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Westphalian language: Wikis


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Spoken in Germany[1]
Region Northwestern, Westphalia[1]
Total speakers unknown[1]
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 gem [Germanic, other]
ISO 639-3 wep

Westphalian is one of the major dialect groups of West Low German. Its most salient feature is the diphthongization (rising diphthongs). For example, we get iEten instead of Eːten for eat. (There is also a difference in the use of consonants within the Westphalian dialects: North of the Wiehengebirge, people tend to speak unvoiced consonants, south of the Wiehengebirge they speak voiced consonants, e.g. Foite <-> Foide.) The Westphalian dialect region includes the north-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, i.e. the former Prussian province of Westphalia, without Siegerland and Wittgenstein, but including the southern part of former government district Weser-Ems (e.g. the region around Osnabrück and the landscape of Emsland).

Varieties and similarities

Among the Westphalian language there are different subgroups of dialects:

and others.

It has many lexical similarities and other proximities with Eastphalian, extending to the East and a bit to the North of the area where Westphalian is spoken.


In fact, the true dialect of Westphalia is not used anymore except for older people talking among each other. The population of the area speaks Standard German with an Westphalian accent. But even this accent is not that remarkable (in contrast to e.g. Bavarian) due to the incident that Westphalia is not far away from the region of Hanover for which it is said that people speak the 'best' Standard German.

Nevertheless the Westphalian language includes words that originate from the traditional dialect and that are not understandable for foreign people. Examples would be Pölter [pœltɐ] (for Pajamas) or Plörre [plœʁə] (for a dirty liquid).




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