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Do you speak a dialect in your foreign language?
Thread poster: Stephanie Wloch

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Aug 11, 2005

I am wondering if there are others living abroad who not only speak the foreign language nearly as a native speaker, but who also speak or try to speak dialect?

My mother tongue is German and here in the East of the Netherlands (province Gelderland, region Achterhoek) a lot of people are speaking "Achterhoeks plat" which is similar to "Münsterländer Platt".The German border is not far away.
No help for me, because I originally come from another region and did not understand Platt at all.icon_frown.gif

Right from the beginning I wanted to learn the dialect, but Dutch was tough enough and only now after 8 years I am a bit fluent in speaking dialect. I have learned a lot by reading Asterix and Obelix (in dialect).:grin:
Dialect is very important here if you are together with older people.But also fun to surprise friends with very almost forgotten words.

In my Italian period my knowledge of Napolitano and Siciliano was very much appreciated.
They even used to call me tedesca (pronounce tedesh-ka) napulitanizzata.icon_biggrin.gif

What about you?

[Edited at 2005-08-11 12:43]


Steffen Pollex (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
English to German
+ ...
Some years ago in Kiev,.... Aug 11, 2005

I was told by several participants in a seminar at the National Bank (I did the interpreting) that I had a Moscow dialect in Russian.

Not surprising, of course - I spent more than seven years in Moscow.

But this was the first time I ever heard about and became aware of that there was something like dialects in Russian.icon_smile.gif


Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
German to English
+ ...
German + Swiss (Basel) dialect Aug 11, 2005

Interesting topic! My native language is English, I live in Germany, and I translate from German into English. But my husband is Swiss, so I do pretty well in the Basel dialect of Swiss German. It's important to me on a personal basis to make the effort to speak it in the family (although everyone speaks Hochdeutsch/High German so obviously that's the fallback if there's ever a misunderstanding). It's also nice as a "secret" language, because essentially no one where we live in Germany can decipher it.

Everyone in the German-speaking area of Switzerland learns Hochdeutsch at school, so in theory everyone can speak/understand it. In practice I'd say everyone *understands* it (most news for instance is in German) but I've encountered some Swiss who truly struggle with *speaking* it.

It's also interesting how different the individual Swiss dialects are. Zürichdeutsch, Berndeutsch, Walliserdeutsch, Bündnerdeutsch. When we go to Bern for instance (only 1 hour away from Basel by train) my comprehension drops to maybe 25% (or less!).

I think jokes are a great way to learn dialect. There's a great book called "Dr Bärner Witz" (Der Berner Witz = Bern Jokes) which unfortunately seems to be out of print.


Rita Banati  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
Member (2005)
German to Hungarian
+ ...
I speak Tirolian ! Aug 11, 2005

My mother tongue is Hungarian and I live in Tirol/Austria.
Tirolean is just like Bavarian.
Nobody speaks High German here, exept of the german tourists, so I had to learn it.
My husband is an original tirolian guy, all my friends speak this dialect, so it was no problem.

Pfiert ink !


Javier Herrera (X)
... Aug 11, 2005

My mother tongue is Spanish and I main foreign language is English.
I like having dialectal accents, they sound to me more "genuine" than the standard language (something imposed), probably because my Spanish is very Andalusian (Southern Spain), quite different from that of the North of Spain. After travelling for quite a few years, it sounds as pure as it used to be.
My English used to sound very Glasgwegian and I liked it a lot. Unfortunately, after living in London for some time, it disappeared. Now I try to be a bit Cockney.
Interesting combination.

[Edited at 2005-08-11 16:31]


Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:44
+ ...
Osaka / Kansai dialect Aug 11, 2005

In addition to "Standard" Japanese (which is based on how Japanese is spoken in Tokyo) I also speak and understand Japanese as used in Osaka, Kyoto and the surrounding areas. These various dialects are usually collectively referred to as "Kansai ben", "ben" means "dialect" and "Kansai" refers to the western half of the main island of Japan. Quite different from Standard Japanese in a variety of ways.


Olga Dubeshka (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:44
Russian to English
+ ...
There are hundreds of dialects Aug 11, 2005

I am from Belarus, I was raised speaking russian everywhere but
at my grandparents.It was considered "uneducated" to speak our native language for so long that it almost disappeared...or was ridiculed! It is sad and disturbing that even natives forgot how to use it. The language was dilluted with dialects, russian words, wrong grammer and finally became but a shadow of true belarusian language. Even so, you can always tell from the way people from ex-USSR speak Russian where they are from , either it is from Volga region , or Ukrain, or Belarus, or Moscow.Vague
"accent", use of certain words, structure of centences reveals it to a trained (or not) ear. Sometimes true moscovites swear they cannot understand us, belarisians, although both languages have a lot in common. Being raised bilingual, I always had the easiest time understanding all dialects, and even Ukranian and
Polish - they were "sister"languages to me.
Not so in the Philippines, where my husband is from. Outside Manila there are as many dialects as there are tiny islands.
Hundreds of different dialects sometimes create difficulties for people of the same country to communicate with each other!
Isn`t it amazing? Only for linguists, I guessicon_smile.gif


Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:44
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Norwegian, Spanish, French, Italian, German, English Aug 11, 2005

I speak the Oslo dialect of Norwegian at a near native level, and my Spanish probably sounds Mexican. My French is Parisian, and I speak Italian and German with more or less neutral standardized accents.

My English is West Coast General American.


astrit disha  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
English to Albanian
+ ...
RE: Do you speak a dialect in your foreign language? Aug 11, 2005

My mother language is albanian and I speak also the italian dialect called "il calabrese", socalled by the location, many times it happened to me that I was tooken for a man from calabria rather than a foreigner.


Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
+ ...
French and French creoles as second languages Aug 11, 2005

Native American English.
Metropolitan French spoken at home for 10+ years.
I did Master's and doctoral degrees on Caribbean French Creole linguistics and conducted survey work for these in St Lucian French Creole. I also speak Martinican French Creole and Guadeloupan French Creole with respective native speakers here in France.
In the mid-90s, I managed a group of Haitian Creole native-speaking translators for 2 years in developing translation databases for machine translation system and conducted a speech data collection campaign with 300 native Creole speakers, mostly speaking with them in Creole. I have a videotape of my seminar in Haitian Creole at the Universite des Caraibes in Haiti on the topic of issues concerning creating and using speech recognition and speech synthesis databases for speech-to-speech machine translation systems. During that same week was a last minute requested interview concerning my project on TeleHaiti television that aired that evening and the next morning.

Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Paris, France

[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:29]


sarahl (X)
Local time: 12:44
English to French
+ ...
Osaka dialect Aug 12, 2005

somehow it comes to me more naturally than standard Japanese -when I am under stress I can have a hard time remembering the standard Japanese equivalent.

My French has an Anjou flavor on occasion, and my English is probably West Coast.

Don't we all speak some kind of dialect, if you come right down to it?icon_biggrin.gif


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
English and Spanish Aug 12, 2005

English and Spanish are worldwide languages, and Spanish especially is quite uniform wherever spoken, and taught the same throughout the world. English is more varied. That said, every nation, region, social subgroup, etc. puts its own imprint on language.

I am a dedicated speaker and writer of both U.S. English and Mexican Spanish, but my Spanish is more varied. Many years ago after a fairly long residence in Chile I slowly but surely started losing my Mexican accent and gaining a Chilean one, while picking up all the popular Chilean "modismos". The result was that after a couple of years, and in addition to more educated language, I could also speak like a perfect Chilean "roto". I was quite proud of this because I have always liked colorful language.

Then I returned to the border, and back to my usual Spanish; the process was quicker. Now upon returning to Chile with some frequency it is not so hard to get back into the popular speech to a good extent, but most of them recognize that my accent is not the same; that takes time.

In addition to that I am quite fluent in "Tex-Mex" or "Chicano Spanish" which is not a language in itself at all, but it is a manner of expression. I use it when appropriate but when it comes to use of proper Spanish, I always defend it to the end. And of course in addition to emulating the Chilean "roto", I can also emulate the Mexican "pelado".

Unfortunately in English I have not had the same experiences, and some varieties can be rather difficult to understand. Not so in Spanish, everywhere and with everyone we have a common ground, and at the same time we have those things that are our own.

Like I told my daughter one time on a trip to Chile, "you know, we can be talking there in Spanish in a way they could not even understand us" and it is true. But the common ground part is what we enjoy the most.

So do we have dialects or don't we?


Haluk Levent Aka (X)
Local time: 23:44
Japanese to Turkish
+ ...
Osakaben Aug 12, 2005

Surely in a friendly format... I feel more comfortable with Osaka dialect when speaking Japanese. But in business I strictly use teineikei/hyoujungo


Karine J.
Local time: 21:44
French to German
+ ...
German with franconian dialect! Aug 30, 2005

I´m living in Germany for 8 years now and I´m living in the wonderful Bavaria state.
Here there is a lot of dialects as you surely now and I´m living in franconia to be exact, so I "learned" franconian either and I must say that people are very respectful if you can understand their dialect here, without saying that they really appreciate if you are speaking their dialect at all.

I can tell you (only German people will understand) a pleasant moment I had for years ago arriving in Germany at the beginning : I arrived by train at the station and went out, somebody was waiting for me and said to me "Grüß Gott",......I was completely lost because I never learned this words and did not understand at all!!
Now I´m speaking nearly at a native speaker level and I find this very exiting if you can the language where you are living.


Pasquale Capo  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:44
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Dialects (Sicilian) vs Mainstream language Sep 3, 2005

I was born in Sicily, I presently live in Canada. Growing up in Sicily, both at home and in the streets we spoke Sicilian, speaking Italian among ourselves was regarded as an act of snobism. At school we had no choice. Surprisingly, if through a mental lapsus one of our mates would accidental slip in a Sicilian word during the conversation in Italian, he would be made fun of and derided. In Canada, I found that among the Italian population, mainly originating from the southern Italian regions, the dialects were spoken at home (sicilian, calabrese, napoletano, ciociaro, abruzzese) while the kids would speak English at school or among themselves. There was a shame associated with speaking an accented, albeit correct Italian. Nowdays, there is a revival of Sicilian. To write the language is very hard, it is mainly done by poets who compose poetry in the dialect. The dialect itself is made up of contracted Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Greek words. Sometimes, I have fun studying the etimology of each dialectal word in order to determine its origins. In summary, I would say that dialects shoud get more respect, be kept alive and studied for they are the language of our recent ancestors.

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