Alsatian is a West Germanic language spoken mainly in Alsace, a region in northeastern France which has passed between French and German control many times during its history. As a result Alsatian has been influenced a great deal by the French language.
Alsatian belongs to the Alemannic group of the Upper German branch of the West Germanic language family. The name Alemannic comes from the Alamanni, an confederation of Germanic tribes first mentioned by the Romans in 213 AD and conquered by the Franks in 496 AD. Various forms of this name are used for Germany in a number of modern languages, including French (Allemagne), Turkish (Almanya), Portuguese (Alemanha) and Welsh (Yr Almaen).
Alsatian is not easily intelligible to speakers of standard German, but is closely related to other Alemannic languages, such as Swiss German and Swabian.
According to a survey conducted in 1999 by INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), there are 548,000 adult speakers of Alsatian in France, or 43% of the population. There is limited usage Alsatian in the media: one radio station, Radio France Alsace, broadcasts in Alsatian and other radio and TV stations broadcast some programs in the language.
Many speakers write in standard German, although street names, which were formerly only in French, may use local spellings.
Zwelf vun dena elef
sin züe dena zehn gànge
un nien vu dena àrte
hàn züe dene siewene g'sàjt
so sechs wie m'r fenf gets keh vier meh
den m'r drej sin die zwei ansigschte.
Online Alsatian lessons
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Page last modified: 29.08.23
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