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About Bavarian language, dialects and words

Bavarian (in German: Bayerisch pronounced Buyerish) belongs to the Upper German languages spoken in Bavaria the south of Germany. Several German dialects are spoken in Bavaria. In the administrative regions to the north the Franconian dialect is prevalent, in Swabia the local dialect is Swabian, a thread of the Alemannic dialect family. In the Upper Palatinate people speak the Northern Bavarian dialect that can vary regionally. In Upper and Lower Bavaria (Middle) Bavarian is the predominant dialect. 

There are three main dialect groups of Bavarian:

  • Northern Bavarian, also spoken in the Upper Franconian district of Wunsiedel;
  • Central Bavarian (along the rivers Isar and Danube, spoken in Munich (by 20% of the people), Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, southern Upper Palatinate, the Swabian district of Aichach-Friedberg, the northern parts of the State of Salzburg, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Vienna and the Northern Burgenland)
  • Southern Bavarian (in Tyrol, South Tyrol, Carinthia, Styria, and the southern parts of Salzburg and Burgenland).

Click here for further information about the Bavarian language and dialects in Bavaria.

Brush up on your Bavarian

We want to introduce you to some the most popular and most commonly used Bavarian phrases or words:

Bavarian language - Sapperlot

"Sapperlot" »

It is used to express surprise or enthusiasm in the same sort of way as more modern terms such as "Alle Achtung!" and "Respekt!" but it is also used in the same way as swear words to express frustration or outrage. Other similar words are "Verdammt! or "Verflixt!".

Bavarian language - word Servus

"Servus" »

Servus" is also a very traditional, common and flexible word that can be used either as "hi" or as "goodbye". „Servus“ is most often used between people who know each other well enough to say "Du" to each other. But these are not the only uses for this very versatile word...

"Wolpertinger" »

Wolpertinger, an imaginary Bavarian place-name for a mysterious forest animal.

"Ozapft is ‘s" »

This Bavarian exclamation is referring to the first barrel of beer ceremoniously opened at a beer festival.

"Griaß God" »

This Bavarian expression is an abridged optative May God Greet and comes from a long back-ranging popular piety.

"Auszogene" »

In Bavaria it is the short version for “ausgezogene Nudel”, also known as “Kirtanudel”, “Schmalznudel” or “Knieküchel” which is a typical sweet dish in the Bavarian cuisine.

Seidla

"Seidla" »

A "Seidla" is the Franconian word for a half litre beer mug or glass. The word actually comes from the Latin "situla", "situlus" meaning a container for scooping water.

Schuàbladdla (Schuhplattler)

"Schuàbladdla" (Schuhplattler) »

This dance is thought to be a courting dance that was based on the "Balztanz des Auerhahnes" and is probably one of the most well known artistic forms of Bavarian culture.

Allmechd

"Allmechd" »

Allmechd ("Allmächd"), or if you want to be even more forceful about it "Allmächd na!" is a Franconian expression used to express surprise, shock or regret.


Tales of true Bavarian dialect and a real live yodeller »

Like age-old traditions, the local language is all a part of the Bavarian ...

Yodelling

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Old town hall