What language is spoken in Lichtenstein

Those with a trained ear will be able to differentiate the many different dialects spoken in Liechtentein. Until a few years ago it was even possible to tell which municipality a person was from simply by listening to them speak. Today it is still possible to tell the difference between those from the Unterland and those from the Oberland. Of the dialects spoken in the Oberland, those used in Balzers and Triesenberg are particularly easily recognisable as they are "Walser dialects". From a lexical point of view there are few differences since all dialects spoken in Liechtenstien originate from Upper German. The differences are to be found in the pronunciation and, in some cases, in the speaking speed. The dialect spoken in Triesenberg is very Alemannic and contains some sounds that come from Old High German, while the dialects spoken down in the valley are closer to standard Alemannic and Upper German. The most obvious difference is in the pronunciation of the Middle High German sound "ei", which has been maintained in its original form in Triesenberg but is spoken in a range of different ways down in the valley. A good example is the Middle High German word "leitere", which means "ladder" ("Leiter" in standard German): in the various different dialects spoken in the valley you will hear "Läätara", "Lootara" or "Laatara".

 

For many years now there has been a trend among children growing up in Liechtenstein towards speaking Swiss German. This is in part due to the influence of Swiss German media and to primary school teachers speaking Swiss German. Teenagers in Liechtenstein also have their own way of speaking, which is similar to a moderated version of the youth slang heard in Zurich.