A Very Rough Categorization Of German Dialects...
I will be analysing the different dialects of german and trying to group them up, maybe making some up along the way.
The Rough Categorization
Please watch this video before reading the article.
The reporter on the video first asks the question: "Freuen Sie sich, hier in Amerika wieder zu sein?" → "Are you excited/happy to be back here in America?" with an accent so terrible, that a non-german speaker is more likely to be able to transcript it than someone who knows german quite well. The reporter probably had the question translated by someone and then tried to read it out himself without any german knowledge. That would be a 'wrong way' of speaking a language IF not so many people practice it. E.g. English spoken in india or in some parts of africa are, if you ask me, dialects of the language (Please correct me on the comments if I'm wrong, this is a personal blog on a personal website anyways, so no need for me to act as if I know everything perfectly). But again, this way of speaking german is not common at all, although it is partially similar to the german spoken in e.g. Texas USA (e.g. I've found this on youtube), and if we were to put it in a category, we could do it as follows:
Outlier 'Dialects': 'Dialects' spoken by people who in practice, speak german, but with an accent which is not widespread at all.
Anyways, let's get back to the video.
Einstein's answer to the first question of the reporter was "Wenn ich Sie sehe, sicher!" → "If (when) I (get to) see you, sure!" and Einstein says that in a high-german accent without a full-blown dialect, as it is not really a serious matter. And the category for such occasions could be:
Daily High German: A form of formally acceptable german, which may have an accent to it and doesn't take a lot of effort. (High German, but spoken casually)
Obviously, Einstein speaking casually is not the same as an average german person speaking casually, as they would worry less and talk more. They may get careless enough to make up new words by not just the trend, but also by the day:
Colloquial German: Commonly known as 'Umgangssprache', it is the language that is used in most daily communications in German, with less efforts spent.
Of course, there is also this 'standard german' that is formally most acceptable and widespread, which is also the german being taught and somehow endorsed. Let's take this video of Angela Merkel as an example of that. The chancellor definitly knows her way around with words and their optimal pronounciations, especially when it comes to making it all understandable for most people. It may be not the 'coolest' form of german out there, but it is usually easy to understand, especially for foreigners. Taking the lightness of the dialect into consideration would imply further categorization, but here you were promised a superficial, rough categorization, therefore I'd just call it the following:
High German: A form of formally acceptable german. The standard, officially recognized variation of German
And for the final one, we have this video. Watching it will probably give a good idea about the actual regional dialects of german. These could be further categorized to the limits, reaching maybe even thousands in numbers, but that'd be the topic of another article
Regional German Dialects: Different variations of german that have only added to their variations over history because of numerous different factors, both enviromental and cultural. In a way, don't we all speak dialects of a universal 'human language'...
The initial, rough categorization done above is actually just a layer of abstraction added on top of this one. However, to me, it feels like reinventing the wheel to learn about these and write repeat my newly learnt knowledge out here, therefore I will avoid filling this section for maybe years, who knows...