In an 1897 German cookbook (Koch-Buch für die Deutschen in Amerika) I found this story torn out of what may have been a compilation of short stories. The story isn’t dated, but it was included with other recipes clipped from newspapers.

The text of the story looks like German, but I could find only a few of the words in my 1934 (Fraktur) Cassell’s. I only read the first and second paragraphs of the story, and could only understand the gist of what I had read – something about selling, or not selling, a sow -- and it goes on from there.

I’m including here an extract of the first line of the first paragraph of the story, and the last line of that paragraph as an example to study.

(story title) “Die Metzelsuppe”.

[first paragraph of story begins with:] S’ Kürbsamärtes Hansjörg von Sürflingen hat auch wieder ein Säulein im Stall von beiläufig dritthalb Centner im G’wicht ...

[first paragraph ends with] ... man könnte es auch Hausbefehl heitzen, mit wenigen Worten: dui Sau mutz in der Famile bleiba, es ist a guate Art, dia fritzt ner umsust, dia geit Schmalz, so a Sau verkauft mer net.


As a result of my failure, my guess is that the story is written in some dialect of German. And if this is so, what dialect might it be, and where would it commonly be heard? (The story’s text is in Fraktur font, which I’ve ‘romanized’ for this query)

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    The -a word endings are present in various Upper German dialects, but guate for gute is distinctively Bavarian. Guade and replacing t with d generally would qualify it for Saxon.
    – Janka
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 5:00
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    This is definitely Swabian (although I could not locate it by the village), not Bavarian. By the way, -ingen locations are another indicator for Swabia, as -ing would be for Bavaria. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:11
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    In case you need a translation: "Die Sau muss in der Familie bleiben, das ist eine gute Art, die frißt nicht nutzlos, die gibt Schmalz. So eine Sau verkauft man nicht." Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:23
  • Well a part of Swabia is in Bavaria actually, so it might still be from Bavaria (maybe from around Neu-Ulm). The dialect however is indeed Swabian.
    – Adwaenyth
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 10:18
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    Just a side-note: it looks like in your "romanization" you mistook the letter 'ß' with 'tz'. So it is heißen, muß and frißt.
    – Matthias
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


This sounds clearly Swabian - a few indicators are

  • Metzelsupp (used in Southern German dialects),
  • S' Kürbsamärtes Hansjörg (common way of naming, i.e. genitive of family name followed by first name plus a frequent Swabian version of the first name)
  • dui (demonstrative pronoun, clearly Swabian, see the comedy duo "Dui on de Sell")
  • dia geit /[.../] mer net. (Swabian versions of "die gibt ... man nicht".)
  • ...

And finally, note that the story is from the book "Der Vetter aus Schwaben: Schwabenbräuch und Schwabenstreich aus dem Leben gegriffen" by Johannes Nefflen, a Swabian satirical writer who fled from Württemberg and finally emigrated to Maryland.

  • I doubt, that Sürflingen is Sölflingen. According to Beschreibung des Oberamts Ulm the former names of Sölfingen are Seflingen and Sevelingen.
    – IQV
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 6:40
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    According to the foreword ot the book, the stories and the language in it are from the region between Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg. So, it is in deed pure swabian, but from a region northern of Stuttgart.
    – IQV
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 6:45
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    The place is not called Sölflingen but Söflingen. Today it is part of the town of Ulm (about 100,000 inhabitants). I have relatives there. - If Sürflingen from the short story is actually this Söflingen I cannot confirm, but a pronunciation as Sürflenga in the Swabian dialect of the region would be not impossible. At the time (and even today) you can identify the provenience of a person per village (!) by their specific dialect. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:13
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    @ChristianGeiselmann as the town is but a minor indicator and the dialect is very clear, I chose to leave the town out as long as there is a shred of doubt. It's not an essential part of the question. And I very much agree to the "can identify per village" part.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:22
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    I would also locate the dialect as somewhere around Stuttgart, given that it is more than 150 years old. In some sentences, I seem to hear my grandparents. + "...deswegen bin ich mit der Sprache um Ludwigsburg und Stuttgart herum geblieben und denke [die andren werden's auch verstehen]"
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 12:16

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