Period IV newsletter

Spiez Castle. Photo:TES.

The Alemannic Language

The Alemannic Language refers to (German) dialects in the south of the German-speaking region. The area of Lake Constance was never a linguistic unity, apart from the present-day German language and Latin Language in the Roman period.

A distinction is made between Schwäbisch (north of Tuttingen and Immenstadt in Baden-Württemberg), Oberrheinalemannisch (Alsace), Bodenseealemannisch (German and Austrian Lake Constance region), Hochalemannisch (parts of Bern and Graubünden, Basel, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, Glarus, Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Zurich, Zug and St. Gallen) and Höchstalemannisch (Schwyz, Uri, Obwalden, Nidwalden, partly Bern, Wallis, Lucerne and a part of Grisons).

The Alemanni encountered a Gallo-Roman-speaking population on the Swiss side of Lake Constance in the fifth and sixth centuries, when they started their waves of immigration or invasions.

Unlike the Burgundians in Western Switzerland, the Alemanni kept their German language. It caused a (slow) germanisation in this part of Switzerland.

(Source: U. Leuzinger (Red.), Römer, Alamannen, Christen, Thurgau, 2013).