The Sarner people – unique in character and language
“Aa söü!” (ach so! - meaning “oh, really?”) is the Sarner way of expressing interest or wonder, and with this they usually evoke bewilderment and curiosity among outsiders. For a typical Sarner is inimitable. They are well-known throughout South Tyrol for their sharp wit, and their instinctive astuteness is celebrated in countless ‘Sarner jokes’.
They love their valley and its cultural treasure trove. The Sarner dialect has survived in its original, distinctive form with melodious, sonorous endings, usually finishing with an ‘a’ or ‘aar’. The dialect is a much satirised characteristic beyond the valley’s borders and appears to others at the same time coarse and sublime. In addition, the vowel sounds and words vary considerably from place to place. Church-goers on the village squares of Sarnthein, Pens and Durnholz meet together after Sunday Mass and ‘hoangartn’, or ‘chat’. One of the best occasions to become familiar with the Sarner dialect is at South Tyrol’s best known and largest annual fair, the ‘Sarner Kirchtag’ which takes place each year on the first weekend in September.