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AssfeideiDallalalaa!

Inherdissertation,VerenaSauerexaminedhowthedialectItzgrndischspokenontheThuringian-Bavarianborderdevelopedbetween1930and2014.Herresultsdisprovedthecurrentpositionheldindialectresearchwhichwonheranacademicaward.

Verena Sauer
FarahClauen,CAU

SauerresearchestheGermandialectlandscape,especiallythatofherEastFranconianhomedialect,Itzgrndisch.

Itzgrndischisasmall,EastFranconiandialectnamedafteratributaryoftheriverMain,theItz.Itisspokenbyanestimated90,000peopleinSouthThuringiaandUpperFranconiainNorthernBavaria.OneofthesespeakersisDrVerenaSaueroftheInstituteofGermanStudiesatKielUniversity.Inherdissertation,sheexaminedwhetherthedialecthaschangedsincethe1930sas,aftertheSecondWorldWar,theGerman-Germanborderranrightthroughthemiddleofthedialectarea.

SauergrewupinSonneberginSouthThuringia.ShecouldspeakItzgrndischbeforeshespokestandardHighGerman(Hochdeutsch).ItwascommoninSouthernGermany.YoulearnedyourlocaldialectfirstandonlybegantospeakstandardHighGermanatkindergartenage.Istillonlyspeakthedialectwithmygrandmother,withmyparentsIspeakamix[ofdialectandstandardHighGerman],shesaid.

WhileatuniversityinDresden,SauercameacrossastudyfromPassau,publishedin2015,inwhichextensivedatahadbeencollectedonthedialectlandscapealongtheformerGerman-Germanborder,includingItzgrndisch.Accordingtothestudy,shesaid,duringGDRtimes,thedialectdevelopeddifferentlyintheThuringiansectioncomparedtointheBavarian.AsIstillspeakthevariationmyself,Iknewthatthiscouldnotbetrue,saidthespecialistinGermanstudies.Inordertocheckwhetherthepoliticalborderhadalsoresultedinalinguisticdivide,shetookacloserlookatthedialectinherdoctoralthesis.

Forheracademicinvestigationsherecordedthedialectof67localsfromthedistrictsofSonnebergandCoburgandthenaskedthemtonamelinguisticdifferences.Sheplayedthemfourspeechrecordingsfromthe1930s,fourfromthe1960s,fourfromthe1990sandfourfromtheyear2014.Asthoseinvolvedinthesurveysaidtherewerenoaudibledifferences,SauerconcludedthattheItzgrndischdialecthadnotdevelopeddifferentlybuthadremainedconstantatleastoverthepasteightdecades.ShethinksthisisbecausebothareaswereisolatedfromotherlinguisticinfluencesduringGDRtimes,tooandassumesthatthiscanbetracedbacktomorethan800yearsofcommon(language)culture.EventhepoliticalinnerGermanborderhadnoeffectonthis,accordingtothelinguist.

Istillonlyspeakthedialectwithmygrandmother.

VerenaSauer

HowdidtheThuringianendupinKiel?ShestartedherdoctoraldegreeinDresdenandfinisheditatKielUniversityinautumn2018.Shechosethenorthbecauseitofferedherthechancetocontinueresearchingaftercompletingherdoctoraldegree.SincethenshehasbeenstudyingattitudestotheGermanlanguageheldbywritersfromthe16th,17thand18thcenturyandwhichdialectformedthedefinitivebasisofthewrittenlanguage.

WhenIarrivedinKielin2016,everyonecouldhearthatIdidnotcomefromhere,ofcourse,shesaid.AsIwasalwayssurroundedbyItzgrndischinSonneberg,tobeginwithIfoundithardtodropFranconianlinguisticfeaturessuchasthedarkAortherollingR.ShedoesnotrollherRanylonger,butsometimesuseswordsfromherdialect.

PeoplegreetoneanotherbysayingDiener,theGermantranslationoftheLatinwordServus.OtherwordsareKlesla(Klschen)[dumpling]orMeadla(Mdchen)[girl],saidSauer,givingafewexamples.Itisapparentfromthisthatdiminutiveformsareoftenused.UsingthediminutivesofwordsistypicalinItzgrndisch.Youjustaddtheending-latothenounevenifyouretalkingaboutsomethingthatisnotsmallscalebutofnormalsize,sheexplained,addingarealtonguetwister:AssfeideiDallalalaa!(IssdeinTellerchenleer!)(Clearyourplate/eatup!).

Withthe30thanniversaryofthefalloftheBerlinWall,thereisrenewedandincreasedacademicinterestintheborderdialects.InSeptember2019,SauerwasawardedthePetervonPolenzPrizebytheGesellschaftfrgermanistischeSprachgeschichte(societyforgermanlinguistichistory)forherresearch,togetherwithits1,000eurosinprizemoney.Since2013,theprizehasbeenawardedeverytwoyearsforthebestdissertationwithinthisspecialistfield.

Author:FarahClauen

Furtherreading:Sauer,Verena:DialektgrenzenGrenzdialekte.DieStrukturderitzgrndischenDialektlandschaftanderehemaligendeutsch-deutschenGrenze.deGruyter,Berlin2018