Hessian dialects

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Spoken in

Hesse , Bavaria ( Lower Franconia region ), Rhineland-Palatinate ( Rhine-Hesse and predominantly former Duchy of Nassau ), North Rhine-Westphalia ( Wittgensteiner Land )

Hessian is a group of German dialects , which is characterized as Central German dialect due to its share in the High German phonetic shift and is mainly spoken in Hesse , but also regionally in Franconia , Rhineland-Palatinate and Westphalia .

Hessian forms together with the Palatinate on the one hand and a mixed area between Hessian, Palatinate, South Franconian ("Badisch") and East Franconian in the Rhine-Main-Neckar area on the other hand the Rhine-Franconian . Also lothringisch is partially counted the Rhine Franconian.

The lack of transition from p > (p) f ( Appel for "apple") characterizes the Rhine Franconian together with the Moselle Franconian and the Ripuarian dialect as West Central German .

“Hessian” in the sense of the traditional dialect should not be confused with the modern New Hessian Regiolekt .

Geographical distribution and breakdown

The distribution area of ​​the Hessian dialect covers the largest part of the state of Hesse and part of Rhineland-Palatinate (Westerwald, Rheinhessen , Taunus), North Rhine-Westphalia ( Wittgensteiner Land ) and Bavaria ( Bavarian Lower Main ).

One distinguishes

Linguistic description


The linguistic boundaries are the isoglosses I (Hessian) / ik (Low German) and making (Hessian) / maken (Low German) to the north to Lower Saxony and Westphalian , Pund (Hessian) / Fund (Thuringian) to the east to Thuringian , Pund (Hessian) / Pound (East Franconian) and Appel (Hessian) / Apple (East Franconian) to the East to East Franconian , what (Hessian) / wat (Ripuarian / Moselle Franconian) to the West to Moselle Franconian and solid (Hessian) / fescht (Palatinate) to Rhenish Franconian / Palatinate / East Franconian mixed area to the south. As can be seen from the delimiting isoglosses, Hessian is subject to the High German sound shift with respect to t > s and k > ch / h, but unlike East Central German it does not show the transition p > f .

The border to the Low German-speaking area is characterized by a spatially very narrow bundle of isoglosses - the Benrath line , which here, unlike to the west and east, is hardly fanned out. This language border (or maken -machen or ik-ich -line) between Low German and Central German language varieties or Hessian belongs to the dialect continuum, but is probably one of the most sharply developed transition areas in the German-speaking area. In contrast, the border to the south is characterized by particularly wide isoglosses and is correspondingly blurred. The transition to Palatinate, East Franconian and Thuringian is fluid.

Characteristic is the lack of distinction between voiced and voiceless s or sh and in southern and central Hesse between ch on the one hand and sh on the other. All these sounds tend to be pronounced voiced, so that phonetically e.g. B. between church and cherry or between white and wise hardly any difference can be heard. This sometimes leads to hypercorrection in High German ( Kirchbaum instead of Kirschbaum ).


Hessian is characterized by residual occurrences of particularly ancient words, the stems of which are rarely found in other dialects or languages, such as idrecken, itarucken for ruminating, densen, dinsen for "pulling something with all your might " and honoring (earring) for plowing / plowing.

The Hessian vocabulary is documented in three multi-volume dictionaries, the “ South Hessian Dictionary ” (completed, 6 volumes), the “ Hessen-Nassauisches Volkssprachbuch ” (work in progress) and the “ Frankfurt Dictionary ” (completed, 6 volumes).

A. G. E. Vilmar's Idiotikon von Kurhessen (Marburg / Leipzig 1868) and Hermann von Pfister's dialect and ancestral supplements to A. F. C. Vilmar's Idiotikon von Hessen (Marburg 1886) come from the 19th century .


South of the Main, the past tense is missing and is replaced by the perfect tense (perfect present); however, preterital forms are common north of the Main. in the south it means “I came” for standard German, so I am kumme, in the north, however, I kåm . A second important difference to the standard language, albeit a common German one, is the replacement of the genitive with prepositional and dative paraphrases. Instead of “Georgs Buch” it is therefore “des Buch vum Schorsch” or “em Schorsch soi Buch”.

The Hessian syntax was investigated in the 2010s at the Philipps University of Marburg as part of the project “SyHD: Syntax of Hessian Dialects”.


Little direct information can be said about changes in the Hessian dialect in sound level, vocabulary and geographical distribution in earlier times due to the lack of dialectic records before modern times. Indirectly, the development of the regional chancellery language and the hypercorrections contained therein , but also by means of dialect geography, can at least partially reveal the medieval language history. The poetry of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is also an indirect historical testimony to Hessian , because many of the pairs of rhymes he uses are based on the Hessian pronunciation, e.g. B. beautiful - walking, leaning - rich, trying - virtue , etc.

In Hessian-speaking areas, people began very early to raise their children only in High German, in order to make it easier for the children in school. The decisive factor here was the exclusive use of Standard German in schools as early as the 19th century (especially in the areas annexed by Prussia after 1866 ). The children were, so to speak, bilingual, which was not a disadvantage. In the urban agglomerations the dialect has almost died out. The real Hessian dialect is still spoken in the villages by mostly older residents.

Today's colloquial language in Hesse is widely spoken in high German, which is also called “Hessian” in everyday language. The linguistic expression for the "New Hessian " Regiolekt spoken by some population groups in parts of southern / central Hesse is "Rhein-Main-Regiolekt".

Hessian dialect in media and culture

Media influence

Particularly strong on the widespread assumption that the dialects of South Hesse are “the Hessian” par excellence (known as “TV Hessian”). a. the pronounced humorous tradition of South Hesse in the media (see below) contributed. For better identification of "South Hessian", the expression "Äbbelwoihessisch" (apple wine Hessian) is used more and more. In the past - notwithstanding the Darmstadt local posse Datterich by Ernst Elias Niebergall (see link below "Hessische Spielgemeinschaft") in the 19th century or the Mainz dialect "The happy vineyard" by Carl Zuckmayer - these developed on Carnival , in the Volkstheater (e.g. B. in the Frankfurt Volkstheater by Liesel Christ and Lia Wöhr ) and in dialect literature (e.g. Friedrich and Adolf Stoltze ).

Popular culture

Since 1995 there has been in Frankfurt with REZI * BABBEL, the Frankfurt dialect recitation theater, dialect programs around Friedrich Stoltze (1816–1891) and other dialect poets of the 19th century.

There are Central Hessian dialect groups, such as the Odermennig group ( Hessian hinterland ) in the Marburg-Biedenkopf district , the Fäägmeel and KORK groups ( Gießen district ) and the Ulmtaler group ( Lahn-Dill district ). Their texts, songs and pieces largely correspond to the regional basic dialects of Central and Upper Hesse.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Friebertshäuser, page 91: Inflection of the verb, past tense shrinkage
  2. Syntax of Hessian dialects - simple past / perfect distribution
  3. ^ Friebertshäuser, page 86: Inflection of the noun, case
  4. syntax Hessian dialects - adnominal Possession
  5. ^ Syntax of Hessian dialects SyHD.
  6. Helmut Fritz: Hey, listen! . Deutschlandradio Kultur. August 5, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  7. ^ Lars Vorberger: Regional language in Hesse. An investigation into language variation and language change in central Hesse (=  journal for dialectology and linguistics. Supplement. Volume 178). Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-515-12363-1 .