This article is about the German dialect/language. For the West Slavic language, see Silesian language
. For ethnic group/nation, see Silesians
Silesian German (Silesian German: Schläsche Sproache/Schläs'sche Sproche, German: Schlesisch), also known as Lower Silesian, is a German dialect/language spoken in Silesia. Today, the area is mainly in southwestern Poland, but as well as in northeastern Czech Republic and in eastern Germany. The group of dialects is nearly extinct.
In origin, Silesian German appears to derive from 12th century Middle High German, with a strong influence from High German, Upper Saxon German, East Franconian German, Thuringian and Silesian. The inhabitants of Silesia are thought to be descendants of Upper Lusatia, Saxony, Thuringia and Franconia settlers who arrived in Silesia in the 13th century.
After World War II, local communist authorities forbade the use of the language. After the expulsion of the Germans from Silesia, German Silesian culture and language nearly died out when most of Silesia became part of Poland in 1945. Polish authorities banned the use of the German language. There are still unresolved feelings on the sides of both Poles and Germans, largely because of Nazi Germany's war crimes on Poles and the forced expulsion and ethnic cleansing of native Germans from former German soil that was transferred to Poland in the wake of the Potsdam Agreement.
Today, Silesian German is a dialect spoken in Upper Lusatia, the part of Silesia East of the Oder-Neisse line that remained German after 1945.
The German Silesian dialect is not recognized by the Polish State in any way, although the status of the German minority in Poland has improved much since the 1991 communist collapse and Polish entry into the European Union. It can be divided into Gebirgsschlesische Dialektgruppe, Südostschlesische Dialektgruppe, mittelschlesische Dialektgruppe, westschlesische Dialektgruppe and niederländische Dialektgruppe. The nordostböhmische Dialektgruppe belongs to Silesian, too.
Silesian German was the language in which the poetry of Karl von Holtei and Gerhart Hauptmann was written, during the 19th century.
See also 
- ^ a b c Ethnologue entry
- ^ Ludwig Erich Schmitt (Hrsg.): Germanische Dialektologie. Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1968, p. 138-139
- ^ Ludwig Erich Schmitt (Hrsg.): Germanische Dialektologie. Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1968, p. 143
- ^ Alois Kreller: Wortgeographie des Schönhengster Landes. Kraus, Nendeln 1939, 1979 Kraus, vol. 3, p. 3
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