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Old 23.11.2009, 02:16
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What's the difference between High/Standard German and Low German?

There's already been a thread which explains that "High" German actually IS "Standard" German, so I won't repeat it. A better question is this---what is "Low" German? (I'm assuming that Low German is different from Swiss-German).

Also, (although I wonder whether I should start this as a separate thread) Swiss-German is generally not written down. If Swiss-German is different enough from High/Standard German so that even native German speakers have trouble understanding, should the Swiss consider standardizing a written version of Swiss-German as they have with Romansch?

Thank you very much!

Edward J. Cunningham
Derwood, MD
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Old 23.11.2009, 05:33
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Re: What's the difference between High/Standard German and Low German?

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There's already been a thread which explains that "High" German actually IS "Standard" German, so I won't repeat it. A better question is this---what is "Low" German? (I'm assuming that Low German is different from Swiss-German).

Also, (although I wonder whether I should start this as a separate thread) Swiss-German is generally not written down. If Swiss-German is different enough from High/Standard German so that even native German speakers have trouble understanding, should the Swiss consider standardizing a written version of Swiss-German as they have with Romansch?

Thank you very much!

Edward J. Cunningham
Derwood, MD
To start at the end, NO. Switzerland should not separate from German. The dialects spoken in the Alsace, in southern Baden-Württemberg up to Stuttgart, in southwestern Bavaria and in Vorarlberg and Tirol are almost or really the same as the Swiss-German ones. "Native German speakers" ? Depends on where they are from. People from South Germany and Western Austria understand most Swiss German dialects.

Low German is a term which refers to the "Lowlands" of NorthWest Germany, with one of its forms being Platt-Deutsch which sounds similar to Dutch (and even English) but by structure and grammar is closer to Standard German than the South German, Swiss German, West Austrian dialects.

You remind me of a visit to Leipzig and Halle, where I told a local from Halle that Switzerland was positive about German reunification, but at the other hand could have lived with two, three, four or five Germanies, and also for instance with the Kingdom of Bavaria (having Bavarian as national language). It then was HIS point to be VERY positive about the idea
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