it is intelligible with AN, but as one moves to the north and east of the West Veluws area, West Veluws gets harder for AN speakers to understand. This dialect has heavy Dutch influence. In most places, this is a dying dialect, and it is not spoken much by young people anymore.
Even the forms of West Veluws still spoken in the home are coming under increasing AN influence. It is spoken in Amersfoort, Spackenburg, Bunschoten, Nijkerk, Barneveld, Putten, Voorthuizen, Ermelo, Elspeet, Uddel, Leuvenum, Harderwijk, Hierden, Nunspeet, Lunteren, Otterlo and Huenderlo. In Nijkerk, Amersfoort, Spackenburg and Bunschoten in the west of the West Veluws region, the dialect is nearly dead.
Brabantian is actually a separate language. It is distinct from Netherlands Brabantian Dutch, which is merely a dialect of Dutch (Grondelaers 2009). The real hardcore Brabantian is dying out, but it is highly divergent, and Dutch speakers say it is incomprehensible. Intelligibility is far lower than for Zeelandic. However, Verkavelingsvlaams speakers can understand Brabantian pretty well, since Verkavelingsvlaams is very Brabantian.
Brabantian is dying out in the Netherlands, but it is still spoken in Tilburg and in the rural areas of Nord Brabant. There is quite a bit of confusion about what is the pure Brabantian and what is Brabantian Dutch, but the key is intelligibility. Brabantian Dutch is easily comprehensible to an AN speaker, and the real Brabantian is not at all. Other than South Brabantian, which is a separate language, all of the Brabantian dialects are mutually intelligible.
North Central Brabantian is a dialect of Brabantian that is spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium in a strip that runs along the border around the towns of Ravels, Tilburg, Loon op Zant, Waalwijik, Vlifjmen, Huesderf and Drunen.
Tilburgs is a hard North Central Brabantian dialect that is still widely spoken in the city of Tilburg in the southern part of the Netherlands. It is intelligible with the rest of Brabantian (Anonymous January 2010).
East Brabantian is spoken in the eastern part of North Brabant. It is one of the main Brabantian divisions. The various divisions of East Brabantian include Kempenlands, North Meierjis, Peellands, Geldrops and Heeze en Lendes.
It includes the towns of Eindhoven, Veldhoven, Vught, Boxtel, Oirshchot, Best, Acht, Middelbeers, Eersel, Waalre, Mierlo, Luijksgestel, Bergelijk, Aalst, Heeze, Leende, Son, Helmond, Berjeijk, Schijndel, Lieshout, Beek, Gemert, Aarle-Rixtel, Aasten, Someren, Liessel, Duerne, Bakel, Mill, Veghel, Volkel, Uden, Nistelrode, Heesch, Zeeland, Boekel, Sint Michielsgestel in the Netherlands and Arendonk and Lommel in Belgium. East Brabantian is intelligible with the rest of Brabantian (Anonymous January 2010).
Northern Kempens is a hard East Brabantian dialect spoken in an area on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands in eastern Antwerp and western Limburg Provinces in Belgium and north into the Netherlands. Major cities and towns in the region include Turnhout, Arendonk, Eersel, Oirshchot, Hilvarenbeek, Retie, Oisterwijk, Boxtel, and Eindhoven. It is an area of poor soil with many marshes, bogs and forests. Lately, it is primarily a tourist region. Northern Kempens is intelligible with the rest of Brabantian (Anonymous January 2010).
Arendonk is a very specific, apparently highly diverse and possibly archaic Northern Kempens Brabantian dialect spoken near Turnhout close to the Dutch border. It is said to be unintelligible outside of the nearby area. Hence, it may well be a separate language.
Northwest Brabantian is a Brabantian dialect spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is spoken in Breda and the surrounding region to south into Belgium.
Cities in which it is spoken include Breda, Baarle-Hertog, Oosterhout, Steenbergben, Made, Raamsdonksveer, Roosendaal, Putte, Geertruidenberg Hoogstraten, Brecht, Moerdjik, Oudenbosch, Bergen Op Zoom, Huijbergen, Rijsbergen and Woesndrecht in the Netherlands and Woostwezel, Meer, Ekeren, Merksom, Kapellen, Lillo, Stabroek, Meerle and Rijkevorsel in Belgium.
This dialect was created from the Eighty Years War. After the war, this Brabantian-speaking region was essentially depopulated, and afterward, a large movement of immigration from the Antwerp region occurred, spreading the tendencies of the Antwerps dialect. Northwest Brabantian consists of three major dialects, Antwerps, Baronies and Markiezaats. Antwerps is spoken in Antwerp and north to the Netherlands border. Baronies is spoken in the area around Breda and Markiezaats is spoken in the west over by Zeeland.
Bredaas is a Northwest Brabantian dialect spoken in the city of Breda that is dying out. It is mostly spoken in certain areas and with the older generation. It tends to re-emerge around Carnival time though.
Markiezaats is spoken in the west of North Brabant around the cities of Bergen op Zoom and Steenbergen. It extends over to the Drimmelen region to the northeast and generally includes everything west of Breda.
Antwerps is a hard Brabantian dialect spoken in Antwerp, Belgium. It is intelligible with all the rest of Brabantian (Anonymous January 2010). This dialect is widely disliked in Belgium because it is neither Flemish nor a Dutch dialect, and hence is poorly understood.
It is often heard in the Belgian media, but it is rarely subtitled, and this is the cause of the frustration with non-Antwerps speakers. East Flemish speakers say that they cannot understand it. This language is spoken in Antwerp. In a study, 51% of East Flemish speakers said that they wanted subtitles when listening to Antwerps speakers on TV (De Houwer 2008). Antwerps was regularly heard on TV until recently.
This dialect is one of the most influential in terms of inputs towards the creation of Verkavelingsvlaams. Verkavelingsvlaams at the moment is heavily based on the Antwerps dialect. There is some uncertainty regarding the intelligibility of Antwerps with surrounding lects. Students who recently went to school in Antwerps say that they could not understand students who came from villages in the Antwerps area. It is not known what lects the villagers were speaking.
Wase is the name for a group of Brabantian dialects spoken in the Waseland in the far northeast of East Flanders. The capital of this region is the city of St. Niklaas. The area was originally wide fields bounded by willow trees. It flooded and was drained a few times. Many turnips are grown here.
Maaslands is a dialect of Brabantian that is spoken in a narrow strip in North Brabant south of the Maas River. It is spoken in the towns of Empel, Maren, Lith, Herpen, Oijen, Megen, Ravenstein, Oss and Grave, all of them along the Maas River.
Bosch is a Maaslands dialect spoken in Hertogenbosch, a large city a bit south of the Maas River in North Brabant. The dialect is still pretty well alive, but its use varies throughout the city, with some areas speaking a lot of Bosch and other areas in which it is rarely heard. Due to immigration and the fact that it has become a commuter town, the dialect has been declining for some time now.
Nederbetuws is a confusing dialect, usually included in South Guelderish, spoken in the Lower Betuws in Gelderland. It actually has heavy Brabantian features. The dialects of the river cities of Tiel and Culemborg are quite different. It is spoken in the towns of Tiel, Culemborg, Buren, Geldermalsen, Wadenoijen, Ophemert, Waardenburg, Herwijnen and Gorinchem. This is mostly a rural area, with a lot of livestock, fruit orchards, vegetables and greenhouses.
South Brabantian is a very divergent lect within Brabantian that is very hard for other Brabantian speakers, even those from nearby Antwerp Province, to understand (Anonymous January 2010). Therefore, it may well be a separate language. It is spoken in Brabant Province in Belgium and around the capital of Brussels. This area has retained the most extreme and archaic Brabantian features. It is under heavy pressure from Verkavelingsvlaams, especially in the cities and less so in the countryside.
The least intelligible variety seems to be spoken from Brussels west to the East Flanders border, especially in the rural areas and near the southern and western borders.
Brussels in the name for a group of South Brabantian lects that were traditionally spoken in Brussels, and still are by a small number of old people. In the past 200 years though, the language of the capital shifted to French. The remaining Brabantian speakers shifted to some form of Dutch, and many today speak some Dutch standard, usually VRT. At any rate, the original Brussels South Brabantian lects are now almost extinct, spoken only by the older generation, most of whom are also bilingual in French.
Traditionally, Brussels lects were very diverse and were not intelligible with Antwerps Brabantian or Leuvens South Brabantian from about 1650 on. Increasing French influence after the Eighty Years War which ended in 1648 resulted in a closing off of Brussels to most outside influence and increasing French influence on the Brussels lects. It was still the most widely used language in Brussels until the French occupation around 1800.
It then began to decline as more residents started speaking French. In part this was an urban elitist effect, as the local rural areas all spoke Brabantian dialects, and the city became increasingly French speaking, especially the upper class. To sum up, to speak French meant you sounded like an aristocrat and to speak Brabantian meant you were talking like a farmer.
During the 1800’s there was a big debate in Brussels about which form of Dutch to make the official language – some common Flemish form or something more like Netherlands Dutch? People could not make up their minds, and this gave people one more reason to just speak French instead.
Brussels is almost extinct, and only some older Brusseliers speak it. Apparently no one else, including almost everyone in Brussels, can understand them. As Brussels is barely understood even in the city, clearly it must not be understood outside the city either. Hence, Brussels may be a separate language. But intelligibility data with the rest of South Brabantian would be nice to have.
Marols is a divergent Brussels dialect traditionally spoken in the colorful Marollen district, traditionally a poorer, rundown working class area, that was recently full of drug dealers and bums, but is now undergoing gentrification. Marols is a strange mixture of Spanish, Yiddish, Walloon and Brabantian. The Yiddish and Spanish is from many Spanish Republicans and Polish Jews moving to this district just before WW2. Marols is rarely heard these days, and intelligibility with the rest of Brussels is not known.
Liekert is a South Brabantian dialect spoken in Liedekerke, Belgium in Brabant Province on the border with East Flanders. It is unintelligible with the rest of even Flemish Brabantian, including Antwerps.
Leuvens or Leives is a South Brabantian dialect spoken in the city of Leuven in Belgian Brabant. Many immigrants moved to the city after WW2, and use of the dialect reduced dramatically. Intelligibility between Leuvens and the rest of South Brabantian is not known.
Ninove is apparently a South Brabantian dialect spoken in the city of Ninove in the east of East Flanders. It is probably close to Liekert, and hence is very hard for even Flemish to understand.
Elingen is a South Brabantian dialect spoken in the town of Elingen on the border with Hainaut Province. It is not intelligible at all with Brabantian proper (Anonymous January 2010).
Aalsters is a South Brabantian dialect that is very hard for even the Flemish to understand. It is spoken in the city of Aalst in East Flanders, Belgium, on the border of Brabant Province. It is also spoken in Opwijks, Asses and Tenants over the border in Brabant Province.
Tiens is a South Brabantian dialect spoken in Tienen in Eastern Brabant, Belgium. It has Limburgish tendencies. It is dying out and tends to be spoken more by the working classes, but is still pretty widely spoken. Intelligibility with the rest of South Brabantian is not known.
Afrikaans is a separate language, recognized by Ethnologue. It is spoken in South Africa by 13.2 million people, including 6.45 million native speakers and 6.75 million second language speakers. 12-16 million people have basic knowledge of the language.
A study noted that Dutch speakers have 59% intelligibility of Afrikaans (Gooskens 2005), while Afrikaans speakers have 51% intelligibility of Dutch. The combined intelligibility estimate is 55%, close to distance between Spanish and Portuguese. Afrikaans split off from Dutch in about 1675 when Dutch settlers began settling in South Africa. The first written Afrikaans is dated to 1795.
Zeelandic or Zeêuws is a separate language, recognized by Ethnologue as a different Low Franconian language from Dutch. Zeelandic is not easily understood by AN speakers. It is spoken in Zeeland Province and in South Holland Province on the island of Goeree-Overflakee. This area is south of Rotterdam. It is best thought of as transitional between Dutch and West Flemish.
There are a variety of dialects, Walcheren, Zuid-Beveland and Goeree-Overflakee among others. Toward the north, Zeelandic looks more Hollandic or Dutch, and towards the south, it looks more Flemish. The dialects of Zeelandic Flanders are really outside of the definition of Zeelandic and are best described as East and West Flemish instead.
Although it is clearly a separate language from Dutch, Dutch nationalism mandates that it be seen as a dialect and not a separate language, hence the Dutch government refuses to recognize it as a separate language. The language is still in pretty good shape, though it is declining.
It still has 220,000 speakers. In some rural villages, up to 90% of the children still speak Zeelandic. The dialects of the larger cities are going extinct, yet Zeelandic is still in good shape in the rural areas. Surveys conducted in the 1990’s showed that 60% of residents of the area still spoke Zeelandic on an everyday basis. All Zeelandic dialects are intelligible with each other except South Beveland, which is possibly a separate language. Intelligibility between Zeelandic and West Flemish is not known, but may be high.
Along with French Flemish and West Flemish, Zeelandic is part of Southwest Low Franconian. These languages are said to be the remains of the oldest of Old Franconian.
Burgerzeeuws is a Dutch dialect spoken in Zeeland. Though it ought to be part of the Zeelandic language, it is not. It is originally Zeelandic, spoken in the cities of Zeeland, which was then replaced with Hollandic by status conscious upwardly mobile people. Like Stadsfries, this language developed in the 1600’s. It is especially spoken in Middelburg and Vissingen.
In the 1990’s, only 1/3 of urban Zeelanders spoke Zeelandic, compared to 2/3 in the province as a whole. This dialect is still alive though, even among the youth, especially in conservative Christian circles. In some areas this dialect is scorned, while in others it is valued. Burgerzeeuws has unknown intelligibility with AN, but it is probably easier to understand than Zeelandic proper.
Oostvoorns is a Zeelandic dialect spoken in the far north of the region that is actually spoken outside of Zeeland proper in the area called Oostverne just to the north. Some say that this dialect is actually Hollandic and not Zeelandic. It’s probably best seen as a transitional Zeelandic-Hollandic dialect. Intelligibility with AN is not known, but it’s probably better understood to AN speakers than the rest of Zeelandic.
Goerees is a Zeelandic dialect spoken in the Goeree region of Zeeland. The dialect of the fishing village of Ouddorp is quite different, with many unique words. It is quite a bit different from the rest of Zeelandic. This dialect is still widely spoken.
Flakkees is a Zeelandic dialect spoken in the region of Overflakee, east of Goeree. It is spoken in Ooltgensplaat, Middelharnis and Sommelsdijk. Flakkees is divided into three subdialects – West Flakkees, East Flakkees and Brabants Flakkees. Flakkees is still very widely spoken.
Schouwen-Duivelands is a Zeelandic dialect spoken in the Zeelandic region of Schouwen-Duivelands. In some places such as Bruinisse the dialect is in great shape, with 90% of youth even speaking it. In other places such as Burgh, Haamstede and Zierikzee it is undergoing decline due to tourism.
Thools is a Zeelandic dialect spoken on the former island of Tholen is Zeeland. It is undergoing some decline due to widespread immigration but is still widely spoken. There is a sharp barrier between Thools and the North Brabant area just to the east. The city of Oud Vesssemer speaks a mixed North Brabantian-Zeelandic dialect.
Walchers is a Zeelandic dialect spoken on the former island of Walcheren in Zeeland. It is spoken in the towns of Domburg, Westkapelle, Koudekerke, Arnemuiden and Oost Souburg. The dialect of the fishing village of Westkapelle is very different, with many unique words. In Westkapelle and Arnemuiden, the dialect is still doing very well. In other places it is under heavy pressure from tourism and immigration.
South Bevelands is a Zeelandic lect spoken in the Zuid Bevelands area of Zeeland. This area is still very rural, so the lect is in great shape. South Bevelands was scarcely touched by Hollandization during the Golden Age of Holland, hence its archaic character.
South Bevelands is extremely diverse, varying wildly from one village and town to the next to the point that communication is so seriously impaired that residents from different towns typically use AN to communicate rather than their town lects. On the face of it, it’s tempting to split off every town as a separate language, but that seems wild and threatens chaos, and until we get more data, it’s thankfully premature.
However, since South Bevelands is not even intelligible within itself, it can’t possibly be intelligible with the rest of Zeelandic, hence it may well be a separate language.
Land of Cadzands is a Zeelandic dialect spoken in the far south of the Netherlands in Zeelandic Flanders. It is properly seen as a Zeelandic dialect transitioning to West Flemish.
Dutch Low Saxon is a group of lects related to Dutch and German that are very hard to classify, especially in terms of their relationship with Low German in Germany and with Low Franconian (Macro-Dutch) in the Netherlands.
I originally put Dutch Low Saxon in with Low German and added it to my German reclassification. However, after thinking this over for a year now, I now believe that Dutch Low Saxon belongs much more in Macro-Dutch than in Macro-German. Nerbonne 1996 makes a convincing case that Dutch Low Saxon is more properly seen as Macro-Dutch than as Macro-German in a scientific paper analyzing Levenshtein distances between Dutch lects.
There is an argument floating around that all of Dutch Low Saxon is intelligible with all of German Low Saxon. This is certainly not true. Looking at Veluws to Schleswigsch, those two languages are not intelligible with each other at all. In fact, even Groningen and Veluws are not intelligible within the Netherlands alone.
Arguing against the notion of Dutch Low Saxon as being a Dutch dialect, many Dutch say that Dutch Low Saxon is not intelligible with Dutch. There is marginal intelligibility of around 90% between Dutch and Dutch Low Saxon (Zweers 2009). And some Dutch Low Saxon lects, for instance Veluws and Groningen, are not fully intelligible with each other either (Smith 2008).
Dutch Low Saxon includes four groups: Friso-Saxon, Westphalian, Gelders-Oaveriessels and Plautdietsch.
Friso-Saxon is a group of Low Saxon lects spoken in Groningen that have all been heavily influenced by the East Frisian language. These lects are Gronings-East Frisian Low Saxon, Stellingwerfs, Westerkwartiers, Kollumerpompsters, Kollumerlands, Middaglands, Middle Westerkwartiers, South Westerkwartiers, Hogelandsters, Stadsgronings, Westerwolds, Veenkoloniaals and Oldambtsters.
It is often stated that Friso-Saxon is intelligible with general Low Saxon across the board across the border in Germany. This is not true; it is only intelligible with East Frisian Low Saxon, which is not part of the greater German Low Saxon language. For instance, Gronings, Westerwolds and Veenkoloniaals have only 57% intelligibility of Bremen Low Saxon in Germany (Gooskens 2009). Friso-Saxon is broken into four principal groups: Groningen, East Frisian Low Saxon, Westerkwartiers and Stellingwerfs.
What is difficult is dividing up Dutch Low Saxon into different languages. Ethnologue has gone too far, with proper Dutch Low Saxon divided into eight separate languages – Gronings, Veluws, Sallands, Drents, Stellingwerfs, Twents, Achterhoeks and Plautdietsch. We have reduced this complexity quite a bit here, by reducing Dutch Low Saxon to Friso-Saxon, Stellingwerfs, Urkers and Plautdietsch – four languages, and a reduction of Ethnologue’s classification by 5 languages.
Gronings-East Frisian Low Saxon is a Friso-Saxon language, consisting of two parts, Gronings in the Netherlands and East Frisian Low Saxon across the border in Germany.
East Frisian Low Saxon is a Friso-Saxon dialect spoken in the East Frisian peninsula of northwestern Lower Saxony, Germany. It is intelligible with Gronings in the Netherlands. However, it has only 57% intelligibility with Bremen Low Saxon (Gooskens 2009). It has 230,000 speakers. There are still rural areas around here where the majority of people under age 40 speak the language. 50% of the population still speaks the dialect on a daily basis.
This dialect has an East Frisian substratum. There is dialectal diversity between the western and eastern branches. There are also speakers of this dialect in Iowa, about 500 of them, mostly over age 50. The classic variety of East Frisian Low Saxon probably looks something like this. Dialects include Hinte, Ems (Emsfriesisches), Weser (Weserfriesisches), Jeverländer, Harlingerländer, Ommelands and Mooringer.
Hinte East Frisian Low Saxon (Hintener) is a divergent dialect of East Frisian Low Saxon, but intelligibility data with the rest of East Frisian Low Saxon is not known. It is spoken in the town of Hinte in Germany on the Dutch-German border. Hinte is spoken in Eastern Friesland (Ostfriesland) in Lower Saxony in Germany and Groningen is on the Dutch side. It is somewhat similar to Twents.
Westerkwartiers is a group of Friso-Saxon dialects spoken in the far southwest of Groningen Province. This is the group of Friso-Saxon dialects that most resembles West Frisian. A good characterization of this group would be to say it is transitional from Gronings to West Frisian. The cities of Leek, Zuidhorn and Marum speak this dialect. The group includes Kollumerpompsters, Kollumerlands, Middle Westerkwartiers, South Westerkwartiers and Middaglands.
Kollumerpompsters is a Friso-Saxon Westerkwartiers dialect spoken in the city of Kollumerpomp and the surrounding area in the far east of Friesland. The municipality of Kollum speaks this dialect.
The Gronings group of dialects that are spoken in all of Groningen Province, some of Drenthe Province, and a bit of Friesland Province in far northeastern Netherlands. They have 320,000 speakers. They have a heavy Old Frisian (East Frisian) substrate.
Along with Limburgish, it is the group spoken in the Netherlands farthest from Dutch. Yet Gronings is intelligible with East Frisian Low Saxon across the border in Germany. Gronings is very close to Drents, but it is far from Achterhoeks, Twents and Stellingwerfs, and is not fully intelligible with Stellingwerfs or Veluws. Gronings appears to have good intelligibility of Drents (Felder 2015). Dutch speakers have 89-92% intelligibility of Gronings. But other Dutch speakers say that Gronings is often very hard to understand and sometimes they cannot understand anything at all of it (Felder 2015).
The original language of Groningen was Frisian, but there was a mass movement of Saxons from Drenthe to the area. They mostly settled in the city of Groningen, but then they radiated out from there. In addition, many East Frisian speakers came from across the border in Germany. This had to do with the reclamation of peat land in Groningen. The East Frisian language was supplanted by Low Saxon long ago, before the 1500’s. Traces of East Frisian still exist, but only in morphology and syntax and not in phonology (Heeringa 2004).
Gronings consists of North Drents, Hogelandsters, Stadsgronings, Westerwolds, Veenkoloniaals and Oldambtsters.
Hogelandsters is a Friso-Saxon dialect spoken in the far north of Groningen in a region called Hogeland. This is said to be the “purest” Gronings of all, and it is the hardest for AN speakers to understand. The cities of Leens, Ulrum, Baflo, Uithuizen, Bedum, Winsum, Loppersum and Uithuizermeeden are located in this region.
Stadsgronings is the Friso-Saxon dialect spoken in the city of Groningen itself. It is close to North Drents. The dialect is dying out in the city itself due to immigration of large numbers of students from outside the region who do not speak Gronings.
However, many people still speak Gronings in the city and some are more or less Gronings monolinguals who do not speak ABN well. These tend to be people age 40+ (Felder 2015).
Noordenvelds or North Drents is hard to analyze, but it is best analyzed as Friso-Saxon and not Drents proper. This dialect is close to Stadsgronings. It is spoken in the north of Drenthe Province in the towns of Roden, Norg, Eelde and Vries by 38,000 people. This is nearly the same speech as Stadsgronings (Felder 2015).
Oldambtsters-Reiderlands is a Friso-Saxon dialect spoken in a part of Groningen called Oldambt. It is related to Veenkoloniaals and Hogelandsters and has heavy Westphalian influence. Oldambtsters has a close relationship with the Rheiderlander dialect of East Frisian Low Saxon across the border in Germany; in fact, it is basically the same dialect. East Frisian was spoken here until 1400.
This dialect is steadily declining, but holds out best in the rural areas. German is still widely spoken in this part of the Netherlands, especially in the city of Winschoten. It is spoken in Winschoten, Scheemda, Noordbroek, Heiligerlee, Beerta and Nieuwe Schans.
Veenkoloniaals is a Friso-Saxon dialect spoken in eastern Groningen on the border between Groningen and Drenthe Provinces and over the border into Drenthe. This dialect came into being due to peat mining in the area. In recent years it has been expanding a lot, probably because it is closer to AN than neighboring lects.
Veenkoloniaals is close to Drents but even closer to Stellingwerfs. Veenkoloniaals lacks full intelligibility with Dutch. Veenkoloniaals is quite close to Stadsgronings and almost sounds like the same lect. There are a few differences between the two. This is a harder Gronings that is even harder for ABN speakers to understand than Stadsgronings (Felder 2015).
Westerwolds is another Friso-Saxon dialect. that, like Veenkoloniaals, is spoken in eastern Groningen. Westerwolds is not fully intelligible with Dutch and has heavy influence from East Frisian Low Saxon spoken in Germany. Although it is Friso-Saxon, it is closer to Westphalian than to Frisian. It has a particularly close relationship to Ems Low Saxon spoken in Germany.
Lately it has been losing ground to Veenkoloniaals. It is spoken in a small corner of far southeast Groningen on the German border in the towns of Stadskanaal, Musselkanaal, Ter Appelkanaal, Ter Appel and Vledderveen. ABN speakers say that this is an extremely hard form of Gronings that is very hard to understand, even harder to understand than Veenkoloniaals (Felder 2015).
Stellingwerfs is a Friso-Saxon language spoken in the municipalities of Weststellingwerfs and Oststellingwerfs in southeastern Friesland Province on the border with Drenthe and Overijssel Provinces and over the border into Drenthe and Overijssel.
It is spoken in towns such as Appelscha, Noordwolde, Tjalleberd, Luinjeberd, Donkerbroek, St. Johannesga, Rotsterhaule, Rotstergaast, Delfstrahuizen, Uffelte, Diever, Vledder, Echten, Steenwijk, Giethoorn, Tuk, Willemsoord, Oldemarkt, Kuinre, Smilde, Wolvega, Oldeberkoop, Oldeholtpa, Nijeholtpa, Dwingeloo and Oosterzee.
Frisian speakers moved into the formerly Drents-speaking area when peat-digging began. This began the process of Frisianization. Stellingwerfs is not usually put into Friso-Saxon, but Heeringa 2004 makes a good case for putting it into Friso-Saxon (Fig. 4, p. 97).
One way to look at Stellingwerfs is to see it as a Drents variety intermixed strongly with a Frisian layer (Heeringa 2004). The process of Frisianization began as early as the 1200’s. Stellingwerfs probably has over 300,000 speakers in two dialects, East Stellingwerfs and West Stellingwerfs. Stellingwerfs is not close to Gronings, Drents, Twents or Achterhoeks, and it is not fully intelligible with Dutch, nor with Gronings and Veluws.
Gelders-Oaveriessels is a dialect group within Dutch Low Saxon. It includes Urkers, Sallands, Drents and East Veluws. This group is also sometimes called West Dutch Low Saxon. This group has heavier Dutch (Low Franconian) influence than the rest of Dutch Low Saxon. The two other groups have heavy Frisian and Westphalian Low German influence respectively. The Dutch influence is primarily an archaic version of Hollandic from the 1600’s.
East Veluws is a Gelders-Overijssels Dutch Low Saxon dialect spoken in the Veluwe, a formerly heavily forested and swampy region along a ridge in northern Gelderland Province. This region has a lot of wildlife and used to be very popular with hunters. There are proposals to turn much of this region into a national park.
Although it is a part of Dutch Low Saxon, Veluws is marginal within this family (Smith 2009), with West Veluws looking a lot like Low Franconian (“Dutch”) proper, and East Veluws looking more like a typical Dutch Low Saxon. West Veluws and East Veluws can understand each other, and East Veluws and Twents are mutually intelligible. East Veluws is more intelligible with Dutch than any other type of Low Saxon, probably due to its close connection to West Veluws, a Low Franconian lect; however, East Veluws tends to have marginal intelligibility with AN.
Veluws is one of the lects where Low Saxon and Low Franconian are very close, similar to Gronings and East Frisian Low Saxon, except that Veluws in closer to Low Franconian, and Gronings is closer to Low Saxon. Nevertheless, Veluws is not fully intelligible with Stellingwerfs or Gronings. There are probably 300,000 speakers of all varieties of Veluws, but there are fewer Veluws speakers than speakers of Gronings, Stellingwerfs and Twents.
East Veluws is spoken in the towns of Apeldoorn, Doernspijk, Oldebroek, Elberg, Hattem, Heerde, Epe, Ernst, Vaasen, Het Loo, Twello, Gorssel, Brummen, Doesburg, Eerbeek and Dieren.
Sallands is a Gelders-Overijssels Dutch Low Saxon dialect spoken in the Salland region in the western part of Overijssel Province. Sallands has fewer than 300,000 speakers. Sallands lacks full intelligibility with Dutch, but is intelligible with Twents. Based on linguistic distance (Fig. 3) it may not be intelligible with Groningen. There is a transitional Sallands-Twents dialect spoken on the border with the northwest of the Twents-speaking area (ter Denge 2009). There is a lot of variability in Sallands.
Sallands is spoken in Zwolle, Zutphen, Nijverdal, Vroomshoop, Kloosterhaar, Marienberg, Hardenberg, Gramsbelgen, Lutten, Heemse, Witharen, Ommen, Oudleusen, Den Ham, Vilsteren, Dalfsen, Kampen, Heino, Lemereveld, Ittersum, Wijhe, Windesheim, Heeten, Olst, Espelo, Holten, Wesepe, Diepenveen, Lettele, Deventer, Bathmen, Genemuiden, Zwartsluis and Blokzijl.
Zwols is a Sallands dialect spoken in Zwolle, the capital of Overijssel Province. It has some similarities to Urkers nearby. 61% of the population still speaks Zwols. Nowadays, it is mostly spoken in the older districts. It contains many colorful slang expressions.
Dêmpters is the name of the Sallands dialect spoken in Deventer.
Zutphens is a transitional Achterhoeks-Sallands dialect that is spoken in Zutphen, a city in Gelderland. It is interesting because it has many Hollands features. Zutphens is still very heavily spoken by the population of the city.
Drents is a Dutch Low Saxon dialect that is in a group of its own. It has over 240,000 speakers in in Drenthe Province, where it is spoken by about 1/2 the population, and it also has some speakers in Overijssel. In towns like Zuidwolde, the majority of people even aged 30-40 continue to speak Drents as the main everyday language.
Every town and village has its own dialect. Drents is quite far from Twents, Achterhoeks and Stellingwerfs, but it is very close to Gronings and intelligible with Twents. Drents is not intelligible with Dutch.
It is spoken in Assen, Rolde, Geiten, Annen, Anlo, Eext, Klooverstervee, Gasselte, Borger, Grollo, Buinem, Elp, Amen, Beilen, Odoorn, Schoonloo, Hijken, Emmen, Valthermond, Zoordsleen, Sleen, Hoogeveen, Noordbarge, Dalen, Coevorden, Schoonebeek, Eursinge, Zuidwolde, Nieuw Amsterdam, Klazienaveen, Nieuw Schoonebeek, Zwartemeer, De Krim, Linde, Staphorst, Ruinen, Balkbrug, Meppel, Dedemsvaart, Rouveen, Den Hulst and Havelte.
Urkers is a very divergent Gelders-Overijssels Dutch Low Saxon lect spoken in the small city of Urks, formerly an island in the Zeelandic Sea. It is a very conservative Protestant town with no less than 17 churches, where 97% of the population goes to church every week for about three hours a day. Women marry young, and cohabitation is unheard of.
Urkers is utterly incomprehensible to AN speakers, and on structural and intelligibility grounds, there is justification for making it a separate language. Further, a linguistic analysis based on Levenshtein distance suggests that Urkers is best analyzed as a separate language in its own right, apart from all other Dutch lects (Heeringa 2004).
Westphalian Dutch Low Saxon is a branch of Dutch Low Saxon. It contains two dialects, Twents and Achterhoeks, is heavily Germanized and collates with the Westphalian Low German spoken across the border in Germany. Twents is one of the most divergent of all of the Dutch Low Saxon lects from AN, especially the dialects spoken in Vriezenzeen, Rijssen and Wierden.
Twents is a Westphalian Dutch Low Saxon dialect with 328,000 speakers, or 62% of the population of Twents, a region in Overijssel.
Every town has its own dialect, but all dialects are mutually intelligible. Twents is not close to Stellingwerfs or Gronings, but it is intelligible with Drents, Sallands, Achterhoeks (ter Denge 2009) and East Veluws. Based on linguistic distance (Fig. 3) it may not be intelligible with Groningen.
In the northwest of the Twents region, there is a transitional Sallands-Twents dialect that has a largely Twents vocabulary with a Sallands inflection. In the towns of Rijssen and Enter, there is a variety of Twents spoken that uses diphthongs where other varieties have monophthongs. This may be a remnant of an earlier Westphalian variety that may have been generalized throughout the Twents region. On the border with the Achterhoeks region, there is no clear dialect border, as Twents and Achterhoeks slide into each other (ter Denge 2009).
Twents is spoken in the towns of Vriezenveen, Almelo, Rijssen, Hengelo, Borne, Enschede, Oldenzaal, Tubbergen, Ootmarsum, Weerselo, Reutum, Denekamp, Deurningen, Losser, Lonneker, Glanerbrug, Usselo, Boekelo, Haaksenbergen, Diepenheim, Goor, Delden, Markelo and Wierden.
Achterhoeks is a Westphalian Dutch Low Saxon dialect. Achterhoeks is far from Drents, Gronings and Stellingwerfs but is intelligible with Twents (ter Denge 2009). Based on linguistic distance (Fig. 3) it may not be intelligible with Groningen. Achterhoeks is not intelligible with Dutch. Achterhoeks is in very good shape, and is widely used as an everyday language.
Achterhoeks is spoken Northern Gelderland east of East Veluws in towns such as Doetinchem, Terborg, Silvolde, Ulft, Dinxperlo, Alten, Winterswijk, Meddo, Groenle, Lichtenvoorde, Eibergen, Neede, Borculo, Ruunlo, Zelhem, Hengelo, Lochem, Laren, Almen and Vorden. Interestingly, Achterhoeks speakers in Dinxperlo can communicate with speakers of Westphalian German Low Saxon in Suderwick, Germany, across the border.
Plautdietsch is a Dutch Low Saxon language that originated in the Netherlands, but then spread to other parts of the world. It forms a subgroup of its own and is quite divergent from the rest of Dutch Low Saxon. It is not intelligible with many other Low German languages, Standard German, or Pennsylvania German. Plautdietsch has 50% intelligibility with Hutterite German.
This language was originally a Friesland Dutch Low Saxon lect, but they moved to Prussia after they were persecuted for their religion, and later they moved to the US. This is the language of the Mennonites worldwide.
Flemish or Vlaams is a separate language, recognized as such by Ethnologue. Flemish has anywhere from 30% (Zweers 2009) to 66% (Van Bezooijen 1999) intelligibility with AN. However, it is more complicated than that, for in truth, Flemish is more than one language. The primary split is between West Flemish and East Flemish. It’s now widely acknowledged by most that West Flemish and East Flemish are not completely mutually intelligible.
Hinrichs undated makes a strong case for the inclusion of Flemish as a recognized regional language in section III of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages based on linguistic distance to AN. The distance between Flemish and AN is as great as between Low Saxon and Dutch, and Low Saxon is recognized.
VRT-Nederlands, BRT-Nederlands, VT-Nederlands or BT-Nederlands are abbreviations for the form of AN spoken in Belgium. It may be thought as “Dutch with a Fleming accent.” It is easily intelligible with AN, and is increasingly heard on Belgian TV. Further, many Flemings can also speak this language, which is pretty much what they are taught in school under the rubric of “Dutch” classes. There is tremendous confusion between this dialect and “Flemish.”
This dialect is simply a dialect of Dutch or AN. The varieties subsumed under Flemish are completely different languages altogether. This dialect is making increasing inroads in Belgian life and some Flemish speakers are becoming alarmed about this.
Standard Flemish, Verkavelingsvlaams, Vlaamse Tussentaal, VT or Soap Vlaams (henceforth VT) is a koine developed recently in Belgium that is understood by all Flemish speakers and is used often on TV. It is a mixture both of an artificially created Standard Flemish and the local dialects, and AN speakers find it quite incomprehensible. It is nearly the same as Belgian Brabantian. It probably has around 3.4 million speakers in Belgium. VT is fully intelligible with the Brabantian language.
West Flemish or West Vlaams is a highly divergent Low Franconian language that, along with French Flemish and Zeelandic, is part of Southwest Low Franconian and is the closest to the original Old Franconian. This group of languages is interesting because they have retained features of Ingvaeonic or North Sea Germanic features. Ingvaeonic is the postulated language that gave birth to Old English, Old Saxon and Old Frisian, possibly 2,000 YBP. It was spoken what is now the Netherlands, northwest Germany and Denmark. There are also influences from langues d’oil, not so much French proper as Picard, which is spoken adjacent to the West Flemish region.
West Flemish is spoken in Zeelandic Flanders in the Netherlands, West Flanders Province in Belgium and French Flanders in Nord Province in France (see map Fig. 1). East Flemish speakers have a hard time understanding West Flemish, especially the variety spoken in France. For example, West Flemish speakers regularly get subtitles on Belgian TV. Studies have shown that speakers of Antwerp East Flemish cannot understand the West Flemish of Oostende, Diksmuide, or Kortrijk, cities in West Flanders Province (De Houwer 2008).
West Flemish has 1 million regular speakers in West Flanders in Belgium and 70,000 in Zeelandic Flanders for a total of 1.07 million speakers. It also has a few speakers in Flemish Zeeland in the Netherlands.
Brugs is a West Flemish dialect spoken in and around the city of Bruges. It is quite divergent from other West Flemish dialects and even other Flemish find it hard to understand. However, precise intelligibility with West Flemish per se and not Flemish per se (whatever that means) is needed before we can determine whether or not it is a separate language. Brugs is declining in recent days and is being replaced with a more widely spoken Flemish, possibly VT.
Kortrijks is a West Flemish dialect spoken in the city of Kortrijk in the southeast of West Flanders. It is also spoken in the towns of Kuurne, Wevelgem, Ledegem, Moorslede, Muelebeke, Tiens and Izegem. Past Tiens, it starts turning into the Brugs dialect. Past Moorslede, it starts turning into the Ypres dialect.
Ypres is a South Flanders dialect spoken in and around the city of Ypres in the south of West Flanders. It is different from Kortrijks.
Waregems is a dialect spoken in the West Flanders city of Waregem. It is different from Kortrijks and is unique in some ways. It is best seen as a West Flanders dialect heading out towards the East Flanders language. There is an entire area on the border between West Flanders and East Flanders where the dialects may be hard to characters as belonging to either the West Flanders or East Flanders languages. There is a suggestion that only those from the immediate area can understand Waregems well, but until we get better data, it is premature to split it.
Vlaemsch or French West Flemish is a highly divergent West Flemish lect spoken in France that has been diverging from the rest of West Flemish for over 300 years since Louis XIV annexed it to France around 1680. Vlaemsch is full of French loan words, and other West Flemish speakers (such as Oostende West Flemish speakers) have a hard time understanding it, so it is probably a separate language.
Though it is recognized by the French government as a minority language (as “Dutch”), it gets no support from them and has been declining for centuries. It has 60,000 speakers, 20,000 of whom use it every day. The vast majority of Vlaemsch speakers are over age 60. Vlaemsch will probably go extinct in a matter of decades.
East Flemish or East Vlaams is a separate language spoken mostly in East Flanders in Belgium but also in Zeelandic Flanders in the Netherlands. It is not intelligible with AN. For example, the East Flemish speakers in Zeelandic Flanders have a hard time understanding the Brabantian Dutch speakers across the Schelde River. Also, East Flemish speakers have a hard time understanding West Flemish.
Not only is East Flemish a separate language, but there is tremendous dialect diversity inside of East Flanders. In fact, it appears that East Flanders is more than one language. East Flemish probably has about 1.1 million speakers, almost all in Belgium, but that figure may be inflated. The true number of speakers is hard to determine. There are 1.4 million residents in the area, but they cannot all speak East Flemish.
Gents is a highly divergent East Flemish lect spoken in Ghent, Belgium that appears to be a separate language. It is considered very hard to understand even by other East Flemish speakers, so it may be a separate language. To South Brabantian speakers, it may as well be Greek.
In fact, there are two different dialects of Gents, one on the west side of the city and another on the east side. In addition, the dialects of the villages around Ghent are also said to be different from Gents itself. Intelligibility data for the various dialects in and around Ghent is not known. This language has many features of a “language island,” in that it differs markedly from surrounding East Flemish lects. Gents has a strong French influence and many French loans.
Dendermondsis another highly divergent East Flemish lect spoken in the city of Dendermode. Studies indicate that other East Flemish speakers have a hard time understanding it (De Houwer 2008), so it may well be a separate language. Dendermode is about 1/2 way between Antwerp and Ghent. This language has heavy Brabantian influence, and that is why it is so different from the rest of East Flemish.
Lokers is an East Flemish dialect spoken in the city of Lokeren in the northeast of East Flanders on the border with Brabantian. Here East Flemish is transitioning to a group of Brabantian dialects called Wase, spoken in the Waseland. This dialect may be close to Dendermonds.
Limburgish is an East Low Franconian language that is spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is a separate language and is not intelligible with other forms of Low Franconian nor with any Low German. As a part of Meuse-Rhenish, it is transitional between Low Franconian (Dutch) and Low German (German).
Limburgish and Dutch had very different geneses – Limburgish came from Old East Low Franconian, and Dutch came from Old West Low Franconian. It has 1.6 million speakers. Each village and city has its own dialect, but they are all mutually intelligible. There are as many as 580 different Limburgish dialects.
Although Limburgish is said to be intelligible with Ripuarian, the truth is that it is not inherently intelligible with it. There are however some Limburgish and Ripuarian dialects on the borders of the two that are transitional between Ripuarian and Limburgish. See the South Guelderish and the Low Dietsch entries here for more on those transitional languages.
Limburgish is one of the Meuse-Rhenish languages. It is often claimed that Limburgish is intelligible with German, but this is not so. The intelligibility situation with regard to Limburgish and AN is confusing. Some say that Limburgish has marginal intelligibility with AN (Zweers 2009), but other Dutch speakers say that they can barely understand a word of Limburgish. A study concluded that Dutch speakers have about 89% intelligibility of Limburgish.
The real pure Limburgish is not intelligible with Standard Dutch at all, but what is most often spoken nowadays is a sort of a Dutch-Limburgish mixed language that is intelligible to most AN speakers. However, there are still some speakers of the real pure Limburgish around.
This Wikipedia article on Limburgish is wrong. It groups all of Bergish, South Guelderish, Southeast Limburgish and Dutch Limburgish into one “variety” or dialect, and then refuses to call that variety a language.
However, “Limburgish” is composed of at least four languages. Bergish is a separate language, not intelligible with Southeast Limburgish (60% intelligibility), South Guelderish, or Dutch Limburgish. Neither is Southeast Limburgish intelligible with Limburgish. And Venlo may well be a separate language all of its own.
Geleens is an East Limburgish dialect that is spoken in the city of Geleen in Limburg Province in the Netherlands. It differs quite a bit from the dialect of Sittard, even though the two cities have recently merged.
Sittards or Zittesj is an East Limburgish dialect that is spoken in Sittard in Limburg Province, the Netherlands. It’s quite different from Geleens. It is closest to dialects right across the German border, but otherwise it is a transitional Middle Limburgish-South Limburgish dialect, similar to Roermond.
Heerlen Dutch is a Limburgish-Dutch creole or dialect of Dutch spoken in the city of Heerlen in Limburg Province, the Netherlands. In the 1800’s, there were many coal miners in this area and everyone spoken Heerlen Limburgish. As the mines expanded, people came to work from all over the Netherlands and even the Kerkrade region of Germany.
None of them spoke Heerlen, and many didn’t even speak Limburgish. Later a sort of creole based on AN and Heerlen arose. What we have now is a Dutch dialect with a Heerlen base and a strong Limburgish flavor, not really a Limburgish dialect per se. Heerlen Dutch is apparently intelligible with AN.
Hasselts or Hessels is a Limburgish dialect spoken in Hasselt in Belgian Limburg. Dialect leveling has been occurring in the past 50 years as rural residents of the surrounding villages moved to Hasselt. It is best analyzed as a Belgian Limburgish dialect transitional with Brabantian.
Maastrichts is a Limburgish dialect spoken in the city of Maastricht in Dutch Limburgish. It has 60,000 speakers and hence is the largest Limburgish dialect. It is still widely spoken in the city. Maastrichts differs significantly from the dialects of the neighboring villages.
Horsters is the Limburgish dialect spoken in the city of Horst in Dutch Limburg. Some say that everything north of Venlo is outside of Limburgish proper and into South Guelderish. That’s an interesting argument, but we will leave it in Limburgish for now, especially since Limburgish isoglosses extend to just north of Horst. Some see it as transitional between Limburgish and South Guelderish, Kleverlandish and North Limburgish.
Tegels is is a Limburgish dialect spoken in the city of Tegelen in Dutch Limburg. Although it is very close to Venlo, Tegels speaks a typical Limburgish dialect, while Venlo is North Limburgish and is probably a separate language altogether.
They are so different because Tegelen was ruled by the Duchy of Gulik for 750 years, while Venlo was under the Duchy of Gelders for 400 years. The Duchys did not end their rule of both cities until around 1800 or so. Tegelen did not go to the Netherlands until 1817, when it was traded to Netherlands from Germany in exchange for the Dutch city of Henzogenrath, which was traded to Germany.
Weerts or Wieërts is a Limburgish dialect spoken in the city of Weert in Dutch Limburg. It is a Middle Limburgish dialect. Weerts, together with another Limburgish dialect spoken in Hamont in Belgian Limburg and a dialect of Bavarian, has more vowels than any other lect on Earth – 28 of them. The area around Weerts has many forests, sand dunes, bogs and marshes. This part of the Netherlands is also very Catholic. In the far north, it tends to be a lot more Protestant.
Hamont is a Limburgish dialect spoken in Hamont, on the border with the Netherlands in Belgian Limburg.
The map below (Fig. 3) is quite interesting. As we can see below, Limburgish is further removed from Dutch than Veluws, Afrikaans, and Dutch Low Saxon. Much of Dutch Low Saxon is also further from Dutch than Afrikaans.
South Low Franconian is the name for a lect spoken in Germany just east of the Limburgs Province in the Netherlands. Dialects include Jlabbacher Platt of central Mönchengladbach, Föschelner Platt of Fischeln in Krefeld, and Dremmener Platt of Dremmen near Heinsberg. The intelligibility of these German lects with the rest of Meuse-Rhenish is unclear, and it may be a separate language altogether. The closest in intelligibility would be to Bergish, Venloos and Southeast Limburgish in that order.
Southeast Limburgish (SE Limburgish) is a East Low Franconian language made up of a number of dialects that are transitional between Limburgish and Ripuarian. It has a close relationship with Limburgish. Some call SE Limburgish/Low Dietsch/Aachen German by an alternate name – Limburgish-Ripuarian of the Three Countries Area.
Some classifications put this language into Ripaurian, but it is possibly better analyzed as Limburgish or better yet Ripuarian-Limburgish transitional. The classification is important since if it is Ripaurian, this language is “German,” and if it is Limburgish, it is “Dutch.” But if we see it as Ripuarian-Limburgish transitional, this language may most properly be characterized as a Dutch-German transitional lect.
It is spoken in Belgium around Eupen, including Welkenraedt, Lontzen, Raeren, La Calamine, Eynatten, Gemmenich, and Moresnet; in the Netherlands between Ubach and Brunssum in the towns of Kerkrade, Bocholtz and Vaals, where it is known as Waals; and in a large area in North Rhine-Westphalia between the cities of Aachen and Eschweiler in the towns of Stolberg, Wurselen, Eilendorf and Kohlscheid. To the east over by Duren (Dürener Platt), we start moving into Ripuarian proper. It is also spoken in the far upper Eifel region around the Hurtgen Forest (Tulipan 2013).
It is a separate language, unintelligible to those outside the region. Most if not all Southeast Limburgish lects appear to be intelligible with each other (Tulipan 2013).
Bocholtzeris a SE Limburgish dialect spoken in the towns of Bocholtz, Bocholtzerheide and Baneheide in Limburg Province. It is still very widely spoken in the area. Intelligibility is about 90% with Stolberg German (Tulipan 2013).
Aachen German or Aachener Plattis a SE Limburgish dialect spoken in this same general region in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia on the border with Belgium. Aachen German has 60% intelligibility with Bergish, the form of Limburgish spoken across the border (Harms 2009). The common notion is that Aachen German and Bergish are the same language. Since they are not intelligible, this is not the case.
Intelligibility with Stolberg German is excellent (Tulipan 2013). Aachen German intelligibility with Ripaurian is variable, but averages 40% (Köhler 2015). Aachen German has 50% with Dürener Platt, 30% intelligibility with Kolsch, and 25% with Eupener Platt.
Stolberg German is a SE Limburgish dialect spoken in Stolberg, Germany, near Aachen. It is intelligible with Aachen German, though it has more Ripuarian influences. and 90% intelligibility with Kirchröadsj, Vaals, etc. Other than with Kirchröadsj and Vaals, etc. intelligibility is not good with the rest of the lects spoken in the Netherlands, including Limburgish proper. Stolberg German is still widely spoken (Tulipan 2013).
Kirchröadsj is a SE Limburgish dialect spoken in Kerkrade in the Netherlands. It is often put into Ripuarian, but we will put it in SE Limburgish instead. Kirchröadsj is not fully intelligible with Kölsch. But it along with Vaals and related lects is about 90% intelligible with Stolberg German (Tulipan 2013).
Low Dietschis a lect, often thought to be a SE Limburgish dialect, that is made up of a number of subdialects that are transitional between Limburgish and Ripuarian. However, Low Dietsch is better seen as a separate language because intelligibility with Southeast Limburgs is poor (Köhler 2015). When people say that Limburgish and Ripuarian are mutually intelligible, what they mean is that there are languages like Low Dietsch and Southeast Limburgish that are transitional between Limburgish and Ripuarian.
Around Eupen a Low Dietsch dialect called Eupener Platt (Eupen German) is spoken. Eupener Platt has only 25% intelligibility with Aachen German. Aachen Platt speakers say that Eupener sounds funny, like a mixture of Platt, French and English (Köhler 2015). Intelligibility is difficult with Stolberg German (Tulipan 2013).
Low Dietsch has been slowly dying out for a long time, since World War 1, almost a century, and it is not spoken much anymore. However, in recent years it is undergoing a Renaissance, and it is now being spoken more, even by young people, who seem to be spearheading the resurgence (Tulipan 2013). Eupener Platt has high but not full intelligibility with Kolsch (~70%) and the Middle Limburgish spoken in Heeren.
The following is an example of Eupener Platt.
By Siegfried Theissen
Wi de Ammerekaaner no Öëpe koëmte – iich gelöüf, et woër veerenvärrtech off voëvenvärrtech – wonnde ver ä gene Wéërt. Wi ver no hoërte dat-te Ammerekaaner ä gene Hollefter, a ge Schokkelaates, en gruëte Käüche oppgemaakt hoë, léïpe véër Kaïnder dahään, waïl aïnder es fertaut hoë, dadd-et ta Panneköük ömmesöss güëf. Änn taatsächlech, jédderéïne kräch esuvoël Panneköük, wi-e draage koss!
Änn véër Kaïnder krächte ouch noch en Taafel Schokkelaat, gätt watt fer allt lang neet mië geséë hoë. Dé Schokkelaat woër esu schwarrt wi di ammerekaanesche Köch.
Di Schwarrte doschde suwisuë märr Dénnsmättje schpéële! Obb-ene gouwe Daach gäng derr Vadder métt, änn éïne van di Schwarrte, dé gätt Döttsch koss, waïl-e e gannts Joër bi de Döttsche gevange gewässt woër, vrodde ann derr Vadder, off-e neet föël Gaïlt ferdeene wöül. Derr Vadder woër natüürlech mésstrouwesch änn saat: „ Watt möss-ech da davöër doë?“. – „Véër Schwarrte, saat-é Schwarrte, wäärde van de wétte Offtséëre esuë schléët behaïndelt, ver wäärde ouch esuë schléët betallt, dadd-iich nou oug ens gätt ferdéïne wéll!
Iich hann ene ganntse Kammjong voll Tsigerätte geklaut, änn dé wéll ech nou vöër voëvduusent Frang verkoupe. Et möss waal hü noch séë, waïl möëre wäärde ver versatt!“ Derr Vadder ho jo di voëvduusent Frang geschpaart, mä e saat, e möss terösch métt sinn Vro drövver kalle.
De Modder saat: „ Dat-tönnt fer! Esunne Kammjong Tsigerätte éss en Milljuën wäärt! Di Tsigerätte verkloppe ver ä Oëke, änn dé Kammjong wäärt fer béï ene Buër kwiit.“ Mä derr Vadder woër te bang. E woss neet, wu e dé Kammjong aunderschtélle köss, änn-e saat ouch: „Wänn de Ammerekaaner es schnappe, da schéëte di es, of-fer koëme joërelang ä gene Topp.“ Do saat-e Modder: „No hä ver ens Milljonäär wäärde könne, änn no hass-tou géïn Kuraasch!“ Mä derr Vadder saat märr: „Dou haas-tech förrege Wéëk allt genoch gelaïst!“
Iich woss néït, watt-e damétt maïnt, änn do vertaut de Modder: „ Ä gen Gosspertschtroët sönnd ouch Ammerekaaner änne su Huus, änn jéddesch Kiër wi ech da verbéïkoëmt, vrodde esunne Schwarrte: ‚ No Cognac? I give Cigarettes and Chocolate for Cognac!’ Iich ho allt lang géïne Konnjakk mië, mä ech ho waal noch en léëch Konnjakkflaïsch, médd-et Étikätt änn dréï Schtääre dropp.
Iich di Bubbel voll Tië gedoë, derr Schtopp dropp, alles fië togepläkkt änn no di Ammerekaaner. Wi di di Flaïsch soëge, paggde di mech en Schtang Tsigerätte änn dréï Taafele Schokkelaat änn en Tüüt, änn ië di di Flaïsch oppmaake kosste, léïp iich ewäkk, datt mech de Vokke vloëge. Wänn di mech kréëge häë, di häë miich kaut gemakkt! Mä saïtämm bänn ech neet mië dörrech gen Gosspertschtroët gegange!“
Hôessëlts is a Low Dietsch dialect spoken in Belgian Limburg in the small city of Hoeselt. It’s dying out, but a dictionary of it was recently published.
Aeres, Æres or Ourish is a West Central German Central Franconian language spoken around the German-Dutch border area that is closely related to, but very different from, Limburgish. It is spoken in several villages in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel and in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
It has 600 speakers, but there were formerly many more. Most speakers are elderly. Some say it is part of Dutch Low Saxon, others that is close to Limburgish, and others that it is close to Frisian, so its classification is quite confused. Some people say that the whole idea of this language is a fraud since good sources are hard to find, but this seems questionable. On the other hand, the existence of this language has not been well proven.
South Guelderish/Kleverlandish is a Low Franconian language consisting of South Guelderish spoken in Netherlands and and Kleverlandish spoken in Germany. It is part of Meuse-Rhenish, and hence is transitional between Low Franconian (Dutch) and Low German (German).
Dialects include Rheden, Cleves (Kleve, Kleef), Oberhausen, Essen-Werder, Venlo, Venray, Liemers, Cuijk, Groesbeek and Zevenaar, and also the dialects of Northern Limburgish. The Cuijk dialect is typical. South Guelderish has a very heavy Frisian substratum. Based on its distance to AN alone (see Fig. 3) it must have difficult intelligibility with AN, probably along the lines of Zeelandic.
Overbetuws is a South Guelderish dialect spoken in the Upper Betuws region of Gelderland. Cities in this area include Valberg, Elst and Zetten. It was widely spoken until recently, when it began to decline. It is similar to Liemers.
Liemers is a South Guelderish dialect transitional to Achterhoeks that is spoken in the Liemers region in the far east of Gelderland east of Arnhem to the German border. It is spoken in the towns of Didam, Zevenaar, Lobith and Wehl. This dialect is basically South Guelderish transitional to Achterhoeks Low Saxon.
Kleverlandish is South Guelderish spoken in Germany along the border with the Netherlands. Kleverlandish lects are quite a bit different from South Gulderish, but intelligibility data is lacking.
This dialect is often referred to as Kleverländisch. It is spoken southeast of Munster along the border with the Netherlands and north of Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Kleverlandish is not intelligible with Bergish (Harms 2009), as one is an analogue of North Limburgish and the other an analogue of South Limburgish. Venlo Kleverlandish is incomprehensible to most Dutch speakers. Kleverlandish is still widely spoken in Wesels, Germany, at least by the older generation (Anonymous 2009).
Venloos is an extremely divergent Dutch lect spoken in the city of Venlo in the center of Limburg Province. In the north of Limburg, Limburgish is no longer spoken, and the lect changes to more of a Gulderish/Brabantian type.
Venloos is interesting because it is so different. It seems to be transitional between Limburgish, Ripuarian German, and Gulderish/Brabantian. On purely structural grounds, there are suggestions that it is a separate language, but since we are dividing only on intelligibility and not structural grounds here, that won’t cut it. In the linguistic literature, statements are made to the effect, “If Limburgish is a separate language, then Venloos must surely be also.”
Venloos is regarded as particularly incomprehensible by many AN speakers, much more so than Limburgish. Venloos may well be a separate language, as it appears to be poorly understood outside of the Venlo region. Venloos is still very widely spoken in Venlo, even by young people. The Heinisch dialects next to the Dutch border in Viersen (Viersener Platt), Breyellsch Platt of Breyell in Nettetal and Jriefrother Platt of Grefrath are intelligible with Venloos.
Bergish or Neiderrbergisch is a form of Low Rhenish that is analogous to Limburgish. This is Limburgish spoken on the other side of the border in Germany, but the variety in Germany is a separate language.
There are two high level splits in Neiderrbergisch, Südniederfränkisch or Bergisch and Ostbergisch. However, both appear to be intelligible, so they are dialects of a single language (Harms 2009). The following nonbolded entries are all dialects of Neiderrbergisch Low Rhenish.
Ostbergisch or East Bergisch is spoken around Mülheim an der Ruhr, Saarn and Gummersbach. Gummersbach is a dialect of this language. All dialects are intelligible with Düsseldorver Platt Bergish (Harms 2009). Ostbergisch has a close relationship with the Sallands Gelders-Overijssels Dutch Low Saxon dialect spoken in Zutphen, however, the two are not completely intelligible. Dialects include Duisburg and Wuppertal.
Mülheim an der Ruhr is the classic form of Ostbergisch spoken in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany. It is quite different, but it is still intelligible with the other dialects.
Saarn Mülheim an der Ruhr is spoken in the Saarn District of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany, but it differs considerably from the standard version of Ostbergisch. Nevertheless, it is fully intelligible with the other dialects.
Bergish is one of two high level splits in Neiderrbergisch. It is definitely not intelligible with Cleves Kleverlandish (Harms 2009). This language is based on Low Rhenish but has acquired a heavy Ripuarian layer such that speakers feel that their speech somewhat resembles the Ripuarian language Kölsch, which is nearby (Harms 2009).
There are various dialects of this language, including Krieewelsch, spoken in central Kresweld, Ödingsch of Uerdingen in Krefeld, Metmannsch Platt of Mettmann, Düsseldorver Platt of northern and central Düsseldorf, Vogteier, spoken in Nieukerk, Solinger Platt of Solingen, Remscheder Platt of Remscheid, Rotinger Platt of Ratingen, and Wülfrother Platt of Wülfrath which is located between Düsseldorf and Wuppertal. Solingen, Krieewelsch and Wülfrath are all mutually intelligible (Harms 2009). It is also spoke in Neuss, Remscheid, Mochengladbach and Heinsberg.
Düsseldorver Platt is intelligible with Ostbergisch but not with South Guelderish, Limburgish or Aachen German. Düsseldorver Platt has 60% intelligibility with Aachen German. Düsseldorver Platt is not fully intelligible with any of the various lects spoken in the Netherlands (Harms 2009).
Düsseldorver Platt is mostly only spoken by older people these days, who nevertheless keep it very well alive. Middle-aged people have passive competence, but often not active, and young people may lack either, though some can hear the language.
Solinger Platt is a form of Bergish spoken in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The link leads to a description of it and a transcription of a short story in the dialect. It is fully intelligible with Düsseldorver Platt (Harms 2009).
Anonymous. Wesels Kleverlandish native speaker, Wesels, Germany. Personal communication. July 2009.
Anonymous. Antwerps, AN and Verkavelingsvlaams speaker, Antwerp, Belgium. Personal communication. January 2010.
Berns, J.B. 1991. “De Kaart van de Nederlandse Dialecten”, in Herman Crompvoets and Ad Dams, eds., Kroesels op de Bozzem. Het Dialectenboek, Waalre:24-27
DeEllis, Jonathon. Dutch-English translator and former Venlo resident for 10 years. January 2010. Personal communication.
Felder, Lianne. May 2015. Resident of Groningen City, Netherlands, ABN speaker. Personal communication.
Gooskens, Charlotte & Heeringa, Wilbert. 2004. The Position of Frisian in the Germanic Language Area. In: Gilbert, D. & Schreuder, M. & Knevel, N. (eds.), On the Boundaries of Phonology and Phonetics, 61-87. Klankleergroep, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, Groningen. Dedicated to Tjeerd de Graaf.
Gooskens, Charlotte and Kürschner, Sebastian. 2009. On the Low Saxon Dialect Continuum – Terminology and Research. In Lenz, Alexandra N.; Gooskens, Charlotte and Reker, Siemon (Eds.). Low Saxon Dialects Across Borders – Niedersächsische Dialecte Über Grenzen Hinweg, Zeitschrift fur Dialektologie und Linguistik. Beihefte 138:9-27.
Köhler, Pascal. Eschweiler German and German native speaker. Personal communication. January 20, 2015
Nerbonne, J. W.; Heeringa, E.; van den Hout, P.; van der Kooi, S. Otten, and van de Vis, W. 1996. Phonetic Distance Between Dutch Dialects. In: G. Durieux, W. Daelemans, and S. Gillis (eds.). CLIN VI, Papers from the Sixth CLIN Meeting. Antwerpen. University of Antwerp, Center for Dutch Language and Speech, 185-202.
Smith, Norval. Linguistics professor, the Netherlands. Personal communication. March 2009.
ter Denge, Martin. Twents native speaker, Rijssen, the Netherlands. Personal communication. November 2009.
Tulipan, Laszlo. Stolberg German native speaker, Stolberg, Germany. Personal communication. April 2013.
Repost from the old site. This article has produced a tremendous amount of controversy, angry comments, and even, oddly enough, virulent hate mail. I guess I hit some raw nerves. I stand by my comments that these cities are some of the worst in the world, and, in doing further research on the Net, have found only further support for my thesis. Some of these cities, such as Bogotá, for instance, have large wealthy districts that are apparently quite pleasant. If one is rich, one can make a nice life just about anywhere on the globe. But this is not important – what is important is how the majority live.
The title is a play on the line, “Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there”, said about many less-than-desirable tourist locales. This post is about the worst places on Earth to visit, and probably to live too. The ratings were based on research done on the Internet in various places, including here and here.
I’m going to focus on the places that are dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, trashy, rip-off havens, unsanitary and dangerous (Third World), and avoid places that are merely depressing, unsightly, rude, etc. (First World). Why? Because I live in the US, and those Third World qualities are going to be the most disturbing to me. I’m also avoiding active war zones because everyone knows they are horrible.
To be fair to the “Third Worldists” out there, I noted that many people slammed various places in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, Ireland Italy, the US, Great Britain and Australia for various reasons, mostly because they are said to be unfriendly, depressing, tacky, cheesy, boring, etc.
Detroit seemed to top the list as worst US city, along with Newark (though it had one fan), East St. Louis and New Haven (though some liked New Haven) were runners-up. Various small towns in the Rockies (especially Idaho) and Texas also were listed. For some reason, a lot of people hate Vancouver, BC in Canada.
To my thinking, many of the horrible cities below point out the catastrophe of Latin American, Indian, Indonesian and Philippine capitalism. In much of Africa, capitalism doesn’t seem to working very well.
For all its faults, impoverished Cuba certainly does not resemble any of these Latin American hellholes in any way, shape or form. I don’t think that capitalism in the First World is failing, but looking at many of the cities below, it’s hard to argue that capitalism is doing anything but failing in those places.
Some of the winners in the Loser Destination Contest: Colon, Panama: A dirty, crime-ridden disaster of a city. The most dangerous city in Latin America, full of residents who seem like they would just as soon knife you as say hello. Other than the free trade zone, the entire city seems to be sprawling slum. Colon has no redeeming qualities. This city topped many worst lists. Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador: Guayaquil is horrible. A stinking, steaming, downright dangerous heap of a city with miles of slums. With armies of glowering gang members, this place is dangerous even in mid-day. There are garbage dumps everywhere with corpses laying out in plain sight and guns going off all the time. Quito is similar. Guayaquil topped many worst city lists. Johannesburg, South Africa: How sad that this country now has one of the worst violent crime rates on Earth. Although popular with tourists, this city is downright dangerous. This city also topped many worst lists. This blog supports the Mandela government, but the problems of this tragic nation seem insurmountable.
***** Lagos, Nigeria, or the whole country: This city, and even the whole country, seems to top everyone’s list. Garbage is everywhere, the city stinks, the poverty is horrible, animals are slaughtered on the streets, and it seems that at least half the population wakes up every morning thinking, “Who can I rip off today?” Up to 90% of the economy may be “underground”, off the books, or crime-related in some way or another.
Nigeria has what must be the worst government on Earth and the country is rated the second most corrupt on Earth. The national airlines are dangerous and not recommended. The ripoff attempts often start as soon as you land at the airport and won’t let up until you leave.
It’s best to assume that most, if not all, Nigerians you meet in Lagos are out to rip you off in some way or another and then proceed from there. The city is full of impostors, and you really do not know if anyone is really who they say they are. The police and Customs officials are all crooks and so is 99% of the government.
Most bank and post office employees are also crooked. Imagine waiting in line at the post office, and a group of swaggering gangsters with fake ID’s strut in to pick up their stolen goods reshipped from overseas. They go straight to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, pick up their stolen property, and walk away laughing, having paid off the Post Office clerks. Welcome to Nigeria.
There are Internet cafes all over the city, where 150,000 full-time Internet scammers ply their trade in plain view of anyone to see, and the government doesn’t bat an eye or lift one finger to stop them. In many cafes, 80% or more of the patrons are Internet scammers. Nigeria is now world-famous for Internet scams. Even out-of-work TV newscasters scam away in the cafes, trying to steal from Americans.
The scammers started out with the famous 419 email scams but have now branched out into lottery, romance, auction, roommate, orphanage and check-cashing scams. The scams are continuously evolving, and Nigerian con artists are widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the world, as they have been practicing the art for decades now.
On highways outside of Lagos, you can see numerous vehicles wrecked on the side of the road, or even in the middle of the road, some with dead bodies still in them or beside them. Thieves pick through the wreckage and rifle the corpses looking for stuff to steal. All of the roads are dangerous, as armed robbers often set up roadblocks to shake down travelers.
Nigeria is now a world center for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, credit card fraud and drug dealing, and a district of Lagos, Oluwole, is now a world center for top-notch forgery.
The FBI and the US Merchant Risk Council recently came to Nigeria and inspected 40 packages coming into the country from the US to check for stolen goods. 39 of the 40 packages contained stolen property.
When the agents arrived at a Lagos neighborhood and tried to arrest an 18-year-old boy for reshipping scams that targeted US merchants, much of the neighborhood – up to 100 people – rushed out of their homes to defend the local punk from Big Bad Whitey.
Although the country is awash in oil, the power goes out all the time because the government power company is so crooked. The power company has either stolen all of its own budget money or the power comes in, but the crooked company resells it on the side.
As with elsewhere in Africa, Whitey is blamed for all the troubles here. Hatred of Whitey is higher in Nigeria than in much of the rest of Black Africa and the White visitor will definitely feel it.
The degeneration of Nigerian society is complete, and the culture appears near collapse. Mobs lynch thieves in the street and kill them in public for as meager a crime as stealing a cellphone, yet crime rages on anyway. Anyone can just up and say they own your house, put it on the market and sell it and you are out a house. Law enforcement, courts and anything resembling government seem to be nonexistent.
****** Lima, Peru: When they tell you to visit Peru, they don’t mean the nightmarish capital. There are teeming slums as far as the eye can see, horrible crime (although not a lot of violent crime), pickpockets everywhere, and on top of all that, the sun never comes out. The fog mixes with the smog and the filthy streets to make a toxic brew. Lima made many worst lists.
But it has its fans, and the upscale Miraflores district is said to be nice. The execrable Shining Path took up their nihilistic, deranged war in this country for a reason – because Peru is a rotten heap of a country.
****** Medan (Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia: Jakarta is a reeking city with terrible pollution, open sewers and wrenching poverty. Medan seemed to top many lists for worst city on Earth, though it has a few fans. It’s hot, dirty and polluted, with factories, thieves and leering, menacing men everywhere. There is also nowhere to stay, not that you would want to stay anyway. Besides Medan, the rest of Sumatra is much better.
The river running through Surabaya is so polluted you might vomit walking across the bridge. As you suppress your gag reflex, you will look down and notice that people are actually washing their clothes in this river.
***** Mumbai, Patna (Bihar), Calcutta, all large Indian cities, India: Indian cities are very dirty and teeming with some of the most miserably poor and wretched people you will ever see, but at least there is not a lot of crime. The Hindu religion keeps crime down because believers fear they will be punished by returning in the next life as something terrible, like one of the huge rats you see scurrying about. Mumbai has pollution that is so bad that people actually get lung cancer from breathing the air. Mumbai, a stinking and sometimes dangerous city, made many worst city lists. Patna is the sorry capital of Bihar, the poorest state in India. It’s dirty and miserable, and it’s almost impossible to even get a taxi to get you out of town, which means it’s hard to leave the place. Calcutta is generally agreed to be one of the worst cities in India.
***** Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, China: Deadly pollution, mostly from coal. Bucharest, all of Romania: Stalinist pollution covers the whole country and everyone seems depressed. Bali (in particular Kuta Beach), Indonesia: Hopes so high, reality so low. It seems everyone is out to rip you off. Surly locals hungry for money. Dangerous roads, nightmarish traffic, rude, leering men. When it rains, the sewers flood into the streets. Very high crime rate, hustlers everywhere. Most of the rest of Indonesia is pretty nice. Kuta is a tourist trap gone to Hell.
**** Manila, Philippines: A crime-ridden hellhole. There are armed guards everywhere, especially in front of banks due to constant bank robberies. Their nemeses, criminal gangs armed to the teeth, roam streets filled with prostitutes and transvestites.
It’s a town where everyone seems like they are out to rip you off in one way or other, and the hotel workers and cab drivers are all crooked. The latest advice is to have your Filipino friend meet you at the airport and head straight to their place, thereby avoiding all the ripoffs and con artists that seem to descend on every tourist. Traffic is horrible, and pollution is so bad it kills people. But some people don’t mind it.
**** Gdansk, Poland: Combine a high crime rate and daylight robberies with totally crooked, thieving officials, and you get this Polish city. However, a number of others said it’s just fine.
**** Mexico City, Villahermosa, Mexico: Mexico City is a dirty, polluted city suffering an insane, surreal epidemic of street crime, especially violent crime. Add 20 million people, stir well, bring to a boil, cover with a lid of otherworldly smog, and simmer.
Reportedly, tons of human waste are blown into the air every day, and much of the population has constant respiratory infections. The sewer system is reportedly above ground and more or less runs through lots of neighborhoods where many people are residing. Villahermosa is a Mad Max-style, violent, crime-ridden disgrace of a city. There are stabbings and shootings galore here, even with a 10 PM curfew in place.
***** Tangier, Morocco: This is a dangerous place with lots of street crime. That’s unusual for a North African country, but Tangier is so close to Europe that it is almost a part of Europe.
***** Cairo, Egypt: Cairo has horrible pollution, smells terrible, there is trash everywhere, nothing works, there are armies of miserably poor people and it boasts some outrageously awful traffic. In the souks there are huge rats and wild, mangy scavenging dogs running about in plain sight. There seems no escape from aggressive, pestering hawkers. On top of all that, all the Customs officials are criminals.
The crime rate is fairly low, though. Thank President Hosni Mubarak. 25 years ago, Cairo was one of the great world cities.
***** Bangkok, Thailand: This gigantic city has pollution so bad you need to wear a mask over your face. However, some folks like this city and say it has many positive attributes.
***** Brindisi, Naples, Italy: No one seems to like Brindisi. It’s a sad, dirty, polluted and ugly city, with hostile, brawling, drunken locals, hungry stray dogs, belligerent drivers, horrible traffic, and miles of soul-killing tenements.
You would think that despite all of that, being genuine Italians, they could still manage to make a decent pizza. Forget it: even the pizza is terrible. Brindisi topped many worst lists, although it has a couple of fans.
I had never even heard of Brindisi and had to look it up on a map. It’s located in southern Italy on the East Coast, southeast of Naples. Naples has a great deal of crime, and many think this city is overrated as a tourist destination, although others say that, despite the drawbacks, it has its joys. All of southern Italy has a lot of crime, but it’s mostly property crime.
***** Athens, Piraeus, or the whole country, Greece: Greece, especially Athens, gets mixed reviews. A lot of people really hate Athens; others don’t. The detractors say the city is dirty, ugly, depressing, polluted, and covered with garbage and traffic. I was surprised that Athens made the list, as I had always thought it was a wonderful city.
The port city of Piraeus is a nasty place. The whole city smells like a giant sewage treatment plant, and the ocean offshore has a sickening color to it.
**** Suburbs of Paris, France: These tragic towns, full of hostile Arab immigrants angrily refusing to assimilate to French culture or join French society, are a sign that the French model is not working well, at least for some folks.
There is a terribly high crime rate here, and cops and firemen often won’t go there because they get attacked as soon as they show up. These mournful towns are packed with angry, unemployed young Arab men who like to seriously riot every year or so, or even more often if the mood strikes them. Lately, they have been staging mini-riots every night. If only 100 cars are burned, that’s a good night.
Otherwise, Paris, of course, is one of the world’s great cities. But that doesn’t mean you might not walk into a subway station reeking of urine and see junkies shooting up in plain sight. But still, Paris is a must on any serious travelers’ list.
****** Brussels, Belgium: As with Paris, the districts with many Arab immigrants are quite dangerous and unpleasant, but the rest of the city is as nice as any big city. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: With one of the worst crime rates in Africa (although it has plenty of competition), this city topped many worst lists.
***** Bangui, Central African Republic: One of the worst cities in Africa, as bad as Lagos. The crime rate is totally insane. The locals will try to steal everything you own and even a contingent of armed guards will not be enough to protect you.
Your hotel room will feel like a war zone. This fiendish city made a number of worst city lists. Lonely Planet’s guidebook more or less tells you to avoid this city altogether. Here is a harrowing report of a visit to Bangui.
***** Bamako, Mali: Mali has one of the worst governments in Africa, admittedly a race with a lot of competition. Bamako is a sick joke of a town, where the tourist surcharge is rigorously enforced, and the ridiculous, potholed streets are undriveable by any vehicle. Guatemala City, Guatemala: A totally dangerous, dirty, polluted, terminal patient of a city, full of scary, heavily armed teenage soldiers. The soldiers are there to keep the teeming, crime-ridden slums that stretch as far as the eye can see, from overrunning the place. But this city has a few fans. Belize City, Belize: This sweltering, miserable, impoverished, crime-ridden, very dangerous city is built on a swamp, with a jungle for a backyard. The beggars are aggressive and even menacing, and shady characters shadow you on the streets as you walk about. Cops are nowhere to be seen. This is one of the worst cities in the Americas. But the rest of the country is a great place to vacation.
***** Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:Sao Paulo is the industrial engine of Brazil. This major city is full of garbage and very dangerous. There are hustlers as far as the eye can see, chaotic streets that render maps useless, not enough cops and Godawful traffic. Rio de Janeiro, the popular tourist destination with the killer skyline perfect for any postcard, is a deceptive place. It’s a very dangerous city with lots of violent crime. Street gangs armed to the teeth regularly shoot it out in military-style wars with the cops.
Death squads of off-duty cops funded by local businessmen roam the streets at night, murdering homeless, drug-addicted street kids and petty criminals with impunity in a sickening “social cleanup” campaign.
There are pickpockets and muggers all about, often in menacing, youthful gangs (especially on the famous beach) and they frequently operate in broad daylight. A dystopian horrorshow of a city.
****** Nairobi, Kenya: Unfortunately, this city is seriously crime-ridden. Even locals admit that violent crime has reached catastrophic proportions. Caracas, Barquisimeto, or the whole country, Venezuela: The crime is very bad here, sadly, and there is garbage everywhere you look. This blog supports Hugo Chavez, but crime in Venezuela is a tragic, long-standing problem with no quick fixes. Guinea-Bissau: There is no water, no electricity, no place to stay, and the only hotel is half-demolished. San‘a’, Yemen: In a Dickensenian touch, children are actually chained up here in order to beg! Moynaq and Nukus, Uzbekistan: These two cities broiling in a merciless desert have been ruined and turned into ecological dead zones by Stalinist pollution.
***** San Pedro Sulu, Honduras: This sad town has a horrible amount of crime. Swarms of locals will attack you on the bus, trying to steal your luggage. You will have to fight them off if you wish to retain your suitcase.
Like the rest of this wreck of a country, it’s full of US gang members gone home to Honduras. People here are very poor and desperate. If you can make it to the nice part of town and afford to stay there, though, you can be quite safe.
***** Dakar, Senegal: According to some, this large West African city has horrible street crime – it is very dangerous. They say if you don’t have armed guards with you, don’t even go outside your hotel room.
However, others report that they spent a week there and found it to be safe, in fact safer than many American cities. Violent crime is reportedly rare, and the country is one of the most stable in Africa, and has been that way since independence.
***** Port Au Prince, Haiti: This filthy, degraded, extremely dangerous and desperately poor mess of a city is best avoided at all costs. It sports open sewers, enslaved children, riots, killings and lots of other fun things. This blog did support President Aristide’s efforts to improve the tragedy of a nation called Haiti. Lome, Togo: Criminals are as common as mosquitoes here, walking around fearlessly in broad daylight in this terrible city full of miserable people and crooked taxi drivers.
***** Istanbul, Turkey: The 200% tourist markup is fully in force in this dirty, ugly city full of harassing, hawking, hostile locals and crumbling buildings, and you can scarcely find a merchant who does not enforce it. There is also a lot of crime here, including some violent crime, unusual for a Muslim city. The weather is lousy, but there are some pretty mosques to visit. However, Istanbul does have a fan or two.
The rest of the country is a great place to visit, has many fans and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Best bet for Turkey is just to head to the tourist spots and blow off Istanbul altogether.
***** Phnom Penh, Kampuchea: This city has become a very dangerous, crime-ridden place. The gangs of little girl prostitutes add a particularly poignant touch.
***** Bogotá, Colombia or really the whole country: Bogotá is one of the most dangerous places in the Americas but there seems to be agreement that Colon, Lima and Guayaquil are worse. Really, all of Colombia is dangerous as Hell, to be honest.
This comment about Bogotá was recently rebutted by a Bogotán blogger, with more comments here. His post aggressively taking issue with this entry is in Spanish, but my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of it. Also I am getting a lot of comments coming in from Bogotáns on the Internet aggressively objecting to the content.
The sole issue that these Defenders of Bogotá are taking issue with is my contention that the city is a very dangerous place. To be honest, Bogotá used to have a truly horrible reputation for crime, but in recent years, there has been a huge effort put into cracking down on street crime. For some more agreement that Bogota is dangerous, see here, here, here and here.
I will now attempt to prove that. There are twice as many murders in Colombia as in the US, and the US has seven times as many people. That means that the murder rate in Colombia is an outrageous 14 times that of the US, and the US is considered to have a high murder rate for the developed world.
Colombia has the highest murder rate on Earth, with Washington, DC and Johannesburg not far behind, but in the case of Colombia, we are talking about a whole country, not some festering city. Out of every 100,000 people, 60-70 will be killed every year. Defenders may try to argue that this is due to a simmering civil war, but 75% of the 25,000 homicides are merely of the criminal variety.
On an average day in Colombia, there are 2 bank robberies, 8 highway robberies, 72 murders and 204 assaults or muggings. You have a greater chance of being murdered in Colombia than you do of dying of cancer! Death squads made up of soldiers and off-duty cops roam the streets, murdering drug-addicted, petty criminal street kids, transvestites, homosexuals and prostitutes.
In fact, probably more prostitutes and homosexuals are murdered per capita in Colombia than even in the most barbarian parts of the Muslim World. Want to fly a plane in Colombia? Don’t. There have been 138 plane crashes since World War 2, with 2,745 deaths.
One of the most popular things in Bogotá is scopolamine. This drug is used by crooks to disable their victims so they can rip them off. It is sprayed in the face, dumped in your drink or spiked into a cigarette. Bogotá hospitals receive an incredible 2,000 scopolamine victims every month, or an astounding 66 a day. The drug knocks you out and can cause medical problems.
Colombia has one of the world’s worst road systems. Many roads are not even marked. Drivers are reckless and many cars don’t have headlights at night. Cows have a tendency to wander into the road.
Taxis are totally dangerous and are best avoided, if possible. Women are advised to avoid all taxis at night. Anyone is advised to avoid any taxi that already has someone in it.
In many cases, this is a criminal accomplice of the thuggish driver. In addition to getting scopolamine sprayed in your face, another popular scam is the “jump-start”: you are told that the taxi has stalled and asked to get out and help push. As you do so, the taxi driver leaves with your luggage.
Buses are also best avoided. Thieves haunt the buses, waiting for you to fall asleep, at which point, they rip you off. Certain bus lines are frequented by thieves offering drugged gum, sweets, food and cigarettes. After the drug knocks you out, they rob you blind. In addition to theft and druggings, kidnapping and extortion are also rife on buses.
In view of all of the above, it is nothing short of amazing that all of these Colombians are angrily protesting my characterization of their country as dangerous. Or perhaps they doth protest too much?
***** Managua, Nicaragua: This dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous disaster of a city has a bombed-out look about it. This blog supports Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Party and prays that they can ameliorate this mess.
***** San Salvador, El Salvador: See Managua. Full of dangerous former LA gang members. Death squads roam the streets, slaughtering gangsters by the dozen, but for every one you kill, it seems five more pop up in his place.
This blog supports the FMLN’s efforts to reform this ruined land, but the crime here has become so terrible, one wonders if anything short of an act of God could make things better. In fact, I used to make contributions too the FMLN’s weapons fund via an FMLN agent in Los Angeles during the 1980’s.
***** Detroit, New Haven, Newark, Gary (Indiana), Hammond (Indiana), USA: Detroit topped all lists as the worst city in the US. An ugly, dangerous, depressing and filthy city with a downtown that looks like a war zone – a despairing district surrounded by miles of crumbling, abandoned industrial buildings, torn-down fences and rusting cars. Newark is similar, with few to no redeeming qualities. It’s a frightening, polluted city with a postwar look of miles of weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots where crumbling apartment buildings have been torn down. It’s also a dangerous city with a high crime rate. New Haven, despite the presence of Yale University, is similar. There are legions of homeless, begging drug users clogging the streets, and the crime rate is very high due to hordes of crack-dealing gangs shooting it out on the streets. Congress and Columbus Avenues are notorious for drive-by shootings, drug dealing and muggings.
It is reportedly the HIV capital of the East Coast due to IV drug use. A lot of the more respectable people have been moving out for some time now. Although much of the city is quite ugly, New Haven does have its bright spots, thanks to Yale. There are nice parts of town, parks, trees, etc. Gary is yet another postindustrial Rust Belt train wreck of a town. A grimy town full of abandoned factories, overgrown lots, rusting fences, graffiti, barred windows and vomit. Go downtown and see tall buildings all boarded up, with no vehicles in sight and unhinged stoplights swaying in the wind – for all practical purposes, a ghost town. This was once a vibrant, working-class city, and now it looks like Road Warrior. Hammond is similar, a suicidally depressing city lined with shuttered factories on the shores of Lake Michigan. Yet another Rust Belt post-industrial ruin.
***** Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A collapsing, dirty, crime-ridden hellhole. Osaka, Japan: I never would have thought that this city would make the list but according to my friend Tumerica, she says it is the worst city she has ever lived in. I tagged her with the title of this story. In blogging, tagging mean you are supposed to write on the topic – kind of like, “Tag, you’re it.” I will let her explain why Osaka is such a crappy place in her post here.
Updated June 27, 2016. This post will be regularly updated for some time. Warning! This essay is very long; it runs to 79 pages.
Part 2 post deals with the huge language family known as Middle German. Part 1 deals with Low German and Part 3 deals with High German.
This classification splits Middle German from 15 languages into 43 languages using the criterion of >90% intelligibility = dialect and <90% intelligibility = language.
Middle German is easily the most famous German division of them all, and it is doing better than Low German or High German. That is because Standard German is a Middle German language.
There is much confusion about this because Middle German and High German are often lumped in together as “High German” with Middle German being a branch of High German. This is reflected in the term for Standard German “Hochdeutsch”, which means High German. Thuringian(Thüringisch) is group of East Middle German lects related to Upper Saxon spoken to the west of Berlinisch and Upper Saxon. The status of Thuringian is very confused. It’s often said to be easy to understand, but some of the individual dialects are quite hard for Standard German speakers to understand.
However, at least people from Schleswig-Holstein cannot understand Thuringian, so it is not true that all Hochdeutsch speakers can understand this lect. Therefore, Thuringian is best seen a separate language.
Thuringian has a sing-song quality and is one of the easier lects for Standard German speakers to understand. The southern linguistic boundary of Thuringian with East Franconian is formed by the ridge of the Thuringian forest. Thuringian has many dialects. Northeast Thuringian (Nordostthüringisch) is a Thuringian language spoken in Halle, Merseburg and Bernburg (Saale) in Saxony-Anhalt and in Artern in Thuringia. At least the Halle form of this language is very difficult for outsiders to understand. It is spoken very near the Upper Saxon zone, so possibly it has been influenced by Upper Saxon. Mansfeldisch is a dialect of Northeast Thuringian spoken in Hettstedt, Mansfeld, and Eisleben in Saxony-Anhalt. Eichsfeldisch is a Thuringian language spoken in Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Leinefelde, Worbis, and Mühlhausen in Thuringia and in Eschwege, Bad Sooden-Allendorf, and Witzenhausen in Hessen. This dialect is quite divergent and has Eastphalian and North Hessian features.
This language appears to be quite diverse internally, and there may be more than one language in it. It is not intelligible with Eastphalian, North Hessian or other types of Thuringian. Central Thuringian (Zentralthüringisch) is a dialect of Thuringian that is spoken in a triangle in central Germany formed by Arnstadt, Erfurt, and Gotha. Ilm Thuringian (Ilmthüringisch) is a dialect of Thuringian is spoken in Königsee, Bad Blankenburg, Rudolstad, Weimar, Jena, and Apolda in Thuringia and in Bad Bibra in Saxony-Anhalt. It has two subdialects, North Ilm Thuringian (Nord Ilmthüringisch) and South Ilm Thuringian (Süd Ilmthüringisch). The lect spoken in Weimar at least is hard for speakers of Standard German to understand. North Thuringian (Nordthüringisch) is a dialect of Thuringian spoken in Nordhausen, Bad Frankenhausen, and Sondershausen in Thuringia, in Sangerhausen, Harzgerode, and Stolberg (Harz) in Saxony-Anhalt, and in Bad Lauterberg and Bad Sachsa in Lower Saxony. Stiege North Thuringian is a North Thuringian dialect spoken in the town of Stiege in the Lower Harz Mountains in Saxony-Anhalt just north of the Thuringian border. This area is transitional between Low German and Middle German. The town of Hassenfelde four miles to the north was Eastphalian speaking, but Stiege is Thuringian. So Stieger is a Thuringian language with strong Eastphalian influence. A century ago, Stieger was not intelligible with the rest of North Thuringian (Liesenberg 2008). West Thuringian(Westthüringisch) is a dialect of Thuringian spoken in Eisenach, Bad Liebenstein, Bad Salzungen, and Ruhla in Thuringia. Southeast Thuringian (Südostthüringisch) is a dialect of Thuringian spoken in Saalfeld/Saale, Gera, Greiz, Neustadt, and Bad Lobenstein in Thuringia, in Mühltroff and Elsterberg in Saxony and in Ludwigsstadt and Teuschnitz in Bavaria. Upper Saxon is an East Middle German language that is not mutually intelligible with Standard German. What’s odd is that Standard German was based on a specific Upper Saxon dialect as spoken in about 1700. It has since drifted into a language of its own. Intelligibility between Upper Saxon and Standard German is very poor, worse than intelligibility with Bavarian, and is probably less than 40%.
It is spoken in southeastern Germany, southwest of Berlin near Saxony, in Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz in Saxony and around Halle in Saxony-Anhalt. Some other Germans, especially from southern Germany, find Upper Saxon almost impossible to understand (Kirmaier 2009). Upper Saxon is considered by many Germans to be among the hardest dialects of all to understand, if speaking of dialects spoken in Germany proper.
It has extensive Slavic borrowings. Since German reunification in 1990, Upper Saxon has been giving way to Standard German. It has 2-4 million speakers. Upper Saxon has nine different dialects within it. Standard German (Hochdeutsch) is an East Middle German language based on Upper Saxon, the pluricentric language of German, and the official and uniting language of all German speakers. Genetically, it is closest to Thuringian, Upper Saxon and Lower Silesian, but it has diverged dramatically. It was originally based on a certain Upper Saxon dialect, and there is a dialect of Upper Saxon today that still bears remarkable similarity to Standard German.
The best version of Standard German spoken today (the one that “lacks an accent”) is said to be the speech of Hanover in central Lower Saxony. This is in the Eastphalian Low Saxon area, but Standard German has pretty much cleaned out the Low Saxon in the area and has almost completely replaced it.
It is also known as Hochdeutsch. Most German dialect speakers also speak Standard German, but in a few places there are speakers of German type languages in and around Germany that cannot speak Hochdeutsch, notably in far western Austria, to some extent in Switzerland, and a few older people in Hessen.
Further, the Dutch Low Saxon speakers in the Netherlands, treated as Macro-German speakers in this analysis, may not speak Standard German, though many Dutch have at least some understanding of German. It is possible that some of the South Meuse-Rhenish transitional lects may not speak German either.
Standard German has been seriously impacting Low German since the 1700’s, but it has only effected other German languages recently. Like other pluricentric languages, Standard German serves the function of being a common language for many Macro-German speakers who would not ordinarily have one. Unserdeutsch is a German-based creole spoken in New Guinea by only about 100 remaining speakers, some of whom are middle aged. It originated based on the Standard German spoken in German colonial times.
It was formed, oddly enough, by New Guinean children who were raised in an orphanage run by German speakers. It then came to be spoken by the White-New Guinean Catholic Vunapope community in the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain. It is one of only two German-based creoles. Belgranodeutsch is a German-Spanish creole spoken in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is a mixture between Spanish and Standard German and is no doubt not intelligible with Standard German. The Belgrano district is a part of Buenos Aires that has many German speakers. Namibian Black German (Küchendeutsch) is a German pidgin spoken in Namibia based on Standard German. It is presently nearly extinct. It used to be spoken by Namibian Blacks who were servants for their German colonial masters in the German colony of Sudwest Africa. It is probably not intelligible with Standard German. Berlinerisch is an East Middle German lect, and is one of the easiest German dialects to understand, however, some speakers of Standard German say it takes them several months to learn to understand it completely, so in that sense it may be a separate language. But those speakers were generally Americans who spoke German as a second language. It is said by Berliners that any German can understand Berlinerisch, but there are reports that Upper Saxon speakers have a hard time with Berlinerisch, so it appears to be a separate language. Ruhrdeutschis an East Middle German language spoken in the Ruhr far away from the other East Middle German languages. It is a strange language which spoken around Essen in North Rhine-Westphalia. It has elements of Low Franconian Bergisch lects and Westphalian Low Saxon. It is quite distinct and is probably a separate language (sample). North Upper Saxon (Nordobersächsisch). This Upper Saxon dialect is spoken in the Elbe-Elster Region. Intelligibility data is needed between this and other forms of Upper Saxon. It is not well-known. Anhaltisch is an Upper Saxon dialect spoken in Dessau, Köthen, Bernburg, Staßfurt and Aschersleben in central Saxony-Anhalt south of Magdeburg. It is also spoken down around Zietz and Hohenmolsen in far southern Saxony-Anhalt where it meets Thuringia and Saxony. It is very divergent. Anhaltisch is transitional between Upper Saxon and Thuringian. Anhaltisch speakers say other Germans find Alhaltisch almost impossible to understand (Wahl July 2014).
Dialects include Gladitz and Trebnitz. The two are very different. Trebnitz is closer to Upper Saxon. Gladitz at least has poor intelligibility even with Brandenburgish. Osterlandic(Osterländisch) is an Upper Saxon dialect that is spoken in Delitzsch and Torgau in far northwest Saxony, across the border into far southern Saxony-Anhalt in Wittenberg and Bitterfeld, and into far southeastern Brandenburg in Liebenwerda and Elsterwerda. Osterlandic is not intelligible with any Upper Saxon lects spoken in Saxony, nor with Erzgebirgish. This language is still doing very well.
Dialects include Northeast Osterlandic (Nordost Osterländisch), Southwest Osterlandic (Südwest Osterländisch), Southeast Osterlandic (Südost Osterländisch) and Schraden Osterlandic (Schraden Osterländisch). Meissenish is a group of Upper Saxon lects spoken in Saxony. North Meissenish (Nordmeißenisch) is an Upper Saxon dialect spoken around the cities of Grimma, Döbeln and Riesa in northern Saxony east of Leipzig. It is little known, but there are still many speakers. This language is incredibly hard for Standard German speakers to understand. Northeast Meissenish (Nordostmeißenisch) is an Upper Saxon dialect spoken in a small area around Lommatzsch and Großenhain in Saxony northwest of Dresden. It is little known, but must still have many speakers. Intelligibility data is needed between this and other forms of Upper Saxon. West Meissenish (Westmeißenisch) is an Upper Saxon dialect spoken in Saxony on both sides of the lower Zwickauer Mulde River around Rochlitz, Mittweida, and Borna north and northwest of Chemnitz which forms an intermediate position between North Meissenish and South Meissenish on one side and a Thuringian dialect called Altenburg (Altenburgish) on the other side.
It has Thuringian and Hessian characteristics. It is little known, but still has many speakers. Intelligibility data is needed between this and other forms of Upper Saxon. South Meissenish (Südmeißenisch) is an Upper Saxon dialect spoken in an area of Saxony around the cities of Öderan, Frankenberg, Hainichen, and Freiberg northeast of Chemnitz. It is poorly known, but still has quite a few speakers. Poor intelligibility with Southeast Meissenish. Southeast Meissenish (Südostmeißnisch) is an Upper Saxon language spoken in Saxony in a circle around Dresden around the cities of Dippoldswalde, Meißen, Radeburg, Pirna, and Bad Schandau. It was heavily influenced extensively by the old language spoken in Dresden. Many speakers remain, but it is poorly known.
Southeast Meissenish is utterly unintelligible even with other East German lects such as the Havelländisch Markish spoken in Brandenburg west of Berlin. Southeast Meissenish speakers have a hard time understanding South Meissenish. Northern Bohemian is an Upper Saxon language formerly spoken in the part of Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia near Saxony. It was spoken in the towns of Děčín, Ústí nad Labem, and Teplice south and southeast of Dresden. It is apparently now extinct. The % of German speakers in the Czech Republic is down from 30% before WW2 to 1% today, or 18,000 speakers. No one speaks Northern Bohemian anymore; all German speakers speak Standard German instead. East Thuringian (Ostthüringisch) is an Upper Saxon language spoken in Eisenberg and Altenburg in Thuringia and in Zeitz, Naumburg (Saale), and Hohenmölsen in Saxony-Anhalt. It is almost completely unintelligible with Standard German. Intelligibility with other Upper Saxon lects is unknown. Fore Vogtländisch (Vorvogtländisch) is an Upper Saxon lect that is transitional to East Franconian. It is little known. Lusatian (Lausitzisch) is an East Middle German language spoken in Eastern Germany. There is difficult intelligibility between this language and Standard German. It has some traces that go back to Dutch for some reason. There are various dialects of Lusatian. Dialects include West Lusatian, East Lusatian, New Lusatian, Upper Lusatian and Lower Lusatian. This language has very marginal intelligibility with Standard German, and intelligibility testing is indicated. West Lusatian (Westlausitzisch) is a lect spoken in eastern Saxony, east of the upper Pulsnitz River, west of the Lausitzian speakers in the Sorbian area and northwest of Dresden in an isolated region around Pulsnitz, Bichofswerda and Kamenz. This dialect is transitional between Upper Saxon and Upper Lusatian. This lect is little known, but it still has 50,000 speakers. New Lusatian(Neulausitzer) is spoken in Saxony in the Sorb-speaking area around Bautzen and Hoyerswerda. Upper Lusatian (Oberlausitzer) is a lect spoken in southeastern Saxony near Zittau by the border of Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland. It is spoken in the village of Schönbach and other areas. This lect is still the primary means of communication in the region. Difficult intelligibility with Standard German (90% comprehension with slow speech). Upper Lusatian lects only 5 miles away can differ markedly. Intelligibility within these lects is not known. This dialect has a lot of Slavic in it and also some French. Lower Lusatian (Niederlausitzisch) is spoken around Cottbus, Finsterwalde, Senftenberg, and Spreewald in far southern Brandenburg and south across the border in Hoyerswerda, Weißwasser in far northern Saxony.
Lower Lausitzian and Lower Silesian overlap geographically with High Prussian in central East Prussia and neighboring West Prussia. This dialect is transitional between Low German and Middle German. This dialect appears to be in good shape, has many speakers at least in Cottbus and has poor intelligibility with Standard German. Silesian* (Schlesisch) is a group of two East Middle German languages. As a separate language, Lower Silesian it is recognized by Ethnologue. It is spoken north of the Riesengebirge (Giants Mountains) around Glatz in eastern Bohemia, Czechoslovakia and in Kuhländchen in the upper Oder area. It was formerly spoken in Western Moravia. By the 1100’s, this region was covered with German settlements and was completely Germanophone. As a high-level German dialect grouping, it must be a separate language.
Silesian dialects include Neiderländisch, Kräuter Silesian (Kräuterschlesisch), Mountain Silesian (Gebirgsschlesisch), Glätzisch, Brieg-Grottkau Silesian (Brieg-Grottkauer Schlesisch), Reichenberg, and Upper Silesian (Oberschlesisch). This language is often described as a sort of German Creole with heavy Polish elements in it. Lower Silesian (Niederschlesisch) is an East Middle German language spoken southeast of Berlin close to the Polish border near Bautzen and in Eastern Bohemia in Czechoslovakia. It was formerly spoken extensively in Poland. It is not mutually intelligible with Standard German. In some places, it is still spoken by young people. It still has quite a few speakers, possibly as many as 500,000. It overlaps with High Prussian in central East Prussia and West Prussia. Oppelner is a dialect of this language. Hultschiner Laendle Bohemian Germanis a Silesian dialect spoken in a pocket of the Sudetenland where Bohemia borders Silesia. This divergent lect is considered to be a separate lect from the rest of Bohemian German and is probably close to and may be a dialect of Lower Silesian. Poorly known, but there are probably still some speakers left. High Prussian (Hochpreußisch) is an East Middle German Silesian language that was formerly spoken extensively in East Prussia, now part of Poland. The language is moribund with the expulsion of Germans from Poland after WW2, and there are only a few elderly speakers left. It must surely be a separate language and must be unintelligible with other German languages or with Standard German.
The language originated from Silesian speakers who moved to the area in the 1200’s-1400’s. It was then influenced by the extinct (since 1700’s) Baltic Low Prussian language, a West Baltic language related to Lithuanian and Latvian. All West Baltic tongues have gone extinct. Baltic Low Prussian went extinct around 1710 when a series of famines and bubonic plague epidemics swept through the population, decimating the speakers.
Dialects of High Prussian include Oberländisch and Breslau (Breslausch). Barossa German is a moribund language spoken in Australia by a few remaining elderly speakers. Speakers came from the High Prussian and Silesian regions, so the language is a Middle East German tongue.
It is very strange, barely intelligible at all to Standard German speakers and probably not intelligible with any other German lects either. German settlers arriving around 1840 settled in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It declined with the suppression of Germans and the German language in Australia during WW1. Vilamovian (Wilamowicean or Wymysorys) is a West Germanic language spoken in Wilamowice (Wymysoj), Poland near Bielsko-Biała, on the border between the regions of Silesia and Lesser Poland. This is in the far southwestern part of Poland near Germany and Czechoslovakia. It is derived from the Middle German circa the 1200’s spoken by settlers who came to the area from Germany, Scotland and the Netherlands.
Why they all decided to speak a German language is not known. Further, despite their disparate origins, they all decided on a Dutch identity, while speaking German nevertheless. Very confusing. Low German, Dutch, Frisian, Old English and Polish went into the mix.
The Polish Communists banned the language after WW2, but the ban was lifted in 1956. Nevertheless, the language has been replaced by Polish, and the only speakers now are 70 elderly speakers, so it is moribund.
Ripuarian Franconian is a West Central German Central Franconian language spoken in northwest Germany on the borders of Netherlands and Belgium in North Rhine-Westphalia around the town of Cologne. Ripuarian Franconian consists of 150 different, often quite divergent, lects for which dictionaries have been published. The Ripuarian lects are not intelligible at all with Standard German.
They form a dialect chain whereby one city can understand itself and the cities next to it, but once you get a couple of cities over, they can’t understand each other anymore. At the extremes of the Ripuarian dialect chain, intelligibility is as low as 20%. Therefore, Ripuarian is clearly more than one language. There are 1 million speakers of Ripuarian.
Some of the varieties include Bonn German or Bönnsch, Homburgisch, Lammersdorf, Neusser, Bad Neuenahr/Ahrweiler, and Bocholtz German, which may well be separate languages, but we will need more evidence before splitting them. Kölsch is the specific variety of Ripuarian Franconian spoken in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia. Kölsch is not intelligible with the rest of Ripuarian Franconian. It has about 250,000 speakers. Here is a sample of Kölsch. You can see it doesn’t look much like any of the surrounding languages. Kolsch has 30% intelligibility with Aachen Platt and 75% with Eschweiler German (Köhler 2015). Hommersch is a Ripuarian Franconian language at the other end of the huge Ripuarian dialect chain from Eschweiler German, and therefore it makes sense to split it into a separate language . Intelligibility with Kolsch is not known but is probably difficult. Eschweiler German, spoken in Eschweiler, Germany, is often considered to be a SE Limburgish lect, but actually it is a Ripaurian lect as it has difficult intelligibility with Southeast Limburgs. It is intelligible with Stolberg German, but it has more Ripaurian influences (Tulipan 2013). It is said to be halfway between Aachen Platt and Kolsch. Intelligibility is 55% with Aachen German and 75% with Kolsch (Köhler 2015). As it is not fully intelligible with Kolsch, it must be a separate language.
Moselle Franconian (Moselfränkisch) is a West Central German Central Franconian language spoken south of Ripuarian Franconian in Germany on the borders of Belgium and France and which also shades into Belgium and France. It is not intelligible with Luxembourgish other than that the westernmost dialects of Moselle are intelligible with the easternmost dialects of Luxembourgish near the Luxembourg border. Trier is a major city in this speaking area.
There are many Moselle Franconian lects. All are spoken in Germany unless otherwise noted. Lorraine Franconian is a simply Moselle Franconian spoken in France. It is apparently intelligible with the Moselle Franconian spoken across the border in Germany. It is not intelligible with Standard German, Luxembourgish, or the Alemannic High German language Alsatian with which it is often paired, or with the Rhenish Franconian spoken in the Lorraine. It has 78,000 speakers. Use is decreasing, and only 20% of children under age 15 are able to speak it.
It is mostly spoken in the Moselle Department of the state of Lorraine around Thionville. Hettangeois, Bitscherland, and Rodener are some of the dialects of Lorraine Franconian. Trierisch is spoken in Trier, Germany. The Trierisch dialect differs even within the city of Trier. Outside the city of Trier, the dialect is clearly different from that spoken in the city, and village residents do not refer to their lects as Trierisch. Eifler speakers cannot understand Trierisch and vice versa. However, Trierisch and Konz are intelligible with the East Luxembourgeois spoken in the far east of Luxembourg on the German border in the towns of Grevenmacher and Echternach.
The following Moselle Franconian dialects are spoken in Germany. Reiler is spoken in and around Reil. There are various Moselle Franconian dialects spoken around the Schneifel Mountains and the Venn Region over near the Belgian border. Wäller is spoken in eastern Westerwald, on the border between Moselfränkisch and Hessisch. Westerwälder or West Westerwäldisch is spoken in the Westerwald. Wittlicher is spoken in Wittlich. Andernacher/Annenach/Annenache Platt is spoken in Andernach. It has more Ripuarian features than other Moselle lects due to its connection to Cologne. Unter Moselfränkisch is another Moselle dialect, but I am not sure where it is spoken. Kröveris a Moselle Franconian language spoken in the town of Kröv on the Mosel River. Germans who lived in the area refer to it as a separate language, however precise intelligibility data is unknown. Eifler or Eifelplatt is a Moselle Franconian dialect spoken in the Eifel Mountains in Germany. Eifler is so strange that intelligibility with Standard German is close to zero. It is said to be not intelligible to outsiders, but it is intelligible with the Bad Honningen dialect just to the west of Eifler. Eifler has dialects of its own, including Demerather, Maifeld, Southeifel, and Uebereltz. South Eifel is similar to Luxembourgish, in fact, the South Eifel spoken in Bitburg is often referred to simply as Luxembourgeois. Eifler is also spoken in Belgium around St. Vith. This was where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. Siegerländer or Siegerländish is a Moselle Franconian dialect spoken in the Siegerland region in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch or Letzeburgisch) is a Moselle Franconian language spoken in Luxembourg. It is not intelligible with Moselle Franconian other than those Moselle dialects right next the German border with Luxembourg, where the easternmost dialects of Luxembourgish are intelligible with Moselle Franconian. Luxembourgish is close to the South Eifel dialect.
There are several distinct varieties of Luxembourgish, but there is a Standard Luxembourgish emerging now in place of them. Luxembourgish is not used in the classroom, and there is a tendency of the state to use German and French in public announcements. Both languages are heavily promoted, such that Luxembourgers are typically trilingual.
Although almost everyone speaks Luxembourgish, there is frustration on the part of speakers that the language cannot accommodate many modern and technical terms, for which German and French are often used instead. There is a heavy French influence. Luxembourgish has 40% intelligibility with Standard German.
It is also spoken in Belgium and France. In France, it is spoken in the Moselle Department of Lorraine around the Thionville area where Lorraine Franconian is also spoken (Hughes 2005). In Belgium, it is spoken in Arlerland in Eastern Belgium. East Luxembourgish is language spoken in the far east of Luxembourg around the cities of Grevenmacher and Echternach on the border with Germany. It is not intelligible with the rest of Luxembourgish, so it appears to be a separate language. However, it is intelligible with the West Moselle Franconian spoken across the border in Trier and Konz. In Germany, it is probably also spoken in Nittel, Welschbilling, Irrel, and Waserbillig, and elsewhere in Luxembourg in Mertert, Mombach, and Rosport.
Since this is considered to be part of Luxembourgish and not Moselle Franconian, it is best to split is off as a separate Luxembourgish language. The exact borders of this language are not known – we do not know where the border between this language and Luxembourgeois is, we do not know where Trierisch ends and Eifler begins in the Eifel Mountains, we do not know where Trierisch lects become end and other Moselle Franconian lects begin heading up the Moselle River Valley, and we do not know the status of the Moselle Franconian lects to the southeast heading into northern Saarland. Transylvanian Saxon (Siebenbürger Sächsisch) itself is a macrolanguage of Germans in Romania. It is derived from a movement of German settlers to Transylvania from 1150-1230, so it has been split off from other German lects for a very long time. The first phase were settlers from the Luxembourg and Moselle region. The second phase from 1200-1230 consisted mostly of settlers from the Rhineland, southern Netherlands and Belgium and the Moselle region once again. A few others came from Thuringia, Bavaria and even France. The main area where they settled in the center of Romania is called the Transylvanian Saxon Triangle.
Originally, it was basically an ancient form of the Moselle Franconian language because this is where most of the original settlers were from . It has incredible dialectal diversity, with over 250 documented dialects. Obviously, it is not intelligible with Standard German, but intelligibility data is lacking with the rest of Moselle Franconian, though considering the diversity of Moselle itself, this is probably for all intents and purposes a separate language from Moselle Franconian.
Transylvanian Saxon has 80% lexical similarity with Luxembourgeois, but that often boils down to less than 50% intelligibility in the real world. Transylvanian Saxon is completely unintelligible with Danube Swabian with only 30-40% intelligibility (Costin 2014), Standard German and even Franconian. Every village has its own dialect, and dialects can be quite different. Intelligibility data for the various Transylvanian Saxon dialects is lacking and urgently needed. At least in 1855, there were 7 distinct dialects of Transylvanian Saxon and at this time, there were mutually unintelligible dialects of Transylvanian Saxon (separate languages).
In fact, prior to WW2, there were unintelligible dialects of Transylvanian Saxon between various villages, yet the Saxons had developed a Standard Transylvanian Saxon koine in order to communicate. Two separate languages may have been Hianzisch and Hittisch. They may well be extinct.
Transylvanian Saxon originally was a dialect chain, but villages that were too far apart could not understand each other. Apparently since at least World War 2, heavy dialect leveling has occurred along with koine adoption and while Transylvanian Saxon at some point in the last 150 years was made up of separate languages, in recent years, enough dialect leveling has occurred and there has been enough dialect merger such that present day Saxons can understand each other well. No one really knows why it is called Saxon, except that before the immigrants moved into the area, they moved through the state of Saxony.
With the return to capitalism in 1990, 90% of the 500,000 Saxon population left for Germany, leaving only 50,000 behind.
The area around the cities of Media and Sibiu speak this language, and they they call it Siebenbürger Sachsen. It is still spoken today even by people in their 20’s. Rhine Franconian (Rheinfränkisch) is a family of lects that are spoken in the western German regions of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen and in northern Bas-Rhin in the state of Alsace.
The Franconian language group is related to Hessian that is spoken in the Rhine River Valley in Germany over to the French border. It is not intelligible with Standard German. Rhine Franconian is also not intelligible with Moselle Franconian or with Luxembourgish. It is spoken to the southwest of the Hessian zone.
In the western part of this area, Pfälzisch is spoken in restaurants, stores, offices, schools, theaters. You would almost think that Standard German is the foreign language. Pfälzisch is still very popular and most kids still grow up speaking it. Every village has a different dialect.
Some of the dialects are Großrosseln, Saarbrücken, Zaisenhausen, Altrip, Bann, Gabsheim, Odenwälderisch, Rülzheim, Nordpfälzisch, Südpfälzisch, Wissembourg, Thaleischweiler-Fröschen and Pirmasens. Dialectal intelligibility is not known.
Odenwälderisch, spoken in the Odenwald, a mountain chain in southern Hesse, northern Bavaria and northern Baden-Württemberg, has been influenced by South Hessian. Rülzheim is spoken in the Germersheim area along the Rhine. Pirmasens is spoken in the town of the same name in far southwest Palatine near the French border. Gabsheim is spoken in northern Palatine between Mainz and Alzey near the town of Wörrstadt.
Bann is spoken in the town of Bann, near Kaiserslautern. Thaleischweiler-Fröschen is spoken in the Palatine Forest 4 miles north of Pirmasens. Altrip is spoken in the city of Altrip 4 miles south of Ludwigshafen. Großrosseln and Saarbrücken, spoken in the Saarland, are partway between Rhine Franconian and Moselle Franconian. Großrosseln is almost a suburb of Saarbrücken. Wissembourg is spoken in northern Alsace, France. Mainzerisch is spoken around the city of Mainz. Westpalatine German or West Pfälzisch is a major level split in the Rhine Franconian lects. This is a separate language from Rhine Franconian proper because speakers refer to Rhine Franconian as one language and this as another language. For instance, Saarlandsich speakers say that Frankish (Rhine Franconian) is a different language from what they speak (Anonymous 2014).
Lects included in this grouping include Saarländisch, Saarpfälzisch, Westrichisch, Pfälzer-Bergländisch, Pfälzer-Wäldisch, Schwarzwälder-Hochwäldisch, Idarwäldisch, Hunsrückisch, Naheländisch, Rheinhessisch, Kaulbach, and Waldpfälzisch.
Saarländisch, Saarpfälzisch and Westrichisch are spoken in the Saarland. Most of the rest are spoken in the Rheinland Palatine. Saarlännisch is a form of Westpfälzisch spoken in the Saarland. It is intelligible with the Lorraine Pfalzisch spoken right across the border in the French state of Lorraine (Hughes 2005). Saarlandisch is not intelligible with the rest of Westpfalzisch spoken in the Rhineland Palatinate (Anonymous 2014).
Here is a sample of the Saarland dialect. There are various subdialects within Saarlännisch, including Eschringen, Ensheim, Saarlouis, and Irsch.
Saarlouis is still spoken by almost everyone in the town, including teachers. Lorraine Pfalzisch is a Rhenish Franconian Westpfälzisch tongue spoken in northeast France in eastern Moselle Department in the state of Lorraine region. In the Lorraine, it is spoken between Forbach and Biche in the Moselle Department of Lorraine Province.
The Rhenish Franconian spoken in Lorraine is not intelligible with the Luxembourgeois or with Lorraine Franconian spoken there. It is however intelligible with the Saarlännisch spoken just across the border in Germany in the state of Saarland (Hughes 2005). Lothringian Pfalzisch is a separate language spoken in the transitional area in Lorraine between the Lorraine Franconian (Moselle Franconian) speakers and the Lorraine Pfalzisch (Rhenish Franconian) speakers. This language is transitional between these two lects. However, the hard Lothringian Pfalzisch is not intelligible with Saarlandisch spoken over the border into Germany (Anonymous 2014). Since it is not intelligible with Saarlandisch, it is no doubt also not intelligible with Lorraine Pfalzisch, which is a part of Saarlandisch. Intelligibility with Moselle Franconian is not known but is probably not full. St. Arnold is a dialect. Intelligibility with Hunsrücker, a similar lect, is not known. Hunsrückisch, or Hunsrücker, is a Westpfälzisch dialect that is partway between the Rheinfränkisch and Moselfränkisch languages. Intelligibility with Lothringian Pfalzisch, a similar lect, is not known. Riograndenser Hunsrückisch is a variety of Hunsrückisch that is widely spoken in southern Brazil. Although it resembles Hunsrückisch as of 100 years ago, it has also received many inputs from other German languages, including Low German languages like Pomeranian and Plautdietsch, other European languages such as Italian and Venetian and of course lots of Portuguese. Intelligibility between this and Hunsrückisch in Germany is not known.
The German grammar has been largely replaced by Brazilian Portuguese grammar. It is apparently not at all intelligible with Standard German. Danube Swabian is spoken by former residents of the Danube region of Europe, especially Hungary, but also in Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. Most were expelled from the area after WW2. They now live in Brazil and Germany. This language is not intelligible at all with Standard German and is completely unintelligible with the Transylvanian Saxon that is spoken by other Hungarian Germans. Danube Swabian is ~30-40% intelligible with Transylvanian Saxon (Costin 2014) and is 65% intelligible with Standard German (Giesser 2014).
This language is only nominally Swabian, but it does sound like a combination of the earlier forms of many German languages such as Swabian, Pfälzisch, Alemannic and Alsatian circa the 1700’s, because that is what it seems like it is. But actually the High German aspect is a secondary layer to the essential core of the language, which is, to pin it down, best thought of as a Rhine Franconian lect similar to Saarlännisch.
It had many dialects, and you could often tell the particular village a person came from by his speech. It has many Hungarian borrowings. It is still spoken, but less and less. There are still many middle aged speakers age 45+.
It was still widely spoken in 1989, and many people could not even speak Hungarian but only spoke Swabian. Mandatory classes in Standard German have been introduced, and Danube Swabian is spoken less often.
The dialects are, incredibly enough, often regarded as largely mutually intelligible. However, other reports say that in Hungary, each village had its own dialect and adjacent villages sometimes could not understand each other (Bindorffer 2004). The latter report casts doubt on the mutual intelligibility of the Danube Swabian lects.
In the Banat (a region encompassing parts of Romania, Serbia and Hungary) alone, at one time there may have been as many as 24 different dialects. Danube Swabian has high intelligibility with Black Sea German, a form of German spoken in the southern Ukraine. Kurpfälzisch is spoken in the northern part of Baden-Württemberg from Karlsruhe north to up around Heidelberg and Mannheim. This is a Palatinian lect. It is unintelligible with Standard German, but it is intelligible with Rhine Franconian in general. Even the young people of Heidelberg today no longer understand the dialect of their own city.
Other Germans find the language spoken in Mannheim to be nearly incomprehensible, on the order of Swabish and German Bavarian. It is probably about 40% intelligible with Standard German. This is a Rheinish language related to Pfälzisch and Hessian.
There are different dialects of this language, including Heidelberg, Viernheim, Sandheim, Seckenheim, and Mannheim.
The Mannheim dialect is described as “completely different” in the northern and southern parts of Mannheim, so there are two dialects, North Mannheim and South Mannheim. The Mannheim dialect is in excellent shape, and most of the town speaks it habitually. Sandhofen is one of the dialects spoken in the north of Mannheim. There seems to be a broad Mannheim dialect that is understood all across the general Mannheim region. Pennsylvania German is a West Middle German Rhine Franconian (Rhenish Palatinate) macrolanguage that is descended from Pfälzisch. It is spoken in the USA. It is 70% intelligible with the Bavarian language Hutterite German. Although there are reports that it is mostly not intelligible with Pfälzisch nowadays, other reports say it is intelligible with the Mainzerisch spoken in Mainz. It seems to bear specific resemblance to the Kurpfälzisch spoken in Mannheim. There are also reports that it is intelligible with Riograndenser Hunsrückisch.
There are 2-3 million speakers of Pennsylvania German in the US, Canada and Central and South America. It has high intelligibility with Danube Swabian. Speakers are generally members of the Amish religious sect, though not all. Most speakers live in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in the US.
It is often said that Pennsylvania German is one language with many dialects that are all mutually intelligible. However, recent data shows that this is not the case. There are differences in this language even within the same branch of Anabaptism. The differences are sometimes serious enough to cause major disruptions in communication (Bowie 1997).
In Ohio at least, there are two groups of Amish Pennsylvania German speakers. The first group is descended from Amish who moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania and Ohio starting in the 1840’s. Swiss Pennsylvania German is the language spoken by the second group consisting of the second wave of Amish who came to the US from 1815-1860. They came mostly from Switzerland and went straight to Ohio. Swiss Pennsylvania German speakers and regular Pennsylvania German speakers in Ohio have poor mutual intelligibility hence they tend to communicate in English. Forepalatine German or Vorderpfälzisch is a high level split in Rhenish Franconian that is probably a separate language. It is spoken in the Vorderpfälz Middle Rhine region near Mannheim in the southeast of Rhineland-Palatine.
Dialects include Alsatian Pfälzisch (Elsässisch-Pfälzisch) spoken near Weißenburg (Wissembourg) and Nordelsass in France, Haardtgebirgisch, spoken near Haardtgebirge, Germany, Speyerisch-Landauisch, spoken near Speyer and Landau, Germany, Ludwigshafenerisch, spoken near Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Wormserisch, spoken around Worms, Germany. Speyerisch-Landauisch is still very commonly used in everyday life. Dialect intelligibility is lacking. Alsatian Pfalzisch is a dialect of Vorderpfälzisch that was spoken by many German colonists in the Black Sea area. This variety of Black Sea German derived from many immigrants that came from the Pfalzisch-speaking part of Alsace in France and settled in Russia during the 1800’s. Many then moved from the Black Sea to North Dakota in the US.
All forms – that spoken in the Black Sea, the form spoken in Alsace, and the form spoken in North Dakota – appear to be intelligible. It is not intelligible with the Low Alemannic Alsatian language widely spoken in Alsace. Intelligibility between this and the Lorraine Pfalzisch in Lorraine and Saarlännisch is not known. Texas German is apparently a Forepalatine dialect of German spoken by German settlers who came to central Texas in the 1840’s in an attempt to establish a New Germany in the US. It is an endangered language, and there are now projects to try to save it. The youngest speaker is 47 years old. Although it is a unique dialect, mutual intelligibility with Standard German is 95%, so it is not a separate language. It is most closely related to Forepalatine dialects west of Mannheim in the Ludwigshafen area (Guion 1996). South Hessian (Südhessisch) is a form of Rhenish Franconian. Some South Hessian dialects and languages are Biblis, Darmstadt, Dörnigheim, Haaner, Hanau, Heppenheim, Langenselbold, Seligenstadt, Mainzerisch, Orwisch, Rodgau, Ronneburg, Wetterauisch, Taunus-Hessisch, Untermainländisch, Riedhessisch, and Odenwälderisch. Haaner is spoken in Dreieichenhain, 15 miles south of Frankfurt. Darmstadt South Hessian is still spoken in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, today. Frankfurterisch South Hessian is a South Hessian dialect spoken in the city of Frankfurt. It has poor intelligibility with Bad Homburg South Hessian 10 miles north of town. It is intelligible with the Kurpfälzisch spoken in Heidelberg. Bad Homburg South Hessian is a South Hessian language that is spoken in and around Bad Homburg 10 miles north of Frankfurt in Southern Hessen. It is not intelligible with Frankfurterisch, but it is intelligible with lects spoken around it. Rhenish Hessian (Rheinhessisch) is a South Hessian dialect spoken in Rhenish Hessen around Mainz, Bingen, Bad Kreuznach, and in Hessen in the Rheingau area and Wiesbaden. Others place this language within Westpfälzisch. Rheingauer Rhinehessen is a dialect of Rhinehessen that is spoken in and around the wine-growing region of Rheingauer. It is intelligible with the rest of Rhenish Hessian.
Hessian is a West Middle German language spoken in Hessen that is closest to Pfalzisch. Hessian is only about 40% intelligible with Standard German. In many cases, Standard German speakers say they can scarcely understand a word of Hessian.
There are many Hessian lects, but intelligibility data is generally lacking between them. Some Hessian lects are surely separate languages. Hessian is spoken northeast of Pfälzisch. Hessian is not intelligible with Luxembourgish or with other Rheinish lects.
There are several main varieties of Hessian: Lower Hessian (or Niederhessisch), Upper Hessian or Central Hessian (Oberhessisch or Mittelhessisch), West Hessian (Weshessisch), South Hessian (Südhessisch) and Wittgenstein Hessian. Within Lower Hessian, there are two subvariants, North Hessian (Nordhessisch) and East Hessian (Osthessisch).
All of these have subdialects. Lower Hessian (Niederhessisch) is a family of German dialects which contains two large dialects, North Hessian and East Hessian. North Hessian (Nordhessisch) is a German dialect within Lower Hessian. Further, Hessian is an extremely diverse family. Schenklengsfeld and Kassel are dialects of North Hessian. North Hessian is no longer spoken in many parts of this region, especially in the cities. However, it is still quite alive in small villages, particularly around the Ohm River. East Hessian (Osthessisch) is part of the Lower Hessian group and is a separate language. Dialects include Salzung. Fulda East Hessian is not inherently intelligible with Schlitz East Hessian, though many Schlitz East Hessian speakers have learned to speak it (Wahl May 2009). Intelligibility with Voralberg East Hessian is unknown and needs investigation. Schlitz East Hessian (Schlitzerplatt) is a form of East Hessian spoken in the town of Schlitz and surrounding villages in Hessen. Speakers say (Wahl 2009) that it is not intelligible with any other German lects. Hence, it is a separate language. Schlitzerplatt is now nearly extinct in Schlitz itself, but it may still have a few elderly speakers in outlying villages (Wahl 2014). Voralberg East Hessian is a form of East Hessian spoken in the Voralberg region of the state of Hessen. It has poor intelligibility even with the nearby Schlitz East Hessian, even into the 2000’s. The region is described as desolate and the residents as poor farmers. The language is said to reflect the region and its residents and is described as “harsh, cold and brutal” (Wahl February 2010). The language is still widely spoken even recently. Since it has poor intelligibility even with Schlitzerplatt, it may well be a separate language. Upper Hessian or Central Hessian (Oberhessisch or Mittelhessisch), is another high level split in the Hessian family that is definitely a separate language. Central Hessian dialects include Holzhausen, Ruttershausen, Langenbach, and Hättenberger Land (the area around Wetzlar and Gießen). Within Central Hessian, there are probably numerous languages because it is not uncommon for village dialects to not be understood even a few miles away.
Hinterlander Central Hessian (Hinterländer Platt) is a Central Hessian dialect spoken in the Hinterlander region of Hessen. Wittgenstein Hessianis a highly divergent Hessian dialect that may or may not be a separate language. It is spoken in Wittgenstein in North Rhine-Westphalia. Volga German is a language or series of languages spoken by Germans in the Volga Region of Russia. Beginning in 1763, Catherine the Great urged Germans to come to Russia to farm empty lands. Many deeply impoverished Germans took up the call and migrated to Russia, where they were given land in the Volga Region.
Volga German in general seems to be a West Middle German Rhenish Franconian language with deep affinities to Hessian, though there are Swabian influences too.
It is almost completely unintelligible with Standard German. This language, like Yiddish, has been deeply influenced by Russian in terms of both lexicon and syntax. Since 1990, many have left Russia for Germany. As in the case of Bohemian German, this may be another trash can category for a variety of lects spoken by different German groups in the Volga.
Although, arguing against this is evidence from the region in 1850 that a Standard Volga German koine (Kolonistendeutsch) was already developing. The language may have an archaic character. German visitors in 1924 noted that it sounded like 17th Century German. Amana German is still spoken in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. This area was settled by a fundamentalist German Lutheran group called the Inspirationists around 1850. Amana is a mixture of many different German lects, but it is primarily a Buedingen-Geldhausen Hessian lect. There is also major Swabian influence.
Even in the US, each village continued to have its own dialect until major changes occurred in 1932, after which a Standard Amana German developed. Intelligibility with Amana German and the rest of German is not known. Ostfränkisch (East Franconian) is a High German language group transitional between Central and High German. It is spoken in Thuringia, Bavaria, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg around Eisenach, Coburg, Würzburg, Hof, Bayreuth, Plauen and Bamberg, in the area east of Frankfurt, to southern and western Thuringia and out to the Vogtland. It has a very high number of speakers. Klein-Allmerspan, Oberschefflenz, and Kupfer River are dialects. It is not intelligible at all with any type of Bavarian, even the Bavarian spoken nearby, and it is said to be only understandable by those who live there.
Main-Franconian is one of the Ostfrankisch (East Franconian) High German languages that are transitional between Central and High German. It is spoken along the Main River which runs into the Rhine.
It is spoken in Germany in the Main-Tauber District of Baden-Württemberg, in Upper Franconia (Oberfranken) in Bavaria, and in Schmalkalden-Meiningen, Hildburghausen, Sonneberg, and the city of Suhl in southern Thuringia. It is also spoken around Schlüchtern in Eastern Hesse near the border with northwest Bavaria.
Major cities where it is spoken include Bayreuth. This language is not intelligible at all with German Bavarian (Kirmaier 2009).
There are many Main-Franconian lects. Taubergründisch is an East Franconian lect spoken in Bavaria in Euerhausen and Sonderhofen, and in Baden-Württemberg in Weikersheim, Bad Mergentheim, and Tauberbischofsheim. This lect borders on South Franconian. Ansbachisch is an East Franconian lect. I am not sure where it is spoken. Lower Franconian (Unterfränkisch) is a Main-Franconian lect spoken in Würzburg and Schweinfurt in the Unterfranken or Lower Franconian region of Bavaria. There is high but not complete intelligibility between Lower Franconian and the rest of Main-Franconian (Kirmaier 2009), but it appears that Lower Franconian is not fully intelligible with Main-Franconian since Lower Franconian is not even intelligible within itself.
However, Lower Franconian has huge dialectal diversity. There are apparently over 250 dialects of Lower Franconian alone. Some of these dialects are not very different, but others are so different that intelligibility is poor. Villages spaced far apart often have poor intelligibility. There are a number of separate languages in Lower Franconian, but until we can begin to delineate them, we can’t list any. These small lects appear to be dying out lately. Grabfeldisch is a Main-Franconian lect spoken in Bad Königshofen and Mellrichstadt in Bavaria, in Römhild and Frankenheim in Thuringia, and in Gersfeld and Hilders in Hessen. Schlüchtern may be a dialect. Bambergerisch is a Main-Franconian lect spoken in Bamberg, Forchheim, and Erlangen in Bavaria. Hennebergisch is a Main-Franconian language spoken in Schmalkalden, Meiningen, Zella-Mehlis, Suhl, and Schleusingen in Thuringia. Itzgründisch is a Main-Franconian language spoken in Coburg, Neustadt and Bad Staffelstein in Bavaria and in Sonneberg, Effelder-Rauenstein, and Hildburghausen in Thuringia. Itzgründisch is not intelligible with Upper Saxon and probably with none of the other Main-Franconian lects either. Sonnebarger is a dialect spoken in Sonneberg. Frammersbacher Welschen is spoken in the town of Frammersbach in the Spessart area. It is a secret language, so not a dialect proper. Upper Franconian (Oberfränkisch) is a Main-Franconian lect spoken in Bavaria in Bayreuth, Kulmbach, Kronach, Hof, and Lichtenfels. It has high, but not full, intelligibility with Lower Franconian. Hof Upper Franconian (Hofer) is the Upper Franconian language spoken in Hof. Hofer is very divergent, even within itself, and in all probability it is a separate language. Rhöner Platt East Franconian is a complex dialect, possibly a separate language, that is hard to characterize and is spoken around the Rhön area of eastern Hessen. This is a Middle German language, but it hard to say if it is East or West Middle German because it has been influenced by both.
It has been influenced by East Franconian, Hessian and Thuringian. This language is spoken around the Fulda Gap between the former nations of East and West Germany. It is not intelligible to people even 15 miles away, so it must be a separate language. Central Franconian (Mittelfränkischen) is spoken in the Mittelfranken or Central Franconian region. This is a language spoken in and around Nuremberg that is very different from the rest of East Franconian to the extent that it is not intelligible with it (Kirmaier 2009). Therefore, it is a separate language.
There are some dialects of this language. Hetzle is spoken in the village of the same name near Nuremberg. Fürther is spoken in the town of Fürth near Nuremberg. Nuernbergerisch is spoken in the city of Nuremberg. There are apparently some dialects of Central Franconian in the rural areas that are impossible for even native speakers of Fürther to understand. Therefore, there is more than one language in Central Franconian, but we need some details before we proceed. Hohenlohisch is an East Franconian dialect that is spoken around Bad Mergentheim, Crailsheim, Gerabronn, Künzelsau, Öhringen, and Schwäbisch Hall in Baden-Württemberg. This is probably the same language as Schwäbisch-Fränkisch, a type of East Franconian that is spoken on the border of the Swabian speaking area. Vogtländisch is one of the Ostfrankisch (East Franconian) High German dialects that are transitional between Central and High German. It is spoken in Vogtland in Saxony, and it is also spoken in Austria. It is intelligible with Erzgebirgisch, but not with any other German lects (Goldammer 2009).
Speakers now are mostly elderly, as children have not been raised speaking it for some time now. Still, there are quite a few speakers.
The dialects differ drastically from one another but are nevertheless intelligible with each other. Cities where it is spoken include Plauen and Klingenthal.
There are four dialects. Middle Vogtländisch (Mittelvogtländisch) is spoken around Mühltroff, Treuen, and Oelsnitz.
Northern or Nether Vogtländisch (Nordvogtländisch) is spoken along a line going from Reichenbach – Mylau – Netzschkau – Elsterberg – Pausa. Eastern Vogtländisch (Ostvogtländisch) is spoken around Göltzschtal from Frankenstein to Lengenfeld. Upper Vogtländisch (Obervogtländisch) is spoken south to a line running from Bobenneukirchen – Oelsnitz – Werda – Schöneck.
Eastern Vogtländisch around Klingenthal is regarded as particularly incomprehensible by Standard German speakers.
Erzgebirgisch is an East Middle German language related to East Franconian. Although it is often said to be an Upper Saxon language, the latest thinking is that it is separate from Upper Saxon, and it has little in common linguistically with Upper Saxon. Neither is it intelligible with Upper Saxon.
A good case can be made that it is an East Franconian language. It has high intelligibility with Vogtlandisch and some of the furthermost east varieties of East Franconian.
It is spoken on on the border with the former Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in Saxony, especially in the area of the Erzgebirge or Ore Mountains. There are other dialects spoken far away in the Harz Mountains in Lower Saxony.
It is losing ground to Upper Saxon, and many speakers are emigrating out of the area, hence the language is declining, but it still has 500,000 speakers. It is also close to Bavarian.
There has been little research on this language since 1929 and even that dealt only with Upper Harz. Historically, this language was created during the 1100’s and 1200’s as East Franconian speakers from the West moved into the Ore Mountains and either displaced or assimilated Slavic speakers.
It has at least seven dialects, Upper Erzgebirgisch, Fore Erzgebirgisch (Vorerzgebirgisch), East Erzgebirgisch, West Erzgebirgisch, Clausthal-Zellerfeld Erzgebirgisch, Upper Harz Erzgebirgisch, and North Erzgebirgisch. Fore Erzgebirgisch is transitional to East Franconian. All dialects are intelligible. Upper Harz Erzgebirgisch is located far away from the rest of the dialects to the north in the Upper Harz Mountains (see map below) of Lower Saxony. This dialect is nearly extinct. It still has many elderly speakers, but it is probably not being passed on to children. This dialect is the most different of all, but it is still intelligible with the rest of Erzgebirgisch (Goldammer 2009).
This lect is spoken in the Upper Harz Mountains, is heavily influenced by Ostfälisch and is nearly extinct. It is spoken around the city of Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Lower Saxony. This lect is different mostly in that it is very archaic. West Erzgebirgish (Westerzgebirgisch), is an Erzgebirgisch dialect spoken around Scheeberg, Marienberg, and Annaberg. This language is not intelligible with Standard German and is regarded as being one of the toughest dialects for Standard German speakers to understand. Intelligibility with Standard German is surely below 40%.
As of 20 years ago, this language was still the primary means of communication in the area, and it still has many speakers. This dialect is transitional to East Franconian. There is a lot of East Franconian influence in this dialect.
The differences between West Erzgebirgisch and East Erzgebirgisch are considerable, but the two are nevertheless intelligible. This lect has a lot of Upper Franconian elements, along with a lot of influence from Eastern Meissenish. West Erzgebirgisch is also similar to Vogtlandisch. Osterzgebirgisch or East Erzgebirgisch , an Erzgebirgisch dialect, represents a transitional dialect between West Erzgebirgish and Upper Saxon. This dialect has very heavy Upper Saxon influence, and it is losing speakers. This lect is close to Meissenish.
Anonymous. Saarlandsich native speaker. Personal communication, Yosemite National Park, California. March 2014.
Bowie, David. 1997. Was Mir Wisse: A Review of the Literature on the Languages of the Pennsylvania Germans. In Current Work in Linguistics, ed.
Costin, Paul. Siebenbürger Sachsen native speaker. Personal communication. April 2014.
Dimitriadis, Alexis; Lee, Hikyoung; Siegel, Laura; Surek-Clark, Clarissa, and Williams, Alexander, 4 (3):1-18. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics.
Denison, Norman. 1971. Some Observations on Language Variety and Plurilingualism, chapter 7 in Ardener, Edwin. Social Anthropology and Language. London: Tavistock Publications.
Giesser, Diane. Danube Swabian native speaker. Personal communication. December 2014.
Goldammer, Thomas. Erzgebirgisch and Upper Saxon native speaker. Personal communication. August 2009.
Guion, S. 1996. The Death of Texas German in Gillespie County. In P.S. Ureland and I. Clarkson (eds.), Language Contact Across the North Atlantic. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 443-463.
Hughes, Stephanie. 2005. Bilingualism in North-East France With Specific Reference to Rhenish Franconian Spoken by Moselle Cross-border (or Frontier) Workers. In Preisler, Bent, et al., eds. The Consequences of Mobility: Linguistic and Sociocultural Contact Zones. Roskilde, Denmark: Roskilde Universitetscenter Institut for Sprog og Kultur.
Jeep, John M., editor. 2001. Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia. New York and London: Garland.
Kirmaier, Andrea. Oberpfälzisch North Bavarian native speaker. Personal communication. March 2009.
Liesenberg, Friedrich. 1890. Die Stieger Mundart: ein Idiom des Unterharzes, besonders hinsichtlich der Lautlehre dargestellt, pp. 178. Charleston, SC: Bibliolife.