German-German dictionary needed?

It is often said that the German language sounds very harsh to non-natives and an invitation to dinner could easily be misinterpreted as a declaration of war. The Germans themselves aren’t really aware of this effect unless they come home after a long stay in France or somewhere. However, when people refer to the German language they often neglect the variety of dialects which divides the country. German isn’t German sometimes and there is more to it than just Bavarian and standard German…

Being from the north of Germany I feel slightly uncomfortable when I talk to Saxons, though it’s hard to put in words what exactly it is that bothers me – this might be the same for them upon hearing my north German accent! The funny thing is, of course, that we don’t really recognize our own dialect until we live among people with another dialect different to our own. Yet even more heart-warming is when you chance across someone with your own dialect when living there – then you hear words that nobody else around you uses and pronunciation that you quickly identify as common linguistic ground.

For all those who would like to find out more about German dialects there is now a great tool to learn and smile about. There is a dialect guide for the whole country and – who would have expected– Bavaria has got its own one. Especially amusing when it comes to speaking with a dialect are non-Germans who learned German in a particular region of the country, like Bavaria, or even more charming to the ear are foreign students who lived in Austria or Switzerland. They know better than anybody else how diverse the German language is. Sometimes it takes them some weeks or months to really grow accustomed to “High German”. To be honest, I don’t understand that much when I speak to some older folks from Bavaria. It’s like the Shanghai dialect and standard Chinese – more or less two different languages in the same country…

What’s with your language? Do you have any dialect cards or guides for your home country? Do you understand your fellow countrymen from regions with a particular dialect? And would you like to? If you come across something similar to these dialect cards for your country please let us know…

For German please check this here:
http://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2008/12/08/die-dialektkarte/
http://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2008/12/05/1000-arten-dienstag-zu-sagen/

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