Name of the language: Niederdeutsch (Low German)

Other names Plattdeutsch (Low German)
Spoken in ... Northern Germany, Northeastern
Netherlands
Number of speakers ca. 8 millions
Legal status regional language ("Regionalsprache")
Source(s) Sanders, Willy: Sachsensprache,
Hansesprache, Plattdeutsch.
Sprachgeschichtliche Grundzüge des
Niederdeutschen. Göttingen 1982;
Stellmacher, Dieter (Hrsg.):
Niederdeutsche Sprache und Literatur der
Gegenwart. Hildesheim u.a. 2004.

Short explanation about the history

- 850-1150: Altsächsisch (Old Saxon, Old
Low German)
- 1250-1600: Mittelniederdeutsch (Middle
Low German) as a written language or all
communicative purposes (adiminstration,
law, business, literature)
- since 1600: Neuniederdeutsch (New
Low German) as a spoken language of
everyday life and as a written language in
dialect literature

For more information (other web sites) Niederdeutsche Abteilung CAU Kiel:
http://www.germsem.uni-
kiel.de/ndnl/index.shtml

Webportal "Plattnet":
http://www.plattnet.de/Start/
Institut für niederdeutsche Sprache (INS)
in Bremen:
http://www.ins-bremen.de/

 

 

 

 

German Version

 

We refer to “Low German” as a variety of German that did not participate in the so called “High German sound shift” more than 1200 years ago. Therefore, in Low German (often known and referred to as “Plattdeutsch”) they say down to the present day “ik” instead of the more commonly known “ich” (“I”), “appel” in place of “Apfel” (“apple”), “dorp” instead of “Dorf” (“village”) and “dat” in place of “das” (“the, this, that”). Nowadays Low German is a dialect only spoken in some rural areas of Northern Germany. It was, however, in the Middle Ages a generally recognised standard language in the shape of the so called “Middle Low German”, even in its written form. In the south, the border of the region in which the language was spoken and written is the so called “Benrath Line”, a linguistic boundary that roughly speaking crosses the Rhine near Benrath, a suburb of Düsseldorf. From here it runs in an easterly direction south of Magdeburg to Gdansk. South of this line one spoke and wrote in medieval times the so called “Middle High German”, which explains why the forms used here are “Apfel”, “das”, “ich” “Dorf” etc.       

 

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Sprachen und Sprachpolitik entlang des Jakobsweges, Romanisches Seminar der CAU zu Kiel: 28.05.2013
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