Western Europe: What Native Languages Are Spoken in Germany?

Montleek:  Robert, is it possible that in Western Europe, the regional lects have been preserved better, while in eastern Europe are preserved worse? There was communism/socialism in Eastern Europe, therefore more tendency not to continue speaking with regional lect.

Germany is a very chaotic situation with a dialect in every town or village.

Dutch is actually spoken up near the Dutch border, but the form is not intelligible at all with Dutch across the border. You get into the different dialect in every town here.

Danish spoken a bit up by the Danish border.

Sorbian is spoken in the central east.

Frisian is spoken in the northwest and in the far north.

There are up to 138 separate languages within German by my calculation and splitting down to dialects, there must be many more, surely hundreds and maybe over a thousand. There are 3-4 languages within the Macro-Dutch spoken on the border and a dialect in every town. The Danish spoken in the north is not very dialectally diverse. Frisian is spoken as North Frisian and Saterland Frisian, but there may be up to five languages inside North Frisian. Sorbian is spoken in two forms, Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian, and both are separate languages.


Filed under Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Danish, Dialectology, Dutch, Europe, Frisian, German, Germanic, Germany, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Sociolinguistics

4 responses to “Western Europe: What Native Languages Are Spoken in Germany?

  1. Is German Frisian intelligible to Dutch Frisian?

  2. I have no hard data about intelligibility among the three recognized Frisian languages, but I doubt if they are very intelligible with each other. West Frisian is not even intelligible within itself, and North Frisian lects are so divergent that I think there may be up to five languages among them. As an example, some North Frisian lects have only 65-70% lexical similarity. That’s about the same as the lexical similarity between English and North Frisian and English speakers cannot understand a word of North Frisian. I watched a video of an old woman speaking North Frisian. The video was 10 minutes long and I did not understand one word she said in that whole 10 minutes. I don’t get how the North Frisian lects can understand each other much at all with such low lexical similarity.

  3. Mountleek

    Actually, I’m not sure how close written (standard) Upper and Lower Sorbian are in the relation to actually spoken dialects. I think there are several spoken dialects, and Lower and Upper Sorbian are standards used in Lower and Upper Lusatia.

  4. SHI

    Some unusually funny news. German corporation representatives make racist slurs against Chinese people, e.g. “sly dogs”, “slit eyes”. Racist Indians applaud in unison. This perfectly illustrates why Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a best-seller in India.


    Germans on backfoot after 2 top officials in a month insult Chinese, calling them ‘sly dogs’, ‘slit-eyes,’ ‘bastards’

    A top Daimler executive based in Beijing was fired after he got into a flaming row over a parking spot, during which he allegedly said “All you Chinese are bastards” and then proceeded to use a pepper spray on innocent bystanders who tried to calm him down, the state-run People’s Daily reported today.

    Gartner is the second German in a month to make offensive comments about Chinese, shanghaiist.com said. In late October, Germany’s EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger reportedly referred to Chinese people as “slit-eyes” and “sly dogs” in a speech to business leaders in Hamburg, The New York Times reported.

    Here are some comments by Indians on this story.

    “The German got it right.” – Murli Multani972

    “PERFECT THEY DESERVE EVEN WORST” – sudeshkumar sethi

    “Chinese are racist too 🙂 e.g. China Airlines declaration and warning to Tourist do not Travel in London where Indian and Pakistani origin people are more. One of Ads in China showed One Black man put into Washing machine and comes out as Clean Chinese man 🙂 So Chin keys deserved the comment by German 🙂 Ha Ha ha” – Ugly Dog

    “These chungi mangi chinese deserve this treatment” – sickular

    “Agree with the German. Chinese have the habit of occupying others territory.” – aar Kay

    “He has to pay the price for being honest. Chinese and porkis (Pakistanis) are bsstards.” – jaderabbit

    “Well said, sometime truth is bitter!” – -Subir

    “Everyone hates slant eyed yellow Han pigs .” – Yolanda Roberts

    “That is a slur on the canines.” – Prakash

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