Aachen dialect Tongue-twisting translingualism – let’s talk “Öcher Platt”

In theory, there are three ways to work your way into the hearts of Aacheners: language, business – or appealing to their emotions. To all practical purposes, though, you can forget the first one.

Let’s face it: Aachen dialect, referred to as “Öcher Platt”, is beyond the reach of all but the natives. Even our Turkish residents, whose home-country language is no stranger to squeezed vowels (there’s been a President called Inönü, and one of Istanbul’s central squares revels in the name Eminönü), fail to pronounce the word “Öcher” correctly and don’t bat an eyelid if they draw a few wry smiles while trying their hand at Öcher Platt. For English speakers, “Öcher” has the same vowel as “first” followed by the hard end of a Scottish “loch”. And an “er”. Easy, eh? To speak Öcher Platt, just open your mouth, squeeze those vowels and follow your nose. Or your nouse. Öchers are an international lot and will get the drift of pretty much anything, even if they all talk funny.

Aacheners are 'gemütlich' by heart

This is because they have heart. An “Öcher Hazz” is big and open to all things new, even if it loves the familiar. If there’s one thing Aacheners are, you know, it’s curious. They want to know who they’re dealing with, so they put their cards on the table – whether it be a conference table or one of their many bar-tables-cum-dinner-tables. The Aachen “Kneipe”, by the way, is probably halfway between a pub and a bistro. It’ll be pleasantly “gemütlich” – a German word, meaning cosy, now unofficially adopted into “World English” in much the same way as “Kindergarten”. Don’t be shy – talk away. About yourself and anything else that takes your fancy.

It’s good to talk. Tell us about “Business”, a German word these days you know, and usually associated – in the Aachen world of science and technology – with “Know-how” (the emphasis falling on the second syllable). So talk to us. Tell us what’s on your mind, what you’re researching, and what you’re hoping will earn you a few euros, pounds or dollars – Aacheners have a burning desire to know such things – believing, as they do, that if you don’t get to know about stuff you can’t join in the fun. And fun, as we know, is never far from the “Öcher Hazz”, right?

Putting all this into Öcher Platt would be stretching the bounds a bit, even for a BA, BSc, MSc, PhD or Prof. But let not the light of hope extinguish. You’re in Aachen to learn, after all, so why not get your tongue around a few bits of Öcher Platt?

Öcher Platt - local dialect for beginners

That wasn’t too bad at all. - Meaning: it was really good. Aacheners go easy with their praise.

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If it doesn’t rain it’ll drip. - Nothing to do with precipitation, but means rather that it’s possible to be content with little.

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My heart’s torn out. - I can’t go on.

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You dress in rags. - You can wear what you like, you always look great.

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Now there’s a polished penny. - That’s someone who’s been around and experienced a lot. There’s no fooling him.

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Beyond translation into High German! - Expression of sorrow or sympathy.

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External links

Dialect and folk culture society(German only)