Middle German dialects
That means German belongs to the language family of High German . German agents in this sense are the inhabitants of the German-speaking countries with a Central German dialect ( dialect ) and standard German written language .
In Central German, which is spoken in the area between the Benrath Line in the north and the Speyer Line in the south, the High German sound shift took place to a lesser extent than in Upper German . This sound shift did not affect Low German and Dutch . This Central German language area includes the area of West- Central German and East-Central German dialects and extends in the south from Alsace along the Main line to the Ore Mountains and in the north from Aachen via northern Hesse to southern Brandenburg . This is largely in line with the settlement and urbanization of Central Germany during the Middle Ages , which occurred primarily in the Central Rhine and Lower Saxony areas.
The term “ Central German ” originated in the 19th century when the dialects in the German-speaking area were examined. Previously, a distinction was only made between Oberland or Upper German and Dutch or Low German. During the dialect investigations it was found that the High German sound shift, which makes the historically most striking difference between the Oberland and the Dutch language, happened only incompletely in a very broad strip. Because of these and a few other features, the "strip", which is much wider on the Rhine than in the east, was understood as a transition area between Upper and Lower German.
Differentiation from other dialects
The East Central German dialects (north of the Thuringian Forest , east of the Werra and south of the Benrath Line , i.e. in large parts of what is now called "Central Germany") are the closest to New High German of all German dialects, as the linguist Theodor Frings has proven. The dialects in the area between Erfurt , Hof , Dessau-Roßlau and Dresden agree in many features with New High German, for example in the vocabulary, since the New High German written language goes back very much to Martin Luther's translation of the Bible , which is the Saxon chancellery language , the language of the state officials of the Electorate Saxony , viewed and used as a model for the High German spelling and pronunciation (“I speak to the Saxon office”). This was, however, a national compensation language and not the same as the spoken dialects of the region . For a long time, German in Prague performed a similar balancing function and played a mediating role between Upper and Central German dialects.
- Transitional area between the Lower Franconian and Central German language areas (the southern Lower Franconian , the so-called Limburg dialects between the Uerdinger and Benrath lines are inconsistently assigned to both Middle and Lower Franconian )
West Central German dialects
- Ripuarian , also Ripuarian-Franconian ( North Rhine-Westphalia , East Belgium ; including Kölsch , Eischwiele Platt )
- Moselle Franconian (North Rhine-Westphalia ( Siegerland ), Belgium ( Belgian Eifel ), Rhineland-Palatinate and northwestern Saarland )
- Lorraine (France ( Moselle department ))
- South Hesse (Hesse (south of the Main ), Rhineland-Palatinate ( Rheinhessen ) and Bavaria (western Lower Franconia ))
- Central or Middle Hessian (Hesse (around Marburg , Wetzlar , Gießen , Wetterau and in Vogelsberg ))
- Wittgensteiner Platt (North Rhine-Westphalia ( Wittgensteiner Land ))
- North Hesse (Hessen (around Frankenberg (Eder) , Homberg (Efze) , Rotenburg an der Fulda and Kassel ))
- East Hessian (Hesse (around Fulda and in parts of the Rhön ) and Bavaria (north of Bad Brückenau ))
- Transitional area between the Rhine Franconian and Moselle Franconian
- Middle Franconian
East Central German dialects
- Thuringian-Upper Saxon
- Lusatian-Neumärkisch (central Saxony-Anhalt , Berlin and Brandenburg )
- Silesian (German minority in Poland, diaspora in Germany, until 1946 Northeast Bohemia, North Moravia and Czech Silesia )
- High Prussian (†) (a few speakers in northeast Poland and in the diaspora in Germany)
Transitional area between the Upper and Central German language areas (linguists often assign East and South Franconian to Upper German .)
- East Franconian (Bavaria ( Upper , Middle and Lower Franconia ), Baden-Württemberg ( Heilbronn-Franconia region ), Thuringia south of the Rennsteig , Saxony ( Vogtland ) and until 1946 western Bohemia (then Czechoslovakia ))
- South Franconian , also North Baden or South Rhine Franconian (Baden-Württemberg around Karlsruhe , Heilbronn , Pforzheim )
- Helga Bister-Broosen: Language change in the dialect of Krefeld. In: Berkeley insights in linguistics and semiotics, Vol. 3, New York 1989, p. 10.