I know that the English "always" comes literally from "all ways". the Bavarian "oivai" sounds almost the same, means the same, but doesn't seem to be as straight forward. While "oi" means "all" and "oiss" means "everything", "vai" has no meaning (well, it means "woman" or "wife", but I don't think that's related). The modern Bavarian word for "way" is "veeg", which could possibly be a recent adaption from the German "Weg". This seems to be unlikely though if you compare similar words to "-vai" such as Bavarian "mai" and German "maul" (Meaning "mouth" in English, but is offensive in German).

One interesting theory I read (I don't remember where) is that it comes from the Latin "aliubei" (meaning "sometimes"), which could make sense, but it would be a huge coincidence.

edit: Some alternative ways to write "oivai" are "o-i/ll-[a]-v/w-a/e-i-[s]". I just took the one that is closest to being phonetic.

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    I wouldn't discard a connection with the word for "wife". In Ripuarian dialect, the phrase "ahl Wief" (literally "old woman/wife") is used to denote "The same as always; nothing new". Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 14:15
  • German and Bavarian may say Weg or weeg, but 1400 years ago, they were saying things differently and perhaps closer to Way. I don't know why it's such a big deal. In every language X, there are words that are related to some words in other languages of the same group, but that became obsolete, archaic, and were abandoned in X itself. Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 17:04
  • @LubošMotl: It is a big deal because there are many equally possible explanations. BTW, I tried to send you a message but couldn't find an email or anything, if you want to talk, write me an email at [email protected] :) Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


"oiwei" comes from "alleweile". Then the west-middle-Bavarian r/l-vocalization gives you "oi" from "all(e)" and the ending "-l" is dropped (I miss the proper term). East-middle-Bavarian would make monophtong from "oi" thus in Vienna you hear "öwei(l)".

  • You have my upvote but should probably point out that there are variants like allweil and alleweil. Also "comes from" is hard to say, it is accurate in some cases but dialects are not necessarily just corruptions of the standard language they largely pre-date. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 10:46
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    In no way they are corruptions at all. My point of view is absolutely the contrary: German is the union of all spoken languages, since that should refer ideally to pre-industrialisation times that is more or less the union of all "dialects" (lets ignore the Nieder- and Oberdeutsch language separation for a moment). "Hochdeutsch" I consider as an artifical construction made to interpolate in bewteen the Oberdeutsch (and Mitteldeutsch) dialects. Which should be treated independently. Correct reference would be earliest "Neuhochdeutsch" without written standard. My5cents. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:02
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    The dialects are in an idealistic picture that what has developed naturally from the ancient spoken languages exclusively by oral tradition from mother to children. They are the real "languages". What you speak. Speaking Hochdeutsch in "deutscher Bühnsprache"pronounciation is kind of a perversion. Its not there for speaking its for writing. Like Sanskrit and Prakrit, probaly. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:07
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    Then we are in agreement. Given this view, we should say "Bavarian oiwei is cognate to standard German allweil", not "comes from", gel? Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:30
  • Unless this was one of those words that was borrowed from the artificial lingua franca into the dialect or from one dialect via the artificial lingua franca into other dialects, but in this exact case that seems very unlikely. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:30

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