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:

to sit
to make
Low German (Platt)

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

Dat weet ik.
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.

Learn German in an international German course in a major Austrian or German city:
Bamberg | Berlin | Cologne | Dresden | Frankfurt am Main | Freiburg im Breisgau | Graz | Hamburg | Heidelberg | Innsbruck | Kitzbühel | Klagenfurt | Leipzig | Linz | Munich | Münster | Regensburg | Salzburg | Stuttgart | Vienna

Recommended German language school in Vienna

At the ActiLingua Academy you learn standard German according to a recognized curriculum. ActiLingua Academy offers top standards of language tuition, a successful range of German courses taught by motivated and
university-educated teachers, an ideal learning environment
and modern teaching equipment.

They offer tailored exam preparation for the OSD-exams! recommends:
Learn melodious standard German at ActiLingua Academy in Vienna.

Order Free Brochure


Free Brochure!