Which German dialect is spoken in Karlsruhe

The first linguistic atlas for the southwest shows the diversity of the dialect

Soon every village in Baden-Württemberg will have a different name for the dandelion plant. A few samples: Gackelesbusch, Bettbrunzer, Rossblume, Saustock. Others say goose collar or milk ling. Linguists at the University of Tübingen around Hubert Klausmann counted 19 variants. The researchers visited 57 dialect speakers across the state. The recordings have been sorted by region and are now available on the Internet in the first so-called speaking language atlas for the whole of Baden-Württemberg.

Map:To the interactive language atlas

Clicking through is amusing: the puddle is a "pool of water" in large parts of Baden-Württemberg, but a "sutte" in the Kraichgau. The hiccups are called Hickser, Schluckser, Glukser or Häcker depending on the region. The word Gsälz is widely used for jam, but there are also other variants, for example Guts or Schleck. The researchers also examined grammar. I han, i hau, i heb - all the same, depending on where you ask: I have. The Swabian Dialect Association, which supported the project, is enthusiastic about the result.

200 questions to dialect speakers

The researchers from the Tübingen Language Center in Southwest Germany asked the dialect speakers 200 questions - including on the areas of people, nature, society and agriculture. The talking linguistic atlas Bavaria was the model for the people of Tübingen. According to Klausmann, Bavarians are leaders in dialect atlases in Germany. A scientific linguistic atlas for the north of Baden-Württemberg is currently being developed; the south was explored 30 to 40 years ago. According to Klausmann, the Internet offer is the "best of" and intended for laypeople. "We wanted to give something back to the people."

The project serves the researchers to record the status quo of the spoken dialect and to recognize future changes through a comparison. "There are areas where the dialect is almost lost," says Klausmann. This applies, for example, to commuter cities that used to have 800 inhabitants and now have 10,000, and for villages that have disappeared in large cities such as Stuttgart, Freiburg or Karlsruhe. "Dialect doesn't stand a chance." But it survives best in wine regions, for example, because the winemakers don't sell land, but pass it on to the next generations. The population is stable. But here too: "The local dialect is often only spoken after work, among friends or in the family." Standard language or English must often be used at work.

"Swabian also has a prestige problem, outside of it, but also with the speakers themselves", Linguist Ralf Knöbl

Speaking dialect is considered inferior and rural, says linguist Ralf Knöbl from the Institute for German Language in Mannheim. "Swabian also has a prestige problem, outside of it, but also with the speakers themselves." Nevertheless, the dialect survives relatively well in the German southwest because it is possible to speak a mixture of standard language and Swabian. In contrast, for example, Platt is another language with other words that cannot be mixed with standard language and in which young people no longer see any benefit.

While the south had already been explored, the north of Baden-Württemberg was still uncharted territory for the researchers. Klausmann, who grew up in the Kaiserstuhl with the Alemannic dialect and worked in Bayreuth and Vorarlberg, reports with a laugh about the surprise that "Gaggelich" is called in the Hohenlohe egg. In Würzburg, on the other hand, he heard the phrase "I want to sleep", which is unusual for Baden-Württemberg, for "I want to sleep".