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GERMANY: Dialects in Saxony and Bavaria



We have two reports on German accents. Cameron Sawyer says: "I don t know about Saxony, but in Bavaria the practiced ear can hear differences in dialect almost from village to village. Concerning Leiptsch, it is very interesting that in the eastern parts of Germany, some dialect modulations start to sound Slavic. In East Bavaria, the word for milk Milch is pronounced Molk , very like the Slavic Moloko . Leiptsch sounds like ---sk , a common ending for Slavic place names Lepitsk , or Kursk , for example. The Germanic languages are pretty far from the Slavic languages in the great family of European languages, I wonder if any WAIS linguist can explain this phenomenon? This effect should not be confused with the profusion of Slavic place names in Brandenburg. There was a well-developed Slavic civilization here before the Germans came".

Christopher Jones says: "I have consulted an expert: my wife who is from Thuringia and studied in Leipzig. It appears there is NO real difference between Leipziger Sächsisch and Dresdner Sächsisch. This thick accent extends into east Thuringia around Gera and becomes milder, evolving into Thüringisch near Jena and Weimar which sounds a little more like Schwäbisch. A Saxon who should interest WAIS was none other than Felix Graf von Luckner, the Seeteufel. As the Kaiser's privateer, he commanded the Seeadler, a bark outfitted as the Kaiser's privateer which preyed on Allied shipping in WWI. He was very proud that he killed nobody and even saved the ship's cat. A monarchist, he was very anti Nazi and was hauled before court of honor by Hitler; he later escaped to Sweden. He has survived German collective amnesia (and no interest in history) as the man who could tear a telephone book in two with his bare hands. Leipzig has the reputation for the best living in the east and has been beautifully restored. Saxony is a curiosity in Germany: the people are often said to be "shifty" and truly obsessed with kafe und kuchen. As a matter of fact, it is said that anybody can learn Sächsisch: translated -- just push your jaw forward and spoon it out".

Ronald Hilton - 1/4/03


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