Bavarian language

(Bairisch or Boarisch)
Region Austria, Bavaria, and South Tyrol
Native speakers
14,000,000 (2015)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bar
Glottolog bava1246  (Bavarian proper)[2]
baye1239  (Bayerisch)[3]

Location map of Bavarian

Bavarian (Austro-Bavarian: Boarisch [ˈbɔɑrɪʃ]; German: Bairisch [ˈbaɪ̯ʀɪʃ]; Hungarian: bajor), is a major group of Upper German varieties spoken in the southeast of the German language area, largely covered by Bavaria and Austria. It forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants.


Further information: Upper German and German dialects

The Bavarians as a group formed in the early medieval period, as the population of the Duchy of Bavaria, forming the south-eastern part of the kingdom of Germany. The Old High German documents from the area of Bavaria are identified as Altbairisch ("Old Bavarian"), even though at this early date there are few distinctive features that would divide it from Alemannic. The dialectal separation of Upper German into East Upper German (Bavarian) and West Upper German (Alemannic) becomes more tangible in the Middle High German period, from about the 12th century.

Geographical distribution and dialects

Map of the distribution of Bavarian speakers in Europe.

Three main dialect groups in Bavarian are:

Differences are clearly noticeable within those three subgroups, which in Austria often coincide with the borders of the particular states. For example, each of the accents of Carinthia, Styria, and Tyrol can be easily recognised. Also there is a marked difference between eastern and western central Bavarian, roughly coinciding with the border between Austria and Bavaria. In addition, the Viennese dialect has some characteristics distinguishing it from all other dialects. In Vienna, minor, but recognizable, variations are characteristic for distinct districts of the city.


Public sign combining Standard German and Bavarian.

In contrast to many other varieties of German, Bavarian differs sufficiently from Standard German to make it difficult for native speakers to adopt standard pronunciation. All educated Bavarians and Austrians, however, can read, write and understand Standard German, but may have very little opportunity to speak it, especially in rural areas. In those regions, Standard German is restricted to use as the language of writing and the media. It is therefore often referred to as Schriftdeutsch ("written German") rather than the usual term Hochdeutsch ("High German" or "Standard German").


Bavaria and Austria officially use Standard German as the primary medium of education. With the spread of universal education, the exposure of speakers of Bavarian to Standard German has been increasing, and many younger people, especially in the region's cities, and larger towns speak Standard German with only a slight accent. This accent usually only exists in families where Bavarian is spoken regularly. Families that do not use Bavarian at home usually use Standard German instead. In Austria, some parts of grammar and spelling are taught in Standard German lessons. As reading and writing in Bavarian is generally not taught at schools, almost all literate speakers of the language prefer to use Standard German for writing. Regional authors and literature may play a role in education, as well, but by and large Standard German is the lingua franca.


Although there exist grammars, vocabularies, and a translation of the Bible in Bavarian, there is no common orthographic standard. Poetry is written in various Bavarian dialects, and many pop songs use the language as well, especially ones belonging to the Austropop wave of the 1970s and 1980s.

Although Bavarian as a spoken language is in daily use in its region, Standard German, often with strong regional influence, is preferred in the mass media.

On the use of Bavarian and standard German in Austria see Austrian German.

Ludwig Thoma is a noted author who wrote works such as Lausbubengeschichten in Bavarian.


There is a Bavarian Wikipedia, completely in Bavarian.



  Bilabial Labio-
Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Affricate pf ts
Fricative f v s ʃ (ç) (x) h
Trill r
Approximant l j



Bavarian has an extensive vowel inventory, as is common for Germanic languages. Vowels can be grouped as back rounded, front unrounded and front rounded. They are also traditionally distinguished by length or tenseness.


The commonly accepted grammar and spelling system for Bavarian has been documented by A. Schmeller;[4] see more details at the German Wikipedia page for Bairische Dialekte

måcha Indicative Imperative Subjunctive Optative
1. Sgi måchi måchadmåchadi
2. Sg (informal)du måchstmåch!du måchastmåchast
3. Sger måchter måch!er måchadmåchada
1. Plmia måchan*måchma!mia måchadnmåchadma
2. Pleß måchtsmåchts!eß måchatsmåchats
3. Plse måchan(t)se måchadnmåchadns
2. Sg (formal)Si måchanmåchan’S!Si måchadnmåchadn’S


Personal pronouns

1st person 2nd person informal2nd person formal3rd person 1st person2nd person3rd person
Nominative iduSiea, se/de, desmiaeß/öß / ia*se
Unstressed i-- -'S -a, -'s, -'s -ma -'s -'s
Dative miadiaEanaeam, eara/iara, demuns, insenk / eich*ea, eana
Unstressed -ma -da
Accusative -mi -diEanaeam, eara/iara, desuns, insenk / eich*ea, eana
Unstressed Si -'n, …, -'s -'s

* These are typically used in the very northern dialects of Bavarian.

Possessive pronouns

Masculine singularFeminine singularNeuter singularPlural (any gender) Masculine singularFeminine singularNeuter singularPlural (any gender)
Nominative meimeimeimeinemeinameinemei(n)smeine
Dative meimmeinameimmeinemeimmeinameimmeine
Accusative meinmeimeimeinemeinmeinemei(n)smeine

The possessive pronouns Deina and Seina inflect in the same manner. Oftentimes, nige is added to the nominative to form the adjective form of the possessive pronoun, like mei(nige), dei(nige), and the like.

Indefinite pronouns

Just like the possessive pronouns listed above, the indefinite pronouns koana, "none", and oana, "one" are inflected the same way.

There is also the indefinite pronoun ebba, "someone" with its impersonal form ebbs, "something". It is inflected in the following way:

Nominative ebbaebbs
Dative ebbamebbam
Accusative ebbanebbs

Interrogative pronouns

The Interrogative Pronouns wea, "who", and wås, "what" are inflected the same way the indefinite pronoun ebba is inflected.

Nominative weawås
Dative wemwem
Accusative wenwås


Bavarians produce a variety of nicknames for those who bear traditional Bavarian or German names like Josef, Theresa or Georg (becoming Sepp'l or more commonly Sepp, Resi and Schorsch, respectively). Bavarians often refer to names with the family name coming first (like da Stoiber Ede instead of Edmund Stoiber). The use of the article is considered mandatory when using this linguistic variation. In addition, there exist for almost every family (especially in little villages), nicknames different from the family name. They consist largely of their profession, names or professions of deceased inhabitants of their homes or the site where their homes are located. This nickname is called Hausname (en: name of the house) and is seldom used to name the person, but more to state where they come from, live in or to whom they are related.


Samples of Bavarian and Austrian

Austrian Is Bairische is a Grubbn vô Dialektn im Sü(i)dn vôm daitschn Språchraum.
Bavarian S' Boarische is a Grubbm vo Dialekt im Sidn vom daitschn Språchraum.
Standard German Das Bairische ist eine Gruppe von Dialekten im Süden des deutschen Sprachraumes.
English Bavarian is a group of dialects in the south of the German-speaking area.
Austrian Serwas*/Zers/D'Ehrè/Griaß Di, i bî da Pèda und kumm/kimm vô Minga/Minchn.
Bavarian Serwus/Habèderè/Griaß Di/Grüß Gott, i bin/bî da Pèda und kumm/kimm vo Minga.
Standard German Hallo/Servus/Grüß dich, ich heiße Peter und ich komme aus München.
English Hello, I am Peter and I come from Munich.
Austrian D'Lisa/'s-Liasl håd se an Hàxn brochn/brocha.
Bavarian D'Lisa/As Liasal håd se an Hàxn/Hàx brocha.
Standard German Lisa hat sich das Bein gebrochen.
English Lisa broke/has broken her leg.
Austrian I hå(b)/hã/hò a Göid/Gòid gfundn.
Bavarian I hå(b) a Gèid/Gòid/Göld gfundn/gfuna.
Standard German Ich habe Geld gefunden.
English I (have) found money.

See also


  1. Bavarian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bavarian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bayerisch". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Schmeller, Johann Andreas; edited by Frommann, Georg Carl (1872). Bayerisches Wörterbuch. München, Oldenbourg 2002. ISBN 3-486-52603-0.

Further reading


External links

Bavarian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.