I have been investigating Swabian German specifically for a while now for writing purposes, but I haven't been able to find many resources. I've familiarised myself with the rules of Kosenamen (adding -le rather than -lein or -chen), and I'm looking to find more articles or dictionary resources!

Here is the only one that I have been able to find: http://www.schwaebisch-englisch.de/con/voc.html

But it's difficulty to know how accurate it is when searches turn up so little for Swabian dialect. Using "Girgale (Gergele) m.: 1. throat 2. small, thin man," which is a definition found in that dictionary, as an example... I searched up "Girgale" and found next to nothing on Google on the term! So I can't be sure if it's accurate, or if most things in this dictionary are up to date and even properly used. How accurate is this dictionary? Can it be trusted?

What other resources can be recommended?

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    I want to point out that while dialects are surely common in speaking, they're less common in writing. Some people (esp. on facebook) like to write in "bavarian" or other dialects, but most people refer to high German when writing. That might be the reason you won't find something on google. I'd suggest searching on youtube to find vocal examples. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 7:06
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    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 7:53

3 Answers 3


As a general rule German dialects have no established written form.

For example das Gergele or das Girgale is obviously an ablauted, diminutive form of die Gurgel, which is throat in Hochdeutsch. If you browse through such collections of dialect expressions, you will find at least half of it are simply ablauted forms.

The other common pattern of such collections is "writing as spoken" in dialect, so e.g. Dackel becomes Daggl, while the same in a Northern German collection would be proably written Dakkl. Or not at all, because it's close enough to Dackel.

Both makes such collections pretty useless.

(Using die Gurgel as a description for a tall, thin man was more common throughout Germany up to fifty years ago. I doubt anyone outside Swabia would understand it nowadays. It's der (lange) Lulatsch resp. die Bohnenstange now.)

  • I never heard anyone say langer Lulatsch, although I know the expression. However "Strich in der Landschaft" also refers to a very thin person. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 8:12
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    "Langer Lulatsch" is pretty common in the Schwabenländle ;)
    – dontbyteme
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 11:25
  • I heard: Wa will dui Bohnaschtang? = Was will diese Bohnenstange hier? Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 11:57
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    Hier ist ein Gergele/Görgele aber klein, nicht groß (siehe auch die Frage).
    – IQV
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 12:00

Here is a book for you:

Hermann Wax: Etymologie des Schwäbischen. Geschichte von mehr als 6000 schwäbischen Wörtern. 3. erweiterte Auflage. Tübingen 2007. ISBN 3-9809955-1-8. 599 Seiten.

Generally: Swabian is predominantly a spoken language. As it is, accordingly, not standardized, any information about meaning and pronunciation of words relates to a certain place and certain time. Experts of Swabian are often able to locate a speaker of Swabian down to an individual village (as long as they have lived in that village more or less their entire live and haven't contaminated their language by living elsewhere). For example in the village where my Swabian ancestors had their farm, nobody would ever use the word Girgele or Gergele, or at least I have never heard it even during extended stays there. For me that sounds rather like a Swabianisation of the actual standard German word Gurgel. But then: what do I know about dialects in other villages? Perhaps they use that somewhere north of the Schwäbische Alb mountains (i.e. where dragons live)?

PS: I looked for Girgele, Gergele, Gürgele in that etymological dictionary but did not find it. Which is of course no proof of non-existence. It's just not in the book.

Ergänzung auf IQVs Frage hin:

Görgele ist im Buch nicht verzeichnet. Man findet aber:

gorglen: 1) aus dem Hals unartikulierte Laute von sich geben 2) gurgeln.

gorgsen: 1) gurgelnde Töne hervorbringen wie infolge von Würgen im Hals, Brechreiz [...] 2) stotternd sprechen [...]

gorzgen: Laute von sich geben wie ein Erbrechender. G-Erweiterung zu dem im DWB geschilderten "gurzen" [...]

Davor kommt Gore (wunderlicher, dummer Mensch), danach Gosch (Maul, Gesicht). Aber wie gesagt, das Buch ist nur ein Sammlung von Wörtern, wie der Autor sie eben in seiner Umgebung gefunden hat, und niemand käme auf die Idee, einer solchen Sammlung je Vollständigkeit zuzusprechen.

  • Kennt dein Buch "Görgele"? So klingt das Wort hier und die Suchmaschine liefert auch ein paar Treffer dazu.
    – IQV
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 11:58
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    "Girgle" is definitely in use - That's what Hengstenberg used to put into their pots. My Grandma used to call them "Guggommerle" (note the French).
    – tofro
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 13:37
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    @tofro „Girgle“ (sans „a“ or „e“ between the „g“ and „l“) is obviously something else than „Girgale“ or „Gergele“. Two vs. three syllables...
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:22

I'm afraid that there's no reliable source for the Swabian language, as it differs from village to village. I'm from a village near Ulm, my ancestors are from around Rottweil, and now i live in Rottenburg. So I know many different dialects of swabian, which sometimes differ a lot. Around Ulm, Rottenburg would be called "Roddaburg", in Rottenburg it would be "Raodabuhrg". However, there are some "dictionaries" for Swabian, but most of them are Swabian-German. I think the best source would be swabian stories and poems and someone translating/explaining them for you. A famous Swabian poet would be "Sebastian Blau".


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