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(not just) a dialect

Dictionary of the "Hianzisch" dialect spoken in Southern Burgenland
(or an attempt at compiling such a dictionary)

The aim of the dictionary presented on this homepage is not to provide an exhaustive terminology of the Hianzisch dialect, but to try anddocument expressions that differ from their Standard German equivalents in the way they are spelled and pronounced, and thus preserve those expressions before they fall into disuse or change through constant exposure to other dialects and languages. Note that the dictionary entries have been grouped into four units
(A-F - G-L - M-O - P-Z) to speed up search processes.

Perhaps the main characteristic of the Hianzisch dialect is the intonation of syllables containing the vowel "u" in Standard German - in Hianzisch these words get a uniquely bright twist because an "i" is added onto the "u" (often instead of the final syllable); hence the term "ui"-dialect commonly used by linguists in referring to Hianzisch. To give you a rough idea what a difference this makes: just imagine writing boo but actually saying buoy[ant] in English. A few typical examples would be - Bub : Bui, Kuh : Kui, Ruhe : Rui, Schuhe : Schui, tu : tui; genug : gmui, zu : zui, Pflug : Pflui, Krug : Krui... . There are, however, exceptions to the rule - words which lose the final syllable but in which no "i" is added to the "u" and where the "u" is therefore pronounced no different than in Standard German [like in do in English] - Zug : Zuh; Lüge: Luh... .

A note on transcription: it is not standard phonetic transcription that has been used here; by contrast, the most important principles are: Nasals have been transcribed by attaching an "n" to the vowel in question. The transcription of diphtongs mirrors the spelling of diphtongs in Standard German (e.g. heuer : heia; pronounced like the y in the word dry). When an "e" and and "i" are not meant to be pronounced like a diphtong, the "e" takes an accent (e.g. wéigg : weg; pronounced like "ey" in grey). Where there are variant spellings, the alternatives are shown in brackets. There is, incidentally, also an alternative spelling of Hianzisch - Heanzisch, which is today commonly used in Northern Burgenland and which was popularized by the best-known dialect poet of the Burgenland, Josef Reichl. The "i" may have changed into an "e" under the influence of the local dialect spoken in Vienna, where Reichl, an ardent supporter of a "German Burgenland," spent much of his life, making a living as a hatmaker while also being active as a writer.

It is important to note that Hianzisch is not the language of a particular geopolitical body - it is therefore not the language of all Burgenländers! Moreover, preserving the cultural heritage of the Hianzn is much too sensitive an issue as to warrant statements that would be of general validity for all Hianzn. Our mother tongue is a highly colorful and multifaceted language; it cannot be reduced to neat dictionary entries without losing something on the way, and attempts to cover each and every expression are futile. While it is of course necessary to do scientific research, it is equally necessary that we do "grassroots" work - that we keep the dialect alive right where it is spoken, that we take good care of our roots. Since every small region has its own linguistic specifics, often varying from village to villag, compilation efforts had best be confined to the various neighborhoods. The vocabulary presented on this website was compiled in the southern part of the Güssing area, roughly the area between Kukmirn and Reinersdorf. As soon as you get to the Lafnitz valley, the Strem valley or even the lower Pinka valley, you would hear very different sounds and words.

When in 1921 parts of the Western Hungarian counties Eisenburg, Ödenburg, Wieselburg and Preßburg became part of Austria under the Saint Germain Peace Treaty, "Heinzenland," or land of the Heinzen (Hianzn), was one of the names suggested for the new addition. This proposition lost out against the name "Vierburgenland," which was inspired by the fact that the new province was made up of four counties ending on -burg and which was eventually shortened to "Burgenland." In an attempt to trace the word "Hianzn" to its ethymologic origin, a few theories have been put forth, such as the theory that "Hianzn" originally meant "Heinrichsleute" (followers of the German Emperor Henry II., or of a Count Henry (or Henz) of Güssing), or even the simple explanation that the word is derived from the frequently used "hianz," which means "now." However, none of these theories has actually been confirmed.

Just like people dispute about the ethymologic origin of the "Hianzn," there are conflicting opinions about their original identity and settlement area. While older sources traced the Hianzn to a group of Eastern Goths who found shelter in the woods around Güns (today's Köszeg) and there survived the migration of peoples and the Turkish campaigns, the prevailing opinion today is that the area of Southern Burgenland between the Raab river and the Güns hills as well as the area around Ödenburg (today's Sopron) was the core area of the "Hianznland." So this is where they live, the "Hianzn," and because they live here, this is the "Hianznland!" Time and again, depending on how fashionable it is to cultivate one's dialect and traditions at the moment, people will try and instrumentalize the Hianzisch culture, or they will shamefully hide their language and origin. And who of us has not seen both?

By now, the Hianzisch language and way of life have come to the brink of extinction. The people of this country have simply changed too much given the need to make a living working in other regions, where they were forced to assimilate. But the "Hianzn" who left the traditional emigration country Burgenland have developed new roots all over the world, especially in the U.S.A. Thanks to this, many elements of the traditional "Hianznsproch," of the way the Hianzisch language used to be spoken, have survived, because in foreign language areas it was less strongly exposed to the corrupting influence of other German dialects than back in Burgenland.

This website will every now and then feature pieces of contemporary writers who use the dialect in their works and thereby support the preservation of our cultural heritage. I myself, incidentally, did not discover my love for "Hianzisch" until a few years ago, when the 1992 Burgenland Exhibition "... nach Amerika" was shown at the ruins of the Güssing Castle. Commemorating "75 years of Burgenland," I wrote a few lines in 1996, which I'd like to present to you here as my declaration of love to this land:

Fünfasiebzig Joah woarn's heia, seid dos Burgenland besteht.
Huamatlaond, sou liab und teia, - nia wiad kaam wou Hianzisch gréidt!
Vül zu laong woar insaruana seinar Oubrigkeit ergéibm,
hom niar imma buglt, kuana hod si traud, as Kéipfal héibm!
Zeid is's, Hianzn, ruck ma z'saumman and tuid's wéigg voam Koupf dos Bréidt: Braucht's éink fia di Sproch nid schaumman! Hianz wiad wieda hianzisch gréidt!

"Free" Translation:

It is 75 years this year that the province of Burgenland,
our beloved home country, was founded.
Meanwhile, our time-honored language, Hianzisch, has  become all but extinct!
There have just been too many years spent in humble service,
forever feeling inferior,
forever bowing, with no-one daring to raise their heads.
Thus it is high time now, fellow Hianzn, that we get together
and be ourselves again;
no need to be ashamed of our language. Hianzisch shall be heard again!

If you happen to know a word that is not listed in this dictionary, just add it - and be sure to tell me about it too, either in my GUEST BOOK or by sending an email. Many thanks in advance, Yours

"Heinele" Heinz Koller,

member of the Burgenland Bunch

Thanks for translation to Mag. Ingeborg Schuch!

Home last update: 02-12-98