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Chemnitz dialect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chemnitz dialect is a distinct German dialect of the city of Chemnitz and an urban variety of Vorerzgebirgisch, a variant of Upper Saxon German.[1]



Consonant phonemes[1]
Labial Dental Postalveolar Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive fortis p t
lenis k
Fricative f s ʃ χ h
Approximant ʋ j
Liquid l ʁ
  • /m, p/ are bilabial, whereas /f, ʋ/ are labiodental.[2]
  • /n, t, l, s/ are dental [, , , ].[1]
    • /t/ is alveolar [] after /ʃ/.[3]
  • /ŋ, kʰ, k/ are velar, /χ, ʁ/ are uvular, and /j/ is palatal. /χ-ʁ/ do not constitute a voiceless-voiced pair.[2]
    • The /kʰ–k/ contrast is restricted to the word-initial position. In many cases, it corresponds to the /k–ɡ/ contrast in Standard German.[4]
    • /ʁ/ occurs only in onsets, and it has few possible pronunciations, which are in free variation with one another:[3]
      • Voiced uvular approximant [ʁ̞];[3]
      • Voiced [ʁ] or voiceless [ʁ̥] lenis uvular fricative;[3]
      • Voiceless uvular trill [ʀ̥];[3]
      • Unaspirated voiceless uvular stop [q].[3]
  • /p, t, k, f, s, ʃ, χ/ may be voiced between sonorants.[4]
    • Word-final /p, t, k/ are sometimes voiced to [b, d, ɡ].[5]
    • Word-initially, the /t–k/ contrast is neutralized before /l/, which means that e.g. the word Kleid ('dress') can be pronounced as either [tleːt] or [kleːt].[6]
  • When a stop or fricative precedes, the sequences /əm, ən, əŋ, əl/ can be realized as syllabic consonants [m̩, n̩, ŋ̍, l̩]. The nasals appear depending on the place of articulation of the preceding consonant, so that it can be bilabial [m̩], dental [n̩], velar [ŋ̍] or uvular [ɴ̩].[3]
  • When another nasal precedes a syllabic nasal, such sequence is realized as a single consonant of variable length.[3]
  • Non-phonemic glottal stop [ʔ] is inserted in two cases:
    • Before word-initial vowels, even the unstressed ones.[3]
    • Before stressed syllable-initial vowels within words.[3]


Monophthongs of the Chemnitz dialect, from Khan & Weise (2013:236–237). Red vowels are pharyngealized.
Monophthongs of the Chemnitz dialect, from Khan & Weise (2013:236–237). Red vowels are pharyngealized.
  [-back] [+back]
short long short long
Close ɪ ɵ ʉː
Close-mid ɛ ɞ ɵː
Open-mid ɛː
Open ʌ ʌː
Short Long
Close ʊˤː
Close-mid oˤː
Mid ʌˤː
Open-mid ɔˤː
Open aˤː
Short Long
Close ʏ
Mid œ øː
  • The pharyngealized vowels correspond to the sequences of vowel + /r/ in the standard language.[8]
  • The non-native vowels are occasionally used in cognates of some Standard German words, such as brüder [ˈpʁyːtoˤ] ('brothers'). In other cases, they are pronounced the same as /ɪ, iː, ɛ, eː/.[9]
  • Unstressed short oral monophthongs may fall together as [ə].[7]
  • /ʊˤː, oˤː, ʌˤː, ɔˤː, aˤː/ are often diphthongal [ʊːɒ̯ˤ, oːɒ̯ˤ, ɪːɒ̯ˤ, ɔːɒ̯ˤ, ɛːɒ̯ˤ] in careful speech. Monophthongal realizations are optionally shortened in certain positions.[10]
  • /oˤ/ corresponds to Standard German [ɐ].[8]
  • Monophthongs are somewhat retracted when they precede dorsals, except /j/. The retraction is strongest before /χ, ʁ/. To a certain extent, this is also true of monophthongs that follow dorsal consonants.[9]
  • Monophthongs are allophonically pharyngealized if a vowel in the following syllable is pharyngealized.[9]
  • The phonetic quality of the monophthongs is as follows:
Diphthongs of the Chemnitz dialect, from Khan & Weise (2013:237).
Diphthongs of the Chemnitz dialect, from Khan & Weise (2013:237).
Diphthong phonemes[8]
Ending point
unrounded rounded
Mid ɞʏ
Open ae
  • The starting point of /ɞʏ/ is higher and more front than the canonical value of the corresponding IPA symbol ([ɞ̝˖]).[8]
  • The starting points of /ae/ and /aɵ/ are higher and more central than the canonical value of the corresponding IPA symbol ([ä̝]).[8]
  • The ending points of Chemnitz German diphthongs are close to the canonical values of the corresponding IPA symbols ([ʏ, e, ɵ]).[8]


The sample text is a reading of the first sentence of The North Wind and the Sun.[11]

Broad phonetic transcription

[ˈeːnəs ˈtʌːχəs hʌmʃ toˤ ˈnoˤːtʋɪnt ɵnt tə ˈsɞnə kəˈtsʌŋt | ʋaˤː fɞn ˈpeːtn̩ tɛn nʉː toˤ ˈʃtaˤːkʁ̞ə ɪs | ɛls ə ˈʋʌntʁ̞oˤ mɪt nəm ˈʋɔˤːmən ˈmʌntl̩ ʌn | foˤˈpeːkʰʌːm][11]

Orthographic version (standard German)

Eines Tages haben sich der Nordwind und die Sonne gezankt, wer von den beiden denn nun der Stärkere ist, als ein Wanderer mit einem warmen Mantel an, vorbeikam.[11]



  • Khan, Sameer ud Dowla; Weise, Constanze (2013), "Upper Saxon (Chemnitz dialect)" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (2): 231–241, doi:10.1017/S0025100313000145
This page was last edited on 17 September 2018, at 16:06
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