Principles of Operation (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REQUEST FORM, Erzgebirgisch)

Debbie Garside debbie at
Mon Jan 28 15:13:36 CET 2008


Herewith a copy of an email from Paul Joyce, Head of the School of Languages
at the University of Portsmouth.

I hope this sheds a little more light into the matter of Erzgebirgisch



Dear Debbie,

Thanks for your e-mail. I'm bogged down with exam marking at the moment, but
here are my brief thoughts on your question.

The major expert on Erzgebirgisch would be Gunter Bergmann. He first wrote
on "Das Vorerzgebirgische" in 1965 and included a section on Erzgebirgisch
(in English!) in his article "Upper Saxon" in Charles V.J. Russ's book "The
Dialects of Modern German" (London: Routledge, 1990), pp. 290-312. This very
readable article would be the ideal place to start.

Bergmann classes Erzgebirgisch very clearly as a subdialect of Upper Saxon
(Obersächsisch) and subdivides it further into:
- pre-Erzgebirgisch (Vorerzgebirgisch), which has its centre in Chemnitz
- West Erzgebirgisch (Westerzgebirgisch), which is by far the largest
Erzgebirgisch region, spreading eastwards via Aue as far as Marienberg
- western East Erzgebirgisch
- eastern East Erzgebirgisch

Both West Erzgebirgisch and Vogtländisch (the dialect region that borders
West Erzgebirgisch to the west) are strongly influenced by East Franconian,
a dialect region whose exact extent has always been a subject of some
debate. The Linguasphere Register (Zone 52-ACB-dj) certainly used to
describe Erzgebirgisch as a whole as an East Franconian dialect, which
Bergmann would dispute. After all, both pre-Erzgebirgisch and the East
Erzgebirgisch dialects betray a far stronger influence from Central German
Meißnisch. And both Vogtländisch and West Erzgebirgisch are connected with
Meißnisch by a transitional zone which has produced its own intermediate

Equally, Antony R. Rowley's essay on "East Franconian" in Russ's
aforementioned "The Dialects of Modern Germany" (pp. 394-416) places the
eastern boundary of East Franconian in the middle of the traditional
Vogtländisch dialect area, but this boundary is still clearly to the west of
the western border of Erzgebirgisch. Thus Rowley, like Bergmann, doesn't
perceive Erzgebirgisch to be an East Franconian dialect (whereas
Vogtländisch remains more of a headache to place...)

Finally, West Erzgebirgisch's dialect boundary with North Bavarian
(Nordbairisch) means that there is a lexical influence from Bairisch on West
Erzgebirgisch dialects. But again however, Antony R. Rowley sees the
northern border of North Bavarian as being positioned to the south of

If you want to contact Gunter Bergmann, you might try the Lehmstedt Verlag
publishing house <info at>, for whom Bergmann wrote the book
"Wie's kommt, werd's gefressen. Sächsische Sprichwörter und Redensarten" in

Hope this helps!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of
> Debbie Garside
> Sent: 28 January 2008 11:17
> To: 'Randy Presuhn'; ietf-languages at
> Subject: RE: Principles of Operation (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG
> REQUEST FORM,Erzgebirgisch)
> I have received some good information wrt Erzgebirgisch from
> a University expert.  I will post here as soon as he gives me
> the OK to quote him.
> best
> Debbie
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> > [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Randy
> > Presuhn
> > Sent: 27 January 2008 07:21
> > To: ietf-languages at
> > Subject: Re: Principles of Operation (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REQUEST
> > FORM,Erzgebirgisch)
> >
> > Hi -
> >
> > Have any linguists who actually speak German or any of the modern
> > dialetcs argued for putting Erzgebirgisch under sxu?
> >
> > I poked around a bit, and haven't found anything that would seem at
> > all persuasive for putting it under sxu.  On the contrary,
> there seems
> > to be a clear pattern of looking at Erzgebirgisch as distinct from
> > sxu, though sxu has had an influnce, rather than having a direct
> > genetic relationship.
> > (Wellentheorie rather than Stammbaumtheorie for you old
> > linguists.)
> >
> > Though not exactly a scholarly resource, the web page at
> >
> > seems pretty clear that the speakers do not consider their
> tongue to
> > be a variety of Upper Saxon:
> >
> > "Kennzeichnend für die westerzgebirgische Mundart ist ein
> > ostfränkischer Einfluss, aber auch viele eigenständige Wörter.
> > Im Osterzgebirge ist dagegen ein Übergang zum
> Obersächsischen hörbar."
> > Roughly: (A east franconian influence characterizes the western
> > Erzgebirgisch dialect.  In contrast, in the eastern Erzgebirge a
> > transition to upper saxon is audible.)
> >
> > Likewise the  Wikipedia source
> > says:
> > "Aufgrund der hohen Mobilität der Bevölkerung und des damit
> > verbundenen starken Kontakts zum Obersächsischen, der großen
> > Abwanderungsrate und nicht zuletzt auch aufgrund seiner geringen
> > Verständlichkeit gegenüber anderen Dialekten verringert sich die
> > Sprecherzahl immer mehr."  Roughly:
> > (Due to the high mobility of the populace and the consequent heavy
> > contact with upper saxon, the high rate of emigration, and its low
> > intelligibility in comparison to other dialects, the number of
> > speakers is still decreasing.)
> >
> > Likewise
> >
> > treats Erzgebirgisch as distinct from any kind of Sächsisch.
> >
> > >From this little bit of research, it looks to me like the
> > case for using sxu as the prefix here is pretty weak.
> >
> > Randy
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >
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