Category Archives: Austria

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

I participated in a session with this fellow on Academia.edu. I believe the author is a professor at a university somewhere in the UK. I really liked this paper a lot. It’s a bit hard to understand, but if you concentrate, you should be able to understand. If I can understand it, at least some of you guys can too. It is an excellent overview of what exactly neoliberalism is and the effects it has on all of us all the way down to the anthropological, sociological and psychological.

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

by Simon During

Over the past decade or so “neoliberalism” has become a word to conjure with. It is easy to have reservations about its popularity since it seems to name both a general object — roughly, capitalist governmentality as we know it today — and a particular set of ideas that now have a well-researched intellectual history.

It also implies a judgment: few use the term except pejoratively. I myself do not share these worries however, since I think that using the word performs sterling analytic work on its own account even as it probably accentuates its concept’s rather blob-like qualities. Nonetheless in this talk I want somewhat to accede to those who resist neoliberalism’s analytic appeal by thinking about it quite narrowly — that is to say, in literary and intellectual historical terms.

I begin from the position, first, that neoliberalism is an offshoot of liberalism thought more generally; and second, that we in the academic humanities are ourselves inhabited by an occluded or displaced neoliberalism to which we need critically to adjust.1 Thus, writing as a
literary critic in particular, I want to follow one of my own discipline’s original protocols, namely to be sensitive to the ways in which the literary “tradition” changes as the present changes, in this case, as it is reshaped under that neoliberalism which abuts and inhabits us.2

To this end I want to present a reading of Joseph Conrad’s Victory (1916). To do this is not just to help preserve the received literary canon, and as such is, I like to think, a tiny act of resistance to neoliberalism on the grounds that neoliberalism is diminishing our capacity to affirm a canon at all. By maintaining a canon in the act of locating neoliberalism where it is not usually found, I’m trying to operate both inside and outside capitalism’s latest form.

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1 Daniel Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2014, p. 17.
2 This argument is made of course in T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1921).
Let me begin with a brief and sweeping overview of liberalism’s longue durée.3 For our purposes we can fix on liberalism by noting that it has two central struts, one theoretical, the other historical. As generations of theorists have noted, the first strut is methodological individualism: liberal analysis begins with, and is addressed to, the autonomous individual rather than communities or histories.4

Methodological individualism of this kind is, for instance, what allowed Leo Strauss and J.P Macpherson to call even Thomas Hobbes a founder of liberalism.5 Liberalism’s second strut is the emphasis on freedom as the right to express and enact private beliefs with a minimum of state intervention. This view of freedom emerged in the seventeenth century among those who recommended that the sovereign state “tolerate” religious differences.

It marked a conceptual break in freedom’s history since freedom was now conceived of as an individual possession and right rather than as a condition proper to “civil associations” and bound to obligations.6 We need to remember, however, that methodological individualism does not imply liberal freedom, or vice versa. Indeed neoliberalism exposes the weakness of that association.

Early in the nineteenth century, liberalism became a progressivist political movement linked to enlightened values. But after about 1850, non-progressive or conservative liberalisms also appeared. Thus, as Jeffrey Church has argued, Arthur Schopenhauer, the post-Kantian
philosopher who arguably broke most spectacularly with enlightened humanist progressivism,

3 Among the library of works on liberalism’s history I have found two to be particularly useful for my purposes here: Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: a Counter-History, trans. Gregory Elliot. London: Verso 2014, and Amanda Anderson’s forthcoming Bleak Liberalism, Chicago, University of Chicago Press 2016.
4 Milan Zafirovski, Liberal Modernity and Its Adversaries: Freedom, Liberalism and Anti-Liberalism in the 21st Century, Amsterdam: Brill 2007, p. 116.
5 Van Mobley, “Two Liberalisms: the Contrasting Visions of Hobbes and Locke,” Humanitas, IX 1997: 6-34.
6 Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998, p. 23.

can be associated with liberalism.7

Likewise Schopenhauer’s sometime disciple, Friedrich Nietzsche, no progressivist, was, as Hugo Drochon has recently argued, also an antistatist who prophesied that in the future “private companies” will take over state business so as to protect private persons from one another.8 Liberalism’s conservative turn was, however, largely a result of socialism’s emergence as a political force after 1848, which enabled some left liberal fractions to dilute their individualism by accepting that “a thoroughly consistent individualism can work in harmony with socialism,” as Leonard Hobhouse put it.9

Conrad himself belonged to this moment. As a young man, for instance, he was appalled by the results of the 1885 election, the first in which both the British working class and the socialists participated.10 That election was contested not just by the Marxist Socialist Democratic Federation, but by radical Liberals who had allied themselves to the emergent socialist movement (not least Joseph Chamberlain who, as mayor of Birmingham, was developing so-called “municipal socialism” and who haunts Conrad’s work).11

The election went well for the Liberals who prevented the Tories from securing a clear Parliamentary majority. After learning this, Conrad, himself the son of a famous Polish liberal revolutionary, wrote to a friend, “the International Socialist Association are triumphant, and every
disreputable ragamuffin in Europe, feels that the day of universal brotherhood, despoliation and disorder is coming apace…Socialism must inevitably end in Caesarism.”12 That prophecy will resonate politically for the next century, splitting liberalism in two. As I say: on the one side, a

7 Jeffrey Church, Nietzsche’s Culture of Humanity: Beyond Aristocracy and Democracy in the Early Period, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015, p. 226.
8 Hugo Drochon, Nietzsche’s Great Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2016, p. 9.
9 L. T. Hobhouse, Liberalism, London: Williams and Norgate, 1911, p. 99.
10 It was at this point that one of neoliberalism’s almost forgotten ur-texts was written,Herbert Spencer’s Man against the State (1884).
11 For instance, he plays an important role in Conrad and Ford Madox Ford’s The Inheritors.
12 Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, vol 1., ed. Frederick Karl and Laurence Davis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983, p. 16.

 

progressivist, collectivist liberalism. On the other, an individualist liberalism of which neoliberalism is a continuation.

By around 1900, liberalism’s fusion with socialism was often (although not quite accurately) associated with Bismark’s Germany, which gave anti-socialist liberalism a geographical inflection. Against this, individualistic liberalism was associated with Britain. But this received British liberalism looked back less to Locke’s religiously tolerant Britain than to Richard Cobden’s Britain of maritime/imperial dominance and free trade.

Which is to say that liberalism’s fusion with socialism pushed socialism’s liberal enemies increasingly to think of freedom economically rather than politically — as in Ludwig von Mises influential 1922 book on socialism, which can be understood as a neoliberal urtext.13 By that point, too, individuals were already being positioned to become what Foucault calls “consumers of freedom.” 14

They were now less understood less as possessing a fundamental claim to freedom than as creating and participating in those institutions which enabled freedom in practice. Crucially after the first world war, in the work of von Mises and the so-called “Austrian school”, freedom was increasingly assigned to individual relations with an efficient market as equilibrium theory viewed markets. This turn to the market as freedom’s basis marked another significant historical departure: it is the condition of contemporary neoliberalism’s emergence.

Neoliberalism organized itself internationally as a movement only after world war two, and did so against both Keynesian economics and the welfare state. 15 It was still mainly ideologically motivated by a refusal to discriminate between welfarism and totalitarianism — a line of thought already apparent in Conrad’s equation of socialism with Caesarism of course. As
13 See Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: an Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane. New Haven: Yale University Press 1951.
14 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 63. One key sign of this spread of this new freedom is Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous appeal to the “free trade in ideas” in his 1919 dissent in Abrams v. the US, a judgment which joins together the market, intellectual expression and the juridical.
15 See Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (eds.), The Road from Mont Pèlerin, Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009.

 

Friedrich Hayek urged: once states begin to intervene on free markets totalitarianism looms because the people’s psychological character changes: they become dependent.16 For thirty years (in part as confined by this argument), neoliberalism remained a minority movement, but
in the 1970s it began its quick ascent to ideological and economic dominance.

Cutting across a complex and unsettled debate, let me suggest that neoliberalism became powerful then because it provided implementable policy settings for Keynesianism’s (perceived) impasse in view the stagnation and instability of post-war, first-world welfarist, full-employment economies after 1) the Vietnam War, 2) the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement; 3) OPEC’s cartelization, and 4) the postcolonial or “globalizing” opening up of world markets on the back of new transportation and computing technologies.17

In the global north neoliberalism was first implemented governmentally by parties on the left, led by James Callaghan in the UK, Jimmy Carter in the US, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia, and leading the way, David Lange and Roger Douglas in New Zealand.18 At this time, at the level of policy, it was urged more by economists than by ideologues insofar as these can be separated (and Hayek and Mises were both of course).

As we know, neoliberals then introduced policies to implement competition, deregulation, monetarism, privatization, tax reduction, a relative high level of unemployment, the winding back of the state’s participation in the economy and so on. This agenda quickly became captured by private

 

16 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 48.
17 This history is open to lively differences of opinion. The major books in the literature are: Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979, London: Picador 2010; Philip Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, London: Verso 2014; Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe; Joseph Vogl, The Spectre of Capital, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2014; David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007. My own understanding of this moment is informed by Stedman-Jones’s account in particular.
18 It is worth noting in this context that the left had itself long been a hatchery of neoliberal economic ideas just because liberalism’s absorption of socialism was matched by socialism’s absorption of liberalism. See Johanna Brockman, Markets in the name of Socialism: the Left-wing Origins of Neoliberalism, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2011 on the intellectual-historical side of this connection.

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interests, and from the eighties on, it was woven into new, highly surveilled and privatized, computing and media ecologies, indeed into what some optimists today call “cognitive capitalism”.19

In this situation, more or less unintended consequences proliferated, most obviously a rapid increase in economic inequality and the enforced insertion of internal markets and corporate structures in non-commercial institutions from hospitals to universities. Indeed, in winding back the welfare state, renouncing Keynesian and redistributionist economic policies, it lost its classical liberal flavor and was firmly absorbed into conservatism — a transformation which had been prepared for by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.20

But two more concrete conceptual shifts also helped animate this particular fusion of conservatism and liberalism. First, postwar neoliberalism was aimed more at the enterprise than at the individual.21

Largely on the basis of van Mises’s Human Action (1940) as popularized by Gary Becker, the free, independent individual was refigured as “human capital” and thereby exposed instead to management and “leadership.” At the same time, via Peter Drucker’s concept of “knowledge worker,” which emphasized the importance of conceptual and communication skills to
economic production, postsecular management theories for which corporations were hierarchical but organic communities also gained entry into many neoliberal mindsets.22 At that

 

19 Yann Moulier Boutang, Cognitive Capitalism, trans. Ed Emery. Cambridge: Polity Press 2012.
20 Nietzsche and Schopenhauer’s influence is no doubt part of why neoliberalism emerged in Austria. Indeed the Austrian context in which contemporary neoliberalism emerged is worth understanding in more detail. In their early work, Hayek and Mises in particular were responding to “red Vienna” not just in relation to Otto Bauer’s Austromarxism but also in relation to its version of guild socialism associated with Hungarians like Karl Polanyi, with whom both Hayek and Mises entered into debate. See Lee Congdon, “The Sovereignty of Society: Karl Polanyi in Vienna,” in The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi, ed. Kari Polanyi-Levitt. Montreal: Black Rose Books 1990, 78-85.
21 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 225.
22 Drucker was another Austrian refugee who turned to capitalism against totalitarianism in the late thirties and his profoundly influential work on corporate management shadows neoliberal theory up until the 1970s.

 

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point, neoliberalism also became a quest to reshape as many institutions as possible as corporations.

At this point too Foucault’s consumers of freedom were becoming consumers full stop. To state this more carefully: at the level of ideology, to be free was now first and foremost deemed to be capable of enacting one’s preferences in consumer and labour markets. It would seem that preferences of this kind increasingly determined social status too, and, more invasively, they now increasingly shaped personalities just because practices of self were bound less and less to filiations and affiliations than to acts of choice.

This helped the market to subsume older gradated social and cultural structures of identity-formation, class difference and cultural capital. At this juncture, we encounter another significant unexpected consequence
within liberalism’s longue durée: i.e. the sixties cultural revolution’s reinforcement of neoliberalism.

This is a complex and controversial topic so let me just say here that, from the late seventies, neoliberal subjects who were individualized via their entrepreneurial disposition and economic and labour choices, encounters the subject of post-68 identity politics who had been emancipated from received social hierarchies and prejudices, and was now attached to a particular ethnicity, gender or sexuality as chosen or embraced by themselves as individuals. These two subject formations animated each other to the degree that both had, in their different ways, sloughed off older communal forms, hierarchies and values.

Governing this ménage of hedonism, productivity, insecurity and corporatization, neoliberalism today seems to have become insurmountable, and is, as I say, blob-like, merging out into institutions and practices generally, including those of our discipline. And it has done
this as a turn within liberal modernity’s longer political, intellectual and social genealogies and structures rather than as a break from them.

Nonetheless, three core, somewhat technical, propositions distinguish neoliberalism from liberalism more generally:

  1. First the claim, which belongs to the sociology of knowledge, that no individual or group can know the true value of anything at all.23 For neoliberals, that value — true or not — can only be assessed, where it can be assessed at all, under particular conditions: namely when it is available in a competitive and free market open to all individuals in a society based on private property. This is an argument against all elite and expert claims to superior knowledge and judgment: without prices, all assessments of value are mere opinion. In that way, market justice (i.e. the effects of competing in the market) can trump social justice. And in that way, for instance, neoliberalism finds an echo not just in negations of cultural authority and canonicity but in the idea that literary and aesthetic judgments are matters of private choice and opinion. In short, neoliberalism inhabits cultural democracy and vice versa. By the same stroke, it posits an absence — a mere structure of exchange—at society’s normative center.
  2. There is a direct relationship between the competitive market and freedom. Any attempt to limit free markets reduces freedom because it imposes upon all individuals a partial opinion about what is valuable. This particular understanding of freedom rests on the notion of the market as a spontaneous order — its being resistant to control and planning, its being embedded in a society which “no individual can completely survey” as Hayek put it.24 Not that this notion is itself original to neoliberalism: Foucault’s historiography of liberalism shows that, in the mid eighteenth century, this property of markets was thought of as “natural” and therefore needed to be protected
    from sovereign authority’s interference.25 But as Foucault and others have argued, neoliberalism emerges after World War 2 when the spontaneous market conditions of freedom are no longer viewed as natural (even if they remain immanently lawbound) but as governmentally produced.26
  3. Neoliberalism has specific ethical dimensions too. While it generally insists that individuals should be free to “follow their own values and preferences” (as Hayek put it) at least within the limits set by those rules and institutions which secure market stability, in fact individuals’ independence as well as their relation to market risk, provides the necessary condition for specific virtues and capacities. Most notably, in Hayek’s formulation, a neoliberal regime secures individuals’ self-sufficiency, honor and dignity and does so by the willingness of some to accept “material sacrifice,” or to “live dangerously” as Foucault put it, in a phrase he declared to be liberalism’s “motto”.27 This mix of risk-seeking existentialism and civic republicanism not only rebukes and prevents the kind of de-individualization supposedly associated with socialisms of the left and right, it is where neoliberalism and an older “Nietzschean” liberalism meet—with Michael Oakeshott’s work bearing special weight in this context.28 But as soon as neoliberalism itself becomes hegemonic in part by fusing with the spirit of 1968, this original ascetic, masculinist neoliberal ethic of freedom and risk comes to be supplemented and displaced by one based more on creativity, consumerist hedonism and entrepreneurialism aimed at augmenting choice.29

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23 See Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis, p. 55.
24 Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom: Texts and Documents. The Definitive Edition, ed. Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, p. 212.

25 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 19.
26 This is argued in Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval’s The New Way of the World: on Neoliberal Society, London: Verso 2014. For the immanent lawboundedness in Hayek, see Miguel Vatter, The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society, New York: Fordham University Press 2014: pps. 195-220. Vatter’s chapter “Free Markets and Republican
Constitutions in Hayek and Foucault” is excellent on how law is treated in neoliberal thought.
27 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 130. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 66.
28 See Andrew Norris’s forthcoming essay in Political Theory, “Michael Oakeshott’s Postulates of Individuality” for this. We might recall, too, that Foucault argues for similarities between the Frankfurt school and the early neoliberals on the grounds of their resistance to standardization, spectacle and so on. See The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 105.

 

I have indicated that Conrad belongs to the moment when socialist parties first contested democratic elections and which thus split liberalism, allowing one, then beleaguered, liberal fraction to begin to attach to conservatism. In this way then, he belongs to neoliberalism’s deep past (which is not to say, of course, that he should be understand as a proto-neoliberal himself). Let us now think about his novel Victory in this light.

The novel is set in late nineteenth-century Indonesia mainly among European settlers and entrepreneurs. Indonesia was then a Dutch colony itself undergoing a formal economic deregulation program, which would increase not just Dutch imperial profits but, among indigenous peoples, also trigger what was arguably human history’s most explosive population growth to date.30

Victory belongs to this world where imperialism encountered vibrant commercial activity driven by entrepreneurial interests, competition and risk. Thus, for instance, its central character, the nomadic, cosmopolitan, aristocratic Swedish intellectual, Axel Heyst, establishes a business— a coal mine — along with a ship-owning partner, while other characters manage hotels, orchestras and trading vessels. Victory is a novel about enterprises as well as about individuals.

But Conrad’s Indonesia is other to Europe as a realm of freedom. Importantly, however, its freedom is not quite liberal or neoliberal: it is also the freedom of a particular space. More precisely, it is the freedom of the sea: here, in effect Indonesia is oceanic. This formulation draws on Carl Schmitt’s post-war work on international law, which was implicitly

 

29 The history of that displacement is explored in Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott. London: Verso 2005.
30 Bram Peper, “Population Growth in Java in the 19th Century”, Population Studies, 24/1 (1970): 71-84.

 

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positioned against liberal and neoliberal theory. In his monograph The Nomos of the Earth (1950), Schmitt drew attention to the sea as a space of freedom just because national sovereignties and laws did not hold there.

But Schmitt’s implicit point was that liberal freedom needs to be thought about not just in terms of tolerance, recognition, rights or markets, but
geographically and historically inside the long history of violent sovereign appropriation of the globe’s land masses so that elemental freedom was enacted on the oceans where law and sovereignty had no reach. From this perspective, piracy, for instance, plays an important role in freedom’s history. And from this perspective the claim to reconcile radical freedom to the lawbound state is false: such freedom exists only where laws do not.

The sea, thought Schmitt’s way, is key to Conrad’s work. But, for him, the sea is also the home of economic liberalism, free-trade and the merchant marines by whom he had, of course, once been employed, and whose values he admired.31 Victory is a maritime tale set on waters which harbor such free trade at the same time as they form a Schmittean realm of freedom — and violence and risk — which effectively remains beyond the reach of sovereign law.

Let me step back at this point to sketch the novel’s plot. Victory’s central character Heyst is the son of an intellectual who late in life was converted from progressivism to a mode of weak Schopenhauerianism or what was then call pessimism.32 Heyst lives his father’s pessimism out: he is a disabused conservative liberal: “he claimed for mankind that right to
absolute moral and intellectual liberty of which he no longer believed them worthy.”33

Believing this, Heyst leaves Europe to “drift”— circulating through Burma, New Guinea, Timor and the Indonesian archipelagoes, simply gathering facts and observing. But, on an

 

31 For Conrad and trade in this region, see Andrew Francis, Culture and Commerce in Conrad’s Asian Fiction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015. For Conrad’s affiliations to free trade proper see my unpublished paper, “Democracy, Empire and the Politics of the Future in
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. This is available on this url.
32 Joseph Conrad, Victory, London: Methuen 1916, p. 197.
33 Conrad, Victory, pps. 92-93

 

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impulse, while drifting through Timor he rescues a shipowner, Morrison, whose ship has been impounded by unscrupulous Portuguese authorities, and through that act of spontaneous generosity, becomes obligated to Morrison.

The two men end up establishing a coalmine in the remote Indonesian island of Samburan, backed by local Chinese as well as by European capital. The company soon collapses. Morison dies. And, living out his Schopenhauerian renunciation of the world, Heyst, the detached man, decides to stay on at the island alone except for one Chinese servant.

He does, however, sometimes visit the nearest Indonesian town, Surabaya, and it is while staying there in a hotel owned by Schomberg, a malicious, gossipy German, that he makes another spontaneous rescue. This time he saves a young woman, Lena, a member of a traveling “ladies orchestra,” who is being bullied by her bosses and in danger of abduction by Schomberg himself.

Heyst and Lena secretly escape back to his island, causing Schomberg to harbor a venomous resentment against Heyst. At this point Schomberg’s hotel is visited by a trio of sinister criminals: Jones, Ricardo and their servant Pedro. Taking advantage of Schomberg’s rage, they establish an illegal casino in his hotel. To rid himself of this risky enterprise, Schomberg advises them to go after Heyst in his island, falsely telling them that Heyst has hidden a fortune there. Jones and his gang take Schomberg’s advice but disaster awaits them.

The novel ends with Jones, Ricardo, Heyst, Lena all dead on Heyst’s island.
The novel, which hovers between commercial adventure romance and experimental modernism, is bound to neoliberalism’s trajectory in two main ways. First, it adheres to neoliberalism’s sociology of knowledge: here too there is no knowing center, no hierarchy of expertise, no possibility of detached holistic survey and calculation through which truth might command action. Heyst’s drifting, inconsequential fact-gathering, itself appears to illustrate that absence. As do the gossip and rumors which circulate in the place of informed knowledge, and which lead to disaster. Individuals and enterprises are, as it were, on their
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own, beyond any centralized and delimited social body that might secure stability and grounded understandings. They are bound, rather, to self-interest and spontaneity.

This matters formally not simply because, in an approximately Jamesian mode, the narrative involves a series of points of view in which various characters’ perceptions, moods and interests intersect, but because the narration itself is told in a first person voice without being enunciated by a diegetical character.

That first person, then, functions as the shadow representative of a decentered community, largely focused on money, that is barely able to confer identity at all, a community, too, without known geographical or ideological limits just because the narrator, its implicit representative, has no location or substance. This narratorial indeterminacy can be understood as an index of liberalism at this globalizing historical juncture: a liberalism divesting itself of its own progressive histories, emancipatory hopes and institutions. A bare liberalism about to become neoliberalism, as we can proleptically say.

More importantly, the novel speaks to contemporary neoliberalism because it is about freedom. As we have begun to see, Heyst is committed to a freedom which is both the freedom of the sea, and a metaphysical condition which has detached itself, as far as is possible, from connections, obligations, determinations. This structures the remarkable formal
relationship around which the novel turns — i.e. Heyst’s being positioned as Jones’s double.

The generous Schopenhauerian is not just the demonic criminal’s opposite: he is also his twin. Both men are wandering, residual “gentlemen” detached from the European order, and thrown into, or committed to, a radical freedom which, on the one side, is a function of free trade, on the other, a condition of life lived beyond the legal and political institutions that order European societies, but also, importantly, are philosophical and ethical — a renunciation of the established ideological order for independence, courage and nomadism.

To put this rather differently: Heyst and Jones’s efforts to live in freedom — to comport themselves as free individuals — combines economic freedom — a freedom of exchange, competition and

 

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entrepreneurial possibilities— with a state of nature as a line of flight (or emancipation) from received continental laws, values and social structures. Freedom, that is, which combines that which Carl Schmitt and the early neoliberals imagined, each in their own way.

The novel’s main point is that there is, in fact, nothing in this freedom to sustain true ethical substance. It is as if Schmittean freedom has smashed both liberal freedom and pessimistic asceticism, along with their ethical groundings. Or to come at the novel’s basic point from another direction: it is as if the absence at the heart of a free society has transmigrated into these characters’ selves. It is at that level that individual freedom cannot be separated from violence and risk and good from evil.

Without an instituted social structure, Heyst cannot stay true to himself: his commitment to freedom and renunciation is compromised because of his spontaneous acts of generosity and sympathy which lead to his and Lena’s death. On the other side, Jones, a homosexual shunned by respectable society, is afflicted by those key nineteenth-century affects, resentment and boredom as well as a quasi-Nietzschean contempt for “tameness”, which drive him towards living outside of society, at contigency’s mercy, and towards reckless, malevolent violence.

Heyst and Jones die together almost by accident, in deaths that reveal them not just as entangled with one another at existence’s threshold, but as both attuned to death, even in life. It now look as if while they lived they wanted to die. In that way, the novel makes it clear that the risk, disorder and emptiness which inhabit their striving for a radically liberal practice of life corrode distinctions not just between violence and renunciation, not just between good and evil, but also between life and death.

We can put it like this: the freedom that these characters claim and the risks that it entails and which bind them together are inclined more towards death than towards life, just on account of freedom’s own conditions of possibility, namely radical autonomy, absence of sovereign power, and maximum choice.

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As I say, this is a reading of the novel which, at least in principle, helps to canonize Victory just because it claims that its form, plot and characters address versions of our current neoliberal social condition, and does so in metaphysically ambitious terms. Victory is a critique of freedom, I think.

Conrad is insisting that even in a liberal society devoted to free trade,
enterprises and markets, the law — and the sovereign state — comes first. It is, if one likes, beginning the work of detaching liberalism from freedom. To say this, however, is to ignore the most pressing question that this reading raises: to what degree should we today actually accede to Conrad’s ambivalent, pessimistic and conservative imagination of radical freedom?

How to judge that freedom’s renunciation of established hierarchies, collectivities and values whether for adventure, risk and spontaneity or for violence and death? It is a condition of the discipline’s neoliberal state that the only answer we can give to that question is that we can, each of us, answer that question any way that we choose.

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“Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?,” by John Kovas

This is a good piece. You can find it at Kofas’ website, or I got it off of Academia.edu. Looking at his website, it appears that the rest of his stuff is pretty good too. I need to read this guy more.

I actually think he is onto something here, and you need to be hip to this argument because the Right is always trotting out this “moral decline” argument that I think needs to be countered.

Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?

by John Kofas

Historically, during periods of economic contraction, the intelligentsia, politicians, business, academic, community and church leaders invariably try to steer the debate away from what has gone wrong with the political economy to the subject of values.

This was certainly the case during the 19th century when the depressions of the 1840’s, 1870’s and 1890’s took place. Well-meaning individuals as well as opportunistic propagandists questioned society’s values, despite the fact that structural causes in the political economy accounted for the economic contraction and social ills.

A somewhat similar situation existed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when novelists, philosophers, politicians and others decried the values of the 1920’s. There are similarities between those historical periods and the economic contraction and diminishing of the Western middle class that started during the Reagan-Thatcher era and continues to the present.

The universal topic of values served its purpose when the Industrial Revolution was causing socioeconomic problems, and it serves its purpose today when Western Civilization is captive to banks and corporate capital that are concentrating capital while weakening the social fabric and democratic institutions.

The very elites suggesting to the masses redirection toward reexamination of values are the same ones that:

1. do not practice the values that they preach;

2. are responsible for the widening socioeconomic gap and sociopolitical instability that ensues;

3. benefit by deflecting the focus of the masses from the essential problem in the systemic flaws of the political economy to values.

Naturally, there is the salient question of the vast differences in value systems between societies and individuals; differences between religious and secular values within a pluralistic society, or the differences/nuances of values within a community whether it is predominantly religious or secular.

That scholars, politicians, businesspeople, priests, and the laity have been concerned about western civilization’s decline is a story as old as Oswald Spengler who wrote about the topic after the German Empire lost the First World War, and Europe as the world’s global power center began to give ground to the US and USSR.

But are the values of Bismarck and his generation of imperialist politicians and business titans the ones that Spengler’s generation lamented against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and its global impact? Is it the Western values of imperialism, nationalism and militarism that led to global war in 1914 that were lost along with the decline of Western Europe?

Spengler focused on Western decadence, but the question is one of the underlying assumptions of what constituted decadence and what constituted ascendancy, the degree to which humane and communitarian principles rested behind assumptions. Was it dreadful that imperialist Europe of the old elites began to decline as a result of militarist confrontation, or was it tragic that millions of people died, injured, displaced, impoverished as a result? If one values power, then one laments the decline of Europe’s power. But what if the value system is human-centered, instead of power-based?

When the Great Depression erupted to cripple societies across most of the planet, why was there a sharp turn to a discussion of values, whether by US President Roosevelt who favored a quasi-communitarian orientation that mirrored the New Deal or ultra-nationalist one that Hitler advocated who was interested in ethnic cleansing as a means of restoring the purity of the mythological Aryan race as Alfred Rosenberg conceived it and the NAZI party practiced it.

In a very strange way, the NAZI regime’s populist ethnic collectivist approach intended to achieve the same goal as that of FDR and for that matter Josef Stalin who advocated superimposed collectivism.

The Third Reich manufactured a value system that a large percentage of Germans and Austrians, accepted and lived under with the hope that it would propel them to greatness as the NAZI party defined the concept. Why did millions of people accept an utterly barbaric and inhumane and racist value system under Hitler, and why did they not retain humane principles based on the wider philosophical framework of the Enlightenment that revolutionized European culture in the 18th century?

Is it merely a question of brainwashing – no matter how good German propaganda was – or one that a large segment of the population actually embraced values because they perceived benefits accruing to them – everything from keeping their jobs to feeling great that the ruling party told them they were ‘superior’ to other races.

From the end of World War II that marked the end of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and militarist-imperial Japan until the end of the Vietnam War, Western and non-Western (Communist regime) societies operated on broader values – in theory and certainly not in practice – of communitarian principles as part of an ideological mix.

Certainly in Western societies, led by the US, the value system of individualism, business progress, consumerism, commercialism of culture, and hedonism were prevalent, but the existence of the welfare state entailed tangible evidence that communitarian values mattered. The beginning of the breakdown of that value system comes when the US and the West in general begin to gradually eliminate the communitarian aspect in the societal mix because it interferes with finance capitalism and the neoliberal model of capital accumulation.

More than political trends, material conditions influence evolving value systems, something that is evident in the consumerist values (to which we must add hedonist and atomistic) of much of the world in the last fifty years. After all, values too are class-based. The relative decline of compassion for humanity, and a rise of alienation which many try to cure by going to therapy and with legal and illegal drugs, has been sharply on the increase in the last half century to the degree that we now have a Western culture of therapism thriving.

Ethical ambiguity naturally translates into ambiguity of values, thus reflecting cultural relativism. In a recent public opinion poll, the vast majority of the people in Finland agreed that if their close friend committed murder, they would notify the authorities. In the same poll, the vast majority of Greeks agreed they would not turn in their friend. Not surprisingly, Greek elites, including academics, praised the virtue of honoring friendship, while the people of Finland stressed the virtue of social conscience.

What accounts for the absence of convergence in the values of the two societies? History, tradition, religion, culture, etc., and what does this example teach us about the values of ambiguity? How could any human being with an once of moral fiber not report a case of murder? How could someone betray their friend, even in case of murder?

Beyond values of ambiguity, there is a much clearer case regarding basic values that are time-tested and transcend time and place.

1. Lying is clearly immoral. Not the kind of lying involving little lies that cause no harm but big lies that bring about great harm to a great many people. Yet, lying is at the core of both business and politics, but it is passed on as public relations. Lying to an entire nation about the reason for going to war is acceptable because it is a matter of national security. Lying to consumers about a product is acceptable because it is in the name of peddling a product or service.

2. Stealing is clearly immoral. I was hardly surprised to read stories about people across southern Europe actually stealing food because of the current hard times. However, stealing in the framework of institutionalized ‘appropriation’ of government subsidies to make banks stronger, is morally acceptable. Yet this is a process that forces people to steal food. Are we back in the era of Victor Hugo’s Jean Val Jean?

3. Killing is clearly immoral. However, mass killings of collateral damage victims in time of war is just fine. Why do human beings categorically reject the individual who kills her husband that abuses her but accept mass killings in wars? What does this tell us about our values and how they are molded?

How does a politician, a journalist, an academic, or much less a leading businessperson tell the masses to reexamine their values against the background of austerity economics that benefit those preaching reexamination of values?

For more than half a century, the same elites now preaching reexamination of values were advocating consumerism, commercialization of culture, hedonism, and atomistic proclivities, all in the name of an open society when in reality the only interest was the thriving of the market economy.

Having conditioned citizens as consumers steeped in that frame of mind and value system, how do elites now try to tell them that embracing everything from nature to God, everything from family values to community values, filter down, and even if it did, what exactly does that do for the high structural unemployment and underemployment, low wage structure, lack of opportunities for college graduates, and lack of job security?

When Ronald Reagan was beginning to dismantle the welfare state and strengthen the corporate welfare state, his administration, various think tanks, journalists, academics, clergy and business leaders began to speak of values, namely ‘family values’.

One odd thing about many of the people advocating ‘family values’ is that they themselves were not practicing them. Another odd thing was that these values advocates were interested in pushing society in the direction of conformity to the changing status quo, so value discussion was one tool they used.

Of course, there was a contradiction between ‘family values’ rhetoric and policies – government and business – that were contributing to undermining the family by forcing both parents to work, in some cases at second jobs to make ends meet.

At the same time, reorientation to values discussion did not mean that workers must stop shopping, given that the population remained under the spell of increasingly intrusive advertising that helped shape consumerist and atomistic values. Are we witnessing a Western moral decline or merely a decline of the capitalist system and its apologists trying desperately to distract the masses by shifting the focus to values?

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Mutual Intelligibility in “German”

RL: “Low Franconian is just Dutch.”

Anglo-Saxon Maverick: I would assume that low German, comes from the Northern regions of Germany close to the North Sea, where the elevation is lower?, as opposed to further South where the Alps rise? Holland is topographically lower than France, hence the name?

Yes, the Netherlands is very low in elevation, in fact, I believe it is even below sea level, hence the need for dikes to keep the sea out and polders or reclaimed land formerly flooded by the sea.

Yes, this exactly where Low German comes from of course.

And yes, Upper German comes from the region by the Alps, and Middle German is in between the two. These are actually at least three completely different languages, but Germany will not officially recognize them as such and neither will many German speakers. Even Bavarian and Swiss German are completely separate languages – those are not the same languages as German at all.

A German speaker cannot understand a Swiss German, Low German or even a Bavarian speaker at all. I heard a story about a White man who even learned Munich Bavarian who said he sat in a hot tub with two women who were speaking some Bavarian dialect to the south of Munich near the Austrian border. Over a 2-3 hour period, he said he did not understand one single word that they said, even though all three spoke Bavarian. Bavarian speakers to the south of Munich often cannot understand people even 15 miles away. In these cases, they all communicate via Hochdeutch or Standard German.

In Austria, every region or county speaks its own version of Bavarian and it is said that none of them can understand each other. At least in the 1970’s, people from 3-4 counties in the west of Austria could sit at a table and talk and none of them could really understand each other. Even pure Viennese Bavarian which is very much dying out nowadays simply cannot be understood outside of the Vienna region and nowadays a lot of Viennese themselves cannot even understand it.

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What Is the South Stream Pipeline and Why Is the US So Determined to Kill It?

There is a project to run Russian gas down through Turkey and the Black Sea to eastern Europe and then up to Austria. This project is called the South Stream, and the US has been anxiously trying to kill this project for some time now.

The US is furious that Russia is trying to run a pipeline up to Europe to sell the Europeans gas, and we will walk through Hell and high water to try to stop this project. America’s hatred for the South Stream is twofold.

First, the US is determined to destroy Russia’s economy any way it can. Cutting off a gas pipeline is a good way to do that.

Second, the US hates the idea of Europe getting hooked on Russian gas. This makes the Europeans not want to fight Russia much since they do not want to alienate their gas supplier. The problem is that the Europeans do not have many alternatives when it comes to gas. They either buy gas from Russia, or they buy gas from Russia.

At first the South Stream was scheduled to go through Bulgaria, and the Bulgarians were ready to agree to it until they came under tremendous pressure from the US, and they nixed the deal.

Then the project shifted over to the Balkans. It would go through Greece and up through the Balkans to Austria.

Regime changer Victoria Nuland (R-Tel Aviv) whose husband is neocon brain trust Robert Kagan (R-Tel Aviv), the same Ms. Nuland who plotted the nefarious Nazi coup in the Ukraine that caused so much death and chaos, quickly went to work in Macedonia trying to set off another color revolution to throw out the government there which had agreed to let the South Stream run through its land.

There were some rowdy demonstrations as Nuland tried to do another Maidan overthrow of the government with crowds in the streets or a coup.

This attempt fortunately failed, so the last chance to stop South Stream was to throw a wedge between Russia and Turkey because all South Stream routes have to go through Turkey. By causing a huge rift between Turkey and Russia, the US thinks it is killing South Stream for the third time.

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Muslims Continue to Persecute Christians Even in the West

Here.

I figured this would happen. I think they need to house the refugees separately. Separate the Christians from the Muslims.Separate the unaccompanied women and girls who are being sexually harassed from the men.

So much for the “traditional Muslim tolerance towards non-Muslims.” It pretty much never existed in the past and it certainly does not now. When it comes to non-Muslims, Islam does not play well with others.

Sometimes, “Islamophobia” is a valid concern.

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The First Six Years of Nazi Rule

Pretty amazing stuff. Keep in mind that they were like this before they even started killing lots of people. And during this period, they were wildly popular, not only in Germany but also in other parts of Europe, especially in Eastern Europe.

1933

January 30, 1933 – Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany a nation with a Jewish population of 566,000.

February 22, 1933 – 40,000 SA and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.

February 27, 1933 – Nazis burn Reichstag building to create crisis atmosphere.

February 28, 1933 – Emergency powers granted to Hitler as a result of the Reichstag fire.

March 22, 1933 – Nazis open Dachau concentration camp near Munich, to be followed by Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany, Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany, and Ravensbrück for women.

March 24, 1933 – German Parliament passes Enabling Act giving Hitler dictatorial powers.

April 1, 1933 – Nazis stage boycott of Jewish shops and businesses.

April 11, 1933 – Nazis issue a Decree defining a non-Aryan as “anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan…especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith.”

April 26, 1933 – The Gestapo is born, created by Hermann Göring in the German state of Prussia.

May 10, 1933 – Burning of books in Berlin and throughout Germany.

July 14, 1933 – Nazi Party is declared the only legal party in Germany; Also, Nazis pass law to strip Jewish immigrants from Poland of their German citizenship.

In July – Nazis pass law allowing for forced sterilization of those found by a Hereditary Health Court to have genetic defects.

In September – Nazis establish Reich Chamber of Culture, then exclude Jews from the Arts.

September 29, 1933 – Nazis prohibit Jews from owning land.

October 4, 1933 – Jews are prohibited from being newspaper editors.

November 24, 1933 – Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.

1934

January 24, 1934 – Jews are banned from the German Labor Front.

May 17, 1934 – Jews not allowed national health insurance.

June 30, 1934 – The Night of Long Knives occurs as Hitler, Göring and Himmler conduct a purge of the SA (storm trooper) leadership.

July 20, 1934 – The SS (Schutzstaffel) is made an independent organization from the SA.

July 22, 1934 – Jews are prohibited from getting legal qualifications.

August 2, 1934 – German President von Hindenburg dies. Hitler becomes Führer.

August 19, 1934 – Hitler receives a 90 percent ‘Yes’ vote from German voters approving his new powers.

1935

May 21, 1935 – Nazis ban Jews from serving in the military.

June 26, 1935 – Nazis pass law allowing forced abortions on women to prevent them from passing on hereditary diseases.

August 6, 1935 – Nazis force Jewish performers/artists to join Jewish Cultural Unions.

September 15, 1935 – Nuremberg Race Laws against Jews decreed.

1936

February 10, 1936 – The German Gestapo is placed above the law.

In March – SS Deathshead division is established to guard concentration camps.

March 7, 1936 – Nazis occupy the Rhineland.

June 17, 1936 – Heinrich Himmler is appointed chief of the German Police.

August 1, 1936 – Olympic Games begin in Berlin. Hitler and top Nazis seek to gain legitimacy through favorable public opinion from foreign visitors and thus temporarily refrain from actions against Jews.

In August – Nazis set up an Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortions (by healthy women).

1937

In January – Jews are banned from many professional occupations, including teaching Germans, and from being accountants or dentists. They are also denied tax reductions and child allowances.

November 8, 1937 – ‘Eternal Jew’ traveling exhibition opens in Munich.

1938

March 12/13, 1938 – Nazi troops enter Austria, which has a population of 200,000 Jews, mainly living in Vienna. Hitler announces Anschluss (union) with Austria.

In March – After the Anschluss, the SS is placed in charge of Jewish affairs in Austria with Adolf Eichmann establishing an Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna. Himmler then establishes Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz.

April 22, 1938 – Nazis prohibit Aryan ‘front-ownership’ of Jewish businesses.

April 26, 1938 – Nazis order Jews to register wealth and property.

June 14, 1938 – Nazis order Jewish-owned businesses to register.

In July – At Evian, France, the U.S. convenes a League of Nations conference with delegates from 32 countries to consider helping Jews fleeing Hitler but results in inaction as no country will accept them.

July 6, 1938 – Nazis prohibited Jews from trading and providing a variety of specified commercial services.

July 23, 1938 – Nazis order Jews over age 15 to apply for identity cards from the police, to be shown on demand to any police officer.

July 25, 1938 – Jewish doctors prohibited by law from practicing medicine.

August 11, 1938 – Nazis destroy the synagogue in Nuremberg.

August 17, 1938 – Nazis require Jewish women to add Sarah and men to add Israel to their names on all legal documents including passports.

September 27, 1938 – Jews are prohibited from all legal practices.

October 5, 1938 – Law requires Jewish passports to be stamped with a large red “J.”

October 15, 1938 – Nazi troops occupy the Sudetenland.

October 28, 1938 – Nazis arrest 17,000 Jews of Polish nationality living in Germany, then expel them back to Poland which refuses them entry, leaving them in ‘No-Man’s Land’ near the Polish border for several months.

November 7, 1938 – Ernst vom Rath, third secretary in the German Embassy in Paris, is shot and mortally wounded by Herschel Grynszpan, the 17-year-old son of one of the deported Polish Jews. Rath dies on November 9, precipitating Kristallnacht.

November 9/10 – Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass.

November 12, 1938 – Nazis fine Jews one billion marks for damages related to Kristallnacht.

November 15, 1938 – Jewish pupils are expelled from all non-Jewish German schools.

December 3, 1938 – Law for compulsory Aryanization of all Jewish businesses.

December 14, 1938 – Hermann Göring takes charge of resolving the “Jewish Question.”

1939

January 24, 1939 – SS leader Reinhard Heydrich is ordered by Göring to speed up the emigration of Jews.

January 30, 1939 – Hitler threatens Jews during Reichstag speech.

February 21, 1939 – Nazis force Jews to hand over all gold and silver items.

March 15/16 – Nazi troops seize Czechoslovakia (Jewish pop. 350,000).

April 19, 1939 – Slovakia passes its own version of the Nuremberg Laws.

April 30, 1939 – Jews lose rights as tenants and are relocated into Jewish houses.

In May – The St. Louis, a ship crowded with 930 Jewish refugees, is turned away by Cuba, the United States and other countries and returns to Europe.

July 4, 1939 – German Jews denied the right to hold government jobs.

July 21, 1939 – Adolf Eichmann is appointed director of the Prague Office of Jewish Emigration.

September 1, 1939 – Nazis invade Poland (Jewish pop. 3.35 million, the largest in Europe). Beginning of SS activity in Poland.

September 1, 1939 – Jews in Germany are forbidden to be outdoors after 8 p.m. in winter and 9 p.m. in summer.

September 3, 1939 – Great Britain and France declare war on Germany.

September 4, 1939 – Warsaw is cut off by the German Army.

September 17, 1939 – Soviet troops invade eastern Poland.

September 21, 1939 – Heydrich issues instructions to SS Einsatzgruppen (special action squads) in Poland regarding treatment of Jews, stating they are to be gathered into ghettos near railroads for the future “final goal.” He also orders a census and the establishment of Jewish administrative councils within the ghettos to implement Nazi policies and decrees.

September 23, 1939 – German Jews are forbidden to own wireless (radio) sets.

September 27, 1939 – Warsaw surrenders; Heydrich becomes leader of RSHA.

September 29, 1939 – Nazis and Soviets divide up Poland. Over two million Jews reside in Nazi controlled areas, leaving 1.3 million in the Soviet area.

In September – Quote from Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer, published by Julius Streicher – “The Jewish people ought to be exterminated root and branch. Then the plague of pests would have disappeared in Poland at one stroke.”

In October – Nazis begin euthanasia on sick and disabled in Germany.

October 6, 1939 – Proclamation by Hitler on the isolation of Jews.

October 12, 1939 – Evacuation of Jews from Vienna.

October 12, 1939 – Hans Frank appointed Nazi Gauleiter (governor) of Poland.

October 26, 1939 – Forced labor decree issued for Polish Jews aged 14 to 60.

November 23, 1939 – Yellow stars required to be worn by Polish Jews over age 10.

In December – Adolf Eichmann takes over section IV B4 of the Gestapo dealing solely with Jewish affairs and evacuations.

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The “Nazis and Soviets Were Friends” Lie

Wade writes:

The hatred between Nazi and Bolshevik was just a surface conflict. The real underlying conflict was between German and Russian which had been going on for long before WWII. 30 million dead is just a result of more advanced technology and policies based on Nazi race hatred.

In the beginning of WWII the Nazis and communists had actually signed a pact. When Hitler invaded the northern part of Poland, the Soviets went into the south. Hitler eventually turned east not because he didn’t trust Bolshevism, but because he didn’t trust the Soviet Union (the new Russian state).

You can’t have it both ways. Fascists and the Left have always been the deadliest of enemies. Sure, there are some crossover 3rd Position type groups like National Bolsheviks, but those are based on a faulty reading of history. You have to pick one or the other. Are you a fascist choosing the Right or an anti-fascist on the Left. You can’t order both.

Fascists and the Left don’t hate each other just because they think alike and are having a lover’s quarrel. They really are polar opposite ideologies in many ways.

Fascism is best seen as a “popular far rightwing authoritarian movement against the Left.”

I’ve spent a lot of time on Left sites. One group they will not abide is the fascists. I’ve also been on a fascist sites. What they hate more than anything else is the Left. They want to kill us.

This is complete nonsense about the Nazis and Soviets being allies. The Nazis raison d etre was the wipe Bolshevism off the face of the Earth. They were an anti-Communist party to the core.

They put people in the camps in this order:

1. Communists
2. Socialists
3. Trade unionists
4. (Last) Jews

If you read Hitler’s writings and those of other top Nazis, it’s all about the danger of Bolshevism to Europe and how it had to be wiped out. The Jews were tied in with Bolshevism, so that is why the Jews were targeted. They were out to wipe Judeo-Bolshevism off the face of the Earth. All the other fascists were like this too. Their deadly enemies were the Communists, socialists and union members everywhere, all through Europe. There was a hot war in Spain. When fascists came to power in Europe everywhere in WW2, they immediately went after the Communists.

Rightwingers the world over supported the fascists, including the Nazis, as the biggest, baddest Commie killers that ever lived.

Stalin knew that Hitler was out to wipe out the USSR from the very start. That was the reason for the breakneck collectivization and industrialization, and frankly for the paranoid purges of the 1937 – Stalin suspected a Nazi plot to overthrow him.

The 1940 pact was just a means of buying time temporarily in the war that Stalin knew was going to happen. The US and UK had been egging Hitler from 1938-1941, trying to get him to attack the USSR and take them out. In 1938 Chamberlain gave Hitler Austria not for peace in our time but as deal for Hitler taking out the Soviets.

For a long time, rightwingers in the US and UK had been hoping to use and control Hitler long enough so that he could be used as a weapon against the USSR. When Hitler first came to power in 1933, the NY Times praised him as an anti-Communist.

If the Left loved fascists so much, why was there a deadly hot war in Spain?

Mussolini came to power as a coup against a resurgent Left in Italy. In the early 1920’s, landless peasants were rioting in the streets and marching in the fields all over Italy.

The rich use fascism as a last ditch effort to save capitalism in the face of an overwhelming threat from the Left.

The postwar fascists of Latin America, the Philippines, Fiji, Ethiopia, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, Zaire, Spain, Portugal, Iran and many other places were admirers of Hitler, Mussolini and all of the other European fascists. The Indian Hindutva fascists hate no one so much as the Left and also admire Hitler.

Fascism is all about “exterminate the Left.”

The conflict is more nationalism versus internationalism than anything else, but it’s also about wealth and priveleges.

Fascists declare the class war dead in the name of class solidarity, but then it goes on nonetheless. All classes are locked into position forever as part of the eternal blood and soil national pact. The rich are rich, the poor are poor, and that’s that.

Especially after WW2, rightwing authoritarianism and fascism has been all about everything for the rich and corporations and screw the people. As the class war grinds the masses into the dirt, the fascists march them off to anti-Communist rallies and have them wave flags. They seek to negate the class struggle but prioritizing nationalism over class. With the cloak of nationalism, they seek to make the class struggle seem to disappear under the flag of the nation.

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The Proto-Indo-Europeans and Their Early Descendants: Proto-Languages and Homelands

The Indo-European languages include most of the languages of Europe, Iran and Northern India. For instance, English, Gaelic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Greek, Albanian, Armenian and Kurdish are some of the better-known IE languages of Europe and the Near East.

In Iran, the major language, Farsi, is IE, as is the major language Pashto in Afghanistan. In India and Pakistan, the huge languages Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are all IE.

They go back to a proto-language called Proto Indo-European, or PIE. In that the languages are all related, the truth is that the peoples are all related to for the greatest part. So Northern Indians, Pashtuns, Iranians, Kurds and Armenians are all closely related to Europeans since they all sprung in part from a common source, in the famous words of Sir William Jones, who discovered the IE languages in the late 1700’s.

Going back 6,500 years, we can reconstruct Proto-Indo-European quite well. One of the best resources is Julius Pokorny‘s Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary (or Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch).

Originally written in German, this incredible 2,500 page masterwork has been translated largely, but not completely, into English. One of my favorite pastimes is wading through this monster. I have a downloadable copy on the blog here (huge file).

The homeland of the Indo-Europeans is the subject of much debate, but the modern consensus centers around putting the homeland at 6500 years before present (YBP) around Southern Russia. I have narrowed it to southern Russia, southeastern Ukraine and southwestern Kazakhstan north of the Caucasus. This is more or less the region in between the Black and Caspian Seas.

An arid region called the Kuma-Manych Depression is in the middle of this region and seems to be a major center of PIE culture. I could not find a map of the Depression, but it separates the North Caucasus from the Russian Plain.

There were also settlements in southeastern Ukraine near the Sea of Azov, about 50 miles north of the Caspian Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan and up around the Lower Volga Region near Samara. A good word for this general region is the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.

The homeland of the Proto Indo Europeans, as of 6,500 YBP. I looked around for good maps of the PIE homeland but I could not find any, so I drew my own. Copyright Oakhurst Technology 2009.

The homeland of the Proto Indo-Europeans, as of 6,500 YBP. I looked around for good maps of the PIE homeland but I could not find any, so I drew my own. Copyright Oakhurst Technology 2009.

From there, it’s not really known how or when the Proto-Indo-Europeans spread out, but they show up in Europe some time later. A good map of their migrations or conquests is here.

The PIE people had several advantages over their neighbors. They were already into the Bronze Age for one, and not only that, but there were horses running around Southern Russia. The PIE had managed to domesticate the horse. That’s quite an advantage, but the PIE people did one better.

They even invented a wheel. Then they logically put the two together and made horse-drawn chariots. With these chariots, the PIE people apparently conquered much of Europe and later parts of Southwest Asia and South Asia.

The people in Europe at this time were pre-PIE folks. We know little about their culture, but the master of PIE culture, the celebrated professor Marija Gimbutas (A woman!) calls it “Old Europe.” Old Europe is very little known or understood. A probable surviving language from Old Europe is Basque. Another, long extinct, is Etruscan.

The very early people of the British Isles, whose descendants are now known as the Black Irish, populated the Isles between 9000-11000 YBP. They had dark hair, dark eyes and very pale skin. Genetically, they seem to resemble the Basques and may have come on boats from Spain.

The Basques themselves and related peoples may have come from the Caucasus long, long ago. Although Basque is said to have no living relatives, I believe it is related to Caucasian languages like Chechen and Ingush. Throughout Europe one finds folks called Black this and Black that.

I had a girlfriend who called herself a Black Swede and later on, a girlfriend named Linda of Polish heritage. Both had very dark, curly hair, dark eyes and very pale skin. As a guess, these types of Europeans may be the remains of Old Europe.

Gimbutas is also the founder of the Kurgan Hypothesis, which is currently the best PIE theory out there. Gimbutas (photo) sort of lost it towards the end when she got into “Goddess worship” and whatnot, but it’s clear that this Lithuanian archeologist was one of the great scholars of our time.

Some time after 6500 YBP, PIE began to break up, but no one knows quite how this occurred. At any rate, by 4200 YBP, a split had occurred in PIE and a separate language had broken off, Indo-Iranian. There are maps out there of the Indo-Iranian homeland, but I don’t like them all that much so I made my own. My best guess was to place it in the far north of Kazakhstan and just over the border into Russia.

From there, after 3500 YBP, the Indo-Aryans moved out and migrated into Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India and Iran. Many people in these regions today speak Indo-Iranian languages descended from these people. These folks are thought to be the source of the famous Aryan Invasion of India at around this time.

A map of the Indo-Iranian Homeland in far northern Kazakhstan around 3,500 YBP. This is where the Iranians, Afghans, North Indians and many Pakistanis came from. Copyright Oakhurst Technology 2009.

A map of the Indo-Iranian Homeland in far northern Kazakhstan around 3500 YBP. This is where the Iranians, Afghans, North Indians and many Pakistanis came from. Copyright Oakhurst Technology 2009.

As I noted, the process whereby these languages split off, other than the Indo-Aryan split, is little known. However, assuming this tree diagram is correct, maybe it can shed some light on the matter.

A very interesting tree diagram of the IE language family.

A very interesting tree diagram of the IE language family. Click to enlarge.

Unfortunately, this chart is hard to read, so I will try to decipher it. The first thing to note is the Anatolian split in the tree, apparently the first split. There are problems with the date for PIE. A glottochronological study recently gave a date of about 8500 YBP for PIE, considerably earlier than the usual date of around 6500 YBP.

Promoters of something called the Anatolian Hypothesis have used this to suggest than an earlier language called Proto-Indo-Hittite was spoken in Anatolia 8500 years ago.

The Anatolian languages split off, and the PIE speakers moved to the Pontic Steppe. The movement of Proto-Indo-Hittite speakers out of Anatolia to the Pontic Steppe to form the PIE people may be related to the Black Sea Deluge Theory which has recently been proven correct.

The Black Sea expanded dramatically according to this theory as, around 7600 YBP, a waterfall 200 times the size of Niagara Falls (!) poured through the Bosporus Straits, transforming the pre-Black Sea freshwater lake into the present-day brackish (part-salt water, part-fresh water) Black Sea. Soon after this event, PIE culture appears in the Pontic Steppe.

This is a very controversial proposal called the Indo-Hittite Theory, but I have long supported it. The late Joseph Greenberg, one of the greatest historical linguists that ever lived, also supported it.

This theory holds that Indo-European has two branches, Indo-European proper and the Hittite branch. The Hittite branch is related to the other branch only in a binary fashion. There is good evidence for this.

The Anatolian languages, all of which are now extinct, are very strange and seem distant from the rest. The appear archaic and have retained many forms which seem to not be present on the rest of IE. My guess is these are archaic forms.

Anatolian lacks grammatical gender – masculine:feminine, an IE innovation spread through the family. Instead, it has an archaic noun class system called animate:inanimate. This is reminiscent of ancient Niger-Congo languages in Africa. In addition, the Anatolian vowel system is reduced (fewer vowels) and the case system is simpler.

Many basic IE vocabulary terms are simply missing in Anatolian. All of this debris tends to add up to the hypothesis of an ancient branch of the language family.

Tocharian is visible on the diagram as Italo-Celtic-Tocharian. This branch is extremely strange, since Tocharian was spoken way over in Asia near East Turkestan and Kyrgyzstan, and Celtic and Italic are spoken in the heart of Europe. This is the area where the mummies with blond hair and blue eyes have been found. Tocharian may have split as early as 6000 YBP.

The Tocharian language is also very ancient and strange and is only distantly related to the rest of IE. If anything, it seems to look somewhat like Anatolian.

A very ancient branch of IE also split off around this time. Known as Balkan or Paleo-Balkan, it may also have split off 6000 YBP. There were two major branches, Thracian and Illyro-Venetic. Thracian is extinct, and all that remains of Illyro-Venetic is Albanian, a very ancient IE tongue that is only distantly related to the rest of IE. Proto-Illyrian and Thracian split around 4200 YBP.

Here is a map of the Illyrian tribes before the Roman conquest. It is from this milieu that the Albanians emerged. The Albanian language is quite strange within IE and seems to have very ancient roots dating back to Proto-Paleo-Balkan from 6000 YBP.

Another very early split you can see in the chart is something called Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic. The Armeno-Hellenic branch probably split off 6000 YBP. The fact that Armenians and Greeks today still possibly retain a PIE appearance is also suggested by this early split. Only the Greek languages and Armenian remain of this family, as most of the family is extinct.

Proto-Hellenic may have split off around 5000 YBP, and Proto-Armenian may have split around 4500 YBP. The proto-Hellenics seem to have been related to the Indo-Iranians. This may be why a number of North Indians look like Greeks, Turks or Armenians.

Armenian and Hellenic are also strange IE branches that are only distantly related to the rest of IE.

The Italo-Celtic branch broke off as early as 5000 YBP. Proto-Celtic split about 2800 YBP; the homeland is in Northern Austria. The Hallstatt Culture is associated with them. The Proto-Italics are dated to around 3500 YBP in Italy. Before that, the Italo-Celtic Homeland is thought to have been in southern and central Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

The fact that Italics (Italians and related languages) and Celts share common roots shows how insane and stupid Nordicism is, as Nordicists say that Italians south of the Po are ‘non-Whites.’ It turns out that those greasy dagos and those blond and blue guys in dresses blowing pipes in the Highlands are the same folks after all, as they share common genetic roots in Austria 3500 YBP.

Proto-Germanic also dates far back, with pre-Proto-Germanic possibly being spoken 3800 YBP in northern Germany, Denmark and Southern Scandinavia ( map). The homeland of the pre-proto-Germanics is in Southern Sweden and Jutland. They may have settled this area as early as 5000 YBP. These speakers may have been speaking something called Balto-Slavo-Germanic, a group you can see on the tree above.

Proto-Germanic proper probably dates from the Jasdorf Culture. The homeland of the proto-Germanics was in northern Germany, around Schleswig-Holstein south into the Lower Elbe region in what is now Saxony-Anhalt and the Hanover area.

It also extended along the Baltic coast of Germany to about the Polish border, down into Brandenburg and Mecklenburg. The original center of the homeland was in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.

Balto-Slavic is also a very ancient branch of IE. Lithuanian is an ancient IE language that is very conservative and has retained many ancient IE reflexes that have been lost in the rest of IE. Proto-Balto-Slavic probably split around 4000 YBP. Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic split apart about 3400 YBP. Map of the Balto-Slavic homeland. This homeland encompassed Western Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern Poland.

Proto-Slavic, dating from 3400 YBP, seems to have its homeland in Northern and Western Ukraine and in Southern Belarus.

The proto-Baltic homeland dating from the same time frame is about the southern border region of Belarus around the Pinsk Marshes.

The rest of the splits, of Slavic, Italic, Celtic, Indian, Iranian and Germanic into their branches, are pretty well-documented, and all occur within the past 1500-3000 years.

Let us move to some interesting dilemmas about the Indo-Europeans. One is the distribution of R1a associated with the Indo-Europeans.

The map of the R1a lineage showing high concentrations in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

The map of the R1a lineage showing high concentrations in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

The highest levels of this haplogroup are found in Eastern Europe in a narrow band from the Black Sea in the Ukraine through Poland to the Baltic Sea and in Northern India and areas to the northwest around the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs, but that does not mean that these two groups are particularly closely related. Northern Indians are most closely related to Iranians and relatively distantly to Eastern Europeans.

The truth is that this haplogroup is only a signature of a split from around the Aryan-Greco homeland in the Pontic Steppe region discussed above. This left high levels of R1a in Eastern Europe and in north India. High levels in North India are not particularly notable but exist only due to a founder effect. Actually, the highest levels are not found in North India but in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and north Afghanistan.

The high levels found in North India have led some to assume incorrectly that the homeland of the R1a people was in that area, but this is not the case.

A map of R1b DNA distribution. The homeland of the R1b line is the Maykop Culture, shown in the shaded pink region between the Caspian and Black Seas.

A map of R1b DNA distribution. The homeland of the R1b line is the Maykop Culture, shown in the shaded pink region between the Caspian and Black Seas.

R1b levels are highest in Spain and the Western British Isles. The launching point for the R1b seems to have been the Maykop Culture of 5500 YBP. From there, they spread all over Europe.

The Maykop Culture was an early PIE split that existed between the Taman Peninsula just east of the Crimea east to the Dagestan border in the area that includes part of Southern Russia east of the Crimea, Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya in the Caucasus.

The center of the culture was around Maykop in Adygea (Circassia). The region is now inhabited by peoples of the Caucasus and is heavily Muslim.

An explanation:

The Proto-Indo-Europeans belonged both R1a and R1b. Their homeland was in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, in what is known as the Kurgan culture (7000-2200 BCE).

The presence of R1b in modern times between the Black Sea and the Caucasus hints at the Maykop culture (3500-2500 BCE) as their most plausible homeland, while the Eurasian steppes to the north were R1a territory. […]

A comparison with the Indo-Iranian invasion of South Asia shows that 40% of the male lineages of northern India are R1a, but only 20% of the female lineages could be of Indo-European origin (H, J, K, T, U).

The impact of the Indo-Europeans was more severe in Europe because European society 4,000 years ago was less developed in terms of agriculture, technology (no bronze weapons) and population density than that of the Indus Valley civilization.

This is particularly true of the native Western European cultures where farming arrived much later than in the Balkans or central Europe. Greece was the most advanced of European societies and was the least affected in terms of haplogroup replacement.

Native European Y-DNA haplogroups (I1, I2a, I2b) also survived better in regions that were more difficult to reach or less hospitable, like Scandinavia, Brittany, Sardinia or the Dinaric Alps[…]

The eastern branch of the R1a steppe people was the Andronovo culture (2300-1000 BCE), around modern Kazakhstan, which correspond to the Indo-Iranian branch of languages. Their migration to the south have resulted in high R1a frequencies in southern Central Asia, Iran and the Indian subcontinent.

The highest frequency of R1a (about 65%) is reached in a cluster around Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan. In India, 15 to 45% of the population is R1a, depending on the region and caste. Over 70% of the Brahmins (highest caste in Hinduism) belong to R1a1, due to a founder effect.

References

Pokorny, Julius. 1959, 2007. Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary. A Revised Edition of Julius Pokorny’s Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. Published on the Internet: Indo-European Language Revival Association.

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Who Were The Ancient Romans?

This is an interesting question mostly because it would be academic and noncontroversial except that Nordicists have chosen to shove their hateful snouts into the matter and create a bunch of lies.

The proto-Italics, later to become the Romans in part, came from Austria 2900 YBP. No quite knows who Austrians were at that point racially, as Germanics don’t show up in Austria until late in the Roman Empire near the Fall.

A sector of the Nordicists have created a lie to disinherit the Italians of their claim to the Roman Empire. According to this lie, the ruling class of the Romans were pure Germanics, and the rabble/refuse were just a bunch of racially degenerated dagos. They enlist all sorts of nonsensical evidence in favor of this supposition, including looking at statues and paintings and whatnot.

The Nordicist notion stems from their incredulity that a bunch of no good wops could have created one of the greatest empires known to mankind.

It’s interesting that many Nazi racialist authors did not subscribe to the standard Nordicist lie of today. The Nazis were quite clear that the Italians of today were the descendants of the Romans. In fact, Nazi racial hierarchy placed Meds only slightly below Nordics on the racial scale. Both were seen as highly superior races, but the Nordics were seen as a bit better, as supremacists always have to put themselves on top.

Nazi theory held that both Meds and Nords had a lot of good and bad racial tendencies, and held that Meds were superior to Nords in many ways. In particular, the Meds were seen as one of the most, if not the most, creative race in modern times, or possibly ever.

The Nordicist distortion of today stems from the UK and the US. The US was settled by Northern Europeans and the Southern Europeans, including Italians, who immigrated starting 130 years ago were seen as highly inferior on a racial basis. Science has not born this claim out, but it remains a part of US founding stock culture, and it was a motivating factor being the restrictive 1925 Immigration Act.

I don’t know the UK racially very well, but I suspect that they have always looked down on the Continent in general, and probably the Southern Europeans in particular. Not when it comes to partying in Mallorca though I guess.

Anyway, the truth is that modern Nordicists have so distorted even Nazi Nordicism that most modern Nordicists would have probably been booted out of the Nazi Party at the time. I am not trying to romanticize the Nazis here, but in terms of racial science, they were correct in some ways. Contrary to popular nonsense, Nazis did not hold Jews to be inferior. Nazi racialism quite correctly recognized the superiority of the Jews. Instead, they just held that the Jews were evil.

The Nazis employed racialist academics who followed the army on their gruesome deeds. Over by the Caucasus, these academics undertook deep scientific studies that concluded that certain Jewish groups in that area were not racially Jewish, but instead were culturally Jewish. The Nazis were not as insane as everyone says, and they held by the findings of their scientists and saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews on that basis.

The pro-Meds have been battling the Nordicists about this for nearly a century now, and I support the Meds’ side of the argument. From Roman sources we get reports describing Romans in quite the same way as the peoples of Abruzzo to the Po would be described today. Germanics were described as blond, blue and very different looking than Romans.

The only difference between the Romans and the Abruzzo to Po Italians of today is that the people in this region are actually more Germanized today than they were under the Romans! To the South, there have been some changes, including a large injection of Arab, Phoenician, Spanish, Corsican, French (Norman), Greek and Albanian genes. This is most marked in Sicily.

One lie is that the Abruzzo to Po Italians have lots of Black blood in them. To the South, yes, there is some Black blood, but it is minimal. It is most prominent in Sicily at around 5%. From Abruzzo the Po, the % of Black blood is about the same as in Germany, if not less, at around 1.5%.

Academics have stayed out of the debate only to say that the ancient Romans were the same people as modern day Italians.

A similar lie was spread about Greece on the same basis. How could these dumb-ass Southern European inferiors have produced one of the greatest societies in history? It’s obviously not possible, so some mysterious Germanics must have infiltrated that rocky land to surreptitiously ruled over those swarthy inferiors. Once again, statues and whatnot are enlisted in support of this, and Nordicists study art and statues with magnifying glasses claiming to see secret Master Race features in Greek art.

The Meds have gone at them again in this argument, and once again, I side with the Meds.

The Nordicist argument is curious. If Romans and Greeks were secret Master Race types, then obviously the central Italians and Greeks, as largely racially unchanged folks, are their descendants anyway. The argument becomes circular. The Nords try to say that the Central Italians and Greeks underwent some massive racial degeneration after the Falls, but there is no evidence for this.

As with Southern Italians, there seems to be some Black blood in the Greeks, but only about 5%. It appears to have gone in mostly during Ancient Greece, so the argument for racial degeneration doesn’t make sense. The Ancient Greeks were a little bit Black too.

Some Nordicists make a truly insane argument about Ancient Egypt which is almost as insane as the Afrocentric crap about Black Athena.

According to this, some Master Race White types created Egypt, then Egypt underwent racial degeneration with an infusion of Black blood and collapsed into the Hellish Cairo of today, trash dumps everywhere, mangy stray dogs in the streets, and rats about as big as the dogs scurrying through the open air markets.

Garbage in Naples. Descendants of the great Romans? Afraid so. How so? A historian might say that down through time, shit happens.

Garbage in Naples. Descendants of the great Romans? Afraid so. How so? A historian might say that down through time, shit happens.

Not only that, but nothing works, and in order to get hooked up to the non-working system, you have to wait in line forever and pay off a bunch of lazy pricks.

Academics once again stay out of this one, except to say that they think there was continuity between Ancient and modern Egyptians. I saw one piece in the Journal of Physical Anthropology that compared genes of ancient Egyptians with those of modern Egyptians. Amazingly, racially, they were about the same at 91% Caucasian and 9% Black.

The truth is somewhat interesting. While the Afrocentrist notion must be discarded, it’s certainly true that at least historically, a bit of Black blood mixed with mostly White stock has produced some of the greatest societies the world has ever seen. At 90-95% Med Caucasian and 5-10% Ethiopic Black, a mixing bowl for the greatest civilizations man produced was created.

It’s difficult to come up with a theory to explain why this stock did so well, but possibly mixing a bit of one stock to a lot of another produces an excellent genetic set. Anyway, this is how animal and plant breeders have been operating for centuries. It would be surprising if humans were different.

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A Reworking of German Language Classification Part 3: Upper German

Updated October 23, 2016. This post will be regularly updated for some time. Warning! This essay is very long; it runs to 101 pages.

This is Part 3 of my reclassification of the German language. Part 3 deals with Upper German.

Part 2, dealing with Middle German, is here, and Part 1, dealing with Low German, is here.

This classification splits Upper German from 10 languages into 82 languages using the criterion of >90% intelligibility = dialect and <90% intelligibility = language.

There is much confusion about the phrase High German or Upper German. Standard German is referred to as Hochdeutsch, or High German, and many think that that means that Standard German is a High German or Upper German language. In fact, it is a Middle German language. However, there is a conflation of Middle German and High or Upper German in which both are subsumed under the mantle of High German. In reality, though, Middle German and High or Upper German are quite different.

The Upper German lects are in pretty good shape. They are located in Southern Germany, and most are doing extremely well. The Upper German Franconian lects are doing fine. The Bavarian lects are going strong. Swabisch and Badisch are doing great.

Low Alemannic in southern Germany is doing fine. Bavarian is the standard language of communication in Austria, and Swiss German is the standard language of communication in Switzerland. Only Alsatian, spoken in France, is somewhat in trouble due to France’s one-language policy.

It is uncertain why Standard German has been unable to take out Upper German languages well, but Southern Germany has always been isolated from the rest due to mountainous terrain and an independent spirit. Bavarian and Swiss German are guaranteed as official languages of nations and are in no danger. A few small Upper German languages in Italy are in trouble, but that is mostly due to their being linguistic islands in a sea of Italian. Upper German Hutterite is doing very well.

This treatment breaks Upper German from Ethnologue’s 10 languages into 82 separate languages.

The Alemannic languages, including Swabish and South Franconian.

The Alemannic languages, including Swabish and South Franconian.

Sudfrankisch (South Franconian) is an Upper German language transitional between Central and Upper German. It is spoken in northwest and north-central Baden-Württemberg around Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Pforzheim and Rastatt. It has a low number of speakers, and some do not even consider this lect to be a separate entity, so its treatment here is tentative.

The very existence of this language is controversial. For instance, although Karlsruhe and Heidelberg are said to be South Franconian-speaking, in other analyses, the language is “Kurpfalzisch”. This language, or at least the variety spoken in Heidelberg and Karlsruhe, is very hard for Standard German speakers to understand.

Dialects include Bad Schönborn, spoken around the city of the same name, Odenwäldisch, Kraichgauisch, spoken around the cities of Kraichgau and Santkanna, Unterländisch, spoken in and around Heilbronn, Central North Badisch (Zentral Nordbadisch), and Southern North Badisch (Süd Nordbadisch). Intelligibility is apparently good between all dialects (Costin 2015)

The Swabish speaking area in Germany

The Swabish speaking area in Germany.

Schwabian is a Alemannic lect that has about 40% intelligibility with Standard German. Speakers of Standard German say they find it almost impossible to understand. Commercials and TV series in Swabian are shown on German TV with subtitles. It is spoken in southwest Germany in a region called Swabia.

The southern border of the Swabian language is Villingen-Schwenningen. After that, it follows the Danube to the east. In the east, the border is a line from Augsburg south to the Aargau. Reutte/Außerfern, a dialect in upper East Tirol on the Lech River just south of the Bavarian border, is considered to be Swabian. Stuttgart is in the Schwabian speaking area and the standard version of Swabian is spoken in Stuttgart.

It has 820,000 speakers. Swabian has great dialectal diversity, and there is more than one language in Swabian.

Badisch and Swabian form a dialect chain in which the dialects at the far ends of the chain are not intelligible with each other. The Western Swabian dialects are most comprehensible with the eastern Badisch dialects. Swabian is not intelligible with Alsatian, Swiss German or Bavarian. In fact, the differences between Swabian and Swiss German are tremendous. This is important to note because there are claims that the two are mutually intelligible.

Swabian has many lects. Some of the major groupings are Lower Swabian (Niederschwäbisch or Neckarschwäbisch), East Swabian (Ostschwäbisch), Upper Swabian (Oberschwäbisch), and Southwest Swabian (Südwestschwäbisch). Schwäbisch vom Haiberg is an unclassified dialect spoken in the Swabian Alps.

Lower Swabian is spoken in and around Stuttgart and in the Eastern Black Forest. It is not fully intelligible with Upper Swabian (see the Würtingen entry below). In fact, separate languages develop quickly only a few miles from the Upper Swabian/Lower Swabian border. Lower Swabian is also spoken north of Stuttgart up to around Pforzheim and Heilbronn, where it starts shading into East Franconian. Some of the big cities in the Lower Swabia area include Esslingen, Reutlingen and Tubingen.

Würtingen Lower Swabian is a divergent Upper Swabian dialect spoken in Würtingen, 35 miles south of Stuttgart. It is not intelligible with the Upper Swabian spoken just six miles away and may not be intelligible with the rest of Lower Swabian. Investigation is needed to determine if Würtingen is intelligible with the rest of Lower Swabian.

The dialects of Würtingen and Dettingen 35 miles south of Stuttgart are so different as to represent separate languages, Würtingen Lower Swabian and Dettingen Upper Swabian, yet they are only 6 miles away from each other. Dettingen seems to be a Upper Swabian dialect and Würtingen seems to be an Lower Swabian dialect. This is in the area around Reutlingen, where there are several distinct dialects of Swabian spoken.

Upper Swabian is language a spoken in the Upper Swabia in the Swabian  Mountains (Swabian Alps) in Baden-Württemberg. Tuttlingen is a main city in this area. Upper Swabia is the region from the Swabian Alps south to the Danube. At least the type spoken in Albstadt seems to be unintelligible with the rest of Swabian, in particular with the Swabian spoken in Tuttlingen and Esslingen. Even in and around Albstadt, there are villages only 3 miles away that speak completely separate languages of Alpine Swabian that are not intelligible with each other, so clearly there are multiple languages within Upper Swabian.

Dettingen Upper Swabian is spoken in and around Dettingen, 35 miles south of Stuttgart. It is not intelligible with the Lower Swabian spoken in Würtingen nearby.

Bavarian Swabian (Bayerisch Schwaben or Rieser Schwäbisch) is a major division of this language that is spoken in the Donau Reis, a region of Bavaria. It can be seen on the map as the Swabish speaking area of Bavaria north of the Danube. This is the form of Upper Swabian spoken in the Schwaben region of southwest Bavaria. According to residents, it is not intelligible with either Bavarian or with the rest of Swabian spoken in Baden-Württemberg (Kirmaier 2009), hence it is a separate language. Dialects include Augsburg and Lechhausen. Lechhausen is quite different. Other towns in the area include Brenz, Iller, and Lech. The town of Lech is said to be the border between Bavarian Swabian and Bavarian.

East Swabian is spoken in the Eastern Swabish Alps. It is also spoken in East Württemberg. Major towns in East Württemberg include Aalen, Ellwangen, Heidenheim an der Brenz, and Schwäbisch Gmünd.

Southwest Swabian is spoken in the Neckar Mountains.

Allgäu Swabian (Schwäbisch-Allgäuerisch) is spoken in the Allgäu region on the border of Switzerland, Swabia and Bavaria. It contains three divisions. Lower Allgäu Swabian (Unterallgäuerisch), Northern Upper Allgäu Swabian (Nord Oberallgäuerisch) and East Allgäu Swabian (Ostallgäuerisch). Wolfegg, Biberach an der Riß, and Bergatreute are dialects.

Reports indicate that the type of Swabian spoken where Austria, Switzerland and Germany all come together is not understood anywhere else in Germany. On that basis, we can assume that Allgäu Swabian is a separate language. Internal intelligibility data for the dialects is lacking.

Russian German Swabish is one of the divergent Swabish dialect spoken by Russian Germans in their widespread colonies. In general, it is not understood by anyone in Germany. There are only a few elderly speakers left. Whether or not it is intelligible with specific Swabish lects is not known. This is an old Swabish from around 200 years ago.

Low Alemannic is a group of Alemmanic Upper German lects that are spoken in southern Baden-Württemberg, across the border into France, a bit into Switzerland, and over into southwestern Bavaria.

A chart of the Alemannic languages in 1950 based on the work of Karl Bohnenberger in 1953. Bodensee and Upper Rhine Alemannic were added based on Hugo Steger's 1983 work

A chart of the Alemannic languages in 1950 based on the work of Karl Bohnenberger in 1953. Bodensee and Upper Rhine Alemannic were added based on Hugo Steger’s 1983 work.

Upper Rhine Alemannic (Oberrhiinalemannisch) is a Low Alemannic superfamily division based on the work of linguist Karl Bohnenberger. This group includes Alsatian, Badisch, Upper Rhine Alemannic proper, and Basel German.

South Badisch is a group of dialects, apparently a separate language, spoken along the French border of Germany and east a ways to the border with Swabian starting near Freiburg im Breisgau and heading up towards Karlsruhe, where it borders South Franconian. The differences between South Badisch and South Alemannic spoken just to the South are considerable, and the two are probably separate languages.

Dialects include Ortenau (Ortenauer), Gottenheim, Freiburg-Opfingen, Elz, Kuppenheim, Iffezheim, Zell am Harmersbach, Kämpflbach, Breisgau (Breisgauer), Middle Kinzig River, and Black Forest (Schwarzwälder).

Elz, a subdialect of Black Forest, is spoken around the city of Waldkirch in the Elz Valley. Gottenheim is spoken 6 miles northwest of Freiburg. Freiburg-Opfingen is spoken in and around the city of Freiburg and is composed to two dialects, Freiburg and Opfingen. Zell am Harmersbach is a dialect of Middle Kinzig River.

Badisch forms a dialect chain with Swabian in which the far ends of the chain are not intelligible. The eastern dialects of Badisch are intelligible with the western dialects of Swabian. Intelligibility data between this and Alsatian is needed. Badisch is not at all intelligible with Standard German.

Alemán Coloniero (Colonia Tovar) is a Low Alemannic language spoken in Venezuela. It is not intelligible with Standard German. It is originally derived from a Badisch-type lect.

Baar Alemannic (Baar Alemannisch) is a Low Alemannic dialect. It is spoken in a region called the Baar in the upper headwaters of the Danube River in far southern Baden-Württemberg.

Towns in this region include Löffingen, Tuttlingen, Bad Dürrheim, St. Georgen, Furtwangen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Rottweil, Trossingen, Hüfingen, Spaichingen, Geisingen, and Donaueschingen. Intelligibility data between this lect, Basel German, South Badisch and Upper Rhine Alemannic and is needed. Rottweil is a dialect spoken in the town of the same name.

Click to enlarge. A map of the languages of Alsace. Alsatian proper is in shades of green. Purples is Rhenish Franconian and light blue is Pfalzisch. Orange and pink are langues d’oil – orange is Welche, and pink is Franche-Compte. As you can see, more languages than just Alsatian are spoken in the Alsace.

Alsatian is a Low Alemannic language spoken in Alsace, France around Strasbourg, and is not intelligible with Standard German, Swabian, Swiss German or Bavarian. In Alsace, it is mostly spoken in the Sundgau region of south Alsace and in the rural areas of the center.

It is an Upper German language related to Schwabian, Swiss German and Walliser. It has 700,000 speakers. The language is still widely spoken despite the fact that it gets little to no support from the French state. 20 years ago, 70% of teenagers said they could speak the language well.

This is a strange area where there are speakers of French, German, and languages that are neither French nor German but are transitional between the two. In this way it resembles the Limburgs region in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Alsatian borders Upper Rhine Alemannic on the east and Alsatian speakers say it is not the same language as what they speak (Auer 2005). Furthermore, Alsatian is not intelligible with the Upper Rhine Alemannic spoken over the border.

The reason is that Alsace has been cut off from the culture of Germany and Switzerland for so long that it has retained many archaic forms that went out to the east. At the same time, a huge amount of French has gone into Alsatian that has not gone into the languages to the east.

Alsatian is actually a number of dialects, not all of which are completely mutually intelligible, although this is somewhat controversial. The language changes from village to village, and it is common for Alsatians to not understand each other. This implies that Alsatian is actually more than one language, but we don’t have enough data yet about intelligibility between varieties to split any of them yet.

However, the Strasbourg variety has been promoted as the standard and is used on the local TV station (Osorio 2001). Dialects include Strasbourg, Colmar, Vosges, Orbey Valley, and Mulhouse.

Alsatian has only 40% intelligibility with Standard German (Minahan 2002).

Another map of the languages of the Alsace.

Lake Constance Alemannic (Bodeseealemannisch) is a super split in the Low Alemannic languages according to linguist Karl Bohnenberger. It includes Allgäuisch, Vorarlbergerisch, and South Württembergish (Süd Württembergisch), all separate languages.

It has a strong French influence. It has 50% intelligibility with Central Bavarian. It is probably not intelligible with Swiss German.

This language family is spoken in Vaduz, Lichtenstein; Bregenz, Austria, and Ravensburg and Tuttlingnen in Baden-Württemberg. In Tuttlingnen, it borders on Swabish.

 

Allgäuisch (Allgäuerisch) is a group of Low Alemannic lects spoken in far southwestern part of German Bavaria on the border with Switzerland, Austria and Baden-Württemberg. This is part of the Lake Constance Alemannic superfamily. It is not intelligible with Swabish.

It probably resembles Swiss German, but considering that you need a dictionary to translate between Allgäuisch and Swiss German, they must be separate languages.

This language is probably closest to Swabish and the Vorarlbergerisch spoken in far western Austria, to which it is geographically close. This language has heavy French influence.

There are four different Allgäuisch subdialects in each of the four major valleys in the region. One of the dialects is Bernbueren, spoken near Schongau and Weilheim. Other dialects include West Allgäuisch (Westallgäuerisch), East Allgäuisch, Upper Allgäuisch and Lower Allgäuisch. Upper Allgäuisch is further divided into Southern Upper Allgäuisch (Süd Oberallgäuerisch) and Northern Upper Allgäuisch.

Lower Allgäuisch is spoken in the northern Allgäu.

Opfenbach West Allgäuisch has poor intelligibility with the West Allgäuisch spoken around Lindau, Weissensberg and Schwatzen 5-10 miles to the southwest. It is spoken at least in and around the town of Opfenbach in far southwestern Bavaria between Wangen and Lindenberg.

East Allgäuisch is spoken in the East Allgäu and in the area around Füssen and the Upper Lech River.

Upper Allgäuisch is spoken in the southern Allgäu and in central Allgäu around Immenstadt and Kempten. The area around Immenstadt and Kempten is probably where Northern Upper Allgäuisch is spoken. Oberstdorf is a dialect of Southern Upper Allgäuisch.

 

Vorarlbergerisch Vorarlbergerisch is a group of Low Alemannic languages that is part of the Low Alemannic Lake Constance Alemannic Family. It is similar to Swiss German. Vorarlbergerisch was originally a Swabian language. For the most part, the Vorarlbergers came from Valais in Switzerland in the 1200’s and 1300’s.

This language is spoken in Austria and is not intelligible with Bavarian, Standard German or other German languages. It is spoken in Vorarlberg, a region in far western Austria near the Swiss border.

This is a very different form of Eastern Upper Alemannic Swiss German that is still widely spoken in the area of Vorarlberg. Most reports on the lect indicate that it seems to be a separate language, unintelligible with all other German, Swiss German and Austrian lects other than West Allgauish and Appenzell Swiss German.

Most towns in Vorarlberg have their own dialects. It has elements of Swiss German along with Tyrolean and Bavarian. Vorarlbergerisch is so different that speakers are given subtitles when they speak on Austrian TV. Many Vorarlbergerisch speakers either cannot or do not speak Standard German. There are three main divisions of Vorarlberg – Montafon, Lustenauerisch and Bregenzwalderisch.

Feldkirch, Lustenauerisch, and Dornbin are listed as dialects, but Lustenauerisch is so different that it is a separate language. Most Vorarlbergers have some difficulty understanding Lustenauerisch, Muntafunerisch and Wälderisch.

South Württembergish (Süd Württembergisch) is a major division of Lake Constance Alemannic. It is spoken east of Tuttlingnen and the Baar along the Upper Danube, south to the Swiss border and over to the border with Bavaria. This language has a heavy French flavor. South Wurttembergish has good intelligibility of Vorarlbergerisch (Scheffknecht 2015) and is best seen as a form of that language.

Überlingen, Radolfzell, and Konstanz are dialects. Konstanz is spoken in the city of Konstanz on Lake Constance straddling the Swiss border. It is very different from the Thurgau Swiss German spoken across the border in Kruezlingen (Auer 2005).

Lustenauerisch is so different that it itself is a separate language. Most people in Vorarlberg say that they cannot completely understand Lustenauerisch when it is spoken. That is because for many vocabulary items, the words are completely different. In addition, vowels also differ (Scheffknecht 2015).

Bregenz Forest Vorarlbergerisch (Bregenzwalderisch or Wälderisch) is a very distinct form of Vorarlbergerisch spoken in the Bregenz Forest (Bregenzerwald) in far northwest Vorarlberg on the borders of Switzerland and Germany. Other Vorarlbergerisch speakers from elsewhere in Vorarlberg have some difficulty understanding Bregenzerwald speakers, so it may be a separate language (Scheffknecht 2015). This area is very famous for its dairy products, especially its cheeses. Lustenauerisch speakers say this is a different language from both Vorarlbergerisch and Lustenauerisch.

There are two main dialects of this language – Vorderwald and Hinterwald – and they are quite different. Nearly every village has its own dialect. Intelligibility between dialects is not known. Egg is a dialect of this language.

West Allgäuisch is spoken in the western Allgäu, in the Alemannic-Swabish transition zone of the Allgäu and in the city of Lindau and the area around far eastern Lake Bodensee. West Allgäuisch is close to Swiss German and especially the form of Vorarlbergerisch spoken in the Bregenz Forest (Bregenzerwald) in the northern part of Vorarlberg on the German border. This dialect is apparently intelligible with Vorarlbergerisch (Scheffknecht 2015), at least with Bregenz Vorarlbergerisch. This lect is best seen as a form of Bregenz Vorarlbergerisch.

Montafon Vorarlbergerisch (Muntafunerisch) is a Vorarlbergerisch language that is spoken in the Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg, Austria. This valley extends from about Bludenz to the Silvretta Mountains on the border with Switzerland. Speakers say that the situation is better described as other Vorarlbergerisch speakers having some difficulty understanding Muntafunerisch (Scheffknecht 2015).

It has Romansch influences since it is spoken near the Romansch-speaking part of Switzerland. Even villages 15-20 miles away cannot understand this language. This language is utterly unintelligible to any German. Schruns is a dialect of this language.

Appenzell Swiss German (Appenzellerisch) is an Eastern Upper Alemannic Swiss German lect that, while not intelligible with other forms of Swiss German, is actually intelligible with Vorarlbergerisch (Scheffknecht 2015) and is best seen as a form of that language. It is spoken in Appenzell Canton in Switzerland near the border with Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. Appenzell Innerhoden and St. Gallen (Sankt Gallener or St. Galler Deutsch) are dialects of this language.

High Alemannic is a group of lects that are spoken primarily in Switzerland. However, a few are also spoken in Baden-Württemberg right on the border with Switzerland. The most famous High Alemannic language is Swiss German. Central Bavarian has 50% intelligibility with High Alemmanic languages.

South Alemmanic is a group of High Alemannic dialects, apparently a separate language, spoken in far southwestern Baden-Württemberg in regions called Markgräflerland and Hotzenwäld. Markgräflerland goes from about Basel to about Bad Krozingen in the north and to the Black Forest in the east. Hotzenwäld is a region around the Swiss border from Wehr to Waldshut-Tiengen, otherwise known as the Waldshut District. The differences between South Alemannic and Banish are considerable, and the two are probably separate languages.

Klettgau is a South Alemannic dialect spoken on the Swiss border in the Waldshut District. Other dialects include Markgräflerland (Markgräflerisch), Hotzenwäld (Hotzenwälderisch), Rheinfelden, and High Rhine Alemannic (Hochrhein Alemannisch). Intelligibility between this and Swiss German in Switzerland and South Sundgau in Germany is not known, although it is probably not fully intelligible with Swiss German. Within Markgräflerland, there are subdialects such as Lörrach, Grenzach-Wyhlen, and Weil am Rhein.

South Sundgau (Süd Sundgauisch) is a High Alemannic dialect spoken in southern Baden down around the Swiss border. Intelligibility between this and Swiss German is not known, but it is said that once you leave Switzerland and cross the border, people are no longer speaking anything close to Swiss German.

Standard Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch) is a High Alemannic language that is from 20% intelligible with Standard German. For many Germans, Swiss German is about as intelligible as Dutch. It has over 6 million speakers. There are dozens of varieties, and every canton in Switzerland has its own lect. Two major varieties are Zurich and Bernese German. However, Bernese is not intelligible with Swiss German proper. Thurgau is  very different.

The city of Vaduz, Austria, also speaks Swiss German. There are 20-70 different lects within Swiss German, and according to Ethnologue, many of them are not mutually intelligible. Swiss German is so diverse that speakers are given subtitles when they speak on Austrian and German TV.

The dialectal situation of Swiss German is very complex. About 30-40 years ago, before people started moving around a lot, there were many full Swiss German languages that were not intelligible to other speakers. We can call these the pure dialects. However, the situation has changed a lot since then. A form of Swiss German, call it Standard Swiss German, is now used across Switzerland when communicating with people who speak another form of the language.

Many of the dialects seem to be changing from full languages into mutually intelligible forms of Standard Swiss German with regional dialects, similar to the situation in the US with our mutually intelligible regional dialects. When people are interviewed on Swiss TV, they typically speak in this standard language to make sure that they are understood.

There are some elderly people who can speak only their regional form of Swiss German and not the standard version, and sometimes they cannot communicate with people in a similar situation speaking another version of the language.

However, if you recorded speakers of many of the various forms of Swiss German speaking among themselves and then presented it to speakers of other forms of the language, you would probably need subtitles for them to understand it. In terms of lexicon, the Swiss German lects differ dramatically. There may be 40 different words for the same term in 40 different lects.

Many Swiss German speakers dislike speaking Hochdeutsch, only speak it if they have to, and may refuse to speak it unless it is mandatory. Hochdeutsch classes are now mandatory in the schools, but most Swiss hate to study the language, and this requirement is resented by many Swiss. Some can understand the Hochdeutsch spoken on TV but may not understand the Hochdeutsch of a visitor. Some older Swiss cannot understand Hochdeutsch at all.

However, most even elderly Swiss can speak some form of Hochdeutsch (Chervet 2016).

Although Swiss German is considered to be a Upper German language, it has Low, High and Highest Alemannic forms inside of it. Hence, “Swiss German” is something of a trashcan description for forms of German spoken in Switzerland. The Pündner dialect is unclassified.

Basel German (Baseldeutsch, Baslerdütsch, Baslerdietsch, Baseldütsch) is a type of Low Alemannic Swiss German spoken in and around Basel, Switzerland, that is not intelligible with High Alemannic Swiss German.

However, the watered-down lect spoken  in the city of Basel itself nowadays is indeed intelligible with Swiss German Proper (Chervet 2016). It is spoken across the border a bit into France west of Basel and north and northeast of Basel up into Baden-Württemberg to Freiburg.

There are different dialects spoken in Baselstadt (a canton encompassing the city of Basel) and Baselland (Basel Canton), but it is not known how much they differ. Intelligibility between Basel German and South Alemmanic spoken to the north is not known, but it is said that when you cross from Germany to Switzerland in this region, people are no longer speaking the same language.

Bernese Swiss German (Bärndütsch, Bäärndüütsch, Berndüütsche, Baernduetsch, Bern Deutsch) is is a Western High Alemannic Swiss German language that is not intelligible with Swiss German proper and is thus a separate language. Langenthal is a dialect of this language.

Other Western High Alemannic Swiss German dialects include Solothurn (Solothurner, Solothurnerdütsch), Olten, West Aargau (Westaargauisch), Lower Frick Valley (Unterfricktal), Möhlin, Upper Frick Valley (Oberfricktal), Laufenburg, Central Aargau, Aarau, Middle Bernese (Mittelbernisch), Entlebuchisch, Lucerne (Lozärno, Lozärnerdütsch), and Zug (Zogerdütsch).

The Frick Valley is located in northwest Aargau Canton. Möhlin is a subdialect of Lower Frick Valley and Laufenburg is a subdialect of Upper Frick Valley. Olten is a subdialect of Solothurn. Intelligibility data between the lects is not known.

Ettiswil Bernese Swiss German is spoken in the town of Ettiswil in the canton Bern. It is so divergent that it may well be a separate language.

Zurich Swiss German (Zuridootch, Züridüütsch, Zürcher, Züritüüstcht, Züritütsch, Züridütsch, Zöridütsch, Zuerideutsch or Zürischnüre) is not readily intelligible to speakers of Standard Swiss German. It is spoken in Zurich.

As most Swiss hear this language a lot on TV, they are familiar with it and it is probably intelligible to most of them, but that does not mean it’s inherently mutually intelligible, because it’s not. Züridüütsch is a Central Swiss German dialect. Zurich Oberland and Goldbach are dialects of this language.

Other Central Swiss German dialects include Stadtzürcherisch, Ämtler, See, Oberländer, Winterthurer and Unterländer.

Schaffhausen (Neu Schaffhauserdeutsch, Schaffhuserisch), Zurich Weinland (Zürcher Weinländerdeutsch), Davos, Lower Toggenburg (Untertoggenburgerisch), Upper Toggenburg (Obertoggenburgerisch), and Rheintal (Rheintalerisch), Seeztal (Seeztalerdeutsch).

Other dialects in the same group include Middle Lucerne/South Aargau (Mittelland Luzerndeutsch/Südaargauisch), Sursee, East Aargau (Ostaargauisch), Schaan, Balzers, Lucerne (Luzerndeutsch, Luzerner, Luzärnerisch, Luzärner), Bünd (Bündnerisch, Bündner, Bündnerdüütsh, Bündnerdütsh), Bad Ragaz, Chur (Churertütsch, Churer) and Graubünden (Graubündnerisch).

Intelligibility data is lacking. Lucerne contains the following subdialects: Lucerne Hinterland (Hinterland Luzerndeutsch), Middle Lucerne (Lucerne Mittelland), Rigi, Sursee, Entlebuch and Lucerne/Hochdorf. Bad Ragaz is a subdialect of St. Gallen. Chur and Davos are subdialects of Graubünden. Schaan and Balzers are spoken in Lichtenstein.

Thurgau Swiss German is an Eastern High Alemannic Swiss German language that is hard for many Swiss German speakers to understand. Dialects include West Thurgau (West Thurgauerisch), East Thurgau (Ost Thurgauerisch) and Upper Thurgau.

Inner Swiss German is a group of Swiss German lects that are transitional between High Alemannic Swiss German and Highest Alemannic Swiss German. Intelligibility data is lacking. Dialects include West Oberland (Westoberländisch), Haslital (Haslitalerisch), Lungern, North Urn (Nord Urnerdeutsch), South Urn (Süd Urnerdeutsch), Obwalden (Obwaldnerisch), Nidwalden (Nidwaldnerisch), Engelberg (Engelbergisch) and West Obwalden (Westobwaldnerisch). Lungern is a dialect of Obwalden.

Nidwalden Swiss German (Nidwaldnerisch) is an Inner Swiss German language that is not intelligible with other Swiss German lects, especially with Zurich Swiss German. Intelligibility with other Inner Swiss German lects is not known.

Fribourg Swiss German (Fribourgerisch, Friburgerisch) is a Highest Alemannic Swiss German language that is not intelligible to other speakers of Swiss German and must be a separate language. It is spoken in Fribourg Canton southwest of Bern in southwest Switzerland. Intelligibility with other Highest Alemmanic Swiss German lects is not known. Jaun, Sensebezirk and St. Antoni are dialects of this language.

Other Highest Alemannic Swiss German lects include Unterwalden and Glarus (Glarnerdeutsch, Glarner). Since Highest Alemannic languages seem to be hard for High Alemannic Swiss German speakers to understand, it is questionable to what degree the lects above are intelligible to High Alemannic. Intelligibility testing is in order.

Bernese Oberland Swiss German is a Highest Alemmanic Swiss German language notorious for having poor intelligibility even with native speakers of Swiss German. It therefore qualifies as a separate language. Intelligibility with other Highest Alemmanic Swiss German lects is not known.

Uri Swiss German (Ursnerisch)is a Highest Alemannnic Swiss German language has poor intelligibility with other Swiss German speakers, in particular with Zurich. It is spoken in Uri Canton. Intelligibility with other Highest Alemmanic Swiss German lects is not known. Attinghausen is a dialect.

Schwyz Swiss German is a Highest Alemannnic Swiss German that is not intelligible to other Swiss German speakers, especially speakers of Zurich. It is spoken in the canton of Schwyz. Intelligibility with other Highest Alemmanic Swiss German lects is not known.

Walser German is a Highest Alemannic language spoken in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Lichtenstein and Germany. It is spoken by 22,780 speakers. It is not intelligible with any other Alemannic languages and is very different. This is very different from the Walliser language, which is a variety of Swiss German spoken in Wallis Canton.

The Walsers split off from the Walliser group in about 1200 and moved to other areas. The Walsers moved into many areas of the Alps, often displacing or attempting to displace Romansch speakers. In many places, settlements failed, but they held in a few others.

By the mid-1300’s, Black Plague ended the Walser migrations by devastating both the source and the destinations of the migrants.

Most Walser dialects are very different even from one another, so there may be more than three languages in Walser. A process of assimilation is occurring in Switzerland whereby Walser speakers are assimilating to the German-speaking culture around them and in the process losing their language. Intelligibility between the widely variant dialects, other than Toitschu, is not known.

The Walser are expert dairymen, woodworkers, weavers and mountain-climbers who often build a distinctive style house called a Walser house.

Walser has many dialects.

Prättigau (Prätttigauer), Avers, Obersaxen, Davos and Rheinwald are spoken in Grisons Canton.

Triesenberg is spoken in Lichtenstein and has the support of the local government.

Kleinwalsertal is spoken in Austria and has been on the decline lately.

Rimella, Rima San-Giuseppe, Alagna Vallesia, Macugnaga and Formatta are dialects of Walser spoken in northwest Italy. The dictionary for Algana Walser has an incredible 22,000 words. Intelligibility data among dialects is not known.

Gurin Walser German (Gurinerdeutsch) is a Walser dialect spoken in Bosco-Gurin, Ticino (Italian-speaking) Canton, Switzerland. It has remained isolated from other German varieties for centuries and may well be a separate language. This is close to the forms of Walser spoken in Italy. It must be unintelligible with other forms of Walser other than Italian Walser, and since Italian Walser is not even intelligible to the villages right next door, Gurin Walser must be a separate language.

There are only 23 speakers of this language left in the village of Bosco-Gurin, and it seems to be dying out (PFECMR 2006). However, including speakers outside the town, there are 120 speakers. In addition, 40 people have receptive but not productive competence in the language (COE 2006).

Toitschu Walser German is an outlying language related to Walser that is spoken in the village of Issime in the Upper Lys Valley in Valle d’Aosta in far northwest Italy.

Toitschu is a highly divergent Walser lect that has been heavily influenced by Piedmontese and Francoprovencal. It is unintelligible with the rest of Walser and is a separate language. Both Toitschu and Titsch have 600 speakers and are both an endangered languages.

Titsch Walser German is spoken in the same region as Toitschu in the Italian Alps of northwest Italy in the nearby villages of Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Gressoney-La-Trinité. There are currently major efforts underway to preserve both Toitschu and Titsch, but the regional Italian government does not seem very cooperative.

Both languages are quickly giving way to Italian especially and both lack many words for modern things. Titsch is much different from Toitschu as it seems to have continued to evolve in time, while Toitschu seems to have been frozen back in 1200 or so.

There is poor intelligibility between Toitschu and Titsch, and both must be separate languages. Major dictionary projects have just been completed and a large conference on both languages was held in the region recently which resulted in the publication of an amazing 163 page document exclusively about the Walser language. The dictionary of Titsch has an incredible 125,000 words, only 4% of which are foreign loans.

Walliser German has about 250,000 speakers in the German part of Wallis (Valais) Canton, Central Switzerland. It is is a Highest Alemannic language. It is not intelligible with Standard German or with Walser. This is the more modern form of  older, archaic Walser German.

There are six dialects: Gomer, Briger, Saaser, Zermatter (spoken in Zermatt), Lötschentaler and Raron. Simplon is a dialect of Gomer. There is currently a petition before SIL to have it recognized as a separate language. The petition states that all of the the dialects are mutually intelligible.

Gomer differs in having a vowel shift to öi > ö. Briger is the most commonly spoken dialect. Zermatter has a different phonology and sounds melodic. Saaser is similar to Zermatter but not as melodic-sounding. It has a lot of unique vocabulary.

Lötschentaler Walliser is the most archaic dialect, about halfway between the archaic Walser German and the modern Walliser German. It also has a lot of unique vocabulary. It is so different that other Walliser German speakers have a hard time understanding it (Chervet 2016). Therefore it makes sense to split it off into a separate language.

Raron is characterized by a vowel shift ä > e. General Walliser Cäse > Raron Cese.

The main city here is Brig.

The language arose from immigrants from the Bern region who came to Wallis in the 700’s. Two different immigration waves led to two different Walliser dialect groups. In the 1100’s, a Walliser group split off and moved to other parts of the Alps. This group became the Walser German language speakers.

bairisches_mundartgebiet

Bavarian. North Bavarian is in yellow, Central Bavarian in pink, and Southern Bavarian is in blue.

Bavarian is a macro-language with three main varieties: Northern Bavarian, Central Bavarian and Southern Bavarian.

There are claims that broad Bavarian is mutually intelligible across its length and breadth, but these claims seem somewhat dubious if not false in light of the 40% intelligibility figure with Standard German and in light of my interviews with native speakers.

Also, there are claims that the diversity of dialects of Bavarian makes it impossible to create one unified dialect for writing Bavarian, as the debate over the Bavarian Wikipedia shows. Even Northern and Central Bavarian, supposedly mutually intelligible, are so different that to create one written form to unite them is impossible.

For these reasons, intelligibility testing is imperative for Bavarian.

Central Bavarian is described as extremely diverse. The various Vienna dialects have all died in the last 20 years, and Viennese now speak a Bavarian-Standard German mixed language based on an old East Viennese dialect mixed with Standard German and no longer speak pure Bavarian.

The differences between Tyrolean Southern Bavarian, Carinthian Southern Bavarian, Styrian Southern Bavarian and Viennese are described as great. An attempt on the Internet to compare Bavarian with Texan English was described as ridiculous.

All of this suggests that intelligibility inside of Bavarian is not all it is cracked up to be.

Bavaria itself is very diverse linguistically, and the state is not synonymous with the language. In Southwestern Bavaria, Bavarian Swabian is spoken; the northern half of Bavaria speaks several Middle German Franconian lects (Bavarian is Upper German); and the far northwest of Bavaria speaks a Palatinian Rhine-Franconian language.

Hence, less than 1/4 of Bavaria actually speaks Bavarian, adding up to about 1/3 of the population of the region. Each Bavarian-speaking village in Germany is said to have its own dialect.

Bavarian is not intelligible with Swabian, Alsatian or Swiss German.

A nice chart of the various Bavarian lects is here.

Northern Bavarian or German Bavarian is spoken in Upper Palatinate, Bavaria. It is not intelligible with Central Bavarian (Kirmaier 2009).

Another map of the various Bavarian languages.

Oberpfälz North Bavarian (Oberpfälzerisch or Oberpfälzisch) is a language spoken in southeastern Germany in central eastern and northeastern Bavaria from Regensburg, Kelheim and the Bavarian Forest north along the Naab River to the Fichtelgebirge (Fir Mountains) and in the Northern Bohemian Forest along the border with Czechoslovakia. It is also spoken up by Neumarkt.

According to residents (Kirmaier 2009), this is a separate language, not intelligible with other German Bavarian lects. Dialects of this language include Danube Oberpfälzisch, which, though different, is fully intelligible with the Oberpfälzisch spoken in Neumarkt. This is the Oberpfälzisch spoken along the Danube around the towns of Kelheim and Regensburg.

Bohemian German (Boehmerwaelderischish) is a Upper German language spoken in Czechoslovakia, Germany and the US. It looks like both North and Central Bavarian.

Starting in the 1200’s, Germans began moving into the Sudetenland, often invited by Bohemian kings. Over the centuries, they pushed out the Czechs and Slavs living in the area and took it over for farming. Although intelligibility data for Bohemian German is lacking, it is often considered to be a full language of its own, so we will treat it as one in this analysis.

Actually, since it ranges from East Middle German to Bavarian Upper German, Bohemian German seems to be a wastebasket designation for the varying lects spoken in the Sudetenland.

On the border of Silesia, it resembled Silesian. On the border of the Erzgebirge, it looked like Erzgebirgisch. In the far northeast, where the Riesengebirge separated Bohemia from Silesia, in the Hultschiner Laendle, the people had a very divergent lect of their own.

To the south of the city of Mies, along the Bohemian Mountains, it looked like Niederbayerisch. A dialect called Böhmish is spoken spoken in the Böhmerwald or Bohemian Forest. In the south, extending all the way towards Moravia, it looked very much like the Central Bavarian spoken in Austria. Sorting all of this out and determining what was a dialect and what was a separate language is going to be difficult. Schönhengst is a dialect of this language spoken in Moravia. Some Bohemian German speakers migrated to New Ulm, Minnesota. Quite a few others could be found in Bukovina, Romania.

Egerland Bohemian German (Egerlaenderisch) is spoken in Bischofteinitz, Mies, Tachau and Taus Counties in the Czech Republic in Western Bohemia and in and around New Ulm, Minnesota, where there are still speakers ranging from 52-98 years old. In the Czech Republic, each village had a separate dialect, but all dialects are mutually intelligible. This appears to be a separate language from Oberpfalz Northern Bavarian. German speakers visiting New Ulm say that they cannot understand one word of this language.

This seems to be the same language as Sechsämterland spoken across the border. The Sechsämterland dialect is spoken in the area around Selb, Wunsiedel, Hohenberg and Thierstein in the far northeast of Bavaria near the border with Czechoslovakia and Lower Saxony.

Dialectal diversity is very high in this area, and every village has its own dialect.

Lauterbach is a divergent dialect spoken east of Tirschenreuth on the Czech border. Tiss is a divergent subdialect of Egerland. Sangerberg is a divergent Egerlaenderisch dialect spoken in Prameny, Czechoslovakia. Eger is spoken in the large German city of the same name. Tachauer is a dialect that formed the basis for the Machliniec dialect spoken formerly spoken by the Carpathian Germans in their language island in the Machliniec area of the Ukraine. They left during WW2.

German Central Bavarian is a group of Bavarian lects that are spoken in Germany. This group includes Lower Bavarian, Upper Bavarian and Lechrain Bavarian (Lechrainisch). It has 50% intelligibility of High Alemannic and Lake Constance Low Alemannic. Lechrain Bavarian is spoken in Western Bavaria and is transitional to Swabian. Map of the Lechrain region. Lechrain is very different from the rest of Bavarian, but intelligibility data is lacking.

Lower Bavarian includes the Bohemian Forest language and many dialects.

Upper Bavarian includes the Starnberg, Highland and Meisbach languages and many dialects.

Lower Bavarian Central Bavarian (Niederbayerisch) is spoken in the Lower Bavarian region of German Bavaria. Major cities include Landshut.

According to residents (Kirmaier 2009), this is a full language unintelligible with other German Bavarian lects. Speakers of Landshut Lower Bavarian Central Bavarian claim that Landshut is intelligible with Münchnerisch.

On the other hand, some speakers of Münchnerisch find Regensburg Niederbayerisch almost impossible to understand. Dialects include Landshut, Regensburg, Passau, Straubing, Rottal-Inn, Breitenberg, Neureichenau, Thalberg, Germannsdorf, Untergriesbach, Wegscheid, Geiselhöring, Rattenberg and Landau.

Rottal-Inn is spoken in the Rottal-Inn district east of Munich. Towns here include Eggenfelden, Pfarrkirchen and Simbach am Inn. Rottal-Inn is a fairly typical Central Bavarian dialect, nevertheless, the dialect of Simbach is different from the dialect spoken just across the border in Braunau.

Breitenberg, Neureichenau, Thalberg, Germannsdorf, Untergriesbach and Wegscheid are spoken in far southeast Bavaria near the Austrian and Czech border and are very divergent. Geiselhöring is spoken in the Straubing-Bogen area of the Bavarian Forest. Rattenberg is also spoken in the Straubing-Bogen area and sounds like Viennese.

Bohemian Forest Lower Bavarian is spoken in the far southern Bohemian Forest, at least along the Regen River and around the town of Zwiesel, where a dialect called Zwieslerisch is spoken. At least Zwieslerisch is not intelligible with the Niederbayerisch spoken around Straubing, which is only 60 miles away. This language is interesting because it has significant influence from Muhlviertel Lower Bavarian in Austria.

Upper Bavarian Central Bavarian (Oberbayerisch) is spoken in the Upper Bavarian region of German Bavaria. The major city in this region is Munich. According to residents, it is a separate language not intelligible with the rest of German Central Bavarian (Kirmaier 2009).

Upper Bavarian Central Bavarian is said to be intelligible across the border into Austria for some ways, but this notion needs clarification since it is said that if you go 15-20 miles in any direction outside of Munich, you are dealing with separate languages.

Some say that people in Munich do not speak Bavarian anymore, but this does not seem to be the case. On the contrary, 20% of the population are Bavarian native speakers and with them, nearly all casual conversation is carried on in Oberbayerisch, and they often refuse to speak Standard German on principle at parties and such.

However, the variety spoken in Munich (Münchnerisch) is a very watered-down type of Bavarian that is no longer the real deal. Nevertheless, speakers of Standard German often find it baffling. The pure Bavarian Münchnerisch seems to be dying in Munich with the massive influx of immigrants from all over Germany. Münchnerisch is still holding on very well in the boroughs of Sendling, Giesling, Obermenzing and parts of Neuhausen.

The type of broad Central Bavarian spoken in Munich is widely understood in the urban centers from Munich to Vienna. There are at least 19 major Central Bavarian dialects, some of which are separate languages.

Dialects include Oberschweinbach, Friedberg, Holledau and Bad Reichenhall. Holledau is spoken in a region north of Munich roughly bounded by Moosburg, Pfaffenhofen, Ingolstadt and Neustadt. This is the largest hops-growing region in the world.

Oberschweinbach is spoken the Fürstenfeldbruck district west of Munich. Bad Reichenhall is spoken southeast of Munich on the border with Austria, near Salzburg. Friedberg, while located in Bavarian Swabia, speaks Bavarian, not Swabian.

Starnberg Upper Bavarian is spoken in and around the city of Starnberg, 12 miles southwest of Munich. It has poor intelligibility with Munich Upper Bavarian. This language is mutually intelligible for some distance around it, but speakers cannot understand the Highland Upper Bavarian spoken 20 miles to the south (Anonymous July 2009).

Highland Upper Bavarian is spoken along the German-Austrian border in Germany and Austria in the regions of Rosenheim, Meisbach and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany and across the border in the Karwendel Mountains in Austria.

Rosenheim Upper Bavarian is spoken in the Rosenheim District south of Munich near the Austrian border, especially along the Mangfall River in the foothills of the Alps, the Chiegmau Mountains. Towns here include Rosenheim and Bad Aibling. It has very poor intelligibility with Münchnerisch. Intelligibility testing is needed between this language, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Meisbach.

Meisbach Upper Bavarian is a Bavarian language spoken in the Meisbach district of Bavaria in the towns of Meisbach, Finsterwald and possibly others. It is not intelligible with at least some other highland Bavarian lects (de Gyurky 2006). Intelligibility testing is needed between this and other highland Bavarian languages, especially Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Rosenheim, which are close by. Rosenheim is actually the next district over.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen Upper Bavarian is a separate language that is spoken in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 50 miles southwest of Munich 6 miles from the Austrian border. This language is not intelligible at all with Münchnerisch. There are 2 dialects in this language – Garmisch and Partenkirchen. Intelligibility between the two is not known, and intelligibility between this language, Rosenheim and Meisbach is also unknown. This language is also spoken across the border in the Karwendel Mountains in Austria.

This language is said to resemble the Tirol Bavarian spoken in Innsbruck, and may not even be a Central Bavarian language.

Austrian Standard Central Bavarian is a koine language that is understood in most of Austria except for many in Vorarlberg who speak Vorarlbergerisch. It is based somewhat on the Vienna dialect, but it seems to have diverged quite a bit from the true pure Viennese. It is even understood in Tirol.

This language differs dramatically from the Central Bavarian spoken across the border in Munich and in general is often not intelligible with it. There is a wide diversity of lects in Austrian Bavarian. It is not unusual for one lect to not be understood 50-80 miles away. In Austria as a whole, one source describes the dialects of the country as akin to dozens of different languages, which implies that there are more than 20 languages spoken here. Other sources say that there is a different dialect in each Austrian region, and none of them are intelligible with each other. Based on that, further investigation into Austrian Bavarian intelligibility is urgently needed.

The lects are reasonably stable compared to the situation in Germany because most Austrians still grow up and live most of their lives in one area. Nevertheless, the situation is still poorly understood. Central Bavarian is not intelligible with the Southern Bavarian spoken in Tirol, Carinthia or Syria in Austria.

Austrian Central Bavarian has two major divisions, Austrian Central Bavarian proper and Austrian Southern Central Bavarian.

Southern Central Bavarian includes two main divisions – Styrian and West Southern Central Bavarian. Styrian includes West Styrian (Weststeirisch), Middle Styrian (Mittelsteirisch), Upper Styrian (Obersteirisch), East Styrian (Oststeirisch), Southeast Lower Austrian (Südostniederösterreichisch) and Burgenländ (Burgenländisch).

West Southern Central Bavarian includes dialects such as Salzburg (Salzburgisch), Ausseerländ (Ausseerländisch), North Tirol (Nordtirolerisch) and Werdenfelsisch.

Dialects include Innviertlerisch, Linz, Upper Pielachtal, Salzburgerisch , Wienerwald, Braunau, Bad Aussee, Bad Goisern, St. Johann in Tirol, Salzkammergut, Kufstein and many more.

Viennese and Linz are very different. Innviertlerisch is spoken in the Innviertel Mountains in Upper Austria near the Bavarian border. Intelligibility testing is needed between this and Mühlviertlerisch. Upper Pielachtal is spoken along the Mariazellerbahn Railway from Mariazell to St. Polen in Lower Austria.

Salzburgerisch is spoken in Salzburg. Wienerwald is spoken in the Vienna Forest west of Vienna. Bad Aussee is spoken in far northwest Styria near the border with Upper Austria. Bad Goisern is spoken in far southern Upper Austria near the borders with Salzburg and Styria. Braunau is spoken on the border with Bavaria.

St. Johann in Tirol and Kufstein are actually spoken in Tirol – there are a few Central Bavarian lects spoken there. St. Johann is spoken in the Kitzbühel district in the far northeast of Tirol near the border with Salzburg. Kufstein is spoken in the Kufstein district in northeast Tirol near the Bavarian border.

Central Bavarian is a dialect chain in which, while the lects of two adjoining cities are similar, the lects of major cities can differ dramatically. Speakers of Standard German sometimes say that they cannot a word of Viennese Central Bavarian.

Thalgau Central Bavarian is spoken at the very least in and around the town of Thalgau east of Salzburg in Salzburg state. It is utterly unintelligible with other forms of Central Bavarian.

Salzburg Central Bavarian (Salzburgerisch) is spoken in and around Salzburg, Austria. However, as of 30-35 years ago, it had poor intelligibility with Pongauer, Pinzgauer and Flachgauer. Hence, it may well be a separate language. The situation today is not known except that dialect use has dropped off alarmingly in Salzburg since then.

Pongau Central Bavarian is spoken in the Pongau region south of Salzburg in Austria. Towns ion the area include Bad Hofgastein, Schwarzach, Werfen, Bad Gastein, Dorfgastein, Radstadt, Flachau, and Bischofshofen. 30-35 years ago, it had poor intelligibility with Pinzgauer, Salzburger and Flachgauer. Thus it may well be a separate language. Pongauer has Danube Bavarian influences. The situation today is unknown.

Pinzgau Central Bavarian is spoken in the Pinzgau region southwest of Salzburg on the German border near the border with Tirol. The principal town in this region is Zell am See. Towns in the region include Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße, Dienten am Hochkönig, Ferleiten, Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße, Hollersbach im Pinzgau, Kaprun, Krimml, Lend, Lofer, Mittersill, Neukirchen am Großvenediger, Rauris, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer, Taxenbach, Unken, and Uttendorf.

Dialect use remains very high in this area. Pinzgauer is transitional between Central Bavarian and Southern Bavarian, but it is utterly unintelligible with Tyrolerisch. As of 30-35 years ago, it had poor intelligibility with Pongauer, Salzburger and Flachgauer. The situation today is not known.

Flachgau Central Bavarian is spoken in the Flachgau region surrounding Salzburg. 30-35 years ago, it had poor intelligibility with Pinzgauer, Salzburger and Pongauer. The situation today is not known. Like Pongauer, it is similar to the Danube Bavarian spoken across the border to the west in Germany. Towns in the area include Neumarkt am Wallersee, Seekirchen am Wallersee, Mattsee, Anif, Fuschl am See, Sankt Gilgen, Lamprechtshausen, Oberndorf bei Salzburg and Straßwalchen.

Lungau Central Bavarian is a lect spoken in the Lungau District in the southeast part of Salzburg state. It is quite different from surrounding lects. It is transitional between South Bavarian (Tyrolean, Styrian and Carinthian) and Central Bavarian (Salzburg, Upper Austria, Lower Austria. Carinthian influences are most prominent. It has 20,000 speakers. Use of this dialect has dropped off a lot in recent decades.

Intelligibility data with surrounding Bavarian languages is not known, but considering that the other Salzburg district dialects have poor intelligibility with each other, and the uniqueness of Lungauer, Lungauer is probably a separate language.

Mühlviertel Central Bavarian (Mühlviertlerisch) is spoken in the Muhlviertel, or Bohemian Forest, region of Austria where Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany all come together. It has poor intelligibility with other types of Austrian Central Bavarian. This language is extremely variable, with each village having its own dialect, and the dialects even between villages often differing markedly.

It does not appear to be readily intelligible with the Linz dialect spoken in the biggest city of Upper Austria either. Intelligibility is unknown between this language and Bohemian Forest Lower Bavarian spoken in the German part of the Bohemian Forest. Rural Upper Austrian Central Bavarian in general is unintelligible in both Vienna and Graz.

Viennese Central Bavarian (Wienerisch) itself seems to be a separate language. The stronger form of the dialect spoken by low level workers, taxi drivers, etc. is hard to understand even for other Austrians speaking closely related lects. It is therefore reasonable to assume that this hard form of Wienerisch is a separate language. It is still alive in some suburbs such as Ottakring.

Viennese has many unusual words that other forms of German lack. It has a comical quality that is sometimes imitated in parodies.

Most Viennese now speak a Viennese German dialect that is readily understandable to any speaker of German. It is quite similar to the standard German spoken on news outlets. There are a few words that are different for body parts, expletives and food, but other than that, the vocabulary is the same as Hochdeutsch. The accent is less different than the difference between British and American English.

However, Lower Austrian Central Bavarian is still spoken, mostly by older people, in the countryside outside Vienna. It is only about 50% intelligible with Viennese Central Bavarian, so it is a separate language. Further investigation is needed to determine the exact names of these various rural lects and how well they can communicate with each other.

Carpathian Central Bavarian was formerly spoken in Slovakia by scattered German colonies. They were ethnically cleansed after WW2, and most ended up in Germany. There still appear to be some speakers left, but they are probably elderly and the languages appear to be moribund.

Dialects included Pressburg, Zipser and Hauerlaender. Pressburg was spoken near the city of Pressburg, and Zips and Hauerlaender were spoken near areas of the same names. Pressburg is a dialect of Viennese, but Zips and Hauerlaender are so diverse that they are not intelligible with any other forms of Bavarian.

Zipser Carpathian Central Bavarian was spoken in an area of Slovakia called the Zips. Speakers were ethnically cleansed after WW2. Scattered elderly speakers probably remain, mostly in Germany. Not intelligible with any other forms of Bavarian (sample).

Hauerlaender Carpathian Central Bavarian was spoken in and around an area called the Hauerland in Slovakia. Speakers were ethnically cleansed after WW2. Scattered elderly speakers probably remain, mostly in Germany. Not intelligible with any other forms of Bavarian (sample).

Landers Central Bavarian is spoken by Transylvanian Saxons who lived in Transylvania in Romania. They were deported from the Salzkammergut region of Austria northeast of Salzburg in the 1730’s. They were ethnically cleansed after WW2, but then were allowed to return.

The language is still spoken in Neppendorf, Großau, and Großpold in Romania and in Germany where many of the Landers fled to after the war. They originally spoke a Salzkammergut Central Bavarian lect, but over time, it changed so much that it must surely be a separate language, and that is the impression that Tapani Salminem, top expert on European languages, gives in a recent assessment.

Southern Bavarian is spoken in Austria and in Alto Adige-Südtiro in Italy and includes the cities of Graz, Klagenfurt, Lienz and Innsbruck in Austria and Bozen and Moran in Italy. It is also spoken in the Samnaun region in Switzerland.

Some of the Tyrolean lects in Austria, referred to here for convenience sake as Tyrolean Southern Bavarian (Tirolerisch), are so divergent that they are not intelligible with the rest of even Southern Bavarian; further, each valley has its own lect , and some are not intelligible even with each other. Hence, Austrian Tyrolean Southern Bavarian is a separate language.

In Innsbruck, the main city in the Tyrolean Bavarian region, speakers have a hard time understanding many of the Tyrolean Bavarian lects spoken in many of the surrounding valleys.

There are several main divisions in this language, including Tirol Highlands (Tiroler Oberländisch), Central Tirol (Zentral Tirolerisch), Tirol Lowlands (Tiroler Unterländisch) and East Tirol (Osttirolerisch). Smaller dialects include Innsbruck, Galtür, West Steeg, West Stuben, West Ischgl, West Lech, West Warth, West St. Anton/Tirol, Imst and Zillertal. Zillertal is spoken in the Zillertal Valley.

Samnaun is an isolated dialect of this language spoken in the Samnaun region of the Lower Engadine Valley on the border of Austria and Switzerland. It is also spoken in the town of Samnaun in Switzerland, making it the only Bavarian lect spoken in that country. It is said to be very different from the rest of Southern Bavarian, possibly due to its heavy Romansch influence. The Samnaun area was Puter Romansch speaking all the way up into the 1800’s. Intelligibility between Samnaun and the rest of Austrian Tyrolean Bavarian is not known.

Zillertal Tyrolean Southern Bavarian is not intelligible with Kitzbuhele spoken to the northwest, therefore, it is a separate language. Zillertal is transitional with Salzburg Central Bavarian to the east.

Kitzbuhele Tyrolean Southern Bavarian has poor intelligibility with Zillertal, therefore, it is a separate language. Kitzbuhele has probably even more Salzburg Central Bavarian influence than Zillertal. Kitzbuhele is spoken in the Kitzbuhele Mountains on the eastern border of Tirol Province.

Ötztal Tyrolean Southern Bavarian is one of the most ancient and divergent lects in Austrian Tyrolean Southern Bavarian. It has about 8-15,000 speakers. It was recently awarded a UNESCO cultural heritage award as a unique cultural heritage. There is no one Ötztal lect, but there are separate dialects in every little village, and they often vary dramatically.

It is spoken in the Ötztal Valley in Austria is understood at least into the Upper Inn Valley in Austria and over the border in Italy to the Schnals region northwest of Merano. Ötztal appears to be secure for the next few generations anyway and is the common means of communication among people of all ages. Since Ötztal is not understood outside the region, it must be a separate language.

Lower Inn Valley Tyrolean Southern Bavarian is not intelligible with Lechtal Tyrolean Southern Bavarian spoken just to the northwest. This language is spoken in the lower valley of the Inn River west of Innsbruck. Therefore, it is a separate language.

Lechtal Tyrolean Southern Bavarian has poor intelligibility with Lower Inn Valley Tyrolean Southern Bavarian spoken just to the southeast. This language is spoken in the Lechtaler Mountains west of Innsbruck. Towns in the region include Steeg, Bach, Elbigenalp, Elmen, Stanzach, Weissbach and Reutte. This language is on the border between the Alemannic and Bavarian language groups, and it also has an Allgauish flavor.

Pitztal Tyrolean Southern Bavarian is spoken in the Pitztal Mountains west of Innsbruck. Towns in this region include Arzl and St. Leonhard. Pitztal is very different from Ötztal Austrian Tyrolean Southern Bavarian and communication between the two lects is difficult. Therefore, Pitztal is a separate language.

West Tyrolean Galtür was Swiss German speaking until 1900, and today its dialect is more Alemannic than other Tyrolean lects. The West Tyrolean areas of West Steeg, West Stuben, West Ischgl, West Lech, West Warth and West St. Anton/Tirol, all along the border of West Tyrol and Vorarlberg, were originally Highest Alemannic Walser settlements like Vorarlberg. All of West Tyrol was Swabian-Bavarian speaking until the Middle Ages.

Onto this Swabian base came influence from the Walser and Swiss German villages described above, and all of this on top of an earlier Romansch base, as the whole region was also Romansch-speaking. All of these have receded, leaving only Tyrolean Bavarian, but these are the substantial inputs into Western Tyrolean Bavarian.

Western Styrian or Western Styrian Southern Bavarian, (Steirisch) is said to be unintelligible outside of the region, and hence must be a separate language. Another lect spoken in Styria, this one in the southern part, is South Styrian. Intelligibility data is not available.

Speakers of Central Austrian spoken on the Austrian flats cannot understand Carinthian Southern Bavarian (Kärntnerisch) either, so it looks like a separate language too. There are three principal dialects of Carinthian, Upper Carinthian (Oberkärntnerisch), Middle Carinthian (Mittelkärntnerisch) and Lower Carinthian (Unterkärntnerisch). Intelligibility data is lacking. Carinthian has heavy Slavic influence due to its proximity to Slovenia.

There are also speakers of Carinthian Southern Bavarian in the Canale Valley/Val Canale area of Udine in Italy. This area used to be part of Austria but it changed hands after WW2 and most of the German speakers moved to Austria. Now about 80% of the population speaks Italian and Friuli and 20% speak Carinthian. This appears to be the same language in Italy and Austria. In Carinthia, there are at least 10 separate dialects of this language.

Intelligibility testing is needed between Tyrolean Southern Bavarian and Carinthian Southern Bavarian.

Gottschee Southern Bavarian (Göttscheabarisch or Gottscheerisch) is an outlying Bavarian language spoken by people called the Gottscheers in Kocevje, Slovenia. They apparently originally came to the region in the 1300’s from the Carinthian/Tyrolean border area. It is heavily influenced by the Slovene Carniolan dialects.

It is closely related to the lects of other outlying German colonies in the area, including Zahre (Sauris in Italian), Tischelwang (Paluzza-Timau in Italian) and Pladen (Sappada in Italian) in Northern Italy. The Italian settlements were settled around 1420.

Pladen/Sappada is in the eastern Upper Italian province of Belluno at the far end of the Piave Valley, to the south of the Carnic Alps. These people originally came from the East Tyrolean Pustertal Valley in Austria in the vicinity of Sillian-Heimfels near the towns of Villgraten, Tilliach, Kartitsch, Abfaltersbach and Maria Luggau. Pladen Southern Bavarian is spoken here by about 1,000 of the 1,500 residents, but many also speak Friulian (Maurer-Lausegger 2007).

Southern Bavarian is spoken in Zahre and based on an old East Tyrolean language from the Lesach Valley, which they left in 1280. Zahre is very similar to Pladen, but has more influence from the Romance family, particularly Italian (Maurer-Lausegger 2007). However, Zahre has been isolated from Pladen for 700 years (Denison 1971). This time period is so long that the two lects are probably no longer mutually intelligible.

Zahre is still very much alive and spoken in the town, but it is being displaced by Friulian among young adults and by Italian among children. The Zahre lect was pronounced nearly extinct in 1849 and again in 1897 by visitors.

In Timau, Tischelwang Southern Bavarian is spoken in the But valley, on a tributary of the Tagliamento River on the southern slopes of the Plöcken Pass in the Carnic Alps in the province of Udine. This is actually a Carinthian lect that is probably not intelligible with the Pladen and Zahre lects, though intelligibility data is needed (Maurer-Lausegger 2007).

Therefore, Tischelwang Southern Bavarian is in all probability a separate language. Pladen and Zahre are probably no longer intelligible with lects in Austria, considering they have been isolated from their Austrian parents for 700 years, hence they are probably separate languages. Pladen and Zahre have been isolated from each other for 700 years since the migration, hence they are probably two separate languages, Pladen Southern Bavarian and Zahre Southern Bavarian.

Tischelwang has been heavily influenced by the Friulian language.

Gottscheerisch has maintained many of the features of the Medieval Bavarian languages and it is said to be the oldest living Bavarian language. Speakers were ethnically cleansed after WW2, and now they are scattered about the world. There are about 3,000 native speakers left in the world, many of them living in Ridgewood, New York, where speakers still maintain the language. All remaining speakers are elderly.

It does not appear to be intelligible with the rest of Bavarian or with other German languages and is therefore a separate language.

In Italy, Italian Southern Bavarian encompasses three different lects that differ dramatically from one another. It is spoken in Belluno, Trento and Udine (Maurer-Lausegger 2007).

The Fersina Valley/Valle del Fersina is in Eastern Upper Italy, to the north of Pergine (Persen) near the capital of Trento in the province of Trentino. There are many Bavarian speakers here. They originally came from various valleys in North and South Tyrol. They speak an old mixed Tyrolean vernacular from the 1200’s with a lot of unique developments.

In addition, in the Fersina Valley, every village has its own subdialect. Fersina Valley Southern Bavarian is probably a separate language and is probably not intelligible with other Bavarian lects (Maurer-Lausegger 2007).

In this area, everyone speaks Italian too. This variety of Bavarian has heavy Italian influence.

There is also a South Tyrol Standard Southern Bavarian (Südtirolerisch) that is beginning to emerge in this part of Italy so the three dialects can talk to each other (Maurer-Lausegger 2007). Although intelligibility data between this koine and the rest of Southern Bavarian is not known, it does appear to be a separate language, as most koines are.

One Tyrolean lect spoken in this area is called Eisacktalerisch. It is spoken in the Eisack Valley of South Tyrol and is about halfway between the Innsbruck dialect and the lect spoken in Bolzano. Intelligibility data is not known.

Since the three dialects of Southern Bavarian in Italy cannot understand each other, we may as well split them off.

Udine Southern Bavarian is spoken in the province of Udine in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is not intelligible with the varieties of Southern Bavarian spoken in Trentino or Belluno.

Belluno Southern Bavarian is a Bavarian language spoken in the province of Belluno in the Veneto region of Italy. It is not intelligible with either Trento Southern Bavarian or Udine Southern Bavarian. One dialect of Belluno is called Puschterisch and is spoken in the area of Brunico only 15 miles south of East Tirol. Intelligibility with the rest of Belluno is not known.

Trento Southern Bavarian is spoken in the province of Trento in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region of Italy. It is not intelligible with Belluno Southern Bavarian or Udine Southern Bavarian.

Hianzen Southern Bavarian (Hianzisch) is spoken in southern Burgenland, Austria, along the Hungarian border, particularly around the town of Güssing. It seems to have poor intelligibility even with other nearby forms of Southern Bavarian.

Cimbrian is a Bavarian macrolanguage spoken in northeastern Italy. It is not intelligible with Standard German or with other Bavarian languages. It has 2,230 speakers. Cimbrian is actually three separate languages.

Lusernese (Lusern) Cimbrian is a separate Cimbrian language not intelligible with other types of Cimbrian. It is spoken in the province of Trento, Italy, where it has 500 speakers in Trentino Alto Adige 40 km southeast of the city of Trento.

Tredici Communi (Dreizehn Gemeinden) Cimbrian (Tauch) is a separate Cimbrian language not intelligible with other types of Cimbrian. It has 230 speakers near Verona, Italy, where it is currently spoken only the village of Giazza-Ljetzan.

Sette Comuni (Sieben Gemeinden) Cimbrian is a separate Cimbrian language not intelligible with other types of Cimbrian. It is spoken near Asiago, Italy, where it is currently spoken only the village of Roana-Robaan. It has 1,500 speakers.

Mocheno is a Bavarian language spoken in Alto Adige-Südtirol, Italy. It is not intelligible with Standard German or with other Bavarian languages. It has 3,500 speakers.

Hutterite German is a Bavarian language spoken in Canada and the US. Intelligibility: 70% intelligible with Pennsylvania German, a Palatine language, but only 50% intelligible with the Low German Plautdietsch and Standard German. Hutterite is derived from a Carinthian Bavarian lect.

Yiddish is a language spoken by European Jews that has heavy Hebrew influence on a Germanic background. It branched off from Medieval Middle German (mostly Rhenish languages) and was influenced by modern German in the 1800’s and 1900’s. It is not a dialect of German as commonly thought, but is instead a full language. It contains two languages, Western Yiddish and Eastern Yiddish.

Eastern Yiddish is spoken in Israel by 215,000 speakers and by 3,142,560 Jewish speakers worldwide. It has poor intelligibility with Western Yiddish. Eastern Yiddish originated east of the Oder River through Poland, in an area moving into Belarus, Russia (to Smolensk), Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and Palestine before 1917 (in Jerusalem and Safed).

There are three dialects: Southeastern, Mideastern and Northeastern. Dialects are apparently intelligible. Southeastern is spoken in Ukraine and Romania, Mideastern is spoken in Poland and Hungary and Northeastern is spoken in Lithuania and Belarus. Eastern Yiddish is not intelligible with Standard German or any other form of German.

Linguist Paul Wexler argues that Eastern Yiddish is a version of West Yiddish creolized over a Kiev-Polessian Slavic lect. Hence, it is a Germano-Slavic creole.

Western Yiddish is a language spoken in Germany by 49,210 Jewish speakers. There are also speakers in Belgium, France, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland. There are three dialects: Southwestern , Midwestern and Northwestern .

Southwestern is spoken in southern Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace (France). Midwestern is spoken in central Germany and parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Northwestern is spoken in northern Germany and the Netherlands. West Yiddish has poor intelligibility with East Yiddish. Western Yiddish is not intelligible with Standard German or any other form of German.

Linguist Paul Wexler has argued that Western Yiddish is a Germano-Sorbian creole.

Crimean German is an extremely divergent lect of German that must be a separate language. There are probably few speakers of this language left. It is poorly known.

Baltic German (Baltendeutsch) is another extremely divergent lect of German that in all probability is a separate language. They were ethnically cleansed by the Soviets in 1939. This language was formerly spoken by German colonies in the Baltic states. Most of them left for Germany after World War 2. About 10% of the words are unique to Baltic German. The last remaining speakers are mostly over age 45, and it is not being taught to children. There are about 300-400 of them left in Canada, but the youngest of them are age 45. They grew up speaking the language.

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