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 Geschichte Bayerns > Land and People > Language and Dress
Language and Dress

Bavaria is divided up into three linguistic regions. The Bavarian dialect is only spoken in the Old Bavarian regions, i.e. the administrative regions of Upper Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate; the administrative region of Swabia belongs to the Swabian-Alemannian linguistic region; and the Eastern Franconian dialect is spoken in Central, Upper and Lower Franconia. A total of 60 or more dialect regions can be distinguished, whereby the official language is High German. For several years now, linguistic and dialect usage in Bavaria has been scientifically studied, and published in the multi-volume "Bavarian Language Atlas". Johann Andreas Schmeller (1785-1852) was exemplary here; he was the first person to record such things systematically, and he even compiled a four-volume "Bavarian Dictionary" between 1827 and 1837.

The most famous Bavarian folk dress today is the Upper Bavarian mountain style, with Lederhosen for the men and the coloured apron or black Dirndl for the women. Numerous similar forms have also survived to the present day, all enabling a traditional and clear distinction according to region, religion, social rank, marital status and also the respective occasion for wearing the clothes. The Trachtenvereine, or "folkwear associations", have conserved and cherished Bavarian folkwear traditions since the early 20th century.

An interesting fact is that blue jeans, one of the most common items of clothing today, were designed by a Bavarian from Buttenheim in Franconia. Levi Strauss emigrated to the US in 1847 and, together with his two brothers, founded the firm of Levi Strauss & Co. in New York and San Francisco.