Low Lusatian German

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Low Lusatian
Native to Germany
Region Brandenburg, Saxony
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Low Lusatian German (in German: Niederlausitzer Mundart (also English: Low Lusatian Dialect)) is a variety of Central German spoken in northern Saxony and southern Brandenburg within the regions of Lower Lusatia (Cottbus) and the northern part of Upper Lusatia (Hoyerswerda). It is well-defined from the Low German dialects around and north of Berlin as well as the Saxon dialect group of present-day Saxony and the Slavic language of the Sorbs.

Both regions were strongly influenced by different dialects, especially after World War II. Refugees from East Prussia and Silesia settled there after their dispossession from former German areas. After the foundation of the German Democratic Republic and an economical development because of a stronger extraction of lignite people from Mecklenburg, Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt moved to the Lusatia region to benefit from the development. Due to this influence of other German dialects Low Lusatian never formed a too strong variation from standard German. For people moving now into this area the dialect is easy to learn and influences their spoken language quite fast.[citation needed]

Language[edit]

Low Lusatian German lacks regional specific words. It contains syncopes and apocopes which are used in nearly every German dialect. The only clearly remarkable articulation is the guttural ⟨r⟩, where Standard German's ⟨er⟩ [ɐ] ending is instead ⟨a⟩ [a]:

English Standard German Lower Lusatian German
spelling IPA spelling IPA
water Wasser /vasɐ/ Wassa /vasa/
hammer Hammer /hamɐ/ Hamma /hama/
sister Schwester /ʃvɛstɐ/ Schwesta(r) /ʃvɛsta/

At the beginning of a word the ⟨r⟩ is always spoken, but it is nearly inaudible within a word. The same effect can be seen on the letter ⟨e⟩ [ɛ] which also mostly vanishes in the endings, the changing of ⟨au⟩ [aʊ] to ⟨o(h)⟩/⟨oo⟩ [oː], and the stretching of ⟨ei⟩/⟨ai⟩ [aɪ] to ⟨ee⟩ [eː]:

English Standard German Lower Lusatian German
spelling IPA spelling IPA
to rake harken /ˈhaʁkɛn/ haakn /ˈhaːkn̩/
to work arbeiten /ˈaʁbaɪtɛn/ abeitn /ˈabeːtn̩/
to buy kaufen /ˈkʰaʊfɛn/ kohfn /ˈkʰoːfn̩/
as well auch /aʊx/ ooch /oːx/
on auf /aʊf/ off/ /oːf/
one ein (m.)
eine (f.)
eines (n.)
/aɪn/
/aɪnə/
/aɪnɛs/
een
eene
eens
/eːn/
/eːnə/
/eːns/
small Kleine /ˈklaɪnə/ Kleene /ˈkleːnə/

The short ⟨i⟩ [ɪ] is spoken similarly to the standard German ⟨ü⟩ ([y] or [ʏ]):

English Standard German Lower Lusatian German
spelling IPA spelling IPA
table Tisch /tʰɪʃ/ Tüsch /tʰʏʃ/
church Kirche /ˈkʰɪʁçə/ Kürche /ˈkʰʏɐ̯çə/

(in smaller villages the word Kerke is used.)

cherry Kirsche /ˈkʰɪʁʃə/ Kürsche /ˈkʰʏɐ̯ʃə/

Another sign is a different form of the perfect:

English Standard German Lower Lusatian German
spelling IPA spelling IPA
it was switched off es wurde abgeschaltet /ɛs ˈvʊʁdə ˈabɡɛʃaltɛt/ es wurde abgeschalten /ɛs vuadə ˈabɡɛʃaltɛn/

References[edit]

  • Astrid Stedje (1987). Deutsche Sprache gestern und heute. Universitätstaschenbuchverlag
  • Columns of regional newspapers written in Low Lusatian German (http://www.lr-online.de)