Monday, February 18, 2013

German of Hamburg

The German of Hamburg is distinct from other varieties of German.  In German the dialect is called Hamburgisch.  One area in which the dialect differs from standard German is pronunciation.

In standard German, a word initial sp and st are pronounced with a voiceless alveopalatal fricative.  However, in the dialect of Hamburg, the initial consonant is a voiceless alveolar fricative.  This is the same as in other Germanic dialects such as English and Dutch.

The city Hamburg is pronounced with a word-final voiceless velar plosive in standard German.  In the Hamburg dialect, however, this is replaced with a voiceless velar fricative.  The words Zug (train) and Tag (day) are pronounced with a fricative in the Hamburg dialect and a plosive in standard German.

Another pronunciation difference occurs with the intervocalic voiceless alveolar plosive.  In the Hamburg dialect, this plosive becomes voiced.  Thus the word Vater (father) is pronounced with a voiced alveolar plosive in the Hamburg dialect.

In addition to pronunciation, differences also occur in vocabulary.  Though speakers of Hamburg can use standard German, Low German is often used in conversation.  To illustrate, a famous park in downtown Hamburg is called Planten un Blomen.  This is Low German for Plants and Flowers.  In standard German, also known as High German, this is Pflanzen und Blumen.

One well-known German dialect is the one spoken in Hamburg.  It differs from standard German in pronunciation and vocabulary.  It is spoken in the north of Germany, a region with many speakers of Low German.

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