"The wonderful Palatinate dialect :-)" Top 5 Page for this destination Land Rheinland-Pfalz Local Custom Tip by Trekki
Land Rheinland-Pfalz Local Customs: 32 reviews and 55 photos
Palatinate language is a dialect, which is being spoken in Palatinate region and in the so-called Kurpfalz, the region between Landau, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Speyer, Bruchsal and up to Worms. Wikipedia defines it as a western Franconian dialect. It is widely spoken in the region and it is very straightforward, plain and simple in a way. When High German would need many words to express something, Palatinate dialect might only need one word. Or, in contrast to this it would use a very descriptive wording but then use more words than High German would use. Complicated? Not at all :-)
An excellent example for the dialect is this sign. It is at the western entrance of Hainfeld (German Wine Route), a sign for the wine pub of vinery Koch and signifies the opening time of the pub. In High German it would simply say “Offen” (= open). In Palatinate it says “... wann’s Licht brennt isch uff”. Translated into High German it would be “Wenn das Licht brennt, ist offen”, or in English “if the light is on, we are open”. Plain and simple and very descriptive, isn’t it?
The second photo is about church service. It simply says "Am Sunndach es Kersch", which in High German means "Am Sonntag is Kirche" - church service on Sunday :-)
I was fascinated to read (and hear) that the dialect has obviously made it across to USA. Palatinate emigrants settled in Pennsylvania and have kept the dialect. It is known as Pennsylvanian Dutch, “Dutch” seemingly being a variation of “Deutsch”, so it has nothing to do with Dutch. I even found two videos on youtube: a spoken language lesson and a man who teaches Pennsylvanian Dutch.
We have a comedian called Chako, who is famous for cultivating the dialect. On youtube I found a funny video where he talks about Kurpfalz, in a mixture of Palatinate and “English”, very funny!
And I also found another set of youtube videos which made me almost collapsed on my keyboard: Daarth Vader in Palatinate dialect. It is in “German”, but fun to listen to even if one doesn’t speak German. Only Daarth Vader speaks it.
For more information about the dialect and how it is spoken, University of Porthsmouth has a section about the dialect with many links.
Last but not least, but more for me to remember and link this: the famous pastor Otmar Fischer from Palatinate village Weisenheim am Sand, with his mass, celebrated in Palatinate dialect. The locals know him as "de Parre mit de Peif in de Kärsch" (High German: Der Pfarrer mit der Pfeife in der Kirche, in English: the pastor with the pipe in the church).
© Ingrid D., September 2012.
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