Page 2: The German Language and Its Many Forms

Low German

Low German (used in all regions north of the Benrath line) did not take part in
the second vowel change in 7th and 8th century A.D. The second vowel change mostly affected the German consonants (plosives and occlusives)
p, t and k, which were transformed to pf/f, ts/s and ch.

Low German often shares more characteristics with Dutch and English.
Below you can find some examples:

English
to sit
to make
apple
water
ape
German
sitzen
machen
Apfel
Wasser
Affe
Low German (Platt)
sitten
maken
Appel
Water
Aap

'I know that' in Dutch, German and Berlin dialect:

Dutch
Dat weet ik.
German
Das weiß ich.
Low German
(Berlin dialect)
Det wet ik.

Main line or 'Weißwurst' equator

There is another isogloss in German usage, even though it is far less drastic than the Benrath line. It is known as the Main line as it largely follows the Main River and is also often referred to as the 'Weißwurst' equator. (Weißwurst is a kind of sausage typical in Bavaria)
Between the Main line and the Benrath line Middle German is used.  South of Main line in Bavaria and Austria High Germanis prevalent. Both usages (Middle and High German) have adopted the second vowel change and share many characteristics.

High German, as used in Bavaria and Austria

This form of German is very melodious and pleasant to the ear. There are few grammar variations, although some vocabulary (culinary mostly) is unique to Bavaria and Austria.

When Austria entered the European Union, it was a matter of national pride to insist on a unique Austrian language being recognized by EU officials. The attempt failed, as the differences between standard German in Austria and the German used in Germany south of Benrath line are largely negligible. The result of the ensuing discussion was a list of some 80 words, most of them referring to food, cooking ingredients and plants.
The differences between the national standards of German are often overly exaggerated.

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