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A regiolect , also called regional language or regional colloquial language , is a dialectal, regionally widespread colloquial language . It distinguishes itself from the standard variety by its own substratum made up of different dialects spoken in the region concerned and often a characteristic accent . It differs from the local dialects in that it has abandoned or sanded off most of the inconsistent dialectal peculiarities with regard to vocabulary , grammar and pronunciation in favor of national or high-level language elements. Common features of the dialects are often retained and are mixed in the Regiolect with characteristics of the overarching high-level language .

If the distribution area of ​​a Regiolekt is just a metropolitan area , it may also be referred to as a Metrolekt .


Regiolects can certainly have a regional breakdown. This is particularly encouraged by clearly different dialect groups in a region. In Rhenish, for example, one can distinguish a Lower Rhine or Northern variety from a southern one. The border is north of the Benrath near the Uerdinger line . The standard German “es geht um” can serve as a shibboleth . In the Lower Rhine region, people say “it's about that”, while in the south they say “it's about that”. In addition, the Rhenish in the area of ​​the Ruhr estuary shows clear proportions of Ruhr German that are hardly understood elsewhere.

Research and documentation

As a variety between the dialects and the standard language, the regional languages ​​have long been treated relatively neglected by linguistics . The dialectological research dealt with the basic dialects , while the non-dialect-related research focused on the high-level and written languages . In addition, there are methodological deficits in surveys . Only since the Second World War have processes and methods gradually been developed within the framework of sociolinguistics , variety linguistics , language dynamics and modern phonology , which bring this middle language level into the focus of systematic research and in some cases make investigations on it possible in the first place.

Only since shortly before the beginning of the 21st century have projects for documentation and research on regional linguistic varieties been proposed and launched on a large scale.


In general, a German Regiolekt is widely understood by every German speaker. Certain words or phrases that originally came from dialects have even made it into standard German via the Regiolect. This mainly happens when writers, journalists or musicians with a regional background include them in their texts and the German-speaking general public continues to use the words in normal language from then on. Thus, the Regiolekt takes on a mediating position between standard language and dialect. As much as the use of dialects in Germany declined from the second half of the 20th century, the regiolects remain stable. Many regiolect speakers are not or not always aware of using it and imagine they are using the standard language.

In most cases, a regiolect is relatively congruent with a dialect area. The similarities in vocabulary use and pronunciation there lead to a similarly modified use of standard German. Examples include the Upper Saxon-meißische Regiolekt (the " Sächseln ") or the Rhine . Individual evidence suggests that a regiolect can at least partially also be classified as a sociolect .

The regiolect can play an identity-creating role where real dialects are hardly used or are too different locally. A well-known example of this is Ruhr German , which is close to Standard German, is not a dialect in the sense of a local language and yet identifies a speaker from the Ruhr area relatively clearly. Like Berlin , it can also be classified as a Metrolekt .

The transition between dialect, regiolect and standard German can be traced using a few sample words (both vocabulary and accentuation can vary):

  • Standard German: Garden - Rhenish : Jachten - Kölsch : Jaade - Vürjeberschßplatt : Jahd
  • Standard German: Garden - Lower Rhine: Chachten - Mölmsch : Chaade - Krieewelsch : Jaard
  • Standard German: Schirm - Rheinisch: Schirrem - Koblenzer Platt: Baraplü - Kölsch: Parraplüh (Ruhr German or Westphalian Regiolekt in comparison: Schiam)
  • Standard German: Apfelwein - Hessian Regiolekt: Äppler - Frankfurterisch: Ebbelwoi

Some terms are only used in certain regional lectures. For rubbing, pressing and scratching with the fingers the word fummeln is used in the general German colloquial language , in Rhenish additionally nibbling or piddling, in Ruhr German against prockeln . These words seem absolutely natural to the speaker, but are used e.g. B. can hardly be understood in Bavaria. Prominent examples of originally dialectically related vocabulary incorporated into standard German are:

  • Klüngel for nepotism - from the Kölschen. In Cologne the verb klüngln (next to trändln ) is also used for dawdling.
  • Popping for sexual intercourse (driving) - from the Ruhr German, Lower Rhine and Ripuarian
  • Schmarrn for nonsense - from Bavarian and Franconian.
  • Tickets for parking tickets - from the Rhineland
  • Pancakes for pancakes / crêpes - in Austria
  • Kiez for surroundings, neighborhood, district - from Berlin

Germany's regional lect

Rheinischer Regiolekt : IPA : da ˈkant͜sə ˌma‿ˈkukə̆n

Other regions of the German

Web links

Wiktionary: Regiolekt  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: regional language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Michael Elmenthaler: Language borders and language stratifications in the Rhineland . On the linguistic genesis of the "Rhenish". In: Bernd Kortländer (Ed.): "Rheinisch" . to the self-image of a region (=  archive, library, museum / Heinrich-Heine-Institut Düsseldorf ). tape 9 . Metzler, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-476-01843-1 .
  2. Compare: Jürgen Erich Schmidt, Joachim Herrgen: Sprachdynamik . An introduction to modern regional language research (=  Basics of German Studies . Volume 49 ). Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH & Co KG, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-503-12268-4 , p. 277 .
  3. ^ Michael Elmentaler: Speech situation spectra in areal comparison . Preliminary considerations for an atlas of everyday German language. In: Journal of Dialectology and Linguistics . tape 73 , 2006, pp. 1-29 .
  4. See for example the project Language Variation in Northern Germany of the DFG and six Northern German universities.
  5. For example through the interactive dictionary of the Rhineland colloquial language of the Rhineland Regional Association .
  6. See also as an example.
  7. source?
  8. For example with Georg Cornelissen : Rheinisches Deutsch. Who “speaks” how to whom and why. Greven-Verlag, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-7743-0367-3 .