Who speaks a dialect?

Allan Metcalf AAllan at AOL.COM
Mon May 24 17:18:02 UTC 1999

A survey was taken recently in Germany asking a question that I don't know
has been tried in the U.S.: "Can you speak the local dialect?" I wonder
whether that question would work here, and what results we'd get.

Here is my translation of an article in "DAAD Letter" (magazine for former
recipients of German government fellowships), March 1999:

. . . According to a survey by the Institute for Demoscopy (?) in Allensbach,
every other person surveyed (West Germany 51 percent, East 48 percent) can
speak the dialect of his or her region. . . .
     . . . Dialects are also being officially evaluated: The European Charter
of Regional and Minority Languages recognizes dialects and might in the
future allow them as official languages.
    On the hit list of the most beloved dialects, Bavarian (37%) is ahead of
North German Platt (32%) and Berlin (23%). In the most southern federal state
[Bavaria] the dialect plays a prominent role: There 72% of those asked
command the regional idiom. In North Germany it is only 39%. The dislikes are
also clear: 50% hear the dialect of Saxony not at all gladly [ueberhaupt
nicht gern].
- Allan Metcalf

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