21 thoughts on “Language quiz

  1. Austrian or Swiss German or somewhere around that area? At least it’s not Old English. Sounds like he’s talking about a suitcase (Koffer).

  2. Sounds like an Upper Alemannic/Swiss German dialect to me, especially with the rising declarative intonation, undiphthongised /i:/ in zwii (= standard High German zwei), long open /O:/ for SHG/a:/ including the vowel in in staat ‘stands’ (= SHG in steht), alveolar /r/, always uvular /X/ (here before /ø/ where standard High German would have [ç]), fortis, sometimes geminate final stops, unvoiced lenis stops that are generally voiced in SHG as well as initial voiceless stops that are unaspirated unlike in SHG, the otherwise unusual /æ/, and historical apheresis of unstressed initial syllable vowels leading to clusters you don’t find in SHG.

    As for which canton or region, no idea.

  3. I had it as southern with the /kx/, and according to my wife it’s too light-sounding to be Bavarian/Austrian, so I’ll say Alemannic, possibly Swiss. For fun: Liechtenstein?

  4. Definitely a German relation. Swabian? I don’t think it’s Bavarian either.

  5. My SO, who has studied German, says it’s definitely German dialect but can’t name which one. All I can say is it sounds like something Germanic so I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

  6. The answer is Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch), which is spoken mainly in Switzerland, and this recording comes from Reussbühl, in the Kanton of Luzern in Central Switzerland.

  7. Simon,
    Can you tell us where this recording itself comes from? I would be interested to know what the translation is.

  8. Matthias – the recording comes from the dialekt.ch. The piece is called “Vor em Altersheim / Illusion” by Adolf Winiger. Unfortunately I can’t find a translation.

  9. The title means “In front of the senior residence” and it seems to be about an elderly man moving in, “pale, with two suitcases”. He has no eyes for “the marble….juicy green lawn…” of his new home but is thinking back to what he’s left.
    The author seems to be of only local importance, since his name is not known by google.

  10. Funny, I thought it might be Faroese, because it sounded to me like a Germanic language spoken in a Scottish dialect. I’m sure that doesn’t make sense, but go figure %^)

  11. Has a hint of German and it seems a hint of Dutch. I’ll say maybe a Frisian dialect.

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