Mosel-Franconian dialect

Time to eavesdrop!

Small introduction to the Mosel-Franconian dialect

You’re probably all set for your Mosel holiday, you’ve marked out the best hiking paths on your map, you’ve planning cycling trips along the river, and you’ve found out all there is to know about the wine and the vineyards. But are you ready for the dialect spoken in the Mosel region?

Many families along the Mosel still speak Mosel Franconian, and even when conversing with guests, the odd dialect word might slip in amongst their Mosel accented standard German. Let’s take a look at some examples. Or, to put it in the local style: “Laustern Sie!” (Have a listen!)

Personengruppe aus vier Personen spaziert durch ein historisches Stadttor

As you’ll soon discover, locals use the standard German word ‘holen’ (collect) to mean ‘nehmen’ (take). Mosel Franconians only ever use ‘holen’. Of course, all that cycling and hiking means they avoid ‘collecting’ any extra pounds! But of course, those who want to can collect some pounds by enjoying a delicious meal in one of the numerous wine cellars. The landlady might say to you: “Holen” Sie doch ein Lunchpaket auf Ihre Calmontwanderung mit! [Take a lunchbox with you when you climb the Calmont!] You’ll find that wherever you go on your holiday, Mosel Franconians are hospitable, and in every village, you’ll find hosts who are happy to take you in.

They are also rather generous people, especially when it comes to their language. Almost all village dialects along the river lack the standard German verb “werden”, meaning to become. They tend to use “geben” (to give) in its place. While in standard German, you’d say that you're ‘becoming’ fitter and more sporty with every kilometre you hike, in Mosel German, you 'give’ fitter. You also ‘give’ another year older each year. If somebody’s ill, you say “Gib” bald wieder gesund [Give healthy soon!]. There are plenty of glasses of Riesling being emptied in the local wine cellars, or “Gläsje”, as glasses are known locally. 

Of course, locals will do their very best to converse with you in the language of your choice, but you will hear some interesting linguistic variations as a guest. Whatever your native language, you’ll delight in these endearing linguistic peculiarities that characterise our homeland.

© Text: Dr. Yvonne Treis

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