Polabian language

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Polabian
Native toPoland, Germany
Extinct18th century
Language codes
ISO 639-3pox
pox
Glottologpola1255
Linguasphere53-AAA-bc
Polabian Slavs.png
Grey: Former settlement area of the Polabian Slavs. Green: Uninhabited forest areas. Darker shade just indicates higher elevation.

The Polabian language is an extinct West Slavic language that was spoken by the Polabian Slavs (German: Wenden) in present-day northeastern Germany around the Elbe (Łaba/Laba/Labe in Slavic) river, from which derives its name ("po Labe" - unto Elbe or [traveling] on Elbe). It was spoken approximately until the rise to power of Prussia in mid-18th century - when it was superseded by Low German - in the areas of Pomoré (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, compare the related Morini and Veneti of Armorica), central (Mittelmark) part of Branibor (Brandenburg) and eastern Saxony-Anhalt (Wittenberg originally part of Béla Serbia), as well as in eastern parts of Wendland (Lower Saxony) and Dravänia (Schleswig-Holstein, Ostholstein and Lauenburg). Polabian was also relatively long (until the 16th century) spoken in and around the cities of Bukovéc (Lübeck), Starigard (Oldenburg) and Trava (Hamburg). In the south it bordered on the Sorbian language area in Lusatia.

By the 18th century Lechitic Polabian was in some respects markedly different from other Slavic languages, most notably in having a strong German influence. It was close to Pomeranian and Kashubian, and is attested only in a handful of manuscripts, dictionaries and various writings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

History[edit]

About 2800 Polabian words are known; of prose writings, only a few prayers, one wedding song and a few folktales survive. Immediately before the language became extinct, several people started to collect phrases and compile wordlists, and were engaged with folklore of the Polabian Slavs, but only one of them appears to have been a native speaker of Polabian (himself leaving only 13 pages of linguistically relevant material from a 310-page manuscript).[1] The last native speaker of Polabian, a woman, died in 1756, and the last person who spoke limited Polabian died in 1825.

The most important monument of the language is the so-called Vocabularium Venedicum (1679–1719) by Christian Hennig.

The language left many traces to this day in toponymy; for example, Wustrow "Place on the island", Lüchow (Polabian: Ljauchüw), Sagard, Gartow, Krakow etc. It is also a likely origin of the name Berlin, from the Polabian stem berl-/birl- (swamp).

Grammar[edit]

Phonology[edit]

For Polabian the following segments are reconstructable:[2]

Polabian consonant segments
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Post-
palatal
Velar
Plosives p t k
b d ɡ
Affricates t͡s t͡sʲ
d͡z d͡zʲ
Fricatives f s ʃ x
v z
Nasals m n
Laterals l
Trills r
Semi-vowel j

Example of Polabian[edit]

The Lord's Prayer in Polabian and related Lechitic languages, compared to Old Church Slavonic, German and English:[3] Germanic loanwords, which are comparatively rare in the other West Slavic languages, are highlighted in bold.

Drawänopolabian:
Nôße Wader,
ta toy giß wa Nebisgáy,
Sjungta woarda Tügí Geima,
Tia Rîk komaj,
Tia Willia ſchinyôt,
kok wa Nebisgáy,
tôk kak no Sime.
Nôßi wißedanneisna Stgeiba doy nâm dâns,
un wittedoy nâm nôße Ggrêch,
kak moy wittedoyime nôßem Grêsmarim.
Ni bringoy nôs ka Warſikónye,
tay löſoáy nôs wit wißókak Chaudak.
Amen.
Eastern Polabian:
Aita Nos,
tâ toi jis wâ nebesai,
Sjętü wordoj Tüji jaimą,
Tüji Rik komaj,
Tüja wüľa mo są ťüńot,
kok wâ nebesai,
tok no zemi,
nosę wisedanesnę sťaibę doj nam dâns,
a wütâdoj nam nose greche,
kok moi wütâdojeme nosim gresnarem.
Ni bringoj nos wâ Warsükongę,
toi losoj nos wüt wisokag chaudag.
Amen.
Upper Sorbian:
Wótče naš,
kiž sy w njebjesach.
Swjeć so Twoje mjeno.
Přińdź Twoje kralestwo.
Stań so Twoja wola,
kaž na njebju,
tak na zemi.
Wšědny chlěb naš daj nam dźens.
Wodaj nam naše winy,
jako my tež wodawamy swojim winikam.
A njewjedź nas do spytowanja,
ale wumóž nas wot złeho.
Amen.
Kashubian:
Òjcze nasz,
jaczi jes w niebie,
niech sã swiãcy Twòje miono,
niech przińdze Twòje królestwò,
niech mdze Twòja wòlô
jakno w niebie
tak téż na zemi.
Chleba najégò pòwszednégò dôj nóm dzysô
i òdpùscë nóm naje winë,
jak i më òdpùszcziwóme naszim winowajcóm.
A nie dopùscë na nas pòkùszeniô,
ale nas zbawi òde złégò.
Amen.
Polish:
Ojcze nasz,
któryś jest w niebie,
święć się imię Twoje,
przyjdź królestwo Twoje,
bądź wola Twoja
jako w niebie
tak i na ziemi.
Chleba naszego powszedniego daj nam dzisiaj;
i odpuść nam nasze winy,
jako i my odpuszczamy naszym winowajcom;
i nie wódź nas na pokuszenie,
ale nas zbaw ode złego.
Amen.
Old Slavic (transliteration):
Otĭče našĭ,
Iže jesi na nebesěchŭ.
Da svętitŭ sę imę Tvoje,
da pridetŭ cěsar'ĭstvije Tvoje,
da bǫdetŭ volja Tvoja
jako na nebesi
i na zeml'i.
Chlěbŭ našĭ nasǫštĭnyi daždĭ namŭ dĭnĭsĭ;
i otŭpusti namŭ dlŭgy našę,
jako i my otŭpuštajemŭ dlŭžĭnikomŭ našimŭ;
i ne vŭvedi nasŭ vŭ iskušenije,
nŭ izbavi ny otŭ neprijazni.
Aminĭ.
German, 8th century:
Fater unsêr,
thu pist in himile,
uuîhi namun dînan,
qhueme rîhhi dîn,
uuerde uuillo diin,
sô in himile
sôsa in erdu.
Prooth unsêr emezzihic kip uns hiutu,
oblâz uns sculdi unsêro,
sô uuir oblâzêm uns sculdîkêm,
enti ni unsih firleiti in khorunka,
ûzzer lôsi unsih fona ubile.
Amen.
German, 20th century:
Vater unser,
der Du bist im Himmel,
geheiligt werde Dein Name;
zu uns komme Dein Reich;
Dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel,
also auch auf Erden!
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute;
und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern;
und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Übel.
Amen.
English:[4]
Our Father
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and
forgive us our trespasses (or "debts"; cf. German use of feminine singular Schuld, "debt"/"guilt")
as we forgive those who trespass against us (or "our debtors"; German Schuldiger[e]n, however, refers only to perpetrators of wrongdoing, with dative plural of "debtors" instead being Schuld[e]ner[e]n),
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil (or "the Evil One").
Amen.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kapović (2008, p. 109)
  2. ^ Cited after Kazimierz (1993, p. 799)
  3. ^ Polabian version quoted after TITUS project
  4. ^ Praying Together Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine

References[edit]

  • Olesch, Reinhold (1977), "Jezik polapskih Drevana: Stanje i zadaci istraživanja", Suvremena lingvistika (in Serbo-Croatian), Zagreb, 15, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-06
  • Kapović, Mate (2008), Uvod u indoeuropsku lingvistiku (in Serbo-Croatian), Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, ISBN 978-953-150-847-6
  • Rzetelska-Feleszko, Ewa (2002), "Polabisch", Enzyklopädie des Europäischen Ostens (PDF) (in German), Klagenfurt, archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27
  • Polański, Kazimierz (1993), "Polabian", in Bernard Comrie and Greville G. Corbett (ed.), The Slavonic languages, London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-28078-5
  • Słownik etymologiczny języka Drzewian połabskich, Part 1: ed. Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński & Kazimierz Polański, Wrocław, 1962, from Part 2 on: ed. K. Polański, Wrocław, 1971–
  • Kazimierz Polański & Janusz Sehnert: Polabian-English Dictionary. The Hague: Mouton 1967

See also[edit]