Bernese dialect music and literature

Bernese German (Bärndütsch) has a well-established reputation as a dialect with different regional variations and sociolects (Matten English, patrician Bernese German). It is an aspect of regional identity and is of great importance for creative activities. Even though Bernese German is mainly a spoken language, it has a comparatively extensive literature that is still popular today.

While the first wave of the dialect movement began around 1900, with Otto von Greyerz, Simon Gfeller and Carl Albert Loosli, the second wave of what is also known as the ‘modern dialect’ broke new ground in the 1960s, with Walter Vogt, Kurt Marti and Ernst Eggimann. At the same time, Mani Matter was composing his songs in Bernese German, playfully toying with words and ideas. His chansons have long achieved the status of folk songs, and have been included in anthologies.

Following on from this wave of interest in the Bernese dialect, Swiss German music became and more and more popular. In the 1970s and the 1980s, the Berner Troubadours band, following in the footsteps of Mani Matter, and rock musicians and bands such as Polo Hofer and Züri West made Swiss music history singing in Bärndütsch.

By contrast, the production of books in dialect declined sharply in the mid-1980s. Since 2000, however, books in dialect have gained new popularity as the third wave of dialect with the Spoken Word movement and the ‘Bern ist überall’ (Bern is everywhere) authors’ collective.


Category

Social practices


Canton


Detailed description

Publications

Corina Caduff: Schweizerdeutsche Dialektliteratur: «Frou» oder «Pfrou»? In: Literarischer Monat, Nr. 21, Juli 2015. p. 10-13

Corina Caduff: Vertraute Sprache, fremde Schrift. In: WoZ, die Wochenzeitung, Nr. 40, 2.10.2014. p. 21

Pedro Lenz: Literatur zwischen Mundart und Hochsprache. Gedanken zur Verwendung der Umgangssprache in meinem literarischen Schreiben. In: Simon Aeberhard, Caspar Battegay, Stefanie Leuenberger (Ed.): dialÄktik. Deutschschweizer Literatur zwischen Mundart und Hochsprache. Zürich, 2014

Gotthold O. Schmid: Schwyzer, läset Schwyzerdütsch. E Wägwyser dür üsi schwyzerische Mundarte. In: Schwyzerlüt. Zytschrift für usi schwyzerische Mundarte, Vol. 16/2, 1954 (Original 1940)

Charles Linsmayer: Literarisches Kalenderblatt [zu C. A. Loosli]. In: Doppelstab, Nr. 38, 19.9.1985

Guy Krneta: «Häb Sorg zu dym Imitsch». Eine Unterhaltung zwischen Kurz Marti und Guy Kneta. In: Vice Versa. Jahrbuch der Schweizer Literaturen, Band 7. Zürich, 2013

Roland Ris: Die berndeutsche Mundartliteratur. In: Gfeller, Simon: Lehre wärche u wyteri bärndütschi Gschichte us em Ämmital. Ed. Simon-Gfeller-Stiftung. Heimisbach, 2002

Christoph Fellmann: Eifach furt deheim. In: Der Bund, 26.7.2017

Christian Schmid-Cadalbert: Dialektliteratur am Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts. Riehen, 1996

Christian Schmid: Muster für eine leichter lesbare Version: Einführung, ohne Jahr

Stephan Hammer: Mani Matter und die Liedermacher. Zum Begriff des «Liedermachers» und zu Matters Kunst des Autoren-Liedes. Bern, 2010

Mani Matter: Sudelhefte. Gümligen, 2003 (1973)

Mani Matter: Rumpelbuch. Gümligen, 2003 (1976)

Franz Hohler: Mani Matter. Ein Porträtband. Bernziger Verlag, Zürich-Köln 1977 (2001)

Christine Wirz: Mani Matter. Vom «Värslischmid», der ein Poet war. Stämpfli-Verlag, Bern, 2002

Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum (Ed.): Mani Matter 1936-1972 (Ausstellungskatalog). Bern, 2011

Keywords

Contact

Simon Gfeller Stiftung
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Amt für Kultur des Kantons Bern
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