Ethnologue: Areas: Europe

Germany

80,000,000, including 5,241,801 without German citizenship (1990 official figures). Federal Republic of Germany, Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Literacy rate 99%. Also includes Adyghe 2,000 (1985), Albanian 25,000, Moroccan Arabic 44,200 (1984 Time); Tunisian Arabic 26,000; Dutch 101,000, English 86,000, Western Farsi 90,000, Greek 314,000, Hindi 24,500 (1984 Time), Italian 548,000, Japanese 20,000, Korean 14,000, Kurmanji 480,000, Latvian 8,000, Plautdietsch 5,000, Polish 241,000, Portuguese 78,000, Russian 360,000, Serbo-Croatian 652,000, Spanish 134,000, Tamil 35,000, Turkish 1,552,300 (1984 Time), Turkmen, Turoyo 20,000, Urdu 23,000, Uyghur, Vietnamese 60,000, Chinese 40,000, from Afghanistan 29,000, possibly Northern Uzbek. Christian, secular, Muslim. Blind population 82,000 in western Germany, including 51,000 blind, 31,000 severely visually handicapped (1989 SB). Deaf population 50,000 (1986 Gallaudet University). Deaf institutions: 141. The number of languages listed for Germany is 22. Of those, 21 are living languages and 1 is extinct.

ALLEMANNISCH (ALEMANNISCH, ALLEMANNIC, ALEMANNIC, SCHWYZERDÜTSCH, ALSATIAN) [GSW] (300,000 in Austria; 1991 Annemarie Schmid; 4,225,000 in Switzerland; 1986). Southwestern. Also in Alsace, France. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Approximately 40% inherent intelligibility with Standard German. Speakers are bilingual in Standard German. Called 'Schwyzerdütsch' in Switzerland, 'Alsatian' in southeastern France. Similar to Swabian. Differs from most other German varieties in not having undergone the second lautverschiebung, or vowel shift. NT 1984. Bible portions 1936-1986.

BAVARIAN (BAYRISCH, BAVARIAN AUSTRIAN) [BAR] North Bavarian is north of Regensburg, to Nuremburg and Western Bohemia, Czech Republic; Central Bavarian is in the Alps and Lower Austria and Salzburg; South Bavarian is in the Bavarian Alps, Tyrol, Styria, including the Heanzian dialect of Burgenland, Carinthia, northern Italy, and part of Gottschee in Slovenia. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Dialects: CENTRAL BAVARIAN, NORTH BAVARIAN, SOUTH BAVARIAN. Survey needed.

DANISH (DÄNISCH, DANSK) [DNS] 50,000 in Germany (1976 Stephens); 5,292,000 in all countries. South Schleswig. Also in Denmark, Greenland, USA, Canada. Indo-European, Germanic, North, East Scandinavian. There are Danish schools. Jutish (Jysk) may be a separate language. Bible 1550, in press (1993). NT 1524-1989. Bible portions 1528-1987.

FRANKISH (FRÄNKISCH, FRANCIC) [FRK] Also in parts of Belgium and France. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Different from Mainfränkisch and Rheinfränkisch, present day German varieties. Luxembourgeois is reported to be a dialect. Bible portions 758-1827. Survey needed.

FRISIAN, EASTERN (OSTFRIESISCH) [FRS] 11,000 (1976 Stephens), mainly the older generation; language of the home for 1,500 to 2,000 (1977 SIL). Schleswig-Holstein, Ostfriesland, the area around the towns of Emden and Oldenburg in Lower Saxony, and Saterland, Jeverland, and Butjadingen. Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, Frisian. Not intelligible with Western Frisian of the Netherlands or Northern Frisian (E. Matteson SIL 1978). 77% lexical similarity with Standard German, 74% with Western Frisian. Survey needed.

FRISIAN, NORTHERN (NORDFRIESISCH) [FRR] 10,000 speakers out of 60,000 population (1976 Stephens); language of the home for 10,000 (1977 SIL). Schleswig-Holstein, on the coastal strip between the rivers Eider in the south and Wiedau in the north, and adjacent islands of Föhr, Amrum, Sylt, Norstrand, Pellworm, the ten islands of the Halligen group, and Helgoland. Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, Frisian. Dialects: MOORINGER (MOORINGA, MAINLAND FRISIAN), FERRING (FOHR-AMRUM), SALRENG (SYLT), HELGOLAND. Not intelligible with Eastern Frisian of Germany or Western Frisian of the Netherlands. Speakers are multilingual in Standard and Low German and often in English, but fluency is limited. Education is in Standard German only. Business and church services in German. Few read Frisian. There is ethnic pride, efforts to revive Frisian literature and bilingual education. The Salreng dialect is nearly extinct. Ferring is actively used. Not intelligible to any except a few educated speakers of West Frisian. They have to converse with those on the mainland in the Low Saxon dialect of German. Mooringer has 70% lexical similarity with Standard German, 55% with English, 66% with Eastern Frisian; Föhr has 69% with Standard German, 62% with English, 68% with Western Frisian, 73% with Eastern Frisian, 86% with Mooringer, 91% with Amrum; Sylt has 64% with Standard German, 61% with English, 79% with Mooringer, 85% with Föhr. Grammar. Bible portions 1954. Survey needed.

GERMAN SIGN LANGUAGE (DEUTSCHE GEBÄRDENSPRACHE, DGS) [GSG] (50,000 deaf persons; 22,000 members of German Deaf Association; 1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Western Germany. Deaf sign language. Many regional lexical variations, but dialects are easily inherently intelligible. Some similarity to French and other European sign languages. Relation to sign languages of eastern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is not known. More than one sign language used in eastern Germany. Survey needed.

GERMAN, LOW (PLATTDEUTSCH) [GEP] Northern Germany. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low. Dialects: EAST LOW GERMAN (ALTMARK, BRANDENBURG, MECKLENBURG, POMERANIA, PRIEGNITZ, UKERMARK), LOW FRANCONIAN (BERGISH, GELDERSCH, LIMBURGISCH). 20 to 30 inherently unintelligible varieties spoken in Germany alone. Low German refers to varieties in the lower Rhine region, below a line from Aachen to Wittenberg, which did not experience the second consonantal shift of the 8th and 9th centuries (J. Thiessen, U. of Winnipeg 1976). Most speakers in Germany are bilingual in Standard German. Bible 1478-1534. NT 1984. Bible portions 1475-1926.

GERMAN, STANDARD (DEUTSCH, HOCHDEUTSCH, HIGH GERMAN) [GER] 75,300,000 in Germany (1990); 7,500,000 in Austria; 30,000 in Liechtenstein; 150,000 in Belgium; 896,000 in Russia; 958,000 in Kazakhstan; 101,057 in Kyrghyzstan; 500,000 in Romania; 250,000 in Hungary; 200,000 in Czech Republic; 1,400,000 in Poland; 20,000 in Slovenia; 1,500,000 in Brazil; 400,000 in Argentina; 28,000 in Uruguay; 45,000 in South Africa; 35,000 in Chile; 32,000 in Ecuador; 6,093,054 in USA (1970 census); 135,000 in Australia; 20,000 in Namibia (1993); 1,453 in Puerto Rico; 7,000 in Moldova; 1,300 in United Arab Emirates; 40,000 in Uzbekistan; 98,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA); 121,000,000 including second language speakers and Low German (1995 WA). Also in Finland, France, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Yugoslavia (in Vojvodina). Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Major German dialect areas are Bavarian, Schwäbisch, Allemannisch, Mainfränkisch, Hessisch, Palatinian, Rheinfränkisch, Westfälisch, Saxonian, Thuringian, Brandenburgisch, and Low German. Many varieties are not inherently intelligible with each other. Our present treatment in this edition is incomplete. Standard German is one Upper German variety. Upper German refers to dialects and languages in the upper Rhine region. 60% lexical similarity with English, 29% with French. Dictionary. National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1466-1982. NT 1522-1983. Bible portions 1522-1987.

LUXEMBOURGEOIS (LUXEMBURGIAN, LETZBURGISCH, LËTZBURGESCH, MOSELLE FRANCONIAN) [LUX] (335,518 in other countries). Bitburg area in western Germany. Also in Belgium, France, USA, mainly Luxembourg. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Work in progress.

MAINFRÄNKISCH (FRANCONIAN) [VMF] Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Approximately 40% inherently intelligible with Standard German. Speakers are bilingual in German.

POLABIAN [POX] North of the Wend language area. Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic. Extinct.

POLISH (POLSKY, POLNISCH) [PQL] 241,000 in Germany; 44,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic. Christian. Bible 1561-1965. NT 1553-1991. Bible portions 1522-1984.

ROMANI, BALKAN [RMN] 3,500 in Germany including 2,000 Arlija and 1,500 Dzambazi; 1,000,000 in all countries (1980 UBS). Also Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, France, Italy, Iran, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Balkan. Dialects: ARLIJA (ERLI), DZAMBAZI. The Arlija dialect is understood by Dzambazi speakers. A Gypsy language. Muslim. Bible portions 1912-1937. Work in progress.

ROMANI, SINTE (ROMMANES, ZIGUENER, SINTÍ, SINTE) [RMO] 30,500 in Germany (1990 D. Holzinger); 200,000 in all countries (1980 Kenrick). Hamburg and colonies in the south. Also Italy, France, Austria, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Northern. Dialects: GADSCHKENE, ESTRACHARIA, KRANTIKI, KRANARIA, EFTAWAGARIA, PRAISTIKI. The Gadschkene are those whose ancestors came from north Germany. All dialects in Germany are inherently intelligible, but possibly not with Yugoslavian dialects. Not intelligible with Vlach Romani. Most use Sinte. Semi-nomadic. A Gypsy language. Christian. Bible portions 1875-1930. Work in progress.

ROMANI, VLACH [RMY] 5,000 to 6,500 in Germany including 2,500 Lovari, 2,500 to 4,000 Kalderash; 1,500,000 in all countries (1986 estimate). Also in Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, England, France, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Greece, Albania, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, USA. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Vlax. Dialects: LOVARI, KALDERASH. A Gypsy language. Christian. NT 1984-1995. Bible portions 1930-1986.

SAXON, LOW (NEDDERSASSISCH, NIEDERSAECHSISCH, NEDERSAKSISCH) [SXN] An estimated 10,000,000 understand it in Germany, but much few are native speakers (1996 R. F. Hahn); 1,500,000 speakers in the Netherlands (1996 R. F. Hahn). Northern Germany. The dialects listed are northwest, southwest, south central, northeast, and southeast, respectively. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low. Dialects: NORTHERN LOW SAXON, WESTPHALIAN (WESTFAELISCH, WESTFÄLISCH), EASTPHALIAN (OSTFAELISCH, OSTFÄLISCH), MECKLENBURG-ANTERIOR POMERANIA (MECKLENBURGISCH-VORPOMMERSCH), MARK-BRANDENBURG (MAERKISCH-BRANDENBURGISCH, MÄRKISCH-BRANDENBURGISCH). The dialects listed are in Germany. The first three dialects listed are Western Low Saxon, the other two are Eastern Low Saxon. Officially recognized as a regional language in 8 states of Germany and in the northeastern provinces of the Netherlands. Not intelligible to speakers of Standard German. Most speakers in Germany are bilingual in Standard German. A direct descendant of Old Saxon, related to English. Its modern forms have been largely suppressed until recently, and have received much German, Dutch, or Frisian influence, depending on the area. Dictionary. NT 1915.

SORBIAN, LOWER (SORBISCH, SORBIAN, SORABE, WEND, WENDISH, WINDISCH, LUSATIAN, LOWER LUSATIAN, DOLNA LUZICA, SAXON LUSATIAN) [WEE] Nieder Lausitz in eastern Germany. Indo-European, Slavic, West, Sorbian. Bible 1796-1824. NT 1709-1860. Bible portions 1753.

SORBIAN, UPPER (SORBISCH, SORABE, LUSATIAN, WEND, WENDISH, WINDISCH) [WEN] 70,000 in Germany (1976 Stephens). Upper Saxony. Eastern Germany, principal towns Bautzen and Cottbus. Perhaps a few in Texas, USA. Indo-European, Slavic, West, Sorbian. Dialects: EASTERN SORBIAN, LOWER LUSATIAN (DOLNA LUZICA, SAXON LUSATIAN). Nearly all are bilingual in German. Zgusta (1974) says Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian are two standard languages. Use of Sorbian is authorized in local government and schools. There are some monolinguals, mainly the very young (Stephens). Increasing literature production, radio programs. Now accepted as a minority language. Bible 1728-1797. NT 1706-1966. Bible portions 1670-1960.

SWABIAN (SCHWÄBISCH, SUABIAN) [SWG] Southwest. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. More distinct than Bavarian from Standard German. 40% inherently intelligible with Standard German (estimate). Speakers are bilingual in German. Swabian of the Black Forest is different from Swabian in the Alps (H. Kloss 1978). Bible portions.

YENICHE (JENISCH) [YEC] Also in Switzerland, Austria, France. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. A German-Yiddish-Romani-Rotwelsch blend language of certain urban nomadic groups. Not Gypsies. Possibly arose as a result of those who were dispossessed because of the Hanseatic laws (I. Hancock). The first language of some (The Carrier Pidgin 1977). Survey needed.

YIDDISH (JIDDISCH, JUDEO-GERMAN) [YDD] 3,000,000 or more in all countries (1991 J.A. Fishman); 220,000 in former USSR republics; 215,000 in Israel; 1,250,000 in USA (1991 Fishman); 49,890 in Canada (1971 census). Also in Poland, Romania, Israel, USA, all republics of the former USSR, Latin America, Canada, Australia, South Africa. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Spoken by only a handful of German Jews. Jewish. Bible 1821-1936. NT 1821-1950. Bible portions 1544-1939.


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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
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