Riograndenser Hunsrückisch German

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Riograndenser Hunsrückisch
Native toBrazil
Native speakers
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3hrx
(6) Gespräch uff Riograndenser Hunsrückisch mit Selma Beppler - im Mitte von 2012 uffgenoom.

Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, spoken in parts of Brazil, is a Moselle Franconian variety derived primarily from the Hunsrückisch dialect of West Central German. It is an integral part of the historical and cultural heritage of Rio Grande do Sul.[4] It is also considered a co-official language in the municipalities of Antônio Carlos and Santa Maria do Herval.[5]

Riograndenser Hunsrückisch developed from the Hunsrückisch dialect when immigrants from the Hunsrück region of Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) settled in southern regions such as Rio Grande do Sul, starting by imperial designs in 1824 (these later became projects controlled by states and finally by private European investment enterprises).

While primarily based on the Hunsrückisch branch of the German language, it has also been greatly influenced by other German dialects such as East Pomeranian and Plautdietsch, and by Portuguese, the national language of Brazil. It has been influenced to a lesser extent by indigenous languages such as Kaingang and Guarani and by immigrant languages such as Italian and Talian.

Portuguese expressions and words are commonly imported into Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, particularly in reference to fauna and flora (which are different from those of Germany) and to technological innovations that did not exist when the original immigrants came to Brazil, leading to words like Aviong for airplane (Portuguese avião) instead of Flugzeug, Kamiong (Pt. caminhão, truck) instead of Lastwagen, Tëlevisong (Pt. televisão) instead of Fernseher, etc. Daily expressions are often calques (literal translations) of Portuguese, for example alles gut (“how are you”, literally “all good”) is from Portuguese tudo bem.

Also common are the use of German suffixes attached to Portuguese words, such as Canecache, "little mug", from Portuguese caneca, "mug", and German diminutive suffix chen (-che in Riograndenser Hunsrückisch); hybrid forms such as Schuhloja, "shoe shop", from German Schuh and Portuguese loja, and Germanized forms of Portuguese verbs: lembreere, "to remember"; namoreere "to flirt"; respondeere, "to answer" (Portuguese lembrar, namorar, and responder). However, regardless of these borrowings, its grammar and vocabulary are still largely German.

Although Riograndenser Hunsrückisch is the most common German dialect in south Brazil, the use of this language—particularly in the last three to four generations—continues to decrease.

Notable speakers[edit]

Recent Roman Catholic papal candidate Odilo Scherer[6] of Cerro Largo (located in the northwest of Rio Grande do Sul) grew up with this language as many from his native region did, using it side-by-side with Portuguese, the national language.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Montenegro, Rio Grande do Sul (in the Altkolonie region of the state), grew up speaking Portuguese alongside this regional variety of German.[7]

According to supermodel Gisele Bündchen, while her parents and siblings still speak this Brazilian regional variety of German, she has forgotten everything herself.[8]

During an interview in 2011, renowned Brazilian writer, translator and international relations professor Aldyr Schlee talked in detail about having been an eyewitness to the repression of the German language in his native state of Rio Grande do Sul during World War II.

Approximate distribution of native speakers of German or a German variety outside Europe
(according to Ethnologue 2016[9] unless referenced otherwise)
Numbers of speakers should not be summed up per country, as they most likely overlap considerably.
Table includes varieties with disputed statuses as separate language.
Standard German Hunsrik/Hunsrückisch Low German & Plautdietsch Pennsylvania Dutch Hutterite
Argentina 400,000 N/A 4,000 N/A N/A
Australia 79,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Belize N/A N/A 9,360 N/A N/A
Bolivia 160,000 N/A 60,000 N/A N/A
Brazil 1,500,000 3,000,000 8,000 N/A N/A
Canada 430,000 N/A 80,000 15,000 23,200
Chile 35,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Costa Rica N/A N/A 2,000 N/A N/A
Israel 200,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Kazakhstan 30,400 N/A 100,000 N/A N/A
Mexico N/A N/A 40,000 N/A N/A
Namibia 22,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
New Zealand 36,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Paraguay 166,000 N/A 40,000 N/A N/A
Russia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
South Africa 12,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Uruguay 28,000 N/A 2,000 N/A N/A
United States 1,104,354[10] N/A 12,000 118,000 10,800
Sum 4,597,392 3,000,000 357,360 133,000 34,000



Spelling (Wiesemann)[11] A AA AY AU E EE Ë EY I II O OO OY U UU
Spelling (Altenhofen et al.)[12] A OO EI AU E E, EE, EH E EE I I, IE O O, OH EU U U, UH
Pronunciation /a/ /ɔː/~/aː/ /ai̯/ /au̯/ /ə/ /eː/ /e/~/ɛ/ ei̯ /i/ /iː/ /o~ɔ/ /oː/ /ɔi̯/ /u/ /uː/


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive ⟨ph⟩ ⟨p⟩ /pʰ/, ⟨p⟩ ⟨b⟩ /p/ ⟨th⟩ ⟨t⟩ /tʰ/, ⟨t⟩ ⟨d⟩ /t/ ⟨kh⟩ ⟨k⟩ /kʰ/, ⟨k⟩ ⟨g⟩ /k/
Affricate ⟨ts⟩ ⟨z, tz⟩ /ts/ ⟨tx⟩ ⟨tsch⟩ /tʃ/
Fricative ⟨f⟩ ⟨f, v⟩ /f/, ⟨w⟩ ⟨w⟩ /v/ ⟨s⟩ ⟨s, ss⟩ /s/ ⟨x⟩ ⟨sch⟩ /ʃ/ ⟨c⟩ ⟨ch⟩ /ç/ ⟨ch⟩ ⟨ch⟩ /χ~x/ ⟨h⟩ ⟨h⟩ /h/
Nasal ⟨m⟩ ⟨m⟩ /m/ ⟨n⟩ ⟨m⟩ /n/ ⟨ng, n⟩ ⟨ng, n⟩ /ŋ/
Approximant ⟨l⟩ ⟨l⟩ /l/ ⟨y⟩ ⟨j⟩ /j/
Rhotic ⟨r⟩ ⟨r⟩ /ɾ/

Orthography between plain angle brackets follows Wiesemann's[11] orthography and between italic angle brackets follows Altenhofen et al.'s[12] orthography.

The contrast between plosives is not of voice, but of articulatory force, a phenomenon observed in some other dialects of German.


Chapter 23, 1–5 of Luke's Gospel in Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, according to Dr. Ursula Wiesemann's[11] orthography:

Yeesus un Pilatos

23 Too sin ti kanse layt uf kextii, hon Yeesus pis Pilatos kenom un hon aan kefang aan se këwe un saare: 2 Mëyer hon too te man aan ketrof unser folek am uf hëtse. Tee is te keeche em khayser xtayer petsaale un saat wëyer te Mësiias un Kheenich. 3 Too hot te Pilatos kefroot: Pixt tu te Yute sayne Kheenich? Is woer, hot Yeesus keantwort. 4 Too hot Pilatos fer te hooche priister un tsum folek kesaat: Ich khan khee xult an tëm man fine! 5 Awer tii hon aan kehal un hon kesaat: Tee tuut unortnung aan richte unich em folek mit sayn untricht iweraal in Yuteeya. In Kalileeya hot er aan kefang, un yëts is er too pay uns.

The same text in Standard German:

23 Und die ganze Versammlung stand auf, und sie führten ihn vor Pilatus. 2 Sie fingen aber an, ihn zu verklagen und sprachen: Wir haben gefunden, dass dieser das Volk verführt und es davon abhalten will, dem Kaiser die Steuern zu zahlen. Er behauptet, er sei Christus, der König. 3 Da fragte ihn Pilatus und sprach: Bist du der König der Juden? Er antwortete ihm und sprach: Du sagst es! 4 Da sprach Pilatus zu den obersten Priestern und der Volksmenge: Ich finde keine Schuld an diesem Menschen! 5 Sie aber bestanden darauf und sprachen: Er wiegelt das Volk auf, indem er in ganz Judäa lehrt, angefangen in Galiläa bis hierher![13]

(23 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King." 3 And Pilate asked him, saying, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" And he answered him and said, "Thou sayest it." 4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, "I find no fault in this man." 5 And they were the more fierce, saying, "He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hunsrik, Ethnologue (2016).
  2. ^ Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Política Linguística – List of Brazilian municipalities with co-official languages, including Standard German as well as its dialects Hunsrückisch & Pomeranian
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hunsrik". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Lei N.º 14.061, de 23 de julho de 2012
  5. ^ IPOL realizará formação de recenseadores para o censo linguístico do município de Antônio Carlos
  6. ^ BBC BRASIL: Aldeira de antepassados alemães torce para Scherer ser papa March 11, 2013.
  7. ^ "Kardinal Hummes kehrt in den Hunsrück zurück. Newspaper Rhein-Zeitung: Buch, Hunsrück, 07/05/2012". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Gisele Bündchen: "Brazil Should Become World Champion"". Deutsche Welle. May 27, 2006. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Ethnologue 19th Edition (2016)
  10. ^ U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - Language Use in the United States: 2007
  11. ^ a b c Wiesemann, U. 2008. Contribuição ao desenvolvimento de uma ortografia da língua Hunsrik falada na América do Sul. Associação Internacional de Linguística—SIL Brasil, Cuiabá.
  12. ^ a b Altenhofen, C. V.; Frey, J.; Käfer, M. L.; Klassmann, M. S.; Neumann, G. R.; Spinassé, K. P. 2007. Fundamentos para uma escrita do Hunsrückisch falado no Brasil. Revista Contingentia, 2: 73–87.
  13. ^ "Bible Gateway passage: Lukas 23:1–49 – Schlachter 2000". Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 30, 2018.

External links[edit]