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Benrath line

If judged by linguistic features rather than by national affiliation there are two major regions of German usage: High German and Low German which are separated by an isogloss called Benrath line (marked red on the map below).

North of Benrath line Low German is used which can vary considerably from standard German, as it has not taken part in the second vowel change.

Click on the map to find out more about German varieties!

Deutsche Varietäten, Dialekte, Hochdeutsch, Benrath Linie Switzerland High German Main-Linie Middle German Benrath-Linie Low German

Second Vowel Change (2. Lautverschiebung)

The second vowel change took place around the 7th and 8th century A.D. It started in the South of German speaking areas, namely in Austria and Bavaria and spread north but did not pass Benrath line.
Esp. consonants (plosives and occlusives) p, t and k where affected by the second vowel change and were transformed into pf/f, ts/s and ch.
Therefore, north of Benrath line 'ik' is used for standard German 'ich'.
Low German often shares characteristics with Dutch or English.

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