Low Franconian dialect area in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France.
Low Franconian, also called Low Frankish, consists of Dutch, Afrikaans, Limburgish, and their dialects, some of which are sometimes seen as regional languages. They are spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Namibia, the western tip of Germany (in the West German Lower Rhine region, former Duchy of Cleves), the northern tip of France (Westhoek), Suriname, and parts of the Caribbean, as well as in communities in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
With a total of over 40 million speakers this is the most numerous of the three groups, as well as most spread globally and the only group that has members which are official, national and standard languages.
Sometimes, Low Franconian is grouped together with Low German rather confusingly as "Low German". However, since this grouping is not based on common linguistic innovations, but rather on the absence of the High German consonant shift and Anglo-Frisian features, modern scholars prefer not to group them together. A transitional zone between Low Franconian and Central Franconian is formed by the so-called Meuse-Rhenish dialects (e.g. Low Dietsch, Bergish, and East Bergish) located in southern Dutch Limburg and in the German Lower Rhine (German: Niederrhein).
- Dutch (West Low Franconian), including Surinamese Dutch, Jersey Dutch (extinct), and Stadsfries
- Brabantian dialect, spoken in North Brabant, in the Belgian provinces of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant as well as in the adjacent areas of Dutch and Belgian Limburg
- South Guelderish, spoken in Gelderland and the adjacent areas in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kleverländisch, example: Duisburg Platt), including East Bergish, part of the Meuse-Rhenish transitional dialect group with Ripuarian.
- West Flemish, spoken in Zeelandic Flanders and Belgian West Flanders
- East Flemish, spoken in eastern Zeelandic Flanders, in Belgian East Flanders and in the adjacent areas of West Flanders
- Zeelandic, spoken in Zeeland and adjacent Goeree-Overflakkee
- Hollandic, spoken in North and South Holland
- Limburgish (East Low Franconian), spoken in Dutch and Belgian Limburg, as well as in the adjacent areas of Liège and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia
- Afrikaans, spoken in South Africa and Namibia
Central and Rhine Franconian
West Central German language area
The West Central German dialects of Central and Rhine Franconian are spoken in the German states of South-Western North Rhine-Westphalia, most of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, northern Baden-Württemberg, southern Hesse, northern Bavaria, in the bordering French Moselle department, and in Luxembourg, as well as by the Transylvanian Saxons in Romania, and by the Pennsylvania Germans in North America. It is estimated that these dialects have about 17,000,000 native speakers
The Franconian dialects of Vogtland
, the easternmost Franconian-speaking region.Franconian
Core Vogtlandian (East Franconian)
Northern Vogtlandian (transitional between East Franconian and Southeastern Thuringian
Southeastern Vogtlandian (transitional between East Franconian and Western Ore Mountainian
The High Franconian dialects consist of the East- and South Franconian dialects. These dialects are transitional dialects between Central- and Upper German, and are spoken by an estimated 2,500,000 people.
The East Franconian dialect branch is one of the most spoken dialect branches in Germany. These dialects are mainly spoken in the region of Franconia. Franconia consists of the Bavarian districts of Upper-, Middle-, and Lower Franconia, the region of South Thuringia (Thuringia), and the eastern parts of the region of Heilbronn-Franken (Tauber Franconia and Hohenlohe) in Baden-Württemberg. The easternmost Franconian-speaking areas are the Saxon parts of Vogtland, in whose central parts East Franconian (Core Vogtlandian), and in whose eastern parts transitional dialects (North Vogtlandian and Southeast Vogtlandian) are spoken. The East Franconian dialects are the only Franconian dialects that are referred to as "Franconian" by their speakers. Only the speakers in Saxon Vogtland refer to their dialects as "Vogtlandian" rather than "Franconian". The largest cities in the East Franconian dialect area are Nuremberg and Würzburg.
South Franconian is mainly spoken in northern Baden-Württemberg in Germany, but also in the northeasternmost part of the region of Alsace in France. While these dialects are considered as dialects of German in Baden-Württemberg, they are considered as dialects of Alsatian in Alsace (the other Alsatian dialects are either Alemannic or Rhine Franconian). The South Franconian dialects are colloquially referred to by their speakers as "Badian" in the Badian parts, and as "Unterländisch" (the Unterland being the region around Heilbronn) or "Swabian" (because of strong influences from the capital Stuttgart, where Swabian dialects are spoken) in the Württembergian parts of Baden-Württemberg. The largest cities in the South Franconian dialect area are Karlsruhe and Heilbronn.