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Gottscheer Relief Association, New York


The Language of Gottschee: Göttscheabarisch (go-TSHEAH-bah-rish)

Göttscheabarisch (Gottscheerisch) is the language of the Gottschee Germans.  It is a German dialect with some influx from the Slovene language or dialects of Carniola.  Linguists identify its origin to be in a group of Bavarian dialects, most notably those of the Carinthian/Tyrolian border region, where many of the original colonists of Gottschee had come from.  It is closely related to the nearly extinct dialects of the former German enclaves Zarz (Slov.: Sorica) and Deutschrut (Slov.: Nemski Rovt) in Slovenia, and Zahre (Ital.: Sauris) and Pladen (Ital.: Sappada) in Northern Italy (Hornung).  It has retained many features of the medieval languages of the Alpine region; in fact, Gottscheerisch is thought to be older than any of the related dialects existing in the German and Austrian Alps.


At this time there may be a few thousand people scattered throughout the world for whom Gottscheerisch was the first and native tongue.  Many of them no longer practice it.  In the Gottscheer community of Ridgewood, New York, which constitutes one of the largest remaining groups of Gottscheers in the world, the language is still alive, justifying the distinction given it by linguists to be “one of the oldest German dialects alive.”  But its days are clearly numbered.

[Click here for the article: "What to Do About Our Old Language"]

[Click here for Gottscheerisch Language Lessons]

657 Fairview Avenue
Ridgewood, New York 11385
tel: 718-366-3030