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Low Franconian

Low Franconian/Ripuarian

Low Saxon

Low Dietsch (Dutch: Platdiets, Limburgish: Platduutsj, French: Thiois or Platdutch, not to be confused with the generic term Plattdüütsch) is a term mainly used within the Flemish terminology for the transitional LimburgishRipuarian dialects of a number of towns and villages in the north-east of the Belgian province of Liege, such as Gemmenich, Homburg, Montzen and Welkenraedt.

Language situation in the northeast of the Belgian province of Liège
Schematic map of the Low Dietsch language area (Platdietse streek) in Belgium.
     Low Dietsch-speaking area within the French-speaking Community (Province of Liège)      German-speaking Community (Province of Liège)      French-speaking Community (Province of Liège)      Dutch-speaking Community (Belgian Province of Limburg)

This region, lying within the Belgian (Walloon) three frontiers area stretching from Voeren towards Eupen, crossing Plombières (Bleiberg), is called the Low Dietsch area (Dutch: Platdietse streek). German dialectologists tend to roughly count this variety as Ripuarian Franconian, but more precisely it shows the gradual transition between Low Franconian Limburgish and West Central German Ripuarian. It belongs to the whole range of Meuse-Rhenish varieties that make the north-western part of the greater fan-like dialect continuum called the Rhenish fan (German: Rheinischer Fächer). As the most periphere variety of southern Limburgish, it represents the language of the old Duchy of Limburg, that had its historic kernel just there.

Contents

Carolingian Frankish

In French, the term francique carolingien (Carolingian Frankish) is also used[1], because of its historic roots, dating back to the Carolingian era. Historically, this language area stretched from Tongeren to Cologne, and this Limburgish-Frankish variety itself probably was the mother tongue of Charlemagne[1]. Since 1963, it officially belongs to the Walloon Region and the French Community of Belgium, but since 1992, this dialect is acknowledged as an internal regional language by the Walloon authority. Linguistically, however, it cannot be a called a walloon dialect, because of its entirely Germanic, transitional Low Franconian / Middle Low German nature. It forms the northwestern border of Ripuarian and the southeastern of Meuse-Rhenish or francique rhéno-mosan in Belgium.

Language situation in Belgium
Language situation in Belgium. The Low Dietsch area is marked as Dutch, French & German

Southeast Limburgish

Southeast Limburgish (Dutch: Zuidoost-Limburgs), as spoken around Kerkrade, Bocholtz and Vaals in the Netherlands, Aachen in Germany and Raeren and Eynatten in Belgium, also shows the gradual transition from Limburgish towards Ripuarian. It is adjacent to the southeastern border of the Meuse-Rhenish language area, and is related to Southern Meuse-Rhenish. Limburgish straddles the borderline between Low Franconian and West Central German varieties. They are more-or-less mutually intelligible with the Ripuarian dialects, but show fewer 'High German shifts' (R. Hahn 2001).

Dialects belonging to the Ripuarian group almost always call themselves Platt like Öcher Platt (of Aachen) or Eischwiele Platt (of Eschweiler). The reason behind this is, that most of the far more than hundred Ripuarian dialects are bound to a village or municipality. Usually there are small distinctive differences between neighboring dialects, and increasingly bigger ones between the more distant ones. These are described by a set of isoglosses called the 'Rhenish fan' (Rheinischer Fächer in linguistics). The way someone talks, even if he is not using Ripuarian, quite often allows to trace him precisely to a village or city quarter where he learned to speak.

According to a contemporary vision, all varieties in a wider half circle some 15–20 km around Aachen, including two-thirds of Dutch South Limburg and also the Low Dietsch area between Voeren and Eupen in Belgium, can be taken as a group of its own, which recently has been named Limburgish of the Three Countries Area (Dutch: Drielandenlimburgs, German: Dreiländerplatt), referring to the place where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet (Frins 2005). This variety still possesses interesting syntactic idiosyncrasies, probably dating from the period in which the old Duchy of Limburg existed.

Classification

See also

References

  • Ad Welschen, 2000-2005: Course Dutch Society and Culture, International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

External links








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