Period IV

Spiez Castle. Photo:TES.

The Alemannic Language

The Alemannic Language refers to (Germanic) dialects in the south of the German-speaking region. The area of Lake Constance never formed a linguistic unity, apart from the current German language and Latin Language in the Roman period. A distinction is made between Swabian (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 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 Alemans kept their Germanic language, and this led to a (slow) germanisation in this part of Switzerland. (Source: U. Leuzinger (Red.), Römer, Alamannen, Christen, Thurgau, 2013).