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According to https://www.atlas-alltagssprache.de/runde-2/f25c/ the majority say "i", but according to https://coerll.utexas.edu/dib/pho.php?k=7 "isch" is Bavarian for "ich". Who's right?

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  • "i" is correct. The utexas-link contains a lot of mistakes in its Bavarian-section.
    – Paul Frost
    Aug 1 at 13:05

2 Answers 2

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Atlas der Deutschen Altagssprache is right. The most common form for "ich" is "i" in Bavaria.

Nobody from Bavaria says “isch” for “ich”. The rule

ch is pronounced sch

does not apply to Bavarian dialects but may apply to Rhineland dialects.

Also the rule

diminutive endings -chen and -lein are pronounced -le (singular) and -la (plural)

describes the Swabian dialect and

final n dropped at the end of words

is typical of Alemannic dialects (Switzerland, very west of Austria) and Hessian, although the actual articulation is quite different between these two dialects.

It thus seems to me that the author of this website simply subsumed southern dialects as "Bavarian".

On a side note, it's also questionable to give dialects as pronunciation rules for standard German words. Dialects feature their own morphology that is much more complex than just pronouncing some syllables differently.

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  • 7
    Doch, Rheinländer sagen allüberall "isch", auch in Bayern. Isch zum Beispiel, als isch dort lebte (in Münschen). :) Jul 26 at 22:16
  • Diminutive can, however, be changed to -el or -erl, but that's more common in Austria, I think. Jul 27 at 7:19
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    "-la" is also used in Franconian, as far as I remember.
    – glglgl
    Jul 27 at 11:59
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    @userunknown Musste gerade sehr lachen. Habe die Antwort entsprechend bearbeitet :)
    – idmean
    Jul 27 at 12:16
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    @BruceWayne Note sure what you're saying. It's certainly not English influence but English and Bavarian might share the same root for "i/I". Also, as I said in the answer, it doesn't make sense to think of dialects in derivation rules ("cutting off") from standard language. Dialects feature distinct grammar and vocabulary. Rather, simply speaking, standard German evolved from a some specific dialects (which Martin Luther chose to base his bible translation on).
    – idmean
    Jul 27 at 18:30
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In Bavaria and in the region where Bavarian is spoken the preferred way of native people to speak the personal pronoun »ich« is »i«. So, in this specific case it makes no difference if you are asking for Bavaria or for Bavarian. But in other cases there might be a difference. (For details about how Bavaria and Bavarian differ, see below.)

Worth to mention is also, that in big cities (Vienna with 1.9 million residents and Munich with 1.5 million residents but also Nürnberg, Augsburg, Graz, Linz) the number of dialect speakers is significant lower than in rural regions. So, you will find a large number of people saying »ich« in these cities. And of course there are also people from other regions living in Bavaria and in regions where Bavarian is spoken who speak other dialects, and among them there are people who use to say »isch«.


The rest is not a direct answer to your question, but still something you should know:

Asking for Bavaria or for Bavarian can make a big difference (think of England and English):

  • Bavaria
    This one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany
    Dialects spoken in Bavaria are:

    • East Franconian
      in northern parts of Bavaria (Würzburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Nürnberg, etc.)
    • North Bavarian
      in most parts of Oberpfalz (Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Amberg, Schwandorf)
    • Middle Bavarian
      East of Augsburg and south of Regensburg, including that capital city of Bavaria, Munich
    • Swabian
      West of Augsburg (Lindau, Kempten, Neu-Ulm)

    Note that East Franconian and Swabian are not Bavarian dialects, although they are spoken in Bavaria (and in other German states)

  • Bavarian
    This is a group of dialects spoken in parts of Bavaria and in 8 of the 9 states of the Federal Republic of Austria and even in a northern region of Italy. It consits of:

    • North Bavarian
      Spoken only in the region mentioned above
    • Middle Bavarian
      Also called Danube Bavarian
      Spoken in that parts of Bavaria described above, but also in these six Austrian states (German names in brackets):
      • Salzburg (Salzburg)
      • Upper Austria (Oberösterreich)
      • Lower Austria (Niederösterreich)
      • Vienna (Wien)
      • Burgenland (Burgenland)
      • Styria (Steiermark)
    • South Bavarian
      Also called Alpine Bavarian
      Spoken in South Tyrol, which is a region in Italy, next to the Austrian border and in these Austrian states:
      • Tyrol (Tirol)
      • Carinthia (Kärnten)

    Note that there is a ninth Austrian state, Vorarlberg, where people don't speak a Bavarian dialect but an Alemannic dialect.


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