Harz - Dialects of The Harz

Dialects of The Harz

The main dialects of the Harz region are Eastphalian and Thuringian.

A feature of the Upper Harz is, or was, the Upper Harz dialect (Oberharzer Mundart). Unlike the Lower Saxon, Eastphalian and Thuringian dialects of the surrounding region, this was an Ore Mountain dialect from Saxony and Bohemia, that went back to the settlement of mining folk from that area in the 16th century.

The Upper Harz dialect was used only in a few places. The most well-known are Altenau, Sankt Andreasberg, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Lautenthal and Hahnenklee. Today the dialect is heard only rarely in the Upper Harz in everyday life and it is mainly members of the older generations that still use it, so occasional articles in the local papers are printed in "Upper Harz" which helps to preserve it.

By way of illustration here is the refrain from a St. Andreasberg folk song:

Eb de Sunne scheint, ebs stewert, schtarmt, ebs schneit,
bei Tag un Nacht ohmds oder frieh
wie hämisch klingst de doch
du ewerharzer Sproch
O Annerschbarrich wie bist de schien.

...which in high German is

Ob die Sonne scheint, ob es regnet, stürmt, ob es schneit,
bei Tag und Nacht, abends oder früh,
wie heimisch klingst du doch,
du Oberharzer Sprache,
O Andreasberg wie bist du schön.

... which translates as:

Whether the sun shines, whether it rains, storms or snows,
By day and night, evening or morn,
How homely you still sound,
The Upper Harz language,
O Andreasberg how beautiful you are.

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