Frankish Dialect, The

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Frankish Dialect, The


an unfinished work by F. Engels; an extensive commentary to his History of the Ancient Germans (first half of the 1880’s).

“The Frankish Dialect” is an original linguistic study on the relationship of the Frankish dialect to the other German dialects and its role in the origin and development of the modern Germanic languages. Engels made a thorough study of early texts and of works on Germanic linguistics. He concluded that in the sixth and seventh centuries the Frankish dialect was an independent dialect representing a link from High German to Saxon and Frisian, and primarily from Alemannic to Ingaevonic. This constituted proof that the Franks were not composed of different tribes but were themselves a major Germanic tribe, the Istvaeones.

Engels determined that the two main Frankish dialects, Salian and Ripuarian, have been continued in the modern Germanic languages and dialects. The Salian dialect was the basis of both of the Netherlandish dialects, Flemish and Dutch; consequently, the Frankish dialect was the basis of the Netherlandish literary language. The Ripuarian dialect was the basis of the Rhineland dialects.

“The Frankish Dialect” is an important linguistic analysis both as a specialized study in Germanic linguistics and in a broader sense: it sets forth major linguistic theses and remains an excellent example of the application of historical materialism in the study of language. The work became well known in linguistic circles owing to the studies of Soviet Germanists. It was first published in the USSR in 1935.


Engel’s i iazykoznanie: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.