|Latin (German alphabet)|
Areas where Alemannic dialects are spoken
Swabian (Schwäbisch (help·info)) is one of the dialect groups of Alemannic German that belong to the High German dialect continuum. It is mainly spoken in Swabia which is located in central and southeastern Baden-Württemberg (including its capital Stuttgart and the Swabian Jura region) and the southwest of Bavaria (Bavarian Swabia). Furthermore, Swabian German dialects are spoken by Caucasus Germans in Transcaucasia. The dialects of the Danube Swabian population of Hungary, the former Yugoslavia and Romania are only nominally Swabian and can be traced back not only to Swabian but also to Frankonian, Bavarian and Hessian German dialects, with locally varying degrees of influence of the initial dialects.
Swabian can be difficult to understand for speakers of Standard German due to its pronunciation and partly differing grammar and vocabulary. For example, the Standard German term for "strawberry jam" is Erdbeermarmelade whereas in Swabian it is called Bräschdlingsgsälz.
In 2009, the word Muggeseggele (a Swabian idiom), meaning the scrotum of a housefly, was voted in a readers' survey by Stuttgarter Nachrichten, the largest newspaper in Stuttgart, as the most beautiful Swabian word, well ahead of any other term. The expression is used in an ironic way to describe a small unit of measure and is deemed appropriate to use in front of small children (compare Bubenspitzle). German broadcaster SWR's children's website, Kindernetz, explained the meaning of Muggeseggele in their Swabian dictionary in the Swabian-based TV series Ein Fall für B.A.R.Z.
|"t" to "d"||"p" to "b"|
|Tasche (bag)||Dasch||putzen (to clean)||butza|
|Tag (day)||Dag||Papa (dad)||Baba|
(German = Swabian)
|short a [a]||[a]||machen = macha|
|long a [aː]||[ɔː]||schlafen = schlofa|
|short e [ɛ]||[e]||Mensch, fest = Mentsch, fescht|
|[ɛ]||Fest = Fäscht|
|long e [eː]||[ɛa̯]||leben = läaba|
|short o [ɔ]||[ɔ]||Kopf = Kopf|
|long o [oː]||[aʊ̯]||hoch, schon = hau, schau|
|short ö [œ]||[e]||können, Köpfe = kenna, Kepf|
|long ö [øː]||[eː]||schön = schee|
|short i [ɪ]||[e]||in = en|
|long i (ie) [iː]||[ia̯]||nie = nia|
|short ü [ʏ]||[ɪ]||über = iber|
|long ü [yː]||[ia̯]||müde = miad|
|short u [ʊ]||[ɔ]||und = ond|
|long u [uː]||[ua̯]||gut = guat|
|ei [aɪ̯]||[ɔa̯], [ɔɪ̯][a]||Stein = Schdoa/Schdoi|
|[a̯i][b]||mein = mei|
|au [aʊ̯]||[aʊ̯][c]||laufen = laofa|
|[a̯u][d]||Haus = Hous|
|eu [ɔʏ̯]||[a̯i], [ui̯]||Feuer = Feijer/Fuijer|
In many regions, the Swabian dialect is spoken with a unique intonation that is also present when native speakers speak in Standard German. Similarly, there is only one alveolar fricative phoneme /s/, which is shared with most other southern dialects. Most Swabian-speakers are unaware of the difference between /s/ and /z/ and do not attempt to make it when they speak Standard German.
The voiced plosives, the post-alveolar fricative, and the frequent use of diminutives based on "l" suffixes gives the dialect a very "soft" or "mild" feel, often felt to be in sharp contrast to the harder varieties of German spoken in the North.
|Stop||p b||t d||k ɡ|
|Fricative||f v||s||ʃ||(ç)||x (ɣ)||ʁ||(ʕ) h|
Swabian is categorized as an Alemannic dialect, which in turn is one of the two types of Upper German dialects (the other being Bavarian).
The Swabian dialect is composed of numerous sub-dialects, each of which has its own variations. These sub-dialects can be categorized by the difference in the formation of the past participle of 'sein' (to be) into gwäa and gsei. The Gsei group is nearer to other Alemannic dialects, such as Swiss German. It can be divided into South-East Swabian, West Swabian and Central Swabian.
The Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Commerce launched an advertising campaign with the slogan "Wir können alles. Außer Hochdeutsch." which means "We can [do] everything. Except [speak] Standard German" to boost Swabian pride for their dialect and industrial achievements. However, it failed to impress Northern Germans and neighboring Baden. Dominik Kuhn (Dodokay) became famous in Germany with schwäbisch fandub videos, dubbing among others Barack Obama with German dialect vocals and revised text. In the German dubbing of the 2001 movie Monsters Inc., the Abominable Snowman, played by John Ratzenberger in the original English version and Walter von Hauff in the German version, speaks in the Swabian dialect.