From Academic Kids

Language classification
Indo-European languages
Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
High German languages
Upper German


Austro-Bavarian or Bavarian is an Upper Germanic language. Like Standard German, Austro-Bavarian is a High German language, but they are not the same. However, Austro-Bavarian and Standard German have influenced each other and the vast majority of Austro-Bavarian speakers speak Standard German as well.

Austro-Bavarian is also used to refer to the dialect group which includes the Austro-Bavarian dialect discussed here, as well as the Cimbrian, Hutterite German, and Mócheno dialects of German.


History and Origin

The Austro-Bavarian language has its origins in the Germanic tribe known as the Baioari or Bajuwarii, who established a tribal duchy, which covered much of what is today Bavaria and some of Austria in the early middle ages and was eventually subdued by Charlemagne. However, they gradually migrated down the Danube and into the Alps to all those areas where Austro-Bavarian dialects are spoken.

In German, there is usually a difference made between "bairisch" (referring to the language) and "bayrisch" (referring to the state of Bavaria). Because of King Ludwig I's passion for everything hellenic, the German name for Bavaria today is spelled "Bayern", while the language spoken there has retained its original spelling "Bairisch" – note the I versus the "hellenic" Y.


The SIL code for Bavarian language is BAR. It has no ISO 639 code of its own, but is classified under the "Germanic (Other)" collective language code "gem". Genetically Bavarian is part of the Upper German family along with Allemannic (which includes Swabian and Swiss German), whereas Standard German is part of the Middle German family, closer to Saxon.

Regions where Austro-Bavarian is spoken


There are three main dialect groups in Austro-Bavarian:

There are clearly noticeable differences within those three subgroups, which in Austria often coincide with the borders of the particular states. E.g. each of the accents of Carinthia, Styria and Tyrol can be easily recognized. Also there is a marked difference between Eastern and Western Central Austro-Bavarian, roughly coinciding with the border between Austria and Bavaria. Also, the Viennese dialect has some characteristics distinguishing it from all other dialects.

However, the various Austro-Bavarian dialects are normally mutually intelligible, with the exception of maybe some versions of Tyrolean.


Most Bavarians and Austrians can read, write and understand Standard German but, as a phenomenon, many people, especially in rural areas, don't have opportunities to speak it at all. In those regions, Standard German is the "written Language" while Bavarian is the commonly (and in very many cases only) spoken language.

Although there exist grammars, vocabularies, and a translation of the Bible, there is no common standard for how to write the language. There is poetry written in various Austro-Bavarian dialects, and many pop songs use the language as well, especially ones belonging to the Austropop wave of the 70s and 80s.

Although Austro-Bavarian as a spoken language is in daily use in its region, Standard German is preferred in the mass media. However, especially in Austria, the variety of Standard German used in the media and in education is strongly influenced by Austro-Bavarian.

On the use of Austro-Bavarian and Standard German in Austria see Austrian language.

See also

External link

it:Bavarese li:Beiers-Oosterieks nds:Baiersch zh:巴伐利亚语


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