Baden dialect for beginners

A guide for “Neigschmeckde” (new residents)

When attending a German course in Radolfzell on Lake Constance, most language students stumble across the local dialect: “A Weggle oder a Bretzele?” (A bread roll or a pretzel?), the baker wants to know. “Don't you understand?” – “Awa, mach koi Ferz!“ (Really?). Baden dialect is not easy to understand for “Neigschmeckde” (new residents). But since 9.7% of Germans speak “Badisch”, we want to give you a brief overview in this article.

The Baden Alemannic dialect and its spread

The Baden Alemannic dialect is not only widespread in the town of Radolfzell. The Alemannic dialects form the largest language group in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, including the Swabian dialect as well as Baden. 

As the town of Radolfzell would like to bring the Baden dialect closer to the general public, an open-air gallery entitled “aufgehängt & hochgesehen” takes place every year from spring to fall. In 2021, the dialect series “so schwätzt mer dehom” (that's how you talk at home), in which Baden sayings with German translations adorned the town, was one of the exhibits. In 2022, there was the “Kappedäschle-Galerie” with sayings from Baden.

Baden vocabulary

But which words should you know to find your way around Baden? Here you will find a list of the most important Baden Alemannic terms:

  • Heb des amol! – Hold this!
  • Wunderfitzig – be curious
  • Zwuggel – Baby, small child
  • Debigsisi – have been there
  • Zum Schwoofen Gange – go dancing
  • Dipfelesscheißer – a small-minded or not open-minded person
  • Hergottsbscheisserle – Maultaschen (type of pasta)
  • Muggeseggele – very small unit for length, volume or weight
  • Dea Schnoogeschdich beißd mi ganz aag. – The mosquito bite itches a lot.

More sayings in Baden

  • Numme net huddle! – Well-intentioned advice to take things slowly.
  • Mach des Ding net hie! Des hat viel Geld koschd. – We may hear these words when, for example, we touch a valuable object that we shouldn't touch. It means: „don’t destroy this object. It was very expensive.“
  • Der Ka Schaffe wie En Brunneputzer. – He can work very hard.
  • Du kannsch mer mol de Buggl nunner rudsche! – You say this when someone is really getting on your nerves and you want them to leave you alone.
  • Der hockt awa uff em Schnebberle. – He sits on the very edge of the seat. The term is also used for someone who is impatiently waiting for something important to happen.

All quite difficult to pronounce? Yes, that's true, and if a “Neigschmeckde” tried to pronounce these terms, someone would probably quickly say “des isch groddefalsch” (that's wrong). But if you've already managed to memorize one or two of the phrases, you've definitely “en Gudsle verdient” (earned a sweet), as the people of Baden would say as a reward.

Are you interested in other dialects in Germany? We also introduce you to the most important Saarland terms on our blog.