Low Alemannic German

Low Alemannic (German: Niederalemannisch) is a branch of Alemannic German, which is part of Upper German. Its varieties are only partly intelligible to non-Alemannic speakers.

Low Alemannic
Native toGermany[1]
Latin (German alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Areas where Alemannic dialects are spoken
  Low Alemannic



The feature that distinguishes Low Alemannic from High Alemannic is the retention of Germanic /k/, for instance kalt 'cold' vs. High Alemannic chalt.

The feature that distinguishes Low Alemannic from Swabian is the retention of the Middle High German monophthongs, for instance Huus 'house' vs. Swabian Hous or Ziit 'time' vs. Swabian Zejt.


(All of the below is specific to the dialects spoken near Freiburg im Breisgau)


Short Long
Orthography Pronunciation Orthography Pronunciation
a [a] aa [aː]
ä [æ] ää [æː]
è [ɛ] èè [ɛː]
e [e, ə] ee [eː]
i [ɪ] ii [iː]
o [o] oo [oː]
ù [ʊ] ùù [ʊː]
u [y] uu [yː]
y [i, y] yy [uː]


Are as in Standard German, with the following notes:

  • kh is an aspirated [kʰ]
  • ng is a velar nasal [ŋ]
  • ngg is a velar nasal followed by a velar plosive [ŋɡ]
  • ph is an aspirated [pʰ]
  • th is an aspirated [tʰ]
  • z represents [dz] as opposed to Standard German [ts]


Definite Article

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nom/Acc Sg der Man d Frau s Kind
Dat Sg im Man (in) der Frau im Kind
Nom/Acc Pl d Mane d Fraue d Kinder
Dat Pl (in) der Mane (in) der Fraue (in) der Kinder

Indefinite Article

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nom/Acc Sg e Man e Frau e Kind
Dat Sg im e Man in ere Frau im e Kind



  • Class I: Plural = Singular (e.g. ÄäberÄäber)
  • Class II: Plural = Singular + Umlaut (e.g. BaumBaim; VaderVäder)
  • Class IIIa: Plural = Singular + -e (e.g. ManMane; AgsAgse)
  • Class IIIb: Plural = Singular + -̈e (e.g. FroschFresche)
  • Class IVa: Plural = Singular + -er (e.g. LyybLyyber; SchùgSchùger)
  • Class IVb: Plural = Singular + -̈er (e.g. WaldWälder; BladBleder)
  • Class V: No Plural (e.g. Chees; Zemänd)
  • Class VI: No Singular (Plural Only) (e.g. Bilger; Fèèrine)


  • Standard ending is -li (e.g. AimerAimerli)
  • If the word ends in -l, then the ending is -eli (e.g. DäälDääleli)
  • If the word ends in -el, then the ending is -i (e.g. DegelDegeli)
  • If the word ends in -e, remove the -e and add -li (e.g. BèèreBèèrli)
  • The rules for this can be quite complex and depend on the region. Sometimes diminutives require umlaut, other times not.


Weak Declension

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nom/Acc Sg der groos Man di göed Frau s klai Kind
Dat Sg im (e) groose Man in der / in ere göede Frau im (e) klaine Kind
Nom/Acc Pl di groose Mane di göede Fraue di klaine Kinder
Dat Pl in der groose Mane in der göede Fraue in der klaine Kinder

Strong Declension

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nom/Acc Sg göede Wyy göedi Frau göed Brood
Dat Sg göedem Wyy göeder Frau göedem Brood
Nom/Acc Pl groosi Mane groosi Fraue klaini Kinder
Dat Pl in groose Mane in groose Fraue in klaine Kinder


  • Standard ending -er (e.g. fèin --> fèiner)


  • Standard ending -(e)schd (e.g. fèin --> fèinschd)


Positive Comparative Superlative
vyyl mee maischd
göed beser beschd


Personal Pronouns

English Hochdeutsch Alemmanisch Nom Dative Accusative
I ich ich, ii, i miir, mir, mer mii, mi
you du duu, du, de diir, dir, der dii, di
he er äär, är, er iim, im, em iin, in, en, e
she sie sii, si iire, ire, ere sii, si
it es ääs, äs, es, s iim, im, em ääs, äs, es, s
we wir miir, mir, mer ùns, is ùns, is
you ihr iir, ir, er èich, ich èich, ich
they sie sii, si iine, ine, ene sii, si


1. Infinitive

Infinitive ends in -e

  • Some monosyllabic verbs do not have this ending (e.g. chùù, döe, goo, gschää, haa, loo, nee, sää, schdoo, schlaa, syy, zie, etc.)

2. Participle

2.1 Prefix

  • The prefix for g- or ge-
  • Before b, d, g, bf, dsch, and z is merged into the word and not visible (e.g. broochd, glaubd, etc.)

2.2 Suffix

  • Strong Verbs end in -e (e.g. gäse, glofe)
  • Weak Verbs end in -d or -ed (e.g. bùzd, gchaufd)

2.3 Types

2.3.1 Infinitive and Present Sg y/èi/ai - Participle i y > i (e.g. abwyyse > abgwiise) èi > i (e.g. verzèie > verziie) ai > i (e.g. schaide > gschiide)
2.3.2 Infinitive and Present Sg ie/u/au/èi/i - Participle o/öu/öe ie > o (e.g. biede > bode) u > o (e.g. sufe > gsofe) au > o (e.g. laufe > glofe) èi > öu (e.g. rèie > gröue) ie > öe (e.g. riefe > gröefe) i > o (e.g. wiige > gwooge)
2.3.3 Infinitive and Present Sg i - Participle ù i > u (e.g. binde > bùnde)
2.3.4 Infinitive ä/e - Present i - Participle o/u ä - i - o (e.g. bräche > broche) ä - i - u (e.g. hälfe > ghùlfe) e/è - i - o (e.g. verdèèrbe > verdoorbe) e - i - ù (e.g. schmelze > gschmùlze)
2.3.5 Infinitive ä/i - Present i - Participle ä ä - i - ä (e.g. äse > gäse) i - i - ä (e.g. bide > bäde)
2.3.6 Infinitive Vowel is the same as the Participle (e.g. bache > bache; fale > gfale)

3. Conjugation
3.1 Present Tense 3.1.1 Regular Verb

Person Ending Example
1st Sg ich mach
2nd Sg -sch duu machsch
3rd Sg -d är machd
Plural -e mir mache


Cardinal Ordinal Multiplicative I Multiplicative II
1 ais èèrschd aifach aimool
2 zwai zwaid zwaifach zwaimool
3 drèi drid drèifach drèimool
4 vier vierd vierfach viermool
5 fimf fimfd fimffach fimfmool
6 segs segsd segsfach segsmool
7 siibe sibd siibefach siibemool
8 aachd aachd aachdfach aachdmool
9 nyyn nyynd nyynfach nyynmool
10 zee zeend zeefach zeemool
11 elf elfd elffach elfmool
12 zwelf zwelfd zwelffach zwelfmool
13 dryzee dryzeend dryzeefach dryzeemool
14 vierzee vierzeend vierzeefach vierzeemool
15 fùfzee fùfzeend fùfzeefach fùfzeemool
16 sächzee sächzeend sächzeefach sächzeemool
17 sibzee sibzeend sibzeefach sibzeemool
18 aachdzee aachdzeend aachdzeefach aachdzeemool
19 nyynzee nyynzeend nyynzeefach nyynzeemool
20 zwanzg zwanzigschd zwanzgfach zwanzgmool
21 ainezwanzg ainezwanzigschd ainezwanzgfach ainezwanzgmool


  1. Ethnologue entry
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Low Alemannic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Noble, Cecil A. M. (1983). Modern German dialects New York [u.a.], Lang, p. 67/68
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