German, High German

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Summary

German ( ) is a West Germanic language. It derives most of its vocabulary from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A number of words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer from French and English. Widely spoken languages which are most similar to German include Luxembourgish, Yiddish, Dutch, the Frisian languages, English and the Scandinavian languages.

Details

High German is divided into Central German, High Franconian (a transitional dialect), and Upper German. Central German dialects include Ripuarian, Moselle Franconian, Rhine Franconian, Central Hessian, East Hessian, North Hessian, Thuringian, Silesian German, Lorraine Franconian, Mittelalemannisch, North Upper Saxon, High Prussian, Lausitzisch-Neumärkisch and Upper Saxon. It is spoken in the southeastern Netherlands, eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France, and parts of Germany roughly between the River Main and the southern edge of the Lowlands. Modern Standard German is mostly based on Central German, although the common (but not linguistically correct) German term for modern Standard German is Hochdeutsch, that is, High German.

The Moselle Franconian varieties spoken in Luxembourg have been officially standardised and institutionalised and are usually considered a separate language known as Luxembourgish.

The two High Franconian dialects are East Franconian and South Franconian.

Upper German dialects include Northern Austro-Bavarian, Central Austro-Bavarian, Southern Austro-Bavarian, Swabian, East Franconian, High Alemannic German, Highest Alemannic German, Alsatian and Low Alemannic German. They are spoken in parts of the Alsace, southern Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and Italy.

Wymysorys is a High German dialect of Poland native to Wilamowice, and Sathmarisch and Siebenbürgisch are High German dialects of Romania. The High German varieties spoken by Ashkenazi Jews (mostly in the former Russian Empire) have several unique features, and are usually considered as a separate language, Yiddish. It is the only Germanic language that does not use the Latin script as the basis of its standard alphabet.

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  • WikipediaThe Goethe Institute

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