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Erzgebirge (Aarzgebèèrgsch)

Spoken in

Germany ( Saxony , Lower Saxony ), until 1946 also Czechoslovakia ( northwestern Bohemia )
speaker approx. 500,000
Official status
Official language in no country
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2 ( B ) qka ( T )?

Erzgebirge (or Arzgebirgisch, [ aːɰtskəpɛːɰjkʂ ]) is a German dialect that is still spoken in the upper western part of the Ore Mountains , but also in a very small part of the Upper Harz in Lower Saxony . So far, little research has been carried out into linguistics . The dialect perceived as independent by the speakers is assigned to East Central German in dialectology . However, since one of the limits of the shift of the initial German  p runs between the Erzgebirge and Meißen ( e.g. Ore Mountains pound versus Meissen find 'pound'), the former is also occasionally assigned to Upper German East Franconia .

Due to the increasing mixing with Upper Saxon , the emigration of large parts of the population and the associated turning away from the Erzgebirge, especially since 1989, the number of speakers is decreasing noticeably.

Distribution area and history

Distribution area
Distribution of the Erzgebirge and neighboring dialects in Saxony according to Gunter Bergmann 1986

The Erzgebirge comprises three groups: Westerzgebirgisch, Osterzgebirgisch and Vorerzgebirgisch. Farmers from the Main Franconian area settled in the Ore Mountains since the middle of the 12th century and brought their dialect with them, which is based on the Western Ore Mountains. The other two groups are mixed forms with Upper Saxon .

Today the Erzgebirge is mainly spoken in the Erzgebirgskreis , in addition in the south of the district of central Saxony , in the southeast of the district of Zwickau and in Lichtenstein . Another community of speakers can be found in the Upper Harz in the region of Clausthal-Zellerfeld ( Lower Saxony ); the ancestors of the latter were miners who emigrated there from the Ore Mountains in the 16th century .

In 1929, Erzgebirge was also spoken in other parts of what is now the Central Saxony, Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains as well as in Chemnitz and Zwickau . In the meantime, dialects of the Thuringian-Upper Saxon dialect group have established themselves in these areas .

Until 1945, the Erzgebirge was also at home in the neighboring Bohemia. The region Kaaden -Duppau is particularly worthy of mention, in whose dialect a collection of Erzgebirge words, idioms and anecdotes has been published (see literature). The distribution of the German Bohemia, which was expelled from what was then Czechoslovakia after the end of the Second World War, throughout Germany, however, subsequently restricted the use of the dialect to a large extent to one's own family.

Despite countless short stories, poems and songs written in dialect, no norm for the writing of the Erzgebirge is generally recognized; the guidelines drawn up by the Saxon Heimatverein in 1937 are hardly taken into account by the authors. A linguistic analysis of this dialect is therefore mainly based on field research . Incorrect classification of the Erzgebirge as a rural variant of Saxon (cf. for example in Ethnologue ) also hampers the maintenance and preservation of the dialect.

Occasionally the work of the folk poet and singer Anton Günther (1876–1937) is viewed as the linguistic benchmark of the dialect.

Language affinity with Upper German dialects

The similarities with the Upper German dialects can be recognized in the Erzgebirge by the clear tendency to replace the German verb prefix er with other prefixes ( der- (in Erzgebirge and Bavarian) or ver (in Bavarian and Swabian)) (e.g. . westerzgeb. derschloong [ tɔɰʃloːŋ ] 'slain', derzeeln [ tɔɰtseːln ] 'tell').

The use of the particles fei [ faɪ ] - typical for East Franconian and Bavarian - is also widespread in the Ore Mountains.

Furthermore, the sound equivalent of the German [ o / ɔ ] to dialectal [ u / ʊ ] (e.g. westerzgeb. Huus [ huːs ], Hose '), as well as the strong o-coloring of the German [a] is also used in East Franconian and Bavarian (e.g. westerzgeb. hoos [ hoːs ] 'hare').

Another point is the loss of syllable-closing [n] after long vowels, which occurs widespread in the Erzgebirge (e.g. lichtensteinisch Huuschdee [ huːʂʈeː ] 'Hohenstein' - meaning the town of Hohenstein-Ernstthal , in which incidentally not Erzgebirge, but a Meissnian dialect is spoken). This phenomenon rarely occurs in monosyllabic short vowel words in which the vowel is lengthened (e.g. màà [ mʌː ] 'man')

The especially in Lichtenstein often practiced omission of Schwa ( [⁠ ə ⁠] ) (written e) and (rarely) and the / ⁠ ɪ ⁠ / (short i) is typical for the Upper German (. B. lichtenst. Reedlz [ ɣeːtˡl̩ts ] ‚Rödlitz '(the place Rödlitz was incorporated into Lichtenstein in the 1990s )).

The following table shows the similarity of the Erzgebirge to the other Upper German dialects. The Osterländische is also listed for control purposes . X indicates that the corresponding feature is present in most sub-dialects. x means that it only occurs in peripheral areas.

feature Erzgebirge East Franconian Bavarian-Austrian Alemannic Easterly
Replacement of er- by der- / ver X X der- / ver ver -
fei X X X - -
o / u equivalent X X X - -
n-repayment X X X X -
Schwa repayment X X X X x
Coincidence of ch and sch x - - - X


In the literature, a distinction is made between western and eastern Ore Mountains. The difference between the two sub-dialects is considerable, but the boundaries are fluid. While the Western Ore Mountains still have a noticeable influence from the Upper Franconian, in the Eastern Ore Mountains mainly Meissen elements can be found. Essentially, the great differences between Eastern and Western Ore Mountains and the numerous similarities between Western Ore Mountains, Vogtland and Franconian are pointed out. Particularly at the borders with the Meissnian language area, the transitions are fluid, which in some places makes a clear assignment to the Erzgebirge or the so-called "Saxon" impossible.

The dialect of the Erzgebirge language colony in the Upper Harz has developed relatively independently since the settlement. It is assumed that the phonology has not changed since the beginning of the 17th century, in contrast to the theory of inflection and vocabulary, which were mainly subject to northern Thuringian influences. Due to the history of settlement, Upper Harz is largely consistent with Western Ore Mountains, while Eastern Ore Mountains language influences were only able to prevail to a limited extent.

For example, the Eastern Ore Mountains dialect (as well as the Meissniche) uses the word ni (ch) [ nɪ (ç) ] as a negation, whereas in the Western Ore Mountains nèt [ nɛt ] is used. Because of the lack of a linguistic border, both versions can be found next to each other in some areas, especially on the border between Eastern and Western Ore Mountains or Meissen.

Further evidence of the relationship between the Meissnian and the Eastern Erzgebirge dialect can also be found in the modification of the standard German kl… and gl… or kn… and gn… at the beginning of the word in [tl…] resp. [tn…] can be seen. (e.g. dlee [ tˡleː ] 'small', dnuchng [ tⁿnʊxŋ̍ ] 'bones').

In summary, four dialects can be identified:

dialect Distribution area
Previous additional areas
Middle Ore Mountains (western Eastern Ore Mountains dialect) former Middle Ore Mountains District with the cities of Olbernhau and Marienberg as well as in the former district of Annaberg (northern half) Sudetenland (Weipert, Brandau, Kallich and in neighboring places)
Western Ore Mountains former districts of Aue-Schwarzenberg, Annaberg (southern half) Sudetenland (triangle from Graslitz via Schlackenwerth to Preßnitz)
Eastern Ore Mountains former districts Dippoldiswalde, Mittweida (west, south), Freiberg (northwest, south) Sudetenland (around St. Katharinaberg)
Ore Mountains (also "Vorerzgebirgisch")
Former districts of Chemnitzer Land (Lichtenstein region), Stollberg, Zwickau
Upper Harz Clausthal-Zellerfeld and St. Andreasberg region (Lower Saxony)

Grammar - Phonology

As mentioned, there is no uniform spelling. In order to write down the language data in this article close to its actual pronunciation, a convention has to be found.


The writing of the consonants largely follows the notations customary in Bavarian. In the following table, the speech sounds occurring in the most important Ore Mountain dialects are shown as IPA symbols . Behind it is the spelling for the corresponding sound, which is used in this article, provided it differs from the IPA symbol.

bilabial labio-
alveolar post-
retroflex palatal velar uvular glottal
stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth.
Asp. Plosives (k)
Non-asp. Plosives p (b) t (d) k (g)
Affricates pf ts (z) (ch) ʈʂ (ch)
Fricatives f v (w) s ʃ (sch) ʂ (sch) ç (ch) x (ch) ɣ (r) χ (ch) H
Nasals m n ŋ (ng)
lateral approximants l
central approximants j ɰ (r)

In no sub dialect postalveolar (come [⁠ ⁠] , [⁠ ʃ ⁠] ) and the retroflex ( [⁠ ʈʂ ⁠] , [⁠ ʂ ⁠] ) sounds before contrast, d. H. each sub-dialect has only postalveolar or only retroflex sounds.

The distinction between [ ʂ / ʃ ] and [⁠ ç ⁠] is not given, especially in the Northwest dialect, here comes only [⁠ ʂ ⁠] before that, however, still depending on the origin as / sh /, or / ch / is written.

The voiceless unaspirated plosives ( b , d and g ) tend to become voiced , especially between nasals ( m , n and ng ) and vowels. However, this is only a tendency and is not expressed in the spelling.

An important sound change that is typical for Erzgebirge concerns the r . If it is followed by one of the sounds k , g , ch or ng (these are the velar consonants), a [j] is inserted between the two sounds. For example, Baarg ( Eng . Berg ) [ paːɰ j k ] is spoken. The [j] is not written because its occurrence is fully predictable.

The velar Zentralapproximant ( [⁠ ɰ ⁠] ) is most often as velarization realized standing in front of the vowel. In the IPA transcriptions in this article is consistently [⁠ ɰ ⁠] used.


The spelling of the vowels proposed here is based partly on the official spelling of Swiss German and partly on that of Bavarian . The spelling of the corresponding vowel follows the IPA symbol if they differ.

front almost in
central almost in the
ung. ger. ung. ger. ung. ger. ung. ger. ung. ger.
closed i u
almost closed ɪ (i) ʊ (u)
half closed e O
medium ə (e)
half open ɛ (è) ʌ (à) ɔ (e / o)
almost open æ (a)
open a

All sub-dialects have either [⁠ a ⁠] or [⁠ æ ⁠] , never both. Is a schwa against a r in the same syllable, as it is referred to as [⁠ ɔ ⁠] speaking, but still as e written.

The back high vowels ([ u / ʊ ]) often tend to be unrounded.

Length is expressed by double-spelling the vowel or consonant in question . There are the long vowels ii , ee , èè , aa , uu , oo and àà .

In addition to these general orthographic and phonetic rules, it should be noted that the vowels (except for a and Schwa ) are pronounced in a clearly centralized manner, i.e. H. the back vowels à , o , u are pronounced earlier than in German, the front vowels ee , è and i are pronounced further back than is the case in German.

Short vowels that come before a stressed syllable are reduced to Schwa in pronunciation (e.g. gremàdig [ kx ə ˈmʌtɪk ] 'grammar').

If a short vowel precedes an r in a syllable , the vowel is often pronounced long (e.g. Aa rzgeb èè rgsch ).

In the dialects that are spoken in higher registers, àà is often spoken as oo . The pronunciation as àà is, however, the normal case, especially in closed syllables, i.e. those in which the vowel is followed by one or more consonants. Since in the neighboring Saxon àà is also spoken in the corresponding words , the over-generalization in the dialects bordering on Saxon is probably a phenomenon of language contact .


As in German, the emphasis varies depending on the origin of the word. In Erzgebirgische while the trend is more visible, even in foreign words French to place the emphasis on the first syllable of origin (z. B. biro [ piːɣo ] Office '). In most cases, however, the flare (z. B. remains at French loan words on the last syllable dridewààr [ txɪtə vʌːɰ pavement '(], from the French. Pavement )). Foreign words in the Latin or Greek origin of the emphasis is on either the penultimate or the third last syllable (eg. B. gremàdig [ kxə mʌtɪk ] grammar ').

Grammar - Morphology

The noun

Grammatical gender

There are three grammatical genders. According to the traditional German grammar theory, they are called male , female and neuter . This assignment to semantic groups is also not always consistent, as the word maadl 'girl' is grammatically neuter rather than feminine. In many modern linguistic works on Germanic languages, the grammatical genders are only numbered (I, II or III).

The following table contains some examples. The assignment to a gender usually corresponds to that of standard German .

gender Words Translation (gender in German)
male moo, màà Man (m.)
supply Boy (male)
baam Tree (noun)
Female fraa Woman (w.)
sub Soup (w.)
dàsch Bag (w.)
neutrally child Child (s.)
dridewààr Pavement (s.) / Sidewalk (m.)
thin Tunnel (m./s.)

Formation of the cases

Unlike High German, Erzgebirge no longer has a productive genitive . If an ownership relationship ( the A of B) is to be expressed, other constructions must be used. If the owner is human, or at least animated, a structure with dative and possessive pronouns is usually preferred: ( the B being A). In the remaining cases you can only work with the preposition f (u) n (German of ): ( the A of B). In the case of non- abstract possessors, compound words are often formed , such as front door for door of the house .

Examples (Northwest dialect):

(1) n'Hàns his hitsch
the Hans his footstool
"Hans's footstool"
(2) de fansder fun the House
the window from the House
"The windows of the house"

In the noun itself, only the dative can be expressed in the plural . This is done with a suffix -n , which can be merged with various consonants and which is omitted for nouns that already form their plural with -n . Nominative and accusative as well as the dative in the singular are endless. However, the case can often be clearly identified using articles, adjectives and possessive pronouns. Personal pronouns also usually have their own forms for each of the three cases.

The following table shows some paradigms of Erzgebirge nouns with a specific article.

Case / number German tree German bag German child
Nominative singular the baam de dàsch s child
Dative singular n baam the dàsch n child
Accusative singular n baam de dàsch s child
Nominative plural de beeme de dàschn de kinner
Dative plural n beemm n dàschn n chin
Accusative plural de beeme de dàschn de kinner

Formation of the plural

As in Standard German, there are many different forms of plural formation. Different endings such as -e , -er , -n and -s are used as well as an ablaut , i.e. a change in the stem vowel. Some of the endings are accompanied by an umlaut .

Some nouns form their plural differently in Erzgebirge than in German. For example, the ending -n is usually used (without umlaut formation) to put nouns on - (e) l in the plural. But other words also differ in the choice of their plural ending.

Examples (Northwest dialect):

Singular (arch.) Singular (Ger.) Plural (arch.) Plural (German)
beer berry beer Berry
fuuchl bird fuuchl -n Birds
gaar year gaar Years
afterwards nail nààchl -n Nails
naal ( western ed .) nail neel Nails
maadl girl maadl -n girl
mààd ( western ed .) girl meed or máád girl
mast mast m a sd -e (next to mosd -n ) Masts
child child kin -er children
bàrg park bààrg -s Parks
foot foot f ii s Feet
wààng dare w ee ng ( -e ) dare
is schoof sheep de sch ee f Sheep

The item

The Erzgebirge distinguishes three types of articles. The emphatic (stressed) definite (particular) articles are used to refer to one or more particular individuals. In German, the demonstrative pronouns this and that are used for this. The unstressed definite articles almost correspond in their meaning to those in German. In the singular, as in German, indefinite (indefinite) articles are also used. In contrast to German, the indefinite articles are used in the dative and accusative for male personal names, but the unstressed specific articles are used for all other personal names. All articles match in case , number and gender with their reference word. The emphasized specific articles can also appear without a reference word and can then replace the very rarely used personal pronouns of the third person.

Like German, the Erzgebirge also uses negative articles (no-) . However, they do not resemble the indefinite articles as much as they do in German.

The forms of the articles in the Northwest dialect are as follows:

shape male Female neutrally
indefinite article
Nominative singular e no e
Dative singular n ner n
Accusative singular n no e
unstressed specific articles
Nominative singular of the de s
Dative singular (the of the (the
Accusative singular (the de s
Nominative plural de
Dative plural n
Accusative plural de
stressed certain articles
Nominative singular daar dii the
Dative singular daan / dèèn daar daan / dèèn
Accusative singular daan / dèèn dii the
Nominative plural dii
Dative plural daann / dèènn
Accusative plural dii
negative article
Nominative singular kee keene kee
Dative singular keen keener keen
Accusative singular keen keene kee
Nominative plural keene
Dative plural no
Accusative plural keene

The article n adapts to preceding consonants in the pronunciation position. After p , pf , f , w and m it changes to m , after k , g , ch (when spoken as [x] or [χ]) and ng it reads ng .


(3) S. child hàd s n Hans gesààd
[ skʰɪnt ] [ hʌtsn̩ ] [ hʌns ] [ kəsʌːt ]
The child Has it the Hans said.
(4) Of the Hans hàd the book ng màà gaam
[ tɔɰ ] [ hʌns ] [ hʌt ] [ tʌs ] [ puːxŋ̍ ] [ mʌː ] [ kæːm ]
Of the Hans Has this book one man given.
(5) E. schiins dleedl hàd dii àà
[⁠ ə ⁠] [ ʂiːns ] [ tˡleːtˡl̩ ] [ hʌt ] [ tiː ] [ ʌː ]
A beautiful little dress Has they / this on.
(6) Ch hàb m children kee gald gaam
[ ʂhʌpm̩ ] [ kʰɪnɔɰn ] [ kʰeː ] [ kælt ] [ kæːm ]
I have the Children no money given.

The pronoun

Personal pronouns

As with the specific articles, a distinction is made between stressed and unstressed forms in personal pronouns. The emphasized forms are used when the relevant action participant is to be emphasized. Phonologically , the stressed pronouns are independent words, whereas the unstressed forms usually only consist of a single consonant or vowel. There is no stressed form for the third person, the stressed forms of the definite article must be used instead. This often seems impolite to outsiders. In contrast to nouns , personal pronouns distinguish between cases in both the singular and the plural . They are:

Person / number / gender Nominative dative accusative
stressed personal pronouns
1st person singular i me me
2nd person singular duu diir you
3rd person singular male. daar daan / dèèn then / dèèn
3rd person singular female dii daar dii
3rd person singular sächl. the daan / dèèn the
1st person plural me us us
2nd person plural iir calibration calibration
3rd person plural dii daann / dèènn dii
Courtesy form sii iinn sii
unstressed personal pronouns
1st person singular (I mer me
2nd person singular de / you of the you / ch
3rd person singular male. he n n
3rd person singular female se he se
3rd person singular sächl. s n s
1st person plural mer us us
2nd person plural he calibration calibration
3rd person plural se n se
Courtesy form se iin (n) se

The pronouns that contain ch instead have sch in the northwest dialect . The unstressed pronoun of the second person singular is de when it comes after the verb and you when it comes before it. Unlike in German, separate pronouns are used for the politeness form.


(7) Hàd -he -s -n shoo gesààd
[ hʌtɔɰsn̩ ] [ ʂuː ] [ kəsʌːt ]
Has he it him beautiful said?
(8th) Ch hàb dèènn nischd gaam
[ ʂhʌp ] [ tɛːnn̩ ] [ nɪʂt ] [ kæːm ]
I have them / them Nothing given.

possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns are declined according to the case, number and gender of the noun that they define. Their tribes are:

Person / gender Singular Plural
1st person my)- our-
2nd person your)- ei (e) r-
3rd person male. be)- iir-
3rd person female iir- iir-
3rd person sächl. be)- iir-

In the singular pronouns, the / n / is omitted if there is no ending (-Ø) or the ending -n . In the first person plural, the / s / is omitted except in the Northwest dialect. In the first and second person plural, the / e / is usually not used when there is a vowel-like ending. The declension endings are:

shape male Female neutrally
Nominative singular -O -e -O
Dative singular -n -he -n
Accusative singular -n -e -O
Nominative plural -e
Dative plural -n
Accusative plural -e

It is noticeable that this paradigm gets by with three letters, namely e , n and r .


(9) my dog
[ maɪ ] [ hʊnt ]
my dog
(10) eirer Schwasder
[ aɪɣɔɰ ] [ ʂvastɔɰ ]
yours sister

With the pronouns of the third person, as with the nouns, the dative construction is becoming more and more popular:

(11) daar iire dàsch
[ taːɰ ] [ iːɣə ] [ tʌʂ ]
this / her your bag
"Her bag"


(12) daar fraa iire dàsch
"This woman's bag"

The preposition

The following construction can be found mainly in the Western Ore Mountains, but also in Lichtenstein:

(13) no (n) of the schdàd
inside in of the city
"Into the city"

The actual preposition n (dt. In ) is never omitted in Lichtenstein, but mostly in the Western Ore Mountains due to the even more consistent [n] shrinkage. This makes it look like nei is the preposition. It should also be noted that the target in question does not appear with the accusative as in German , but with the dative . That a movement is meant is expressed by nei .

This construction is also possible with many other prepositions: dràà der kèrch ("at the church", "at the church").

The adjective


Adjectives congruent in case , number , gender and definiteness with their reference word. Unlike in German, however, in Erzgebirge the forms without an article do not differ from those with an indefinite article.

German Erzgebirge
eur -em jewelry deier -n schmuk
a thousand -en ring n'deier -n ring

The following table contains all congruence suffixes to adjectives.

shape male Female neutrally
without article / with indefinite article
Nominative singular -he -e -(it
Dative singular -n -he -n
Accusative singular -n -e -(it
Nominative plural -e
Dative plural -n
Accusative plural -e
with definite article
Nominative singular -e -e -e
Dative singular -n -n -n
Accusative singular -n -e -e
Nominative plural -n
Dative plural -n
Accusative plural -n

Further examples:

(14) e gruus-er màà
[⁠ ə ⁠] [ kxuːsɔɰ ] [ mʌː ]
a greater man
(15) daar schiin-n fraa
[ taːɰ ] [ ʂiːnn̩ ] [ fxaː ]
this beautiful woman


The comparative is formed with the suffix -er . Unlike in German, the object of comparison receives the preposition wii (wie).
The superlative is created with the ending - (e) sd . The congruence suffixes are then added to both endings.


(16) e grès- (e) r-er màà wii daar
[⁠ ə ⁠] [ kxɛsɔɣɔɰ ] [ mʌː ] [ viː ] [ taːɰ ]
a bigger-he-he man as he / this
(17) of the beautiful-sd-n fraa
[ tɔɰ ] [ ʂɛnstn̩ ] [ fxaː ]
of the most beautiful woman

The verb

As in German, the finite verb in Erzgebirge congruent with the subject of the sentence according to person and number. If the verb form is formed with an auxiliary verb , this auxiliary verb is the finite verb in the sentence and is subject to congruence.

Morphologically , a distinction is made between two tenses, present and past tense . The past tense is used productively almost only with strongly inflected verbs. The remaining time forms, namely Perfect , perfect progressive , Present and Future continuous , must be formed with auxiliary verbs. The past tense and perfect tense are used equally. The past perfect expresses the prematurity of one action in relation to another in the past. The future tense II is mainly used when a presumption is made about a past action, such as B. in German: He will probably not have been there again .

Infinitive, participles

The infinitive , the participle I and the participle II are formed in the Erzgebirge with the following affixes:

shape schbiil- (Ger. game- ) (slightly bent) gii- (Ger. go- ) (strongly bent) be- (Ger. be- ) (irregular) hàb- (Ger. hab- ) (irregular) wèèr- (Ger. werd- ) (irregular)
infinitive schbiil -n gii -n be ( -n ) -m wèèr -n
Past participle schbiil -end gii -end being- being hàà -md wèèr -nd
Past participle overall schbiil -d ( ge ) gàng -ng overall waas -n ge-d overall WUR -n


As in German, you have to distinguish between strongly and weakly inflected verbs in Erzgebirge. In the present tense, which can express present or future actions, the following endings are used for the two classes:

Person / number schbiil- (Ger. game- ) (slightly bent) gii- (Ger. go- ) (strongly bent) be- (Ger. be- ) (irregular) hàb- (Ger. hab- ) (irregular) wèèr- (Ger. werd- ) (irregular)
1st person singular schbiil gii bii hàb wèèr
2nd person singular schbiil -sd gi (i) -sd bi -sd -sd wèr -sd
3rd person singular schbiil -d gi (i) -d is -d wèr -d
1st person plural schbiil -n gii -n be -m wèèr -n
2nd person plural schbiil -d gii -d be -d hàb -d wèèr -d
3rd person plural schbiil -n gii -n be -m wèèr -n

As can be seen from the example of the auxiliary verb hàm (German to have), the suffix -n also merge with some consonants of the stem.

Often the present tense in Erzgebirge is formed periphrastic, i.e. with an auxiliary verb. For this, the normal present tense of the auxiliary verb tun is combined with the infinitive of the verb. Examples of this can already be found in the older Erzgebirge literature.


As mentioned, the past tense is formed productively only from the strongly inflected verbs. Instead, the perfect must be used for the weakly inflected verbs, but this is also becoming more and more popular with the strong verbs.

In the formation of the simple past, some words differ from German. For example, schmègng (dt. To taste ) is a strongly inflected verb in the Erzgebirge: schmoog (dt. To taste ). The verb frààn (dt. To ask ) also forms a strong past tense: fruuch (dt. To ask ).

The following endings are used to indicate the congruence to the subject:

Person / number gii- (Ger. go- ) (strongly bent) be- (Ger. be- ) (irregular) hàb- (Ger. hab- ) (irregular) wèèr- (Ger. werd- ) (irregular)
1st person singular went wààr hàd became
2nd person singular went -sd wààr -sd hàd -sd became -sd
3rd person singular went wààr hàd -e became -e
1st person plural went -ng wààr -n hàd -n became -n
2nd person plural went -d wààr -d hàd -ed became -ed
3rd person plural went -ng wààr -n hàd -n became -n

Perfect, past perfect

Perfect and past perfect are formed with a bent (finite) form of sei- or hàb- and the participle II of the main verb.


(18) Miir be gasdern (a) f of the kèèrms gàngng listen ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ miːɰ ] [ saɪ ] [ kæstɔɰn ] [ (a / ə) f ] [ tɔɰ ] [ kʰɛːɰms ] [ kʌŋŋ̍ ]
We are yesterday on the Folk festival went.
(19) Ch hàd -s -n ààwer listen to gesààd ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ ʂhʌtsn̩ ] [ ʌːvɔɰ ] [ kəsʌːt ]
I would have it him but said.

Future tense

Both future I and future II are formed with present tense forms of the auxiliary verb wèèr- (Dt. To be). In the future tense I is the infinitive of the main verb, in the future tense II, however, the participle II and the infinitive of sein- (German to be) or hab- (German to have).


(20) Murng wèrd of the Hans after Kams listen fààrn ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ moːɰjŋ ] [ vɛɰt ] [ tɔɰ ] [ hʌns ] [ nʌːχ ] [ kʰæms ] [ fʌːɰn ]
tomorrow becomes of the Hans to Chemnitz drive.
(21) He wèrd wuu against nèd doo washed be heard ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ ɔɰ ] [ vɛɰt ] [ vuː ] [ viːtɔɰ ] [ nɛt ] [ toː ] [ kəvaːsn̩ ] [ saɪ ]
He becomes well again Not there been be.


A productive subjunctive (possibility form) is only formed by most auxiliary verbs (except wèèr- (Dt. To be)) as well as by some frequently used strongly inflected verbs. For all other verbs, the subjunctive of the auxiliary duun (Dt. Tun ) must be used with the infinitive of the main verb. The forms differ from those of the past tense only in the umlaut and are as follows:

Person / number gii- (Ger. go- ) (strongly bent) be- (Ger. be- ) (irregular) hàb- (Ger. hab- ) (irregular) duu- (Ger. tu- ) (irregular)
1st person singular gèng waar hèd daad
2nd person singular gèng -sd waar -sd hèd -sd daad -sd
3rd person singular gèng waar hèd -e daad
1st person plural gèng -ng waar -n hèd -n daad -n
2nd person plural gèng -d waar -d hèd -ed daad -ed
3rd person plural gèng -ng waar -n hèd -n daad -n


The command form ( imperative ) is in the singular for all verbs like the first person in the present tense . To form the plural , a -d is added to this form.


(22) Bii just màà ruich! listen ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ piː ] [ nəɰ ] [ mʌː ] [ ɣʊɪʂ ]
Be at last calm!


As in German, the passive forms are formed with the auxiliary verb wèèr- (Ger. To be) and the participle II of the main verb. wèèr- can then be brought into all forms with additional auxiliary verbs.


(23) Wii wèrd dèè the gemàchd listen ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ viː ] [ vɛɰt ] [ tɛː ] [ tʌs ] [ kəmʌχt ]
How becomes because the made?

Another language example

(Dialect of Lichtenstein)

(24) Woo kimsd dee duu ize hair? listen ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ vuː ] [ come ] [ teː ] [ doː ] [ ɪtsə ] [ haːɰ ]
Where come because you now come from?
(25) The kàà (I of the fei ni sààn. listen ? / iAudio file / audio sample
[ tʌs ] [ kʰʌː ] [ (ɪ) ʂ ] [ tɔɰ ] [ faɪ ] [ ] [ sʌːn ]
The can I to you but Not say.

Comments on sentence (25):

According to the orthography explained above, one does not speak kàà as one pronounces in German co-… (e.g. in co-trainer), but the vowel is rather an a spoken very far back. The same goes for sààn, of course .

The personal pronoun (i) ch is usually just ch when pronounced quickly . Speaking quickly, you could also write sentence B like this: Listen to S-kàà-ch-der fei ni sààn ? / i . The beginning sounds like a two-syllable word [ skʰʌːʂtɔɰ ]. Audio file / audio sample

kumm (dt. to come ) is an ablaut verb in the Erzgebirge, which means that a different stem vowel is used in the second and third person singular in the present tense than in the other forms (cf. [ ɪ mst ] (Dt. k o mmst )). This also speaks for a close relationship with Bavarian. The pronunciation with [ɪ] is common there as well as in some other Upper German dialects.

Text example

The following excerpt contains the introduction as well as the first stanza of a Clausthal wedding poem from 1759 and is written in the Upper Harz dialect:

When Niemeyer took his cobblers to the wedding in de Kerch, ae Vugelsteller Vugel and hot baths were scratched; is k 'schaen October 25, 1759. Clasthol, kedrueckt at the book printer Wendeborn.

Click on with enanner you statlig'n urine!
Thu d’r Toffel aach comes out of the fern,
Hahr hot ju kraets schunt de Fraehaet kenumme,
Su eats aach this time with pure kekumme.
Se hahn ne ju suest wos ze luesen A kekahn:
I hate it Vugel, do you want to see it?


When the Niemeyer took his shoemaker to church for the wedding, a bird dealer brought birds and congratulated them both; this happened on October 25, 1759. Clausthal, printed by the printer Wendeborn.

Good luck to one another, you handsome gentlemen!
The booby comes in from afar,
he has just taken his liberty,
so he came in with us this time too.
You gave him something else to earn:
I have beautiful birds, do you want to look at them?

A The verb luesen probably comes from Lower Saxony. According to Borchers in 1929 it was spoken [liːsən] (the Erzgebirge does not know ü) and means something like "earn, make money".

Carnival sayings that the children say from house to house while begging

I bi a klanner kenich (I'm a little king)
Gave mr net ze wenich (don't give me too little)
Let go of me net ze long stii (don't let me stand too long)
I want e heisl weddergii (I want to go a little further )

I am a klanner (I am a little dwarf)
Un kumm net nibern barch (And don't come over the mountain)
Gabt'r mr ne márk (Give me a mark)
Do bi iich aries strong (Then I am strong again)


As in all dialects, there are also words in the Erzgebirge that are difficult or impossible to understand as an outsider. This includes shortening of long words, but also many words that other dialects, and even some of the Erzgebirge sub-dialects, do not know. The following tables contain some examples.


word Pronunciation
translation Remarks
aarb tool [ ˈAːɰp ] job only in western dialect
aardabl [ ˈAːɰˌtæpl̩ ] potato literally: potato
ààziizeich [ ˈɅːˌtsiːˌtsaɪ̯ʂ ] dress literally: clothing
àbort [ ˈɅpɔɰt ] Toilet
bambis potato pancakes probably too German Pampe
bargmoo Miner in the Middle Ore Mountains
bèg [ ˈPɛk ] baker
bèremèd [ ˌPɛɣəˈmɛt ] Christmas pyramid
bèrschd [ ˈPɛɰʂʈ ] brush
buss, plural bussen Lad; son in the Middle Ore Mountains
burschdwich [ ˈPʊɰʂʈvɪʂ ] broom literal bristle wipe (er), also baasn
dibl [ ˈTɪpl̩ ] Cup literally: potty
draambuch an inattentive one literally a dream book
dridewààr [ ˌTxɪtəˈvʌːɰ ] pavement see. French pavement
fauns [ ˈFaʊ̯ns ] Slap also faunst
celebration Fire
fuuchlbaarbaam [ ˈFuːxl̩ˌpaːɰˌpaːm ] rowan literally: rowan tree
fursool Hall literally: entrance hall
gack jacket
weighed Minced meat
gogd hunt in the Middle Ore Mountains
goocher [ ˈKæːχɔɰ ] Hunter
gudsàger [ ˈKʊtsˌʌkɔɰ ] graveyard literally: Gottesacker
hamml small appetizers, piece of bread
handsching, handsch Glove in the Middle Ore Mountains
hèm [ ˈHɛm ] Shirt / home
hiidrààbradl [ ˈHiːˌtxʌːˌpxætl̩ ] Serving tray literally: carry board
hitsch [ ˈHɪʈʂ ] footstool
huchsch [ ˈHʊxʈʂ ] wedding also Huchzich
kriibl bad person literally: (regional) onion , crepe stunted apple, fruit mummy
cro old woman maybe from crow
loader [ ˈLætɔɰ ] ladder also lèdder
maad girl Literally: Maid, there is also the belittling maadl as in High German
matz larger amount, accumulation
miinsln Pussy willow
nààmitsch [ ˈNʌːmɪʈʂ ] afternoon also noochmiddich
olieng issue in the Middle Ore Mountains
pfaar [ ˈPfaːɰ ] horse
tight [ ˈƔeːŋ ] rain
runksn large piece of bread
collect bun literal bread roll
stagng [ ˈꟅʈækŋ̍ ] Stick it, stick
schduub [ ˈꟅʈuːp ] Living room, parlor
(sheer) hààder [ ˈꟅaɪ̯ɔɰˌhʌːtɔɰ ] Cleaning cloth
Schmiich [ ˈꟅmiːʂ ] Folding rule literally: beetle
schnubbdichl Handkerchief literally: snuff, cf. Czech "šnuptychel"
seechams ant see. Luxembourgish “seichamse”, promoted by the superstition that the poison is transmitted by watering (urinating)
sidichfir Hinterwäldlerdorf maybe from watch yourself
at night Rough nights / sub-nights During this time, no laundry may be washed or hung
wottgack Cotton jacket in the Middle Ore Mountains
zemitschasn [ tsəˈmɪʈʂˌasn̩ ] Having lunch literally: lunch
zèrwànsd [ ˈTsɛɰˌvʌnst ] accordion literally: distressed


The Erzgebirge has a particularly large number of onomatopoeic verbs. The following table contains some examples, but in particular reference is made to the extensive collection of I. Susanka (see literature). Since the Erzgebirge is a very rainy area, there are numerous words for different forms of rain.

word Pronunciation
translation Remarks
snowed look closely in the Middle Ore Mountains
besuudln [ pəˈsuːtl̩n ] to pollute   literally defile
pale [ ˈPlʌːʈʂn̩ ] to rain heavily (downpour)
blèègng [ ˈPlɛːkŋ̍ ] scream out loud literally: "bläken", cf. "Bleat"
braachln burn, to sdt isv the sun is burning (hot)
book beat, defeat literally throb
(rum) there laze around, loll around
(a) dalfrn touch, touch
deebern [ ˈTeːpɔɰn ] rave, rant
derlaam tool [ tɔɰˈlaːm ] experience (not in northwest dialect)
drààschn [ ˈTxʌːʂn̩ ] heavy rain (continuous rain)
dschinnorn slip
eisàgn [ ˈAɪ̯sʌkŋ̍ ] fill in, pack up literally: "sack"
gaungzn whine, yawn
giigln un gagln wave around with a pointed object
to be gracious untie
gogn to hunt
gwèstern [ ˈKvɛstɔɰn ] keep going in and out
iinln look, peep often also "spaergn" in western Ore Mountains
cambln [ ˈKʰæmpl̩n ] fight Belittling of "fighting", only in children's wrestling matches
kuddln drink
odln fertilize with liquid manure
ogemelt covered with hoarfrost in the Middle Ore Mountains
(rum) maarn be slow
(rum) modln be slow
rustle gieh Go sledging
schurn Shovel / push snow
closed to rain heavily (downpour)
schlurksn shuffle, go sipping
sèèng urinate literally seichen
to drool [ ˈSiːfɔɰn ] drizzle lightly see. drinking, german. Goddess Sif
urschn waste
vrhunebibln deface see. mockery, mockery
awake flicker, flicker (fire) to bayr./öst. wach - wag
wiibln un wabln Teeming, teeming to mhd. wibel (beetle) and dt. wabern
right slurp out

Other words

Like many German dialects, Erzgebirge is also very rich in adverbs . The use and translation of fei is very complex and needs further study. It is used both in prompts ( Gii fei wag!, Ger . "Go away!") And in statements ( S'reengd fei. , Ger . "It's raining, by the way."). Fei often reinforces or reinforces in the sense of real or real. Dr Omd wàr fei schii (The evening was really nice). Des gett fei net (that really doesn't work).

word Pronunciation
translation Remarks
over crazy, crazy too dt. silly
bill, bissl little
doddish crazy, crazy, wild probably to German stutter or Hottentot
Dorwalle there, although (meanwhile) i. S. v. I stayed there I wanted to go
things on [ ˌTɪŋəˈnaʊ̯f ] uphill, uphill  
emènde [ əˈmɛndə ] possibly literally: at the end
enùseja well, so, that's why literally: ei well so yes
feeder [ ˈFeːtɔɰ ] forward, further see. engl. further
fei [ ˈFaɪ̯ ] but, namely, finally, pretty much
for [ ˈFiːɰ ] in front also in compositions
gaaling [ ˈGæːlɪŋ ] violently, vehemently literally: suddenly
bile right
hae Yes
hot [ ˈHaɪ̯ɔɰ ] this year literally: this year
hèm [ ˈHɛm ] home literally: home, also è'hèm or ham
hiimundriim [ ˌHiːmʊnˈtxiːm ] on both sides literally: over here and over there
into it [ ˌHɪnəˈviːtɔɰ ] back and forth literally every now and then
hutzelich shriveled, shriveled, wrinkled
ize [ ˈꞮtsə ] now by itzund
next [ ˈNʌːxɔɰt ] later also nòòcherts
numero now
oltvatersch old-fashioned in the Middle Ore Mountains
get out to harvest in the Middle Ore Mountains
zàm [ ˈTsʌm ] together
zàmnamsch economical literally: taking together, also zàmnamit
zomgeroten get into an argument in the Middle Ore Mountains


The interjections used in the Erzgebirge sometimes differ greatly from those in standard German. Due to the language area dominated by mining, the miner's greeting Glig is still very common in everyday use today ! or contracted Gauf! (Eng. "Glück auf!") used. If a negative statement is to be answered in the affirmative, one says Ujuu! [ ˈƱjuː ], in some places also Ajuu! [ ˈAjuː ], ( Eng . "Yes!"). In the Zwickau form Oia! the derivation of "Oh, yes!" is most clearly recognizable. - On the other hand, if a positive statement is negated, È (schà) is used! [ ˈƐ (ˌʂʌ) ] (Eng . "No!"). This exclamation is also used, albeit with a different intonation, to express surprise.


  1. Overview page on languages, names and codes at Braunschweig University Library
  2. ^ Instead of many: Peter Wiesinger: The division of German dialects. In: Werner Besch u. a .: dialectology. A manual on German and general dialectogy. Berlin / New York 1983 (HSK 1), pp. 807–900, with maps 47.4 and 47.5.
  3. The topos of East Franconian can be found especially in Sudeten German literature, for example in the history of the Sudetenland
  4. * 2
  5. * 1
  6. z. B. at Anton Günther , see z. B. s: Da Uf'nbank .
  7. Quoted in Borchers 1929 (see literature), pages 135-136. Borchers orthography. However, ae , oe and ue are written in Borchers as a, o and u with a small e above.
  8. List in Retrieved February 20, 2017 .


Grammars and other linguistic publications

  • Friedrich Barthel : The Vogtland-West Ore Mountains Language Area - Cultural Geographical Investigations on the Border Problem , Diss. University of Leipzig. Graefenhainichen 1933
  • Friedrich Barthel: Afterword . Dialect and dialect poetry of the Ore Mountains and Vogtland. In: Manfred Blechschmidt (Ed.): Voices of the homeland . Poems in the Ore Mountains and Vogtland dialect from the beginning to the present. 2nd revised edition. Friedrich Hofmeister, Leipzig 1965, p. 349-364 .
  • Horst Becker: Saxon dialect lore . Origin, history and sound level of the dialects of Saxony and North Bohemia, Dresden undated (around 1938)
  • Manfred Blechschmidt : From the dialect in the Erzgebirge, in: Mutterssprache 96 (1986), pp. 53–57.
  • Oswin Böttger: The syntax of the Erzgebirge dialect . Inaugural dissertation. Leipzig 1904. ( Internet Archive )
  • Erich Borchers: Language and founding history of the Erzgebirge colony in the Upper Harz . Marburg 1929.
  • Ernst Goepfert: The dialect of the Saxon Ore Mountains is presented according to the sound ratios, word formation and inflection. With an overview map of the language area . Leipzig 1878. ( Internet Archive )

Other literature

  • Irmtraud Susanka: As I said drham. Our dialect in the Kaaden-Duppau district . Publisher of the Kaadener Heimatbrief, Bayreuth no year, without ISBN.
  • Elvira Werner : Dialect in the Ore Mountains. Edited by the Saxon State Office for Folk Culture. Weiss-Grün series, number 17, Marienberg 1999. ISBN 3-931770-18-4 .
  • Harald Kraut, Günter Claussnitzer, Herbert Kaden , Albrecht Kirsche: Osterzgebirgsche dialects. 800 phrases and quotes. Freiberg 2009.
  • Louis Kühnhold: Tales from the Upper Harz in Upper Harz dialect . Self-published, 1928.

Web links

Wiktionary: Erzgebirge  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 9, 2006 .