Why didn't Austrian become standardized/official?

Penyafort

Senior Member
Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
I know that the spoken varieties of High German are usually divided into two groups, a Central and an Upper one, which in turn are subdivided into Western and Eastern subgroups.

The Western group of Central High German includes Moselle Franconian, which became standardized in Luxembourg and is now an official language of the country.

What I wonder is why didn't Austria do the same with the Eastern subgroup of Upper High German, that is, with Bavarian-Austrian. I know that things are different today, but the post WWII Austrian scenario looked very susceptible to have followed the path of Luxembourg. Any ideas or explanations about why it didn't?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think because in the area which is now Austria (and of course many other places) Standard High German was well established as the prestige variety when the Republic of Austria was established just after WW1. The situation in Luxembourg is rather different, if not unusual, because of its history. Luxemburgish was promoted to increase the sense of national identity, something that was presumably felt unnecessary in Austria.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    I see. However I've always had the impression of a noticeable national/regional feeling in both Austria and Bavaria, to a larger extent than in Luxembourg -my personal perception, of course. Even if Standard High German was well-established already, in such an aftermath, bolstered or not by the presence of the Allies, I would have presumed a boost or at least some kind of coalescence between both, much as in Luxembourg. Perhaps even a closer approach to Switzerland, as I imagine that both spoken varieties were even much more spoken seventy years ago.
     

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    I see. However I've always had the impression of a noticeable national/regional feeling in both Austria and Bavaria, to a larger extent than in Luxembourg -my personal perception, of course. Even if Standard High German was well-established already, in such an aftermath, bolstered or not by the presence of the Allies, I would have presumed a boost or at least some kind of coalescence between both, much as in Luxembourg. Perhaps even a closer approach to Switzerland, as I imagine that both spoken varieties were even much more spoken seventy years ago.

    Perhaps we have to look at it from the opposite direction. The three major German-speaking countries (Austria,Switzerland and Germany) regularly meet to talk about possible changes to the written language. And if they agree the changes will be adopted by the Duden and other dictionaries. The only exception I can think of, is the lack of the "ß" in Switzerland.

    Regarding spoken language Luxembourgish is not "special" compared to other German dialects.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    And yet it hasn't been very successful. Only 10% of written media is published in Luxembourgish.
    That's not really the goal. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Having a national language makes you different. That doesn't mean you have to use it. And of course since it is yours you can treat it as badly as you want. Don't hesitate to code switch, mix in French, English, German, Portuguese as much as you choose.
    Just never never say to anyone that it is a German or Moselle German dialect or you will wish you hadn't. These otherwise laid-back people get seriously angry.

    They ask foreigners to be fluent in Lëtzebuergesch to get a job in Luxembourg. After the two minute required interview "Moïen. Esch heisch de Robert. Wéi geet and iéch? D'Wieder ass schéin." they switch to French to talk about the important issues and then they never go back. Why? They want their language respected and to be respected for a having a language, but then no need to talk in it.
     
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    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    They ask foreigners to be fluent in Lëtzebuergesch to get a job in Luxembourg. After the two minute required interview "Moïen. Esch heisch de Robert. Wéi geet and iéch? D'Wieder ass schéin." they switch to French to talk about the important issues and then they never to go back. Why? They want their language respected and to be respected for a having a language, but then no need to talk in it.

    I still can't see any difference in regards to code switching to Swiss/Switzerland. It's entirely a political thing but not a language-related question.

    Just never never say to anyone that it is a German or Moselle German dialect or you will wish you hadn't. These otherwise laid-back people get seriously angry.

    Ignorance doesn't make it better. No one, seriously doubts that Quebec French is still a variety of French or American English is a variety of English.

    Or do you think if you cross the border to Germany, the people there would "suddenly" speak an entirely different language? Most likely not even their dialects/accents are different.
     
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    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    I still can't see any difference to Swiss/Switzerland. It' entirely a political thing but not a language-related question.

    The only major difference is that they have codified their dialect as a written language which was more or less symbolic. ;)
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I still can't see any difference in regards to code switching to Swiss/Switzerland. It's entirely a political thing but not a language-related question.
    It's also social and cultural.
    Ignorance doesn't make it better. No one, seriously doubts that Quebec French is still a variety of French or American English is a variety of English.

    Or do you think if you cross the border to Germany, the people there would "suddenly" speak an entirely different language? Most likely not even their dialects/accents are different.
    No, Languages don't usually stop at borders. It's also spoken across the border in France by elderly people but it's dying out there for lack of prestige and use. I don't doubt that the variety used across the border in Germany is probably very close but lacks the written language and the thousands of French words that have been adopted in Lëtzebuergesch though, but I'm not sure. Maybe it makes a difference. How much do you understand?
     
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    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German

    That sounds quite articificial, let's take Mr Betel's interview. I understand about 80-90% (but I'm also a speaker of Central German, so a northerner or southerner may understand less) and where are all those Gallicism you mentioned? I don't hear many. And those I hear do have Latin-based counterparts in German like Majorität, Deklaration, etc.

    It's certainly more intelligible than Swiss German or a Tyrolese dialect to me. But intelligibility is a bad measurement anyway.

    P.S.: That's Moselfränkisch from a place just across the border in Germany.
     
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    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That's not really the goal. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Having a national language makes you different. That doesn't mean you have to use it. And of course since it is yours you can treat it as badly as you want. Don't hesitate to code switch, mix in French, English, German, Portuguese as much as you choose.
    Just never never say to anyone that it is a German or Moselle German dialect or you will wish you hadn't. These otherwise laid-back people get seriously angry.

    They ask foreigners to be fluent in Lëtzebuergesch to get a job in Luxembourg. After the two minute required interview "Moïen. Esch heisch de Robert. Wéi geet and iéch? D'Wieder ass schéin." they switch to French to talk about the important issues and then they never to go back. Why? They want their language respected and to be respected for a having a language, but then no need to talk in it.
    I am as liberal as you can get but this sort of thing concerns me. It can get to the point where "You cannot be a proper X if you do not speak Xish" and that is oppressive. At its worst it leads to situations where a person who speaks the language spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of a country cannot get certain jobs if he cannot speak the language spoken by a minority. The whole point of language is that it is used, not just waved on special occasions like the national flag.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I see. However I've always had the impression of a noticeable national/regional feeling in both Austria and Bavaria, to a larger extent than in Luxembourg -my personal perception, of course. Even if Standard High German was well-established already, in such an aftermath, bolstered or not by the presence of the Allies, I would have presumed a boost or at least some kind of coalescence between both, much as in Luxembourg. Perhaps even a closer approach to Switzerland, as I imagine that both spoken varieties were even much more spoken seventy years ago.
    Not everyone feels the need to make a strong connection between their national or regional identity and a language which is unique to their nation or region.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I am as liberal as you can get but this sort of thing concerns me. It can get to the point where "You cannot be a proper X if you do not speak Xish" and that is oppressive. At its worst it leads to situations where a person who speaks the language spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of a country cannot get certain jobs if he cannot speak the language spoken by a minority. The whole point of language is that it is used, not just waved on special occasions like the national flag.
    I guess you need to understand it in the context. A great chuck of the population are foreigners: French, Portuguese, Italians and from everywhere nowadays. In addition, the population more than doubles as people cross the border from France, Belgium and Germany to work every single job in the country. There are job ads asking for everything, even high school math teacher, I saw today. The French in particular consider Luxembourg a continuation of France. The border is inexistent nowadays, 3 trains per hour. It's well known that all these immigrants and cross-border workers are there for money, not culture. Salaries are double. The token language requirements are a way to filter out people and remind them they are in Luxembourg. It's not a success story though. There is an industry of crash courses to learn enough Lëtzebuergesch to get in the door. Afterwards they never use it. Many of the native citizens are so used to multilingual environments they don't care too much either.

    Luxembourg, moreover, has always been turned westwards toward Belgium and France, not towards Germany and Austria. This created a sense of otherness and a desire not to integrate. The penchant for French goes back centuries to that time too

    As far as Austria, it's always been considered part of the German speaking world, if not at the center of it, even back in the Hapsburg empire days. They never spoke of an Austrian language.Their form of German, albeit somewhat distinct, is high German and went through all the consonant changes that formed standard German. I believe the changes even initiated in that area. So I'd say Austrian German is rather closer to the standard than any original Platt dialect of Northern Germany.
    My question would be rather why northern Germans embraced high German and made it their own rather than fight to standardize their local Low German varieties. It was important during the Hanseatic League.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    What I wonder is why didn't Austria do the same with the Eastern subgroup of Upper High German, that is, with Bavarian-Austrian. I know that things are different today, but the post WWII Austrian scenario looked very susceptible to have followed the path of Luxembourg. Any ideas or explanations about why it didn't?
    Because Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland have decided to maintain a common standard language with the other parts of the German speaking area (deutschsprachiger Raum). That is all there is to it. With respect to colloquial language, German and Austrian German tend to converge. There is by now a substantial number of young people who speak almost like a German. In German speaking Switzerland it is the opposite, diglossia, standard German in writing and dialect in spoken language, is getting reinforced. In the first half of the 20th century it looked as if Zurich and a few other cities would largely abandon dialect but today dialect is as strong as ever even in cities. This is very different to the French speaking area where standard French has completely replaced Romand.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Because Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland have decided to maintain a common standard language with the other parts of the German speaking area (deutschsprachiger Raum). That is all there is to it. With respect to colloquial language, German and Austrian German tend to converge. There is by now a substantial number of young people who speak almost like a German. In German speaking Switzerland it is the opposite, diglossia, standard German in writing and dialect in spoken language, is getting reinforced. In the first half of the 20th century it looked as if Zurich and a few other cities would largely abandon dialect but today dialect is as strong as ever even in cities. This is very different to the French speaking area where standard French has completely replaced Romand.
    The question regarding Austria is when/how/why was the decicion to maintain a common standard made, assuming there was a decision and it didn't just happen naturally, or maybe it was just always the case. I've been looking at the 1874 libretto of Die Federmaus by Johan Strauss, as Austrian as you can get, at the height of the empire, in Vienna, and yet the language is definitely German. They habitually seem to drop the -e off the ich forms, form contractions ist's, and have some Italian looking words, but they use German. I don't doubt that in the streets people may have used harder dialect than today, but that's also the case anywhere in Germany too. At any rate Vienna was using the standard.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    The interesting question would be if the areas of Klagenfurt, Villach and Graz were part of Yugoslavia in the beginning of the 20th century, yet the minority inhabitants chose not to do so. That would mean that the Austria would lose a lot of its territory and the only German speaking part would be Vienna. It would also mean that the standard language in these areas would be Slovene and not German.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I don't understand your point. The area with a Slovene speaking majority where the plebiscite was held was tiny, about 50'000 inhabitants in total and neither Villach nor Klagenfurt nor Graz were part of it. The vote was largely symbolic. The "loss" of these four districts wouldn't have changed much for the further development of Austria. And also outside of this area: The total number of Slovene speakers in what became the republic of Deutschösterreich after WWI was never more than 2.5% of the total population.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Isn't French the most common written/official language in Luxembourg? So if the H language is French, and the L language is the local Luxembourgish dialect, there is little need for Standard German. Then Luxembourgish can develop a written standard for some purposes, since it's not overshadowed by Standard German.

    The difference in size is obvious too. Luxembourg might need to overcompensate to forge a national identity and avoid being labeled a microstate, Austria doesn't.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Nederlands (België)
    Isn't French the most common written/official language in Luxembourg? So if the H language is French, and the L language is the local Luxembourgish dialect, there is little need for Standard German. Then Luxembourgish can develop a written standard for some purposes, since it's not overshadowed by Standard German.
    Luxembourgers almost exclusively watch German television rather than Belgian/French television.

    The Francophone "Luxembourgish" channels Club RTL, RTL TVI and Plug RTL are really Belgian channels. Most of their viewers live in Wallonia and Brussels.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Luxembourgers almost exclusively watch German television rather than Belgian/French television.

    The Francophone "Luxembourgish" channels Club RTL, RTL TVI and Plug RTL are really Belgian channels. Most of their viewers live in Wallonia and Brussels.
    All of the French channels are also available everywhere in Luxembourg. There are also 3 Portuguese channels. Also Lëtzebuergesch channels. I wouldn't say they watch exclusively anything as a whole. When you walk into a place you never know what you can see or hear in the background. Clothing stores like that silly M6 though.

    One thing I guess I should say though is when you enter a shop, restaurant, café or when you talk to someone you don't know in the street, on transportation, people greet you with moïen and then talk to you automatically in French unless you want to change the language. The official street signs are also in French. You have "Place d'armes", "Rue du Grand Duc", "Temple protestant" etc. Unofficial signs can be in anything and ones about beer tend to be in Lëtzebuergesch. I suppose that is what Dymn means by H and L. There is a lot of code shifting too depending on the person. Äddi is also bye whatever language you're talking.

    This article is an interesting read about language use in Luxembourg if you have time and interest.
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Not everyone feels the need to make a strong connection between their national or regional identity and a language which is unique to their nation or region.
    I differ there, I think the connection is always present, only expressed in different ways. But anyway, that'd be food for another thread.

    Because Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland have decided to maintain a common standard language with the other parts of the German speaking area (deutschsprachiger Raum). That is all there is to it. With respect to colloquial language, German and Austrian German tend to converge. There is by now a substantial number of young people who speak almost like a German. In German speaking Switzerland it is the opposite, diglossia, standard German in writing and dialect in spoken language, is getting reinforced. In the first half of the 20th century it looked as if Zurich and a few other cities would largely abandon dialect but today dialect is as strong as ever even in cities. This is very different to the French speaking area where standard French has completely replaced Romand.

    My surprise was not as much at the present situation, but at why the detachment did not happen at some point in the last two centuries. From all your interesting comments in here, I'm inferring that a fairly solid standard was already used back then, and that in spite of the political borders there's even been a progressive convergence too in the spoken forms, unlike in Switzerland.

    I'm also deducing that sources such as Ethnologue considering it a language base themselves on very subjective parametres about mutual intelligibility rather than on anything linguistically serious or on any associations promoting this idea at all.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Why? I am seriously confused.

    Because of a confluence of factors: onset of Romantic nationalism and the concept of nation state, rivalry between the north (Prussia) and Austria -leading to the dissolution of the German confederation, some stages during the 20th century, etc. Generally speaking, because of quite a few moments in time in which the bonds could have understably been broken the way it's happened in some other places.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Because of a confluence of factors: onset of Romantic nationalism and the concept of nation state, rivalry between the north (Prussia) and Austria -leading to the dissolution of the German confederation, some stages during the 20th century, etc. Generally speaking, because of quite a few moments in time in which the bonds could have understably been broken the way it's happened in some other places.
    What does the Prussian-Austrian rivalry to do with nationalism. I don't understand. The rivalry was between realms/states not between nations.
     
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    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Because of a confluence of factors: onset of Romantic nationalism and the concept of nation state, rivalry between the north (Prussia) and Austria -leading to the dissolution of the German confederation, some stages during the 20th century, etc. Generally speaking, because of quite a few moments in time in which the bonds could have understably been broken the way it's happened in some other places.
    I think the answer is simply that in all the areas where Standard High German was well established people felt it belonged to them, in much the same way as English speaking Americans, Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders feel that English belongs to them.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think the answer is simply that in all the areas where Standard High German was well established people felt it belonged to them, in much the same way as English speaking Americans, Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders feel that English belongs to them.
    That is not quite comparable. America has been regarding itself as a nation in its own right for close to 250 years. In the case of Austria (historically speaking more precisely Deutschösterreich) this is a post WWII phenomenon.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    That is not quite comparable. America has been regarding itself as a nation in its own right for close to 250 years. In the case of Austria (historically speaking more precisely Deutschösterreich) this is a post WWII phenomenon.
    Yes, but modern day Austrians must feel their country didn't come into being just after 1946. They must feel a connection/ continuation /bond with the 400 centuries of Hapsburg rule. Its culture, its institutions, its history, its language...
    I know I would.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, but modern day Austrians must feel their country didn't come into being just after 1946. They must feel a connection/ continuation /bond with the 400 centuries of Hapsburg rule.
    I know I would.
    You are confusing realm and nation. That the German part of the Habsburg monarchy was Germany was never in question. On the contrary, the ambition had always been to be the cultural and political centre of the German nation and that is where its ambition clashed with that of Prussia. Loyalty to the Empire never had anything to do with ethnic or national identity. In 1919, when the monarchies did not exist any more, the only reason why Austria remained an entity separate from Germany was because the allied powers prevented Austria from being "Bestandteil der Deutsche Republik" as the constitution of "Deutschösterreich" stipulated.
     
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    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Did Luxembourgers feel German prior to WWII? If not it seems much easier to detach yourself from the German-speaking world and claim you speak a different language.

    Luxembourgers almost exclusively watch German television rather than Belgian/French television.
    I guess native Luxembourgers (Luxembourgish-speaking) feel much closer to German than to French, which makes total sense.

    When you walk into a place you never know what you can see or hear in the background.
    Maybe it depends on the demographic? My impression based on what you say and other stuff I've read is that French is on the rise thanks to its role as a lingua franca between the native population, immigrants (mostly from Romance-speaking countries like Portugal, Italy and France itself), and cross-country workers (mainly from France and Wallonia). So if only the native population existed, the public use of Luxembourgish would've been much more successful and German would take up the role of a back-up language.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Did Luxembourgers feel German prior to WWII? If not it seems much easier to detach yourself from the German-speaking world and claim you speak a different language.
    No, I don't think they ever felt pro-German, and going back centuries.
    I guess native Luxembourgers (Luxembourgish-speaking) feel much closer to German than to French, which makes total sense.
    It would make sense but this is not my impression. Any suggestion of Luxembourg or Lëtzebuergesch being German will abruptly end any conversation. They seriously won't tolerate that one second. In the past they may have hated Germany but this is no longer the case. It's just not their top priority.
    Maybe it depends on the demographic? My impression based on what you say and other stuff I've read is that French is on the rise thanks to its role as a lingua franca between the native population, immigrants (mostly from Romance-speaking countries like Portugal, Italy and France itself), and cross-country workers (mainly from France and Wallonia). So if only the native population existed, the public use of Luxembourgish would've been much more successful and German would take up the role of a back-up language.
    This information is certainly true but besides that the 35% of the people who are native speakers of Lëtzebuergesch are francophiles. They wrote a luxembourgized standard German to render informal conversations that would have been in Lëtzebuergesch before standardization (friendly letters, notes etc) and French for more formal circumstances. But the young now since about 1990 or so who have grown up with the new standard write informally in Lëtzebuergesch, formally in French. My feeling is that standard German is still well known but slowly declining in favor of every other language.

    Another interesting detail I have heard is that native speakers prefer to switch to French after a few words even if "foreigners" have a good knowledge of Lëtzebuergesch.
     
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    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    No, I don't think they ever felt pro-German, and going back centuries.

    What do you mean by pro-German? Germany just has been existing since 1871 and prior to that Luxemburg was part of the German confederation (even when they officially were ruled by the monarch of Netherlands), and going back longer they even were emperor of the HRR. They were certainly aware that they were German-speakers and belong to that ethnicity.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    You are confusing realm and nation. That the German part of the Habsburg monarchy was Germany was never in question. On the contrary, the ambition had always been to be the cultural and political centre of the German nation and that is where its ambition clashed with that of Prussia. Loyalty to the Empire never had anything to do with ethnic or national identity. In 1919, when the monarchies did not exist any more, the only reason why Austria remained an entity separate from Germany was because the allied powers prevented Austria from being "Bestandteil der Deutsche Republik" as the constitution of "Deutschösterreich" stipulated.
    No, I'm well aware of the difference between realm and nation (should nation mean ethnicity here). Were I Austrian I would feel a close connection to the empire, and feel a great loss at the dismantling of it after 1918. Walking around Vienna you are surrounded by the great legacy of the Hapsburgs, much more so than to whatever Austria is since 1946. I am surprised the Austro-Hungarian empire had to pay such a high price after WWI. I must confess I'd love to get the perspective of Austrians. Anyway, I'm not trying to deny the "Germanness" of Austria. On the contrary, I think Austria did a lot for the German language, and it was the language of the empire, albeit only 20% of the people spoke it natively.
    What do you mean by pro-German? Germany just has been existing since 1871 and prior to that Luxemburg was part of the German confederation (even when they officially were ruled by the monarch of Netherlands), and going back longer they even were emperor of the HRR. They were certainly aware that they were German-speakers and belong to that ethnicity.
    No, I don't mean German as necessarily citizens of the Republic of Germany. Ethnicity. What the old generation in America called Dutchmen. People speaking "Deutsch". I'm not convinced the historic identity of the Luxembourgish was "Deutsch" either. In the books I have read on Luxembourg, as at one time I considered moving there, state that French was already the administrative language before it became a nation/state/duchy in 1815. It was also historically linked to the Wallonian region of Arlon, and the Thionville area in Lorraine (all French speaking, but now part of Belgium and France). The Grand Duke chose to keep French as the official language of power and prestige at that time. The upperclass practiced it and spoke it extensively, especially in Luxembourg Ville. If they wrote Standard German they were criticized because it meant their French wasn't good enough for them to use it. Since then French has never been removed from top position.
    Anyway it would be silly to think that an educated citizen of Luxembourg would now or in the past not know any of the things brought out in this thread. Namely that Lëtzebuergesch/ Moselle Franconian language is/was even more widely spoken in West Germany, that it is/was quite close to high German anyhow, that French is a Romance language and different.
    I suppose at one time Luxembourg may have feared (an) unfriendly German State(s) may have wanted to put a historic claim to their country as they also did to Alsace and Lorraine. If they did it would put an end to the Grand Duchy. So rejecting "Germanness" and embracing "la Francophonie" is a way to take distance and create otherness.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Were I Austrian I would feel a close connection to the empire, and feel a great loss at the dismantling of it after 1918.
    That is all correct.... But has nothing to do with German identity. That is a completely different dimension of identity.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    You mean speaking German and nostalgia for the Austrian empire are not related....
    Being German. Germany is a very unique bundle of linguistic, cultural an political traditions. A constitutional lawyer of the 18th century once wrote
    Teutschland wird auf teutsch regiert, und zwar so, daß sich kein Schulwort oder wenige Worte oder die Regierungsart anderer Staaten dazu schicken, unsere Regierungsart begreiflich zu machen.
    (Germany is governed in German and in such a way that no learned word or short sequence of words or the manner in which other countries are governed, are suitable to make our way of being governed understandable.)

    Germany is a group of states linked together through a tradition of legal norms and common institutions (much like the EU), until 1806 the HRE and after 1815 the German Confederation, on the one side, and by a related languages on the other side, which formed a cultural bond. This only started to changed as a consequence of the wars of 1866 an 1870/71, with the dissolution of the German Confederation, the formation of the Deutsches Reich in 1971 and with the Austrian Ausgleich and the creation of the k.u.k. Monarchie in 1867/1868.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I'm not convinced the historic identity of the Luxembourgish was "Deutsch" either. In the books I have read on Luxembourg, as at one time I considered moving there, state that French was already the administrative language before it became a nation/state/duchy in 1815.
    Luxemburg was raised to a Duchy in 1354 by Charles IV, German and Bohemian king and emperor from the house of Luxemburg. Luxemburg was continuously member of the Empire and later of the German Confederation until the dissolution of the latter in 1866 with the short interruption of Napoleonic rule. The French speaking areas of Luxemburg were ceded to the newly created kingdom of Belgium in 1839.
     
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    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Nederlands (België)
    It would make sense but this is not my impression. Any suggestion of Luxembourg or Lëtzebuergesch being German will abruptly end any conversation. They seriously won't tolerate that one second. In the past they may have hated Germany but this is no longer the case. It's just not their top priority.
    The same thing can be said about Walloons. They don't feel French in the slightest, yet they know a lot about French media and French politics, much more than about Flemish media (which is alien to them) and Belgian/Walloon politics. The average Belgians (both Walloons and Flemings) don't even know which parties are governing, but they do know who is governing the USA and Walloons also know which party is governing France. As Alain Gerlache (RTBF) puts it: the coalition system of Belgium makes its politics rather boring for the average citizen. French and American politics are much more exciting.

    Luxembourgers are similar: they might say they don't look to Germany, but they watch German media, not French/Belgian media. They typically cheer for a Bundesliga team, despite not living in Germany.

    Ireland is also similar: don't say they belong to the UK, but Irish people do call the British team "our team" in some sports (football!). Just anecdotal evidence: they will proudly tell Belgians that "they" won against Belgium even when it's actually the British team that won.

    Flemings at least speak and act the same: they don't want to be Dutch, they have no interest in the Dutch and they know little about Dutch media and politics. Regarding sports, Belgians want the Netherlands to lose. It doesn't matter too much if we win or not, Belgians will celebrate as long as the Dutch lose. (Scandinavia has similar rivalries and I find it odd that Ireland is not like that)
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    English (Southern England)
    Ireland is also similar: don't say they belong to the UK, but Irish people do call the British team "our team" in some sports (football!). Just anecdotal evidence: they will proudly tell Belgians that "they" won against Belgium even when it's actually the British team that won.

    I find that very highly unlikely.

    The only people from the island of Ireland who may say that would be Unionists from the North, but they would insist on being British anyway.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    It would make sense but this is not my impression. Any suggestion of Luxembourg or Lëtzebuergesch being German will abruptly end any conversation. They seriously won't tolerate that one second.
    Well like it or not Luxembourgish is not different from the neighbouring German dialects. Catalan independentists may hate Spain but prefer watching films and shows in Spanish rather than English because it's closer and feels more familiar.

    This information is certainly true but besides that the 35% of the people who are native speakers of Lëtzebuergesch are francophiles.
    It looks like the Nazi invasion of Luxembourg tipped the balance in favour of French and rekindling the country's identity as opposed to Germany.

    It was also historically linked to the Wallonian region of Arlon, and the Thionville area in Lorraine (all French speaking, but now part of Belgium and France).
    Both of these towns were historically Germanic-speaking.

    Namely that Lëtzebuergesch/ Moselle Franconian language is/was even more widely spoken in West Germany, that it is/was quite close to high German anyhow, that French is a Romance language and different.
    I think those facts would be pretty obvious to everyone.
     

    gburtonio

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I find that very highly unlikely.

    The only people from the island of Ireland who may say that would be Unionists from the North, but they would insist on being British anyway.
    Completely agree. In any case, there is no British football team (apart from what was essentially a one-off, in recent times, at the 2012 Olympics).

    In my experience is that it's not at all uncommon to hear Unionists from the North criticising or talking about hating the English (in various degrees of playfulness) and I think most are more than happy to see the England football team lose.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Dublin, Ireland)
    Ireland is also similar: don't say they belong to the UK, but Irish people do call the British team "our team" in some sports (football!). Just anecdotal evidence: they will proudly tell Belgians that "they" won against Belgium even when it's actually the British team that won.
    Easy partner! No Irish person (aside from Ulster Unionists who wouldn't really see themselves as Irish, or primarily Irish, anyway) would claim that they beat Belgium if a non-Irish team did it (even if the team was "Northern Ireland"). There is no British national team that is "our team". Ireland does have all-island teams in sports like rugby, golf and athletics but I doubt that you are referring to this.

    Most Irish people do support British soccer teams with historic Irish connections like Glasgow Celtic or Manchester United/Liverpool but that's as far as it goes.

    To return to the topic, I think the reason is that the history of German-speaking Europe is peculiar. Standard German was never seen as a tool of Prussian oppression or whatever, it was already well rooted in Austria, Switzerland and so forth centuries before Bismarck came along. Luxembourg is a weird place and a lot of the population are foreigners but German TV and newspapers are omnipresent. I suspect that French, a prestige language, helps them bolster their sense of non-"Germanness".

    We see the opposite trend at play in European parts of the former USSR where the Russian language is held up as a tool of colonialism by nationalists even if their languages are as close, or closer, to Russian as rural German dialects are to High German.

    I'd also add that when the French took back Alsace after WWI and especially after WWII, they made a conscious attempt to undermine Standard German and banned German newspapers (at least initially), limited education in German to two hours a week and so on. This was done to rupture Alsace's links to the rest of the German-speaking world and undermine any possible future German claims to the area. They were quite tolerant of Alsatian dialect (patois), a spoken language with no written standard, which they perceived as a rural peasant tongue that would eventually be replaced by French. In this, they were prescient.
     
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