Fewer and fewer children in BW speak dialect – SWR Aktuell

Boys and girls in Baden-Württemberg hardly speak dialect anymore. This was the result of a nationwide study by the University of Tübingen. The attitude to the dialect is important.

Dialects bring color, humor and variety to the language. Nevertheless, they are threatened with extinction, especially among young people. There are several reasons for this, according to the Tübingen office “Languages ​​in southwestern Germany”.



According to Prof. Hubert Klausmann from the University of Tübingen, twice as many teachers as students speak dialect, namely a quarter of the teachers.



Marijan Murat


Praise instead of criticism of Schwäbisch

Hubert Klausmann from the Ludwig-Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural Studies in Tübingen leads the work. He has been researching dialects in southern Germany for over 30 years. Klausmann emphasizes that the proportion of children who speak the dialect increases when they are praised for it.

“In Bavaria-Swabia, nurses in kindergarten see the dialect much more often as beautiful, important and beneficial than in Baden-Württemberg. And if a child perceives the dialect as positive, the proportion of dialect-speaking children is.”

“Erdbeergsälz” or “cutter shovel and dustpan” would still be understood by children at Reutlingen primary schools, for example. But in class, they speak almost no dialect, more a regionally colored High German, according to the study.



The word

It is not good for the dialect among young people. A study was presented in Tübingen, where more than 700 teachers were interviewed. (icon image)


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picture alliance / dpa | Daniel Karman


“Across the country, only one in nine to ten students in first and second grade still speak the old local dialect of the class, but about 30 percent still have a regional way of speaking.”

Especially in the big cities, the regional coloring is clearly lost, the linguist said. In the Sigmaringen district, on the other hand, more than 40 percent still speak the most dialect in the class. In the district of Reutlingen it is still about 25 percent. According to Klausmann, it is worth promoting the dialect in these regions.















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Important: Positive attitude towards the dialect

Klausmann appeals to parents and teachers to convey a positive attitude towards the dialect. They are important role models. People need to understand that linguistic variations are not just something normal, but a cultural asset that needs to be preserved.

Training should increase awareness of dialect

Klausmann recommends that the state government include multilingualism in internships. Future teachers need to be made aware that dialects should not be corrected but encouraged.



Linguist Hubert Klausmann from the University of Tübingen.  (Photo: Marijan Murat)

Linguist Hubert Klausmann assumes that “Hanoverism” is to blame for the loss of dialect. With this he understands the misconception that the best German is spoken in Hanover.



Marijan Murat


Dialect initiative of the country

For the survey, more than 700 teachers on 13,600 elementary school students were interviewed. The study is part of the state’s dialect initiative and is funded by the Eva Mayr Stihl Foundation. It started Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) four years ago.

Not only can it

Dialects are on the verge of extinction in the southwest. Stefan Giese imagined a world without regional dialects. He does not like her.
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Two major dialects in BW: Frankish and Alemannic

According to language experts, there are two major dialects in Baden-Württemberg: Frankish in the northern third and Alemannic in the southern two-thirds. These are divided into regional dialect forms. Kurpfälzische, spoken in the area around Mannheim and Heidelberg, belongs to the Rhine-Frankish dialect area. Hohenlohe is also a Frankish dialect. It is spoken especially in the districts of Schwäbisch Hall, Hohenlohekreis and Bad Mergentheim. The Alemannic dialects, Baden and Swabian, are spoken in the southern part of Baden-Württemberg.

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