Swiss German - Literature

Literature

Written forms that were mostly based on the local Alemannic varieties, thus similar to Middle High German, were only gradually replaced by the forms of New High German. This replacement took from the 15th to 18th centuries to complete. In the 16th century, the Alemannic forms of writing were considered the original, truly Swiss forms, whereas the New High German forms were perceived as foreign innovations. The innovations were brought about by the printing press and were also associated with Lutheranism. An example of the language shift is the Froschauer Bible: Its first impressions after 1524 were largely written in an Alemannic language, but since 1527, the New High German forms were gradually adopted. The Alemannic forms were longest preserved in the chancelleries, with the chancellery of Bern being the last to adopt New High German in the second half of the 18th century.

Today all formal writing, newspapers, books and much informal writing is done in Swiss Standard German, which is usually called Schriftdeutsch (written German). Certain dialectal words are accepted regionalisms in Swiss Standard German and are also sanctioned by the Duden, e.g., Zvieri (afternoon snack). Note that Swiss Standard German is virtually identical to Standard German as used in Germany, with most differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and orthography. For example Swiss Standard German always uses a double s (ss) instead of the eszett (ß).

There are no official rules of Swiss German orthography. The orthographies used in the Swiss German literature can be roughly divided into two systems: Those that try to stay as close to standard German spelling as possible and those that try to represent the sounds as well as possible. The so-called Schwyzertütschi Dialäktschrift was developed by Eugen Dieth, but nearly only language experts know about these guidelines. Furthermore, the spellings originally proposed by Dieth included some special signs not found on a normal keyboard, such as <ʃ> instead of for or <ǜ> instead of <ü> for . In 1986, a revised version of the Dieth-Schreibung was published, designed to be written "on a normal typewriter".

A few letters are used differently from the Standard German rules:

  • (and ) are used for the affricate /kx/.
  • is used for the unaspirated fortis /k/.
  • (and sometimes ) traditionally stands for the /iː/ that corresponds to Standard German /aɪ̯/, e.g. in Rys ‘rice’ (standard German Reis /raɪ̯s/) vs. Ris ‘giant’ (standard German /riːzə/). This usage goes back to an old ij-ligature. Many writers, however, don't use , but , especially in the dialects that have no distinction between these sounds, compare Zürich German Riis /riːz̥/ ‘rice’ or 'giant' to Bernese German Rys /riːz̥/ 'rice' vs. Ris /rɪːz̥/ (‘giant’). Some use even , influenced by Standard German spelling, which leads to confusion with for /iə̯/.
  • <ä> usually represents, and can also represent or, especially around Bern.
  • represents, represents, and represents .
  • Since is written as , is written as <äi>, though in eastern Switzerland is often used for both of these phonemes.

Since the 19th century, a considerable body of Swiss German literature has accumulated. The earliest works were in Zurich German (Johann Martin Usteri, Jakob Stutz); the works of Jeremias Gotthelf which were published at the same time are in Swiss Standard German, but use many expressions of Bernese German. Some of the more important dialect writing authors and their works are:

  • Anna Maria Bacher (born 1947), Z Kschpel fam Tzit; Litteri un Schattä; Z Tzit fam Schnee (South Walser German of Formazza/Pomatt)
  • Albert Bächtold (1891–1981), De goldig Schmid; Wält uhni Liecht; De Studänt Räbme; Pjotr Ivanowitsch (Schaffhausen dialect of Klettgau)
  • Ernst Burren (born 1944), Dr Schtammgascht; Näschtwermi (Solothurn dialect)
  • August Corrodi (1826–1885), De Herr Professer; De Herr Vikari; De Herr Dokter, translation of Plautus's Mostellaria (Zurich dialect)
  • Barbara Egli (1918–2005), Wildi Chriesi (Zurich Oberland dialect)
  • Fritz Enderlin (1883–1971), De Sonderbunds-Chrieg, translated from C. F. Ramuz's French poem La Grande Guerre du Sondrebond (Upper Thurgovian dialect)
  • Martin Frank (born 1950), Ter Fögi ische Souhung; La Mort de Chevrolet (Bernese dialect with Zurich interferences)
  • Simon Gfeller (1868–1943), Ämmegrund; Drätti, Müetti u der Chlyn; Seminarzyt (Bernese dialect of Emmental)
  • Jeremias Gotthelf (1797–1854), only parts of his works are written in dialect (Bernese dialect)
  • Paul Haller (1882–1920), Maria und Robert (Western Aargau dialect)
  • Frida Hilty-Gröbli (1893–1957), Am aalte Maartplatz z Sant Galle; De hölzig Matroos (St Gall dialect)
  • Josef Hug (1903–1985), S Gmaiguet; Dunggli Wolgga ob Salaz (Graubünden Rhine Valley dialect)
  • Thomas Hürlimann (born 1950), Dr Franzos im Ybrig, loosely based on Morel's play
  • Guy Krneta (born 1964), Furnier (collection of short stories), Zmittst im Gjätt uss (prose), Ursle (Bernese dialect)
  • Michael Kuoni (1838–1891), Bilder aus dem Volksleben des Vorder-Prättigau's (Graubünden Walser dialect of Prättigau)
  • Maria Lauber (1891–1973), Chüngold; Bletter im Luft; Der jung Schuelmiischter (Bernese Oberland dialect)
  • Pedro Lenz (born 1965), Plötzlech hets di am Füdle (Bernese Dialect)
  • Meinrad Lienert (1865–1933), Flüeblüemli; 's Mireli; Der Waldvogel (Schwyz dialect of Einsiedeln)
  • Carl Albert Loosli (1877–1959), Mys Dörfli; Mys Ämmitaw; Wi's öppe geit! (Bernese dialect of Emmental)
  • Kurt Marti (born 1921), Vierzg Gedicht ir Bärner Umgangssprache; Rosa Loui (Bernese dialect)
  • Mani Matter (1936–1972), songwriter (Bernese dialect)
  • Traugott Meyer (1895–1959), 's Tunnälldorf; Der Gänneral Sutter (Basel-Landschaft dialect)
  • Gall Morel (1803–1872), Dr Franzos im Ybrig (Schwyz German of Iberg)
  • Viktor Schobinger (born 1934), Der Ääschme trifft simpatisch lüüt and a lot of other Züri Krimi (Zurich dialect)
  • Caspar Streiff (1853–1917), Der Heiri Jenni im Sunnebärg (Glarus dialect)
  • Jakob Stutz (1801–1877), Gemälde aus dem Volksleben; Ernste und heitere Bilder aus dem Leben unseres Volkes (Zurich Oberland dialect)
  • Rudolf von Tavel (1866–1934), Ring i der Chetti; Gueti Gschpane; Meischter und Ritter; Der Stärn vo Buebebärg; D’Frou Kätheli und ihri Buebe; Der Frondeur; Ds velorene Lied; D’Haselmuus; Unspunne; Jä gäl, so geit’s!; Der Houpme Lombach; Götti und Gotteli; Der Donnergueg; Veteranezyt; Heinz Tillman; Die heilige Flamme; Am Kaminfüür; Bernbiet; Schweizer daheim und draußen; Simeon und Eisi; Geschichten aus dem Bernerland (Bernese dialect)
  • Alfred Tobler (1845–1923), Näbes oß mine Buebejohre (Appenzell dialect)
  • Johann Martin Usteri (1763–1827), Dichtungen in Versen und Prosa (Zurich German)
  • Hans Valär (1871–1947), Dr Türligiiger (Graubünden Walser dialect of Davos)
  • Bernhard Wyss (1833–1889), Schwizerdütsch. Bilder aus dem Stilleben unseres Volkes (Solothurn dialect)

Parts of the Bible were translated in different Swiss German dialects, e.g.:

  • Ds Nöie Teschtamänt bärndütsch (Bernese New Testament, translated by Hans and Ruth Bietenhard, 1989)
  • Ds Alte Teschtamänt bärndütsch (parts of the Old Testament in Bernese dialect, translated by Hans and Ruth Bietenhard, 1990)
  • D Psalme bärndütsch (Psalms in Bernese dialect, translated by Hans, Ruth and Benedikt Bietenhard, 1994)
  • S Nöi Teschtamänt Züritüütsch (Zurich German New Testament, translated by Emil Weber, 1997)
  • D Psalme Züritüütsch (Psalms in Zurich German, translated by Josua Boesch, 1990)
  • Der guet Bricht us der Bible uf Baselbieterdütsch (parts of the Old and the New Testament in Basel dialect, 1981)
  • S Markus Evangelium Luzärntüütsch (Gospel of Mark in Lucerne dialect, translated by Walter Haas, 1988)
  • Markusevangeeli Obwaldnerdytsch (Gospel of Mark in the dialect of the Obwalden County, translated by Karl Imfeld, 1979)

Read more about this topic:  Swiss German

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