This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article should specify the language of its non-English content, using ((lang)), ((transliteration)) for transliterated languages, and ((IPA)) for phonetic transcriptions, with an appropriate ISO 639 code. Wikipedia's multilingual support templates may also be used. See why. (November 2019) This article includes a list of references, related reading, or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please help improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Native toGermany, Belgium, Netherlands
RegionNorth Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Liège Province, Limburg
Native speakers
(Kölsch: 250,000 cited 1997)[1]
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Individual code:
ksh – Kölsch
Area where Ripuarian is spoken. Green = sparsely populated forest.
Central German language area after 1945 and the expulsion of the Germans from the east. 1 = Ripuarian.

Ripuarian (/ˌrɪpjuˈɛəriən/ RIP-yoo-AIR-ee-ən; also Ripuarian Franconian; German: Ripuarisch, pronounced [ʁipuˈ(ʔ)aːʁɪʃ], ripuarische Mundart, ripuarischer Dialekt, ripuarisch-fränkische Mundart, Ribuarisch, Dutch: Ripuarisch [ripyˈʋaːris] , Noordmiddelfrankisch) is a German dialect group, part of the West Central German language group. Together with the Moselle Franconian which includes the Luxembourgish language, Ripuarian belongs to the larger Central Franconian dialect family and also to the linguistic continuum with the Low Franconian languages.

It is spoken in the Rhineland south of the Benrath line — from northwest of Düsseldorf and Cologne to Aachen in the west and to Waldbröl in the east.

The language area also comprises the north of the German-speaking Community of Belgium as well as the southern edge of the Limburg province of the Netherlands, especially Kerkrade (Kirchroa), where it is perceived as a variety of Limburgish and legally treated as such.[citation needed]

The name derives from the Ripuarian Franks (Rheinfranken), who settled in the area from the 4th century onward.

The most well known Ripuarian dialect is Kölsch, the local dialect of Cologne. Dialects belonging to the Ripuarian group almost always call themselves Platt (spelled plat in the Netherlands) like Öcher Platt (of Aachen), Bönnsch Platt (of Bonn), Eischwiele Platt (of Eschweiler), Kirchröadsj plat (of Kerkrade), or Bocheser plat (of Bocholtz). Most of the more than one hundred Ripuarian dialects are bound to one specific village or municipality. Usually there are small distinctive differences between neighbouring dialects (which are, however, easily noticeable to locals), and increasingly bigger differences between the more distant dialects. These are described by a set of isoglosses called the Rhenish fan in linguistics. The way people talk, even if they are not using Ripuarian, often allows them to be traced precisely to a village or city quarter where they learned to speak.

Number of speakers

About a million people speak a variation of Ripuarian dialect, which constitutes about one quarter of the inhabitants of the area. Penetration of Ripuarian in everyday communication varies considerably, as does the percentage of Ripuarian speakers from one place to another. In some places there may only be a few elderly speakers left, while elsewhere Ripuarian usage is common in everyday life. Both in the genuine Ripuarian area and far around it, the number of people passively understanding Ripuarian to some extent exceeds the number of active speakers by far.

Geographic significance

Speakers are centred on the German city of Köln (Cologne). The language's distribution starts from the important geographic transition into the flat-lands coming down from the Middle Rhine. The Ripuarian varieties are related to the Moselle Franconian languages spoken in the southern Rhineland (Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland) in Germany, to the Luxembourgish language in Luxembourg, and to the Low Franconian Limburgish language in the Dutch province of Limburg. Most of the historic roots of Ripuarian languages are in Middle German, but there were other influences too, such as Latin, Low German, Dutch, French and Southern Meuse-Rhenish (Limburgish). Several elements of grammar are unique to Ripuarian and do not exist in the other languages of Germany.[citation needed]

The French Community of Belgium as well as the Netherlands officially recognise some Ripuarian dialects as minority languages, and the European Union likewise follows.[citation needed]


Varieties are or include:[2]



The transcription from Münch,[3] in which the grave accent (`) and macron (¯) represent, respectively, accent 1 and 2 in the Central/Low Franconian pitch accent.

Cardinals Ordinals
1 ēn dę ìəštə
2 tswęī dę tswę̀itə
3 dreī dę drę̀itə
4 fiəꝛ dę fiətə
5 fønəf dę fønəftə
6 zęks dę zękstə
7 zevə dę zevəntə
8 āx dę āxtə
9 nøŋ̀ dę nøŋ̄tə
10 tsèn dę tsèntə
11 eləf dę eləftə
12 tsweləf dę tsweləftə
13 drøksēn dę drøksēntə
14 fiətsēn dę fiətsēntə
15 fuftsēn dę fuftsēntə
16 zęksēn dę zęksēntə
17 zevətsēn dę zevetsēntə
18 āxtsēn dę āxtsēntə
19 nøŋ̄sēn dę nøŋ̄tsēntə
20 tswantsiχ dę tswantsiχstə
21 enəntswantsiχ
22 tswęiəntswantsiχ
23 dreiəntswantsiχ
24 fiəꝛentswantsiχ
25 fønəvəntswantsiχ
26 zękzəntswantsiχ
27 zevənəntswantsiχ
28 āxəntswantsiχ
29 nøŋəntswantsiχ
30 dresiχ dę dresiχstə
40 fiətsiχ dę fiətsiχstə
50 fuftsiχ dę fuftsiχstə
60 zęksiχ dę zęksiχstə
70 zevəntsiχ dę zevətsiχstə
80 āxtsiχ dę āxtsiχstə
90 nøŋ̄siχ dę nøŋ̄tsiχstə
100 hondəꝛt dę hondəꝛtstə
200 tsweīhondəꝛt
1000 dùzənt dę dùzəntstə


Ripuarian (excluding City-Colognian) emphasised personal pronouns:[3]

1st person 2nd person 3rd person
m. / f. / n.
(of the 3rd person)
Nom. du hę̄ zeī ət
Dat. mīꝛ dīꝛ em̀ ìꝛ em̀ ziχ
Acc. miχ diχ en zeī ət ziχ
Nom. mīꝛ īꝛ
Dat. os eǹə ziχ
Acc. os ziχ

See also



  1. ^ Ripuarian at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
    Kölsch at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Jürgen Erich Schmidt, Robert Möller, Historisches Westdeutsch/Rheinisch (Moselfränkisch, Ripuarisch, Südniederfränkisch), sub-chapter Das Ripuarische; in: Sprache und Raum: Ein internationales Handbuch der Sprachvariation. Band 4: Deutsch. Herausgegeben von Joachim Herrgen, Jürgen Erich Schmidt. Unter Mitarbeit von Hanna Fischer und Birgitte Ganswindt, volume 30.4 of Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science / Manuels de linguistique et des sciences de communication) (HSK), Berlin/Boston, 2019, p. 529f.
  3. ^ a b Grammatik der ripuarisch-fränkischen Mundart von Ferdinand Münch. Bonn, 1904, p. 8ff. & p. 159f.
    Some symbols with their IPA equivalent are:
    • ę - [ɛ]
    • š - [⁠ʃ⁠]
    • - ⁠[ʁ⁠]
    • χ - [ç]
    • x - [⁠x⁠]