Hahnbach, Germany

Hahnbach ("Rooster Creek") is a tiny part of the beautiful German state of Bavaria - not too far from Regensburg, Nuremberg or Munich. When I was born, about 2000 people lived in this quaint and idyllic place. Now, the town has grown to about 5300 people.

It is still rather idyllic and peaceful. In fact, a dialect expression often used to refer to Hahnbach is "dao is d'Kou gfreggt" and roughly translates to "the cow died there" - a clear indicator of just how quaint the little town is.


Geographically, Hahnbach is strategically located on the "Golden Road" connecting Prague and Nuremberg, which were two important business and trade centers in the middle ages. And it has had its share of historical highlights.

For example, Friedrich Barbarossa - emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 1155-1190 - supposedly stopped in Hahnbach to round up more martyrs for the third crusade.

facts about Hahnbach

People often give Hahnbachers a hard time, probably also something rooted in history.

Hahnbach's main road used to be made of cobblestone that was in such bad condition that people would pick up their bikes and carry them through town trying to prevent damage to their bikes. In 1994, the town - showing a laudable sense of humor - erected a monument showing a man carrying his bike through town.

The road conditions are not the only reason that people pick on Hahnbach- we also talk a little funny.

Linguistically, Hahnbach belongs to the region in which a variation of Upper Palatinate is spoken. This dialect form does not carry much social prestige. The explanation for this is also found in history.

Compared to the much richer area around Munich and the Alps, where farms used to be a lot bigger and economically more important, Hahnbacher farms were rather small and thus not as important. The dialect used in and around Munich was thus associated with more prestige than the dialect used by the little economically unimportant farmers in Hahnbach.

Nowadays, we make headlines mainly in the entertainment industry. Josef Friedrich Schmitt invented a board game that is extremely popular in Germany but not anywhere else in the world (as far as I know). It is called "Mensch ärgere Dich nicht", which roughly translates into "man, don't get upset". Suffice it to say that everyone who plays does get upset.

Two other more or less famous residents from the area are the 9-year-old Daniel Siegert who won the German version of Star Search, and Barbara Maier who won Germany's Next Top Model in 2007.

I myself have neither invented a great board game nor won any singing or modeling competition. And no, this is not a picture of me and my brother. To everyone's diappointment, I did not grow up wearing Dirndl and Lederhosen and eating saussage and sauerkraut. I don't even like beer. However, I've always had a passion for languages and once I started college, I realized that I wanted to be a linguist. Without the Project Assistantship with the Linguist List Review Editors Team, I could not pursue my PhD.


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