Die Burg Spiez, Kanton Bern. Foto/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 has never been a linguistic unity (except for the present-day German language and the Latin Language in the Roman period).

A distinction is made between Schwäbisch (north of Tuttingen and Immenstadt in Baden-Württemberg), Oberrheinalemannisch (Alsace and Basel), Bodenseealemannisch (German and Austrian Lake Constance region), Hochalemannisch (parts of Bern and Graubünden, 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 Graubünden).

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

Unlike the Burgundians, a German tribe in Western Switzerland (they founded two Burgundian kingdoms, in 443-534 and in 888-1032). They spoke the lokal French dialect within a few generations.

The Alemanni kept their German language and Germanised Central- and East Switzerland, except for Romansh-speaking regions in Graubünden.

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