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High, Low, and Standard German

[deactivated user]

    What exactly is the difference between high, low, and standard German? I understand that they refer to location, as in low german was spoke in the southern part and high in the northern. Is there any vary of complexity between the levels, which one would be hardest and which easiest (I know each language should be the same difficulty, but please don't tell me that, give me the down-to-earth explanation) ? Also, what "version" is Duolingo?

    July 18, 2017



    Highgerman (if you mean Hochdeutsch) = standard german. If you mean high german dialects (as a group or a specific one), then it differs from standard german.

    Low german is spoken in the northern parts, not in the southern. its either some dialect or a seperate language (linguists still fight over that).

    The name comes from the "lower land" as in no mountains or small mountains. Similar how die Niederlande came to their name, simply because the land/area is lower compared to other parts that were reigned at some point by some monarch.


    It is the other way around. The low German dialects are spoken in the north. (Plattdeutsch, geographically the northern area of Germany is rather flat and close to sea level as it is bordering the sea) And high German dialects are spoken in southern Germany and Austria. (Oberdeutsch, geographically the southern part is rather mountainous as it is mostly influence by the Alps)

    The German which is seen as standard German (Hochdeutsch) developed from a middle German dialect. So it is somewhere inbetween. Though it is closer to the high German dialects in classification.

    Now, I am using plural because there are as many different dialects as cities on the map. What you will learn here is standard German as it is spoken everywhere in Germany. Dialects and accents are still present nowadays but I would not bother with them. Everybody is able to speak standard German and to understand it.

    I hope I could be of help.

    [deactivated user]

      Ok thank you! I must have been either misinformed or confused on the geographical location.


      "what "version" is Duolingo?" -Standard German (Germany).

      "What exactly is the difference between high, low, and standard German?" -I'd read this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_dialects

      Hope this helps, and have a nice one!



      German is a pluricentric language, and as such has three standards- German, Austrian and Swiss. There's no single 'Standard German'.

      What we have on Duo is German Standard German or, if you don't want to sound clumsy, Hochdeutsch.

      [deactivated user]

        Actually Austrian and Swiss (Edit: Standard) German are also called Hochdeutsch, so if you really want to be precise you have to say Bundesdeutsches Hochdeutsch.


        The three standards are almost identical, though.


        Swiss German is very distinct from German German and Austrian German though.


        I imagine that Mr_Eyl was referring to Swiss Standard German ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_Standard_German ), not Swiss German.

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