View Single Post
  #12  
Old 10-22-2019, 04:13 PM
Schnitte is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 3,642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
What do people in modern Germany do?
We all understand Standard German, which is (as the name implies) the standardised variant of the language in which books are printed, films and TV shows are shot (unless it's a book, film or show which specifically makes a point of using dialect), and which is what they'll teach you when you study German as a foreign language. But alongside Standard German, we speak a regional or local dialect of it; very roughly, the dialects of the north of Germany are called Low German, and those of the southern part High German (this is a simplified grouping; within each of these two groups, vast differences exist, but as a rough rule of thumb you can categorise German dialects along these two lines).

How much any given local dialect differs from Standard German depends not only on the dialect in question but also the individual speaker. Some people have very thick dialects which make it difficult for listeners from other regions to understand. Others speak in a manner which differs little from Standard German; in those cases, the dialect is more of an underlying tone in the way words are pronounced and which does not make it difficult to understand (even though it is, usually, still possible to tell on this basis, roughly, which part of Germany the speaker comes from). As a general rule, you'd use whatever dialect you grew up with to talk to close family, childhood friends, or simply people from the same region as you; whereas you'd make an effort (consciously or not) to speak Standard German (or a less thick version of your dialect - it's really a spectrum between speaking dialect and speaking Standard German, not a binary yes/no issue) to people from other regions of Germany. The more official and business-y the context and situation, the more your language would migrate away from dialect and towards Standard German. Incidentally, I remember reading a story that in Baden-Württemberg - a region of Germany known for both its thick dialects and its economic wealth -, there was, a few years ago, a local craze among white-collar workers to take Standard German lessons to get rid of their accents.
__________________
"The banana has certain characteristics, appearance, taste, softness, seedlessness, easy handling, a constant level of production which enable it to satisfy the constant needs of an important section of the population consisting of the very young, the old and the sick."