Alsatian – or Alsatian German (Elsasserditsch) – is closely related to other nearby Alemannic dialects, such as Swiss GermanSwabian, and Badisch, but also to the Amish dutch and yiddish.  If Alemannic dialect is spoken in most of Alsace Region, the Franconian dialect is also spoken in the far north-east of Alsace and in neighboring Lorraine.

Many speakers of Alsatian can write in reasonable standard German which is the written language of the dialects spoken in Alsace. For most this would be rare and confined to those who have learnt German at school or through work. They would, however, tend to resort always to writing in French, the language in which they have been educated. Dialect is very much reserved for close family and friends. People switch from one to the other, mid conversation or even mid sentence, as required. There are many unwritten rules as to when and where and to whom you should speak dialect. Some dialect speakers are unwilling to speak standard German, at times, to certain outsiders and prefer to use French. In contrast many people living near the border with Basel, Switzerland, will speak their dialect with a Swiss person from that area, as they are mutually understandable for the most part. Some street names in Alsace may use Alsatian spellings (they were formerly displayed only in French but are now bilingual in some places, especially Strasbourg and Mulhouse.

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International Fund for the Alsatian Language

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