Teuthonista is a phonetic transcription system used predominantly for the transcription of (High) German dialects. The base characters are mostly based on the Latin alphabet, which can be modified by various diacritics.


The name Teuthonista goes back to the Journal Teuthonista, in which the transcription system was presented in 1924/25.[1]


Most of the characters derive from the Latin or Greek alphabet. The consonants are primarily mono-phonemic symbols, i.e. "one character for one sound". Fine nuances in articulation can be distinguished by diacritics (e.g. dots or tildes beneath or across the character).

In contrast, Teuthonista normally uses diacritics to distinguish related vowels, rather than unique letters. To describe the various dialectal sounds of the German letters "e" or "i", for example, the system uses trémas, upstrokes, tildes and ogoneks, separately and in combination with each other. It is possible to write more than 500 different variations of the letter "e" in this system.

This system of transcription is quite efficient for representing the sounds of German dialects. For this reason the Teuthonista system is the first choice of scientific researchers in Germany, who use direct questionnaires to gather data for dialectological investigation.


The Teuthonista phonetic transcription system is used by the following projects:


  • Badisches Wörterbuch
  • Bayerisches Wörterbuch
  • Wörterbuch der bairischen Mundarten in Österreich

Linguistic atlases

  • Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz
  • Südwestdeutscher Sprachatlas
  • Atlas der historischen deutschen Mundarten auf dem Gebiet der Tschechischen Republik
  • Sprachatlas von Oberösterreich
  • Vorarlberger Sprachatlas
  • Teilprojekte des Bayerischen Sprachatlas
    • Sprachatlas von Bayerisch-Schwaben
    • Sprachatlas von Mittelfranken
    • Sprachatlas von Unterfranken
    • Sprachatlas von Niederbayern
    • Sprachatlas von Nordostbayern
    • Sprachatlas von Oberbayern


  1. Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).

Further reading

  • Teuchert, Hermann: Lautschrift des Teuthonista. In: Teuthonista. 1 (1924/25), 5.
  • Wiesinger, Peter: Das phonetische Transkriptionssystem der Zeitschrift "Teuthonista". Eine Studie zu seiner Entstehung und Anwendbarkeit in der deutschen Dialektologie mit einem Überblick über die Geschichte der phonetischen Transkription im Deutschen bis 1924. In: Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung.' 31. 1964: 1–20.
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