fei (swabian)

The Swabian language continues to surprise me again and again. Recently my wife and I repeatedly encountered the term “fei” (spelled something like “fy”). Fei is included in Swabian sentences to give them emphasis: “Des isch fei was wert. Do ka’sch fei was drauf geaba.” or similar. In the region called Allgäu where I come from they also had this term. But as a child I misunderstood it as being “frei”. I thought it came from the german word “freilich” which means “certainly”. Nowadays it is very easy to research such things. The richness of knowledge in the World Wide Web made it easy for us to find out. The term comes from the german word “feien” (see Duden online). Originally it was spelled “veien” (in Middle High German) and meant “protect something with fairy magic”.
So, if we strengthen our sentences with the word “fei”, our statements will be immune to any inconvenience. Well, that’s “fei” even more fun to pursue this local custom.

PS: This term is not only used in Swabian language. There are other dialects that also use it. E.g. Sandy acknowledged it for the Erz Mountains.