learning English through Alsatian "
" A totally new
" Learning English through Alsatian
or " learning Alsatian German through English
" Where there's a will there's a
"learning English through
totally new book
new reference guide for Alsatian students of English and for
Americans or other English speaking people interested in
learning Alsatian German or in Alsace
comparative bilingual dictionary enables Alsatian German
speakers to put their knowledge of German, French and their
own dialects to good use when learning basic English,
helping them to fix English words and expressions in their
memory! What is more, it reveals many surprising family
relationships and similarities between the two languages
which readers will find fascinating to explore. Moreover
English speaking communities, interested in Alsace, will
also find a new way to discover Alsace and to learn Alsatian
German through English!
- Hundreds of examples in which the
two languages are identical, in whole or in
- Expressions in current use,
idiomatic turns of phrases and picturesque
- Anglicisms in Alsatian
- Notes on etymology and
- Comparative notes and items of
It contains a family tree of the
Paul Adolf, PhD, teacher of English,
Vice President of the Fédération des
Universités Populaires d'Alsace (France). With the
assistance of Raymond Matzen, former Director of the
Institut de Dialectologie alsacienne de l'Université
des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg (France).
Format 175 x 250 mm,
1136 pages, hardback book with blue and bordeaux
covers, including headband.
to know more about this book ?
contact the author :
" linguistic " relationships
(extract from book
Did you know that English has preserved old Germanic words
which no longer exist in Standard German...but which you can
rediscover in Alsatian German. Try to guess the Alsatian
word hidden behind the English verb " to jump " and
the English counterpart corresponding to the Alsatian
cognate " Dürlibs " !
It is true that the Germanic dialects - of which Alsatian
German and AngloSaxon - have gradually followed different
routes...but many similarities have survived the great
change of 1066.
So it would be a shame to confine this thrilling comparison
merely to the sole French-English cognates. Paul Adolf shows
how Alsatian bilinguals can take advantage of the resources
of their dialect and Standard German as well to learn the
basics of English . On the other hand it would also be
useful for an English speaking person to use the book by
learning Alsatian through English the other way round.You
might also be interested in a new pronunciation method with
the help of Alsatian and standard German beside
Any lecture inviting on the topic would be welcome by the
Just e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in Strasbourg in 1931, a former teacher of English of
Alsatian descent and multilingual (Alsatian, German, French,
English) - has written and passed two University theses (see
bibliographical sources of his work)...., is a PH.D.
specially in contrastive linguistics and since 1960 was keen
on promoting multilingualism in Alsace for Alsatians by
founding UPO for adults with branches in the Bas-Rhin. The
author has taught English and Alsatian as well for over
thirty years. Alsatian German, Standard German and French
are very useful comparisons as source languages for anyone
learning English or the reverse..
Alsace keeps on creating economic and cultural links with
English speaking countries, so no wonder P. Adolf who
travelled wide and far thought his dictionary was a " must "
as well for English speaking Alsatians abroad reminding them
of their roots but also for English speaking people who want
to get more familiar with Alsace, its history and traditions
, its way of life and precisely through its dialect compared
to English, sharing many common features.
author is ready to
organize lectures on the topic and also on the general topic
of language relationships (between French, standard and
dialect German and English) His dictionary is a useful guide
for a new approach of English based on common roots teaching
from the dictionary's " Foreword " )
" Are you supposed to be a
scholar and a linguist to refer to this comparative
dictionary ? Certainly not, but an Alsatian knowing his
mothertongue and adding, standard German, besides French of
course and starting or improving his English, will consult
this dictionary with interest and benefit..It will become a
new guide in search of English and will prompt him to trace
back his Alsatian roots at the same time. As long as in
Europe Latin prevailed as a medium of culture and
communication between literate people, there was practically
no attempt at learning foreign languages , but today we all
need to know as many languages as possible and to reduce
linguistic differences being a real barrier to understanding
at an international level.We must use " helpful tricks ",
tools and mnemonics to improve our European and world
France keeps on prompting Anglophones in the world , for
instance in Australia,to get acquainted with French by
putting first forward the advantages resulting from the
similarities between French and English and making it plain
that French itself has integrated a great number of
Anglicisms which should also contribute to facilitate the
acquisition of French.
So why not give the opportunity and means to an English
learning Alsatian to take advantage of his knowledge of new
standard German as well as old regional German (here the
Alsatian dialects " Alemanic and Frankish ") ?
Owing to close similarities between English , a former Saxon
language and our Alsatian Alemanic and Frankish dialects, a
person from Alsace could easily and with discretion put to
good use those similarities and differences - the ground
level of modern English - to facilitate his learning of
English. It is obvious that a Dane understands fairly well a
Swede and that a Spaniard learns quickly Portuguese ,
doesn't he ?
Following a first version of the new Alsatian-English
dictionary (see BNU - Strasbourg) dealing with the noun,
this comprehensive book featuring the whole set of cognates
intends first to arouse the wish of Alsatian speaking people
to find out useful family links between European languages .
Alsatian German is still vivid and more widely spoken in
France than Breton or any other French " patois "
French will help after you have mastered the basics.
Conversely , an Englishman or an American will be able to
learn Alsatian German through the help of his English
vernacular..Let us be aware of the common features of those
Germanic and Roman languages (page 14). cf. the translation
into different languages of a fundamental sentence (page 14)
of the Lord's Prayer .
Learning other languages through one's own vernacular means
eventually knowing better our mother tongue : That's what
the German writer Goethe said : " Who doesn't know foreign
languages doesn't know his own mother tongue (" Maxims and
It is not necessary to know all the English words but at the
beginning we should try to know how to use properly the
basic words. Afterwards it will be useful to identify and
understand a much more extensive but " passive "vocabulary
without forcibly being able to know how to re-use every
Like many languages, English uninterruptedly borrows words
from others. Similarly the Alsatian dialects do so too
Let us beware of those
superficial similarities where some people would see
facilities for mnemonics, but which actually display no
Those funny similarities can result in howlers . Alsat . "
Süffolik ", pack of drunks (<süffe=to drink
heavily) has nothing to do with the British county of
(=South folk). There is neither a link between a
flash " and e "
Flàsch ", a bottle nor between a " Bruck " , a bridge
and engl. "brook
", a stream, the English
cognate being bridge. In the past we also used the word " e
Bruck " to refer to a toothbridge, nowadays we use in
Alsatian German the English word "
".The English word " brook
" whose meaning has
shifted rather shares a common origin with our " Brüech
", a swampy area.
We sometimes hear that German words
derive from English or the opposite : in fact Germanic
dialects including old English, Freeze and Low Dutch and
Alsatian German (Alemanic and Frankish) among others, were
prior to their present day standard languages . Our Alsatian
dialects being spoken for approximately 1500 years are part
of " Oberdeutsch/Upper German " - this is a geographical
notion - and in some way were influenced by Frankish
dialects beyond the forest of Haguenau, "l'Outre forêt
" . So Alsatian German and Standard German are not the same
language but two different forms of the same original
language, old High German . Standard German has eliminated
numerous Alsatian dialect words and has become enriched with
new phrases : so als. " Imm ", bee
has been replaced by "
",bee and " keje
",to fall "
", which besides also
exists in Alsatian German, " gumpe
", "hüpfen "
Freeze, Frankish and perhaps AngloSaxon tribes may have left
their marks in Alsace under the form of surnames and place
names : " Friess, Friesenheim, Sachs, Frank. Englisch,
Engländer ". Who knows ? Before them Scottish and Irish
missionaries left the surname " Schott " in Alsace. So
comparing Standard German and English would be incomplete if
we didn't add Alsatian German elements.
Alsatian German provides us with the general basic
vocabulary : father,
eat, drink, sleep (including the 2nd consonant shift )
but it also provides us with colloquial, plain English
counterparts ex : " de Dadderi hàn ", to tremble,
to be afraid is not far from " to
be in a dither " ( "
excited and confused "), "to
have the dithers "
(informal) ; " e
Büe dresche ", is
to thrash a
boy (colloquial), als.
" is not far from
to waffle (talk a lot)
Besides, there are still in our dialect very old Alsatian
words (old German varieties) : in a butchery you can find "
"=smoked ham being close to engl. ham ;among the "
" let us mention : als. "
"=poison and engl. "gift
"=present . "Gift " used to mean in Alsatian the same as in
English and survives in Alsat. " Mitgift
" , dowery -
Alsatian forms may be closer to English than standard German
ones : Engl. "seven
" (low Alemanic), Germ.
sieben ;Engl. " pound
", als. " Pund
" (north west Alsace), beside
" (low Alemanic) ; or words : als. "Zwahl
" (non existent in Standard German) and Engl.
cf. Please read " Contrastive
linguistics and English teaching strategies in Alsace
by Paul Adolf
dictionary " l'anglais par l'alsacien "
by Paul ADOLF
certified teacher of English
Vice Président of UP d'Alsace
Président of l'UPO
collaborator : Raymond MATZEN
former director of the " Institut de dialectologie
To illustrate and to put into practice
the contrastive method let us refer to the new dictionary
par l'alsacien "
published by " Université populaire d'Obernai "
and " le Verger Editeur. "
Many ways lead to English : in
Alsace the dialect is a good and efficient link to German,
so why teach a Germanic language - even the most Roman like
English- to an Alsatian speaker only through the help of
French without taking into account his previous knowledge of
spoken old German (Alsatian), standard German and French
(cf. dict., page 12 ) .
It would be a shame not to benefit from the linguistic
specificities of Alsace to facilitate this interlinguistic
and intercultural approach promoting eventually our
It is a
pedagogic project I had
been thinking of carrying out and which has eventually
materialized with the publishing of this comparative,
bilingual, scientific and practical dictionary of 1136 pages
featuring the majority of English words of Germanic origin
having a link with our regional vernacular ("cognates"). My
first comparative dictionary dealing with the " noun
cognates " had already come out in 1982 following two
university research work theses related to contrastive
Elsassisch kànn uns halfe Anglisch lehre
" , Yes,
Alsatian German can help us learn English
That is precisely the aim of this new dictionary
intended for Alsatians from St Louis to Lauterbourg .From
the outset the work is illustrated by a map showing the
language links of Indoeuropean and the kinship of the
Germanic dialects - including Alsatian - and English.
It is true that books on " learning English through
French " already exist , " Guidelines " for
Frenchspeaking learners are numerous and the Alsatians also
use them of course, but there was somewhere here in
diglossic Alsace a gap , i.e. we missed a specific
dictionary opposing true and false Old German similarities
to English, because it would be unthinkable to speak and
write basic English without this Germanic core which is
conspicuous in the elementary English vocabulary and
grammar! Indeed the historical and phonetic survey annexed
sheds a special light on those etymological links !
of the dictionary
The book consists of four parts : first the Alsatian
cognates facing their English counterparts are
abundantly illustrated and reveal total or partial
equivalence , followed then by the " false
friends " sharing no common elements ; then comes a
new chapter on anglicisms you find in the Alsatian
dialects and finally we can find annexed historical keys and
explanations as well as indexes.
Instead of confining itself to a merely tedious list of
Alsatian-English cognates, this comprehensive work of a new
genre abundantly illustrates all these cognates with clear
and vivid examples of phrases, idioms of everydaylife
accompanied with explanatory notes , partially or totally
equivalent idioms and grammar patterns (in the examples)
facilitating no doubt memorizing of the target language.
It will also be a resource for translation techniques as
regards Alsatian, German, French into English and
Each keyword cognate is illustrated by one or several every
day sentences :
" Ich ass/ëss e-n àpfel/àppel jede
Doej/Dàà/Dàg " , I
eat an apple every day.
The Alsatian sentence helping to memorize its English
counterpart is translated into French and English .The same
is valid for an English speaking person who wants to learn
Alsatian through English.
E Fleischwund a
wound in the flesh (works
Ich kauf Fleisch bim Metzjer I
buy meat at the butcher's.
Mini Kinder sinn min
Fleisch un Blüet My
children are my flesh and blood.
You can see here how far memorizing identical items can
Since the dictionary aims at rousing interest among the
Alsatian community living in the different dialect areas of
Alsace , I had first to think of an adequate written form .
It is not always easy to decode the " written " dialect .
That is why you will find the written standard German word
at each entry to help identify more quickly the main
variations -unless it doesn't exist any longer - and on the
other hand I had to limit myself to keeping only the main
Alsatian phonetic variations : Raymond
Matzen who has acted as a
proofreader of my Alsatian typescript has made here
Besides, some English phrases remind
the reader rather of Alsatian dialects than Standard German
! - seven
days , "
Daj " , St.Germ.sieben, drink
, " drinke
" (Alsace Bossue) , pound
, Pund , Pfund ! We can
also find old Alsatian dialect words discarded since long by
Standard German, but still present in English. They will
delight the researchers and inquiring minds ! (" Tsischdi ",
Tuesday , " gumpe " , jump, " lüentsche
", to lounge, " Hàmme ", ham , "
Zwall " , towel , " de Datteri hàn ", to
have the dithers,(colloquial),etc.) . The wordbook
points to the correct way of using language levels when
using appropriately the English equivalents.Alsatian will
also help getting familiar with English
dictionary includes :
Hundreds of examples in which the two languages are
identical, in whole or in part :
ex: Güete Morje ! Good
Es isch kàlt im Winter It's
cold in winter .
e Glàss Wàsser, Win . He
drinks a glass of water, wine .
Mir sinn d'Hand gebunde
. My hands are
dinni Kràwàtt un
d'Schüebandel ! Fasten
your tie and tie
compounds , derived words, phrasal verbs :
's noch làng üs
! We'll still hold
out for long !
Expressions in current use, idiomatic turns of phrase and
picturesque proverbs :
Arm in Arm
arm in arm
mit offene Arm
with open arms
Wo/Wu e Wille
isch, isch e Wag/Wëj ! (1) Where there's a
(1) popular phrases and idioms :
Es isch Gotteswille It's God's will - Es isch min
letschter Wille It's my last will - Ich
düe 's üs freiem Wille , I do it from free
will. Mit dem beschte Wille in d'r Walt - With the
best will in the world.
Alles isch nitt Gold
wàs glanzt ! All is
that glitters !
anglicisms in Alsatian
" Korner " (football)
"Füesbàll " corner
others.... "Bulldozer, Kocktail , Lift
on etymology and grammar including similar grammar
Comparative notes and items of historical interest
(annexed) such as the history
of English and Alsatian German and the origins of the
similarities and differences of cognates ; surname
similarities : Zimmermann , Timberman , place names :
Litzelhüse (Lützelhouse) sharing " Litzel " with "
Little " Tew (Oxforshire) etc.
notes on how
pronounce basic English words through
Alsatian, some exercises,
finally the Alsatian, German, English and French cognates
The new dictionary being a reference and supplementary
passport for English being taught in Alsace, aims at giving
Alsatians - young and adult - an optimum chance of becoming
multilingual and showing them how to take advantage with
discretion of their diverse linguistic and cultural roots
for a better opening on Europe, its languages and cultures,
in this case the English speaking world.