Riparian dialects

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Spoken in

North Rhine-Westphalia , Rhineland-Palatinate , Netherlands , Belgium
Spread of the Sal and Rhine Franks until the 5th / 6th century
German dialects since 1945 (the Ripuarian language area [No. 36] lies between the maken -machen and dorp-dorf lines )
Düsseldorfer Platt Völsj Platt Gemmenicher Platt Platdiets Hommersch Platt Kirchröadsj Kölsch Landkölsch Öcher Platt Eischwiele Platt Dürener Platt Stolberger Platt Bönnsch
Dark blue: distribution area of ​​the Ripuarian dialects.
The Rhenish fan :
1: Northern Lower Franconian (Kleverländisch)
2: Southern Lower Franconian (Limburgish)
3: Ripuarian
4: Northern Moselle Franconian
5: southern Moselle Franconian
6: Rhine Franconian

Ripuarian - also Ripwarisch or North Middle Franconian (from Latin ripa , 'the bank') - is a continental West Germanic dialect group . It is one of the three major language groups called Rhenish , among which it occupies a middle position spatially and in the dialect continuum of the Rhineland between the Lower Rhine on the Lower Rhine , which, like the Dutch language, belongs to the Lower Franconian , and the Moselle Franconian dialect area bordering to the south , which like the Ripuarian dialects of the West Central German language group is assigned. The Ripuarian language area includes the area around the cities of Cologne , Bonn and Aachen . In terms of linguistic history and phonetics, Limburg is the closest thing to it, a Lower Franconian variety that is widespread in Northern Belgium and the southeastern Dutch province of Limburg and a narrow strip from Heinsberg to the Lower Rhine in Germany. This enjoys the official status of a minority language in the Netherlands according to the EU Charter.


From the middle of the 3rd century Germanic tribes joined together on the lower Rhine to form the new major tribe of the Franks . The Salian sub-tribe invaded northern Gaul via Toxandria . Other sub-tribes moved from the Lower Rhine to the Middle Rhine. The term "Ripuarier" was used as a name for the tribes of the Rhine Franks , who have settled on the river banks of the middle Rhine , the upper Maas , the lower Sieg and the Ahr , Erft and Rur since the 4th century . that means "shore dwellers" - on. The corresponding territory was called Ripuarien . In contrast, the settled in the year 15 BC by the Romans in Cologne -. And later Romanized - Ubii historically not be counted among the "Ripuariern".

In addition to the Salfranken , the Rhine Franks became the main tribe within the emerging empire of the Franks (derived from “the cheeky, brave”, later also meaning “free”).

The Rhine Franconians conquered Cologne in the 5th century, which became their capital for a time. At the same time they ended the predominance of Latin in this part of Germania. The subjugated Cologne population - descendants of the Romanized Ubians as well as the Gallo-Romans - was assimilated by the Rhine Franks .

The Franconians probably spoke a relatively uniform Old Franconian between Frankfurt am Main , Reims and Cologne at that time . The fact that a rural population was increasingly settling in these landscapes meant that the Old Franconian language became clearly differentiated regionally in the following period. Historically, the terms Rhine Franconia and Ripuarier were equated : The Lex Ripuaria (Ripuarian law) , published in the 7th and 8th centuries, was valid throughout the Rhine-Franconian area. However, this equation cannot be transferred to the dialect speakers. Only the dialects across the Rhine in south-west Bergisch via Cologne to Aachen are called "Ripuarian". The dialects on the Lower Rhine ( Niederrheinisches or Niederfränkisches Platt) as well as the dialects on the Moselle and in the Rhine-Main area, which are referred to as " Mosel-Franconian " and " Rhine-Franconian " - in accordance with the Rhenish subjects published by the Rhineland Regional Council (LVR) are to be distinguished from this .


The borders of the dialect area extend from the Benrath line in the north and west, to Wildberg ( Oberberg ) in the east (with lingual influences to the northern Siegerland ), and Eupen in the west. In the south, the dialect border coincides relatively exactly with the state border of North Rhine-Westphalia south of Bad Honnef and Hennef . However, two narrow strips in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate are also added; on the one hand the Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler region and on the other the Linz am Rhein region . Due to the fact that these territories have belonged to the Electorate of Cologne for centuries , the language border runs on the right bank of the Rhine between Leubsdorf and Bad Hönningen . In the west, i.e. on the left bank of the Rhine, it continues south of Bad Breisig and north of Brohl-Lützing as the Vinxtbach line . Ripuarian is also spoken in the north-eastern and central part of the German-speaking area in Belgium (which came to Belgium in 1920) and in some south- east Limburg border communities in the Netherlands , such as Kerkrade ( Kerkrader Platt ), Bocholtz and Vaals and the surrounding area.

The languages ​​between the Benrath line and the Uerdinger line, which runs further north (the "Lower Franconian I dialects"), such as the Düsseldorfer Platt , have a lot in common with the Ripuarian dialects. Even if they have many Low German and Dutch peculiarities, they are occasionally, depending on your point of view, assigned to Ripuarian. In some areas, such as in and around Mönchengladbach or in the city of Velbert , the various typical differences between Ripuarian and the neighboring dialects are mixed up in such a broad, heavily populated area that precise demarcation is difficult and relatively arbitrary anyway.

Dutch authors in particular regard the Limburg , Lower Franconian and Ripuarian language areas as a relatively strong linguistic unit.


The best known are the Cologne dialects of Ripuarian, including the Landkölschen . The other dialect variants usually have the designation “ Platt ” in their names, such as Öcher Platt , Hommersch Platt , Dürener Platt and Eischwiele Platt , and so on. The Ripuarian dialects are related to the Moselle Franconian , but also have similarities with the Lower Rhine dialects, which makes them transitional dialects . The historically closest relative of the Ripuarian dialects is Limburgish in the Netherlands and Belgium, which, however, due to its location on the other side of the Benrath line, has much more affinity with Dutch and its other dialects.

In the extreme southeast of the Dutch province of Limburg , for example in and around Kerkrade ( Kerkrader Platt ), Bocholtz and Vaals and in the north of East Belgium, for example in and around Eupen ( Eupener Platt and Gemmenicher Platt ), Ripuarian dialects are spoken that are very similar to Öcher Platt . These dialects are sometimes referred to as Southeast Limburg (ndl. Oostelijk Zuidlimburgs or Zuidoost-Limburgs ).

The Ripuarian vocabulary is described in the Rhenish dictionary .

The local Ripuarian varieties differ significantly in semantics and lexicons , in pronunciation and in some grammatical peculiarities. In general, it can be observed that neighboring variants usually sound quite similar and there is good mutual intelligibility, while, typical for a dialect continuum , this does not have to be the case with spatially further apart, which can go as far as being completely incomprehensible. In relation to this, it should be said that if necessary, the “distant” dialects can usually be learned quickly, at least passively.

The Ripuarian dialects are sometimes roughly divided into western Riparian in the greater Aachen area and the south-western Eifel, central Riparian in the Cologne, Bonn, and Neuss area and the Bergish dialects spoken mainly in the southern part of the Bergisches Land . In many cases, this classification corresponds to the usual particle , which corresponds to the High German “isn't it?”, The Swiss German “oder?”, The Hessian and partly Upper German “gell?”, Or the English “is it?”, “Isn 't it? ”is appended to sentences. In western Ripuarian it is mostly a “wa !?” to “waach?” With a very weak “ch”, in central Ripuarian it goes from a “ne” with a short, almost toneless “e” to “neejet”, while in southern Bergisch “Woll” to “probably” predominate, if such a particle is used at all. The “woll” area continues east and north into the Sauerland and the rest of South Westphalia .

A good thousand Ripuarian varieties are known from different places or districts.


Map based on the clustering of the pronunciation spacing of German dialects, with Ripuarian including transition dialects in gold.

All Ripuarian and neighboring Limburg dialects have in common that they contain a moderate amount of tonal components , which makes them tone accent languages , and that they are largely spoken with a kind of sentence rhythm, characterized by strongly changing vowel lengths, occasional tiny pauses within some words and syllables , but strong liaison with Sandhi , assimilation across word boundaries, (optional) vowel insertions (usually an unstressed e ) and / or diphthongs , real and false deletions . The Ripuarian sentence melodies are much more pronounced than the German or Dutch and different from the French. Often the sentence order is subordinated to the "appropriate" rhythm and the sentence melody, especially if a word with a high accent would meet an unstressed or deeply spoken part of the sentence melody. Sentence melody, rhythm, pitch and accentuation are used to a much greater extent than in the neighboring high-level languages ​​to convey semantic components in the spoken language. It is not uncommon for a word sequence to have up to a dozen merely differently pronounced (intoned) variants that contain completely different statements, including the opposites; In High German, these can sometimes only be reproduced with additional modal particles or require a completely different choice of words.


Although there is a considerable treasure trove of vernacular literature and songs in Ripuarian, it is considered difficult to adequately write down the spoken language. Obviously, there is no uniform spelling in well over a hundred strongly different dialects and the situation is largely the same as before the standardization of German and Dutch spelling, in which everyone writes as he believes that it corresponds to what is spoken, in the hope that the Others will understand it correctly. Only for Kölsch have there been various attempts to establish a definition recently by the Akademie för uns Kölsche Sproch, among others , which, however, have received little attention so far.

With the Rhenish Documenta , a simple phonetic transcription was developed in the 1980s with which the Ripuarian dialects and others can be notated quite faithfully. It does not capture any accents in the usual way. It can represent 25 vowels and 26 consonants; From a strict phonological point of view, all that is missing is a vowel (the o- Schwa [ɐ̯] ), a consonant (the [ɕ] , the sch-like Cologne variant of the "ch") and the glottal closure . Despite a number of publications, she was not noticed by the wider public.

A peculiarity of the Ripuarian dialects is that there is no initial 'G'. Neither the dictionary New by Cologne vocabulary of Adam Wrede still in Aachen vocabulary of Will Hermanns , or in the book Dürener Platt Josef Heinrichs there is a chapter, G '. Most one in High German with is G incipient word with a J spoken.

Phonetic and phonological properties


In Ripuarian, as in the neighboring Moselle Franconian language, three vowel chronemes are known in the normal course of speech , which are usually referred to as "short", "long" and "extra long", occasionally also as "short", "medium", "long" or "Stretched". There are two lengths of consonants, which rarely distinguish meanings, but often words from non-words . For comparison: German knows two vowel lengths and one of the consonants, the common consonant gemination in Ripuarian does not take place.


The Phon stock of the Ripuarian dialects includes, for example, those of High German, Low German and Dutch taken together, plus others that roughly match the Limburg dialects, and some of their own. However, in Ripuarian there is predominantly a smaller range of variation of the allophones and significantly less position dependencies than in Standard and Low German or in Dutch. The fact that almost every theoretically conceivable sound pairing can also occur in words or at least be "realized" in logatoms makes the Ripuarian dialects sound slightly strange to the ears of German native speakers from more distant dialect areas.

Importance in everyday life

The importance of the Ripuarian dialects in everyday life varies greatly from region to region, but is declining almost everywhere. In the country, where before the Second World War the respective local dialect was the colloquial language at least among the locals, this has now been replaced by the Rhenish Regiolekt or standard German . Nevertheless, the dialect is still present in quite a few places. He is brought out again, so to speak , especially in the carnival season , at the shooting festival , at the fair , but also on other occasions. Strange public diglossia can often be observed, for example when a dialect band makes an explanatory announcement in pure High German or, at best, in Regiolect, and then the whole hall with the group sings the announced song in a Ripuarian dialect, and then immediately afterwards to lapse into high German.

Arts and Culture

In dialect literature and poetry in professional, such as amateur theaters and play groups, occasionally in dialect clubs , in carnival songs such as hand-made speeches and, since the 68s, reinforced by music groups , some of the dialects have been kept alive. It works in very different ways.

Ripuarian terms or ways of speaking also appear in High German literature, naturally mostly with authors from the region where they are spoken. As an important stylistic device, for example in Böll's novella " End of a business trip ."

With the blessing of the archdiocese , Holy Mass is occasionally celebrated in some churches and in Cologne Cathedral , with the exception of prescribed, inviolable rites , sometimes in the local dialect, including sermons.


Regional or local advertising with dialect slogans is quite common. "Mer mulle nit, mer drive mët" at the transport company of the city of Aachen . "I'll do it long for üch" at the Düren municipal utility . The Sparkasse KölnBonn advertises: “För üch do.” With one of the most successful poster campaigns of the post-war period: “ Küppers Kölsch em Köhlänke is esu jot like ene eijene Köbes em Hus” and the like, the Wuppertal brewery Wicküler conquered the Cologne market. Also from Cologne: "Dat Wasser vun Kölle es jot", which brought the local waterworks not only a lot of scorn and ridicule but also decades of attention, not least through parodies , such as the song "Dat Wasser vun Kölle" by Bläck Fööss , texted by Hans Click .

Tavern sign: Op d'r Eck (on the corner)
Inscription on a monument in front of the west side of the Cologne Cathedral, in High German: "Imitation finial , the same size as the top of this Domtürmen, 9.50 m high 4.60 m wide. A sign that the cathedral was completed in
1880. "
Carnival: Et tent stands Kopp
Fastelovends-Samsdaach op d'r Maat
(The tent is upside down on Carnival
Saturday in the market)

Signs and inscriptions

Numerous signs and information boards are kept in dialect, for example “Trick” and “Däu” on the doors of the Cologne Gürzenich , also restaurant names such as “beim Jupp” and “em Büjeliese” and inscriptions or explanations that are in historical places, squares, and important buildings as well as monuments can be found.

Influence on standard German

In the period after the Second World War , some Ripuarian words found their way into standard German colloquial and partly also written language via their Regiolekt variant . Examples are poppen , the Knöllchen , the Flachmann , the Kabänes and the Karnevalsjeck as well as the adjective picky .

In the Regiolekt of the Rhineland and partly beyond that, over three thousand words appear, such as “ titschen ”, “ piddeln ”, “ usselich ”, “ iggelich ”, “ Pittermännchen ” and “ Flappmann ”, whose Ripuarian origins the locals are generally not even aware of which are therefore taken for High German words and used accordingly.

Between these two groups there are words whose origin is generally known and whose distribution now far exceeds that of their original Ripuarian dialect, such as " Lallbacke ", " Köbes ", " Fiese Möpp " and "(kölscher) Klüngel ", " kölscher caviar ”, and so on.

See also


  • Claudia Froitzheim: Articulation norms of colloquial language in Cologne . In: Continuum. Narr, Tübingen 1984, ISBN 3-87808-332-7 . (At the same time dissertation at the University of Cologne 1983) (series of publications on linguistics, volume 2).
  • Georg Heike : On the phonology of the city of Cologne dialect . An experimental study of the acoustic distinguishing features. In: German dialect geography. Volume 57, Elwert, Marburg 1964.
  • Ferdinand Münch: Grammar of the Ripuarian-Franconian dialect . Cohen, Bonn 1904 ( online ). (Reprint: Saendig Reprint Verlag, Wiesbaden 1970, ISBN 3-500-21670-6 ).
  • Jürgen E. Schmidt: The Middle Franconian tone accents. Rhenish accentuation. In: Mainz studies on language and folk research. Volume 8. Steiner, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-515-04803-0 (also dissertation at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz 1986).
  • Jürgen E. Schmidt: The linguistic history of the Middle Franconian tone accents. In: Peter Auer, Peter Gilles, Helmut Spiekermann (eds.): Syllable cuts and tone accents . Niemeyer, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-484-30463-4 , pp. 201-233.
  • Peter Wiesinger : Phonetic-phonological research on vowel development in German dialects. Volumes 1 and 2. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1970 (Studia Linguistica Germanica 2).
Individual dialects

( Not listed here : what is mentioned in separate articles about individual Ripuarian local tongue species .)

  • Martin Fuß: Bachemer Platt. A documentation of the dialect of Niederbachem and Oberbachem . With 24 voice recordings on one CD, a publication by the Rhineland Regional Council , Office for Rhenish Regional Studies . Schmidt, Bonn / Siegburg 2001, ISBN 3-87710-320-0 .
  • Johannes books: Bonn- Beueler language treasure. In: Landschaftsverband Rheinland , Office for Rhenish Regional Studies (Hrsg.): Rhenish dialects. 2nd Edition. Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 1987, ISBN 3-7927-0966-X . (Contributions to the vernacular from the Rhenish landscapes, Volume 3)
  • Werner Heinrichs: Bergisch Platt . Attempt to take stock. 2nd Edition. Edition Kierdorf published by Kierdorf Verlag, Remscheid 1985, ISBN 3-922055-12-5 . (First self-published edition: Burscheid 1978)
  • - Dictionary of the Eschweiler dialect
  • Helmut Fischer: Dictionary of the lower victory . In: Rhenish dialects . Contributions to the vernacular from the Rhenish landscapes. Volume 4, Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 1985, ISBN 3-7927-0783-7
    • Wilma Herzog: Fun on the plateau in Jirrelsteener Land. Verlag H. Kaltenmeier Sons, Krefeld-Hüls 1994, ISBN 3-9803991-0-9 . (Voices of the Landscape Volume 37)
  • Jean Assenmacher: Komkomere on Ketteplöck. Old dialect expressions explained in High German. Alphabetical dictionary. Published by the Heimatverein Oberdollendorf and Römlinghoven e. V., Königswinter 1987.
  • Kirchröaddsjer Dieksiejoneer, een uitgave van de Stichting Kirchröaddsjer Dieksiejoneer. Kerkrade 1987.
  • Maria Louise Denst: Olper Platt - Bergisches dialect dictionary for Kürten - Olpe and surroundings. Bergisch Gladbach 1999, ISBN 3-932326-29-6 . (Series of publications by the Bergisches Geschichtsverein Abt. Rhein-Berg eV, Volume 29)
  • Hans Bruchhausen, Heinz Feldhoff: Us Platt kalle un verstonn. Dialect dictionary. published by the dialect table "Et wüerd platt jekallt" of the traffic and beautification association Lützenkirchen- Quettingen. Bergisch Gladbach 2005, ISBN 3-87314-410-7 .
  • Leo Lammert, Paul Schmidt: Neunkirchen-Seelscheider Sprachschatz. published by the Heimat- und Geschichtsverein Neunkirchen-Seelscheid, 2006.
  • Anton Frambach, Norbert Esser: Erftländer Sprachschatz - words, expressions, terms, idioms of the Ripuarian dialect, arranged in alphabetical order. Published by the Association of Heimatfreunde von Niederaußem and Auenheim (Bergheim) e. V., 2 volumes, Bergheim 1991.
  • Emil Hundhausen: D'r last "Chlöckner" - A Bergisch vocabulary. Ed. F. Stromberg, Herchen / Sieg 1968.
  • Peter Rösseler: Dictionary of Stolberg Dialect , Alsdorf 1998, ISBN 3-928877-01-1 .
  • Heinz Engelbert: Löschender Platt: Leuscheider stories in dialect and High German, with a dictionary of the Leuscheider dialect. 1999, ISBN 3-00-002277-5 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ulrich Nonn: The Franks. Verlag Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2010, pp. 11–63. ISBN 978-3-17-017814-4 .
  2. ^ Günther Drosdowski: The dictionary of origin - Etymology of the German language. 2nd edition, Verlag Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim 1989, p. 183. ISBN 3-411-00907-1 .
  3. Compare in German: "frank and free" or in English : " frankly "
  4. Rheinischer Fächer  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  5. The map at - accessed on January 30, 2011, shows the course of the state and language border in the south of the Hürtgen Forest
  6. See also Velberder Platt
  7. ^ Rhenish dictionary . On behalf of the Prussian Academy of Sciences , the Society for Rhenish History and the Provincial Association of the Rhine Province on the basis of the collection started by Johannes Franck and supported by all circles of the Rhenish people, edited and edited by Josef Müller, Heinrich Dittmaier, Rudolf Schützeichel and Mattias Zender. 9 volumes. Bonn / Berlin 1928–1971. Full text online
  8. You could systematically call the latter “ostripuarial”, but this term is not used.
  9. Bonner Generalanzeiger of March 13, 2015 (last accessed on March 14, 2015)
  10. Introduction to Dialectology of German, by H. Niebaum, 2011, p. 98.
  11. Elmar Ternes: Introduction to Phonology. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1987, ISBN 3-534-09576-6 , p. 116.
  12. The best carnival texts. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009 ; Retrieved March 2, 2013 .
  13. Part of it is documented in the book by Peter Honnen : Kappes, Knies and Klüngel. Regional dictionary of the Rhineland . Greven Verlag, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-7743-0337-1 .
  14. See ibid and in Peter Honnen : Alles Kokolores? - Words and word stories from the Rhineland . Greven Verlag, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-7743-0418-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Ripuarian  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations