Teuthonista is a phonetic transcription system used predominantly for the transcription of (High) German dialects. It is very similar to other Central European transcription systems from the early 20th century. The base characters are mostly based on the Latin alphabet, which can be modified by various diacritics.


The name Teuthonista goes back to the Journal Teuthonista, in which the transcription system was presented in 1924/25.[1]


Most of the characters derive from the Latin or Greek alphabet, and from earlier systems such as Dania. The consonants are primarily mono-phonemic symbols. Fine nuances in articulation can be distinguished by diacritics (e.g. dots or tildes beneath or across the character). Vowels are distinguished with a more extensive system of diacritics. To describe the various dialectal sounds of the German letter "e", for example, the system uses the letter "e" with trémas, upstrokes, tildes and ogoneks, separately and in combination. It is possible to write more than 500 different variants of the letter "e". There are a number of Teuthonista systems that use different base letters and diacritics, and the characters they have in common do not have defined values between systems.

In Reichel (2003), the basic vowel letters are a e i o u. Vowels are stacked for an intermediate articulation (near-low vowels aͤ and aͦ, high-mid vowels iͤ and oͧ, central vowels uͥ and oͤ). Reduced vowels are ɪ ʊ ə α.

Lenis and fortis consonants are paired: b p, d t, k g. For fricatives they are:

Bilabial Labio-
Dental Post-
Palatal Velar
Lenis β v s š [2] x
Fortis w f ʃ ʃ̌

As in the IPA and extIPA, diacritics may doubled for greater degree and placed in parentheses for a lesser degree. For example, ẹ, ę are a close (high) and open (low) e, while e̤, e᷎᷎ are a closer (higher) and more open (lower) e,[3] and ẹ᪽, ę᪽ are only slightly raised and lowered e. Similarly, ë and ẽ are rounded and nasalized e, while ë̈, ẽ̃ are extra-rounded and extra-nasalized e and ë᪻, ẽ᪻ are slightly rounded and nasalized e. Parentheses around a double diacritic, such as ë̈᪻, mean the degree of modification is intermediate between that indicated by a single and a double diacritic.


The Teuthonista phonetic transcription system is used by the following projects:


  • Badisches Wörterbuch
  • Bayerisches Wörterbuch
  • Wörterbuch der bairischen Mundarten in Österreich

Linguistic atlasesEdit

  • Sprachatlas der deutschen Schweiz
  • Südwestdeutscher Sprachatlas
  • Atlas der historischen deutschen Mundarten auf dem Gebiet der Tschechischen Republik
  • Sprachatlas von Oberösterreich
  • Vorarlberger Sprachatlas
  • Teilprojekte des Bayerischen Sprachatlas
    • Sprachatlas von Bayerisch-Schwaben
    • Sprachatlas von Mittelfranken
    • Sprachatlas von Unterfranken
    • Sprachatlas von Niederbayern
    • Sprachatlas von Nordostbayern
    • Sprachatlas von Oberbayern

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).
  2. ^ ꭗ is sometimes written with the right leg long, rather than the left leg
  3. ^ With the vowel letters e i o u, the under-dot and ogonek mean the vowel is raised or lowered, but with 'a' it means the vowel is fronted or backed. These were the IPA diacritics for raising and lowering until 1989. Unicode supplies redundant code points for single and double ogonek just for Teuthonista transcription.

Further readingEdit

  • Teuchert, Hermann: Lautschrift des Teuthonista. In: Teuthonista. 1 (1924/25), 5.
  • Wiesinger, Peter: Das phonetische Transkriptionssystem der Zeitschrift "Teuthonista". Eine Studie zu seiner Entstehung und Anwendbarkeit in der deutschen Dialektologie mit einem Überblick über die Geschichte der phonetischen Transkription im Deutschen bis 1924. In: Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung.' 31. 1964: 1–20.

External linksEdit

  • Handbuch zum Zeichensatz SMFTeuthonista by Sibylle Reichel, April 2003 at the Wayback Machine (archived July 24, 2004) (in German)
  • Comparison of Teuthonista and IPA at the Wayback Machine (archived March 6, 2012) (in German)