Principles of Operation (was LANGUAGE SUBTAG REQUEST FORM Erzgebirgisch)

Thomas Goldammer thogol at
Fri Jan 25 01:45:25 CET 2008

Dear all,

the en-Wikipedia article might be not so a good source, because it's a
translation of my de-Wikipedia article. ;) But I used sources there
that say that Erzgebirgisch is a form of Fränkisch. Historically it
fits, because the Ore Mountains (=Erzgebirge) was settled by Fränkisch
settlers in the 11th/12th century who drove out (or assimilated) the
Slavic people who lived there before. This is known through historical
documents. There were also some Bavarian settlers from the south, who
came a little later and merged, and maybe influenced some varieties of
the dialect.

I can give you a detailed linguistic analysis why I'm convinced that
Erzgebirgisch's closest relative is Eastern Fränkisch, but that would
need time and space. (But if you want...) I may first give you an
example that I found in a language guide for Fränkisch. They have a
sentence translated in various Fränkisch varieties. Let me give you
two of these examples and the other dialects in question:
Fränkisch around the town of Ludwigsstadt: "Iich wolld er half dråa"
Fränkisch around the town of Hof: "Ich wolld ier droong helfn"
Bavarian: "Ii wuit a droong häifa"
Erzgebirgisch: "Iich wulld er droong halfn"
Upper Saxon: "Isch wollde ihr traachn helfn"
Standard German "Ich wollte ihr tragen helfen"
English: "I wanted to help her carry."

The following is original research, I can't cite it, since after
Borchers 1929 nobody really did linguistic research in that dialect,
and Borchers mostly dealt with the Upper Harz variety of Erzg.
There are nearly no features in common with Upper Saxon, but plenty
with Fränkisch (and Bavarian). Some examples:

*A characteristic of Erzg. is the retention of the different
pronounciation of the palatal and postalveolar fricatives, these two
sounds were merged nearly throughout Middle German (except for
Standard German only), but not merged throughout Upper German.
*The stop system looks just as the Fränkisch one, only one
(non-aspirated) series of stops throughout, and a very marginal second
(aspirated) series, only for velar stops, thus /p t k kʰ/. Upper Saxon
has /p t k/ only, Standard German has /pʰ tʰ kʰ b d g/, Bavarian has
/pp p tt t kk k/.
*The fusion of voiced (or unaspirated) stops + syllabic nasal to a
nasal on the place of articulation of the former stop consonant (thus
gn --> velar nasal, bn --> m) is known in Fränkisch, Bavarian,
Erzgebirgisch, but not in Standard German nor in Upper Saxon. (cf the
example above, Standard German "tragen" vs. Erzgeb. "droong"; NB:
written "d" is pronounced [t] actually).
*The emphasis/focus particle "fei" is used in Fränkisch and Bavarian,
and Erzgebirgisch. It doesn't seem to be a loan since it is attested
in the earliest texts.
*The negation "net"/"nit" is used in Western Erzgebirgisch, as well as
in Fränkisch (and Bavarian) (mostly replaced by Upper Saxon "ni"
(Meissnerisch)/"nisch" (Osterländisch) in Eastern Erzgebirgisch).
*The pronoun "iich" (1.SG), with a long vowel, is used in
Erzgebirgisch and many Fränkisch varieties (not in those adjacent to
Erzgebirgisch!), Bavarian and Fränkisch varieties adjecent to it have
"ii" (dropped the fricative but have the long vowel), but you never
find a long vowel in that pronoun in Upper Saxon or Standard German.
*And so on... I don't want to go into further details, I hope to make
a funded linguistic research on this later, but I'm busy with my PhD
project in the next years.

About Ethnologue. Yes, the classification of all the German dialects
needs some maintainance work. Certain things in that section go wrong.
Dialects are missing, others are classified wrongly (as you can see
well in the Erzgebirgisch examples where Ethnologue is a little bit
ambigous even).

Best regards,

2008/1/24, CE Whitehead <cewcathar at>:
> Hi, all,
> I agree with Kent too; ethnologue is not gospel.
> And am sure you probably all remember that T. Goldammer said in a previous
> email that he did not like the prefix sxu in any case (because there are two
> dialects which perhaps are differentially comprehensible to speakers of sxu
> ??  or because the classification of Middle German languages needs work ?
> )
> (It's Franconian according to Wikipedia; see:
> ; but Goldammer
> sees it as Upper German ?? together with Alemannic)
> I'd like to hear what T. Goldammer says about all this, of course, but he's
> waiting this out, I guess.
> Thanks very much, in any case.
> --C. E. Whitehead
> cewcathar at

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