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Gottscheer Relief Association, New York

Language Lessons Introduction

GOTTSCHEERISCH for English Speakers
Lessons and Drawings by Martha Hutter



GOTTSCHEERISCH (gttscheabarisch), a German dialect, was the spoken language of Gottschee.  It may be encountered in variations of spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary.  The Gottscheer text here is given with English pronunciation guide, English translation, and the formal German translation.

A pronunciation guide is given with each sentence of Gottscheer text.  The section HELP WITH PRONUNCIATION gives additional information, especially on sounds that have no English equivalent.  There are three letters or sounds that are not easily translated and, therefore, are used in the pronunciation guide as is:  , , and ch, as well as a few related diphthongs.  The reader is asked to check the HWP-box for instructions in how to pronounce these letters.

                                    "A Neighborly Chat"


As this is a German dialect, the natural inclination for Gottscheers may be to write their native tongue according to the standard German spelling rules, as many other German dialects are done.  For the Gottscheer tongue, this has proved impractical.  Certain sounds of our dialect have no equivalent in the formal German language, which makes it difficult or impossible to adhere to standard spelling rules.  Most Gottscheer poets and writers have in their work used a uniform spelling system that is based on the German phonetic alphabet but slightly differing from the standard spelling rules.  Although GOTTSCHEERISCH FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS is written in accordance with this modified spelling system, a compromise has been made for simplicity and a more reader-friendly appearance:  One unusual letter, an overturned "e" that represents the sound of "e" as in "the", is replaced with regular "e" or "a", and in the pronunciation guide generally indicated as "uh" or by the use of an apostrophe.





Spelling:    Pronunciation:

            as in curly, Sir
            German ; French u as in rue (no English equivalent)
 ai          igh as in high (German ei)
 oi          oy as in toy (German eu, u)
 au          aou as in now

 ua          ua (no equivalent)  Pull the sounds “oo” and “uh” together,

             with emphasis on “oo” 
 a          ao (no equivalent)  Pull the sounds “ah” and “” together
             to form a diphthong.
 a          a (no equivalent)  Pull the sounds “” and “uh” together,
             with emphasis on “”.
 ea          eah as in bear
 ia          eah as in dear
 oa          oah as in broad
 ch          German ch; pronounced as a strong aspirated “h” with
             the tongue in place for “k”.  (No English equivalent.)
 j           y as in you
 k           between (gg) and (k)
 kh          k as in keep
 sch         sh as in sheep
 sh          zh as in measure
 tsch        tsh as in witch



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