HOME

TheInfoList




Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "
Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...

Saxon
",
Standard High German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German ...
: ',
Modern Dutch Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referre ...
: ') is a developmental stage of
Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...
. It developed from the
Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of ...
language in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and has been documented in writing since about 1225/34 (''
Sachsenspiegel The (; gml, Sassen Speyghel; modern nds, Sassenspegel; all literally "Saxon Mirror") is the most important law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of ru ...

Sachsenspiegel
''). During the
Hanseatic The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of mercha ...
period (from about 1300 to about 1600), Middle Low German was the leading written language in the north of
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
and served as a
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
in the northern half of Europe. It was used parallel to
medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share ...
also for purposes of
diplomacy Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the inte ...

diplomacy
and for
deed In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictiona ...

deed
s.


Terminology

While ''Middle Low German'' (MLG) is a scholarly term developed in hindsight, speakers in their time referred to the language mainly as (Saxon) or (the Saxon language). This terminology was also still known in
Luther Luther may refer to: People * Martin Luther Martin Luther, (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadl ...

Luther
's time in the adjacent
Central German Central German or Middle German (german: mitteldeutsche Dialekte, mitteldeutsche Mundarten, Mitteldeutsch) is a group of High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused wit ...
-speaking areas. Its Latin equivalent was also used as meaning 'Low German' (among other meanings). Some languages whose first contacts with Germany were via Low German-speaking 'Saxons', took their name as meaning 'German' in general, e.g.
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
'German'. In contrast to Latin as the primary written language, speakers also referred to discourse in Saxon as speaking/writing , i.e. 'clearly, intelligibly'. This contains the same root as 'German' (.
High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German which is imprecisely also called ''High German''), comprise the varieties Variety may refer to: Science and te ...
: ,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
(
archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
ally ''N(i)ederdu ytsche'' to mean the contemporary version of the
Dutch language Dutch ( ) is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting most of the population of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of ...
) both from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
"of the people"; 'popular, vernacular') which could also be used for
Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...
if the context was clear. Compare also the modern colloquial term (from 'plain, simple') denoting Low (or West Central)
German dialects German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line In German linguistics, the Benrath line (German: ''Benrather Linie'') ...
in contrast to the written
standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined relationship to a unit of ...
. Another medieval term is (lit. 'East-ish') which was at first applied to the
Hanseatic The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of mercha ...
cities of the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
(the 'East Sea'), their territory being called ('East-land'), their inhabitants ('Eastlings'). This appellation was later expanded to other German Hanseatic cities and it was a general name for Hanseatic merchants in the Netherlands, e.g. in
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the Provinces of Belgium, province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country, and the seventh-largest city of the country b ...

Bruges
where they had their (office; see
Kontor A ''kontor'' () was a foreign trading post A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory, was an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded. Typically the location of the trading post w ...

Kontor
). In the 16th century, the term (lit. 'Lowland-ish,
Netherlandish The Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in no ...
') gained ground, contrasting Saxon with the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
dialects in the uplands to the south. It became dominant in the High German dialects (as ENHG , which could also refer to the modern
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
), while remained the most widespread term within MLG. The equivalent of 'Low German' ( NHG ) seems to have been introduced later on by High German speakers and at first applied especially to Netherlanders. ''Middle Low German'' is a modern term used with varying degrees of inclusivity. It is distinguished from
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * ...
, spoken to the south, which was later replaced by
Early New High German Early New High German (ENHG) is a term for the period in the history of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official lang ...
. Though
Middle Dutch Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the North German ...
is today usually excluded from MLG (although very closely related), it is sometimes, esp. in older literature, included in MLG, which then encompasses the
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of langua ...
of all high-medieval
Continental GermanicSouth Germanic is a term used for a number of proposed groupings of the Germanic tribes or Germanic languages, dialects. However, it is not widely used and has no agreed definition. Uses The following uses of the term "South Germanic" are found: * A ...
dialects outside MHG, from
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...

Flanders
in the West to the eastern Baltic.


Extent

Middle Low German covered a wider area than the
Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of ...
language of the preceding period, due to expansion to the East and, to a lesser degree, to the North. In the East, the MLG-speaking area expanded greatly as part of the ''
Ostsiedlung (, literally "East settling") is the term for the High Medieval The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages In the history of Eur ...

Ostsiedlung
'' (settlement of the East) in the 12th to 14th century and came to include
Mecklenburg Mecklenburg (; nds, label=Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic languages, Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic languages, West Ge ...

Mecklenburg
,
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô'') is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches fr ...

Pomerania
and (Old)
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...
, which were hitherto dominated by Slavic and
Baltic Baltic may refer to: Geography Northern Europe * Baltic Sea, a sea in Europe * Baltic region, an ambiguous term referring to the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea * Baltic states (also Baltics, Baltic nations, Baltic countries or Baltic rep ...
tribes. Some pockets of these native peoples persisted for quite some time, e.g. the ''
Wends 230px, ''Germaniae veteris typus'' (Old Germany). Aestui, Venedi, Goths, Gythones and Ingaevones are visible on the right upper corner of the map. Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, 1645. Wends ( ang, Winedas; Old Norse: ''Vindr''; german: Wenden ...

Wends
'' along the lower Elbe until about 1700 or the
Kashubians The Kashubians ( csb, Kaszëbi; pl, Kaszubi; german: Kaschuben), also known as Cassubians or Kashubs, are a Lechitic ( West Slavic) ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person ...
of Eastern Pomerania up to modern times. In the North, the
Frisian Frisian usually refers to: *Frisia, a region on the western coasts of Germany and the Netherlands **Frisians, the medieval and modern ethnic group inhabiting Frisia ***Frisii, the ancient inhabitants of Frisia prior to 600 AD **Frisian languages, a ...
-speaking areas along the North Sea diminished in favour of Saxon, esp. in
East Frisia East Frisia or East Friesland (german: Ostfriesland; ; stq, Aastfräislound) is a historic region in the northwest of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Fe ...
which largely switched to MLG since the mid-14th century. North of the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
, MLG advanced slowly into Sleswick, against
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
and North Frisian, although the whole region was ruled by
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
. MLG exerted a huge influence upon Scandinavia (cf. ''History''), although native speakers of Low German were mostly confined to the cities where they formed colonies of merchants and craftsmen. It was an official language of
Old Livonia Terra Mariana (Medieval Latin for "Land of Mary (mother of Jesus), Mary") was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia ( nds, Oolt-Livland, liv, Jemā-Līvõmō, et, Vana-Liivimaa, lv, Livonija). It was formed in the aftermath of ...
, whose population consisted mostly of
Baltic Baltic may refer to: Geography Northern Europe * Baltic Sea, a sea in Europe * Baltic region, an ambiguous term referring to the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea * Baltic states (also Baltics, Baltic nations, Baltic countries or Baltic rep ...
and Finnic tribes. In the West, at the
Zuiderzee The Zuiderzee or Zuider Zee ( , also , ; old spelling ''Zuyderzee'' or ''Zuyder Zee'') was a shallow bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The oce ...

Zuiderzee
, the forests of the
Veluwe The Veluwe () is a forest-rich ridge of hills (1100 km2) in the province of Gelderland Gelderland (), also known as Guelders () in English, is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands, occupying the centre-east of the c ...

Veluwe
and close to the
Lower Rhine The Lower Rhine (german: Niederrhein; kilometres 660 to 1,033 of the river Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ad ...
, MLG bordered on closely related
Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, 1991, p. 321. (Calling it "Low Frankish (or Netherlandish)".)Scott Shay ...

Low Franconian
dialects whose written language was mainly
Middle Dutch Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the North German ...
. In earlier times, these were sometimes included in the modern definition of MLG (cf. ''Terminology''). In the South, MLG bordered on
High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German which is imprecisely also called ''High German''), comprise the varieties Variety may refer to: Science and te ...
dialects roughly along the northern borders of
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
. The language border then ran eastwards across the plain of the middle Elbe until it met the (then more extensive) Sorb-speaking area along the upper
Spree The Spree (; wen, Sprjewja, cs, Spréva) is, with a length of approximately , the main tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of ...
that separated it from High German. The border was never a sharp one, rather a
continuum Continuum may refer to: * Continuum (measurement) Continuum theories or models explain variation as involving gradual quantitative transitions without abrupt changes or discontinuities. In contrast, categorical theories or models explain variatio ...
. The modern convention is to use the pronunciation of northern ''maken'' vs. southern ''machen'' ('to make') for determining an exact border. Along the middle
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
and lower
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
rivers, Low German began to retreat in favour of High German dialects already during Late Medieval times (cf. ''
Wittenberg Wittenberg ( , ; Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern ...
'' whose name is Low German but whose inhabitants already spoke mostly/exclusively High German when the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Cit ...
set in).


History

Sub-periods of Middle Low German are: * Early Middle Low German (Standard High German: ): 1200–1350, or 1200–1370 * Classical Middle Low German (): 1350–1500, or 1370–1530 * Late Middle Low German (): 1500–1600, or 1530–1650 Middle Low German was the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
, spoken all around the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
and the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
. It used to be thought that the language of
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
was dominant enough to become a normative standard (the so-called ) for an emergent spoken and written standard, but more recent work has established that there is no evidence for this and that Middle Low German was non-standardised. Middle Low German provided a large number of
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
s to languages spoken around the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
as a result of the activities of Hanseatic traders. Its traces can be seen in the
Scandinavian A Scandinavian is a resident of Scandinavia or something associated with the region, including: Culture * Scandinavianism, political and cultural movement * Scandinavian design, a design movement of the 1950s * Scandinavian folklore * Scandinavia ...

Scandinavian
,
Finnic
Finnic
, and
Baltic languages The Baltic languages belong to the Balto-Slavic The Balto-Slavic languages are a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It traditionally comprises the Baltic languages, Baltic and Slavic languages. Baltic and Slavic languages sh ...

Baltic languages
, as well as
Standard High German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German ...
and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
. It is considered the largest single source of loanwords in
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
,
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
, Latvian,
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the ...
and
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
. Beginning in the 15th century, Middle Low German fell out of favour compared to Early Modern High German, which was first used by elites as a written and, later, a spoken language. Reasons for this loss of prestige include the decline of the Hanseatic League, followed by political heteronomy of Northern Germany and the cultural predominance of Central and Southern Germany during the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
and Luther's translation of the Bible.


Phonology and orthography

The description is based on Lasch (1914) which continues to be the authoritative comprehensive grammar of the language but is not necessarily up-to-date in every detail.


Consonants

* Square brackets indicate
allophone In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of e ...
s. * Round brackets indicate phonemes that do not have phoneme status in the whole language area or are marginal in the phonological system. It has to be noted that it is not rare to find the same word in MLG affected by one of the following phonological processes in one text and unaffected by it in another text because the lack of a written standard, the dialectal variation and ongoing linguistic change during the Middle Low German (MLG) era. General notes *
Final devoicing Final-obstruent devoicing or terminal devoicing is a systematic phonological process A phonological rule is a formal way of expressing a systematic phonological or morphophonological process or diachronic Synchrony and diachrony are two differ ...
: Voiced obstruents in the syllable coda are devoiced, e.g. ''geven'' (to give) but ''gift'' (gift). The change took place early in MLG but is not always represented in writing. Proclitic words like ''mid'' (with) might remain voiced before a vowel because they are perceived as one phonological unit with the following word. Also, as can already be seen in Old Saxon, lenited is devoiced to before syllabic nasals or liquids, e.g. ''gaffel'' (fork) from PG ''*gabalō''. *
Grammatischer Wechsel In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes ...
: Because of sound changes in Proto-Germanic (cf.
Verner's law Verner's law described a historical sound change A sound change, in historical linguistics, is a change in the pronunciation of a language over time. A sound change can involve the replacement of one speech sound (or, more generally, one ph ...
), some words had different sounds in different grammatical forms. In MLG, there were only fossilised remnants of the "grammatischer wechsel" (grammatical change), namely for and , e.g. ''kêsen'' (to choose) but ''koren'' ((they) chose), and for and , e.g. ''vân'' < PG ''*fanhaną'' (to take hold, to catch) but ''gevangen'' < PG ''*fanganaz'' (taken hold of, caught). * Assimilation: A sound becoming more similar to a (usually) neighbouring sound, usually in place or manner of articulation, is very common across all languages. Early MLG mared assimilation much more often in writing than later periods, e.g. ''vamme'' instead of ''van deme'' (of the). *
Dissimilation In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one t ...
: In MLG, it frequently happened with vs. or vs. , e.g. ''balbêrer'' < ''barbêrer'' (barber), or ''knuflôk'' < ''kluflôk'' (garlic). Both forms frequently co-existed. The complete loss of a sound in proximity to an identical sound can also be explained in such a way, e.g. the loss of in ''Willem'' (William) < ''Wilhelm''. * Metathesis: Some sounds tended to switch their places, especially the "liquids" and . Both forms may co-exist, e.g. ''brennen'' vs. (metathesised) ''bernen'' (to burn). *
Gemination In phonetics and phonology, gemination (), or consonant lengthening (from Latin 'doubling', itself from ''Gemini (constellation), gemini'' 'twins'), is an articulation of a consonant for a longer period of time than that of a singleton consonan ...

Gemination
: In MLG, geminate consonants, which came into being by assimilation or
syncope Syncope may refer to: * Syncope (medicine), also known as fainting * Syncope (phonology), the loss of one or more sounds, particularly an unstressed vowel, from the interior of a word * Syncopation, a musical effect caused by off-beat or otherwise ...
, were no longer pronounced as such. Instead, geminate spelling marks the preceding vowel as short. Many variants exist, like combinations of voiced and voiceless consonants (e.g. letters, Sundays). Late MLG tended to use clusters of similar consonants after short as well as long vowels for no apparent reason, e.g. for (time). * h spellings: A mute ''h'' appeared sporadically after consonants already in Old Saxon. Its use greatly increased in MLG, first at the end of a word, when it often marked the preceding vowel as long, but it later appeara largely randomly. In very late times, the use of ''h'' directly after the vowel is sometimes adopted from Modern High German as a sign of vowel length. Specific notes on nasals (Indented notes refer to orthography.) * had a tendency to shift to in the coda, e.g. ''dem'' > ''den'' (the (dat.sg.m.)). ** Intervocalic is sometimes spelled ''mb'' whether or not it developed from Old Saxon . * assimilated to before velars and . * Final often dropped out in unstressed position before consonants, e.g., (we have), cf. Modern Dutch for a similar process. Similarly, it often dropped from -clusters after unstressed vowels, especially in Westphalian, e.g. ''jârlix'' (annually) < ''jârlings''. * Furthermore, had been deleted in certain coda positions several centuries earlier (the so-called
Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law In historical linguistics, the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law (also called the Anglo-Frisian languages, Anglo-Frisian or North Sea Germanic nasal spirant law) is a description of a phonological development that occurred in the Ingvaeonic languages, ...
), but there were many exceptions and restorations through analogy: the shifted form ''gôs'' (goose < PG ''*gans'') with an unshifted plural ''gense'' (geese) was quite common. Non-shifted forms have been common in the more innovative Eastern dialects. Specific notes on stops and fricatives * as a stop is always word-initially (''blôme'' flower, bloom), at the onset of stressed syllables (''barbêrer'' barber) and (historically) geminated (''ebbe'' ebb, low tide). Its allophones in other cases are word-internal and word-final (e.g. ''drêven'' to drive, vs. ''drêf'' drive (n.)). * Voiceless usually appeared word-initially (e.g. ''vader'' father), word-finally (merged with historical , see above), otherwise between short vowels and nasals/liquids (also from historical , e.g. ''gaffel'' fork) and in loans (e.g. ''straffen'' to tighten, from
High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German which is imprecisely also called ''High German''), comprise the varieties Variety may refer to: Science and te ...
). ** It was mostly written ''v'' in the syllable onset, in the coda. Exceptions include loans (''figûre''), some proper names (''Frederik''), cases like ''gaffel'' as mentioned earlier and sporadically before ''u'' (where ''v'' would be too similar graphically) and before ''l'' and ''r''. Sometimes, ''w'' is used for ''v'', and ''ph'' for ''f''. ** It has to be noted that in MLG (like in other medieval) texts, there is usually no clear graphic distinction between ''v'' and ''u''. The distinction between both (consonant value as ''v'', vocalic value as ''u'') is used in modern dictionaries, in grammars and in this article simply for better readability. Thus, in the manuscripts, e.g. ''auer'' is ''aver'' (but). * was originally an approximant but seems to have later shifted towards a fricative. Its exact articulation likely differed from dialect to dialect, and many of them merged word-internally with , an allophone of . ** In writing, ''w'' for word-internal was kept strictly separate from at first, but the use of ''w'' later also expanded to . ** The clusters , , , were originally often written with ''v''/''u'' (''svager'' brother-in-law) but later mostly shifted to a ''w''-spelling, except for , which kept ''qu'' from Latin influence. * The dentals and tended to drop out between unstressed vowels, e.g. ''antwēr'' (either) instead of ''antwēder'', and in word-final clusters like , or , e.g. often ''rech'' next to ''recht'' (law, right), ''schrîf'' next to ''schrîft'' ((he/she) writes). * Remnants of Old Saxon shifted via into in the early MLG era. After and , it was the case already in late Old Saxon. For , word-final and some frequent words like ''dat'' (that, the (neut.)), the change also happened very early. The changes happened earliest in Westphalian and latest in North Low Saxon. * was voiced intervocalically as . Whether it was voiced word-initially is not fully clear. There seems to have been dialectal variation, with voiceless more likely for Westphalian and voiced more likely for East Elbian dialects. ** Because of the variation, voiceless (for example in loans from Romance or Slavic) was often written ''tz'', ''cz'', ''c'' etc. for clarity. * The phonemic status of is difficult to determine because of the extremely irregular orthography. Its status likely differed between the dialects, with early MLG having (Westphalian keeping it until modern times) and no phonemic , and e.g. East Elbian and in general many later dialects had from earlier . If there is phonemic , it often replaces of in clusters like and . * Connected with the status of is the manner of articulation of . Orthographic variants and some modern dialects seem to point to a more retracted, more ''sh''-like pronunciation (perhaps ), especially if there was no need to distinguish and . That is shown up by modern Westphalian. * is at best a marginal role as a phoneme and appears in loans or develops because of compounding or
epenthesis In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one t ...
. Note the palatalised (next point). ** In writing, it was often marked by copious clustering, e.g. ''ertzcebischope'' (archbishop). * before front vowels is strongly palatalised in Old Saxon (note the similar situation in the closely related
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
) and at least some of early MLG, as can be seen from spellings like ''zint'' for ''kint'' (child) and the variation of placename spellings, especially in
Nordalbingia 300px, Nordalbingia within Obotrite confederation about 800-814 Nordalbingia (german: Nordalbingien) (also Northern Albingia) was one of the four administrative regions of the medieval Duchy of Saxony The Duchy of Saxony ( nds, Hartogdom Sassen ...
n and
Eastphalia Eastphalia (german: Ostfalen; Eastphalian language, Eastphalian: ''Oostfalen'') is a historical region in northern Germany, encompassing the eastern ''Gau (country subdivision), Gaue'' (shires) of the historic stem duchy of Duchy of Saxony, Saxon ...
n, e.g. ''Tzellingehusen'' for modern '' Kellinghusen''. The palatalisation, perhaps as or , persisted until the High Middle Ages but was later mostly reversed. Thus, for instance, the old affricate in the Slavic placename ''Liubici'' could be reinterpreted as a velar stop, giving the modern name ''
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
''. A few words and placenames completely palatalised and shifted their velar into a sibilant (''sever'' beetle, chafer, from PG ''*kebrô''; the city of ''
Celle Celle () is a town and capital of the district of Celle Celle () is a town and capital of the district of Celle (district), Celle, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town is situated on the banks of the river Aller (Germany), Aller, a tributary ...

Celle
'' < Old Saxon ''Kiellu''). ** Early MLG frequently used ''c'' for (''cleyn'' small), which later became rarer. However, geminate ''k'' (after historically short vowels and consonants) continued to be written ''ck'' (e.g. ''klocke'' bell), more rarely ''kk'' or ''gk''. ** ''gk'' otherwise appeared often after nasal (''ringk'' ring, (ice) rink). ** was often written ''x'', especially in the West. ** usually came as ''qu'', under Latin influence (''quêmen'' to come). * Furthermore, after unstressed , often changed into , e.g. in the frequent derivational suffix ''-lik'' (''vrüntligen'' friendly (infl.)) or, with
final devoicing Final-obstruent devoicing or terminal devoicing is a systematic phonological process A phonological rule is a formal way of expressing a systematic phonological or morphophonological process or diachronic Synchrony and diachrony are two differ ...
, in ''sich'' instead of ''sik'' (him-/her-/itself, themselves). ** Sometimes, ''ch'' was used for a syllable-final (''ôch'' also, too). The ''h'' can be seen a sign of lengthening of the preceding vowel, not of spirantisation (see "''h''-spelling" below). * was a fricative. Its exact articulation probably differed by dialect. Broadly, there seems to have been dialects that distinguished a voiced palatal and a voiced velar , depending on surrounding vowels (: word-initially before front vowels, word-internally after front vowels; in those positions, but with back vowels), and dialects that always used word-initially and word-internally (Eastphalian, Brandenburgian, e.g. word-internally after a back vowel:
vogt, reeve
vogt, reeve
). Nevertheless, was kept separate from old . In the coda position, came as a dorsal fricative (palatal or velar , depending on the preceding sound), which thus merging with . ** The spelling ''gh'' was at first used almost exclusively before ''e'' or word-finally but began to spread to other positions, notably before ''i''. It did not indicate a different pronunciation but was part of an orthographic pattern seen in many other parts of Europe. Furtherore, in early western traditions of MLG, sometimes ''ch'' was used for in all positions, also word-initially. ** Coda was mostly spelled ''ch'' because it completely merged with historic (see below). * After nasals and as a geminate, appeared as a stop , e.g. ''seggen'' "to say", ''penninghe'' "pennies". In contrast to modern varieties, it remained audible after a nasal. Pronouncing ''g'' word-initially as a stop is likely a comparatively recent innovation under High German influence. ** could be used for in older MLG, e.g. ''Dudiggerode'' for the town of Düringerode. * frequently dropped between sonorants (except after nasals), e.g. ''bormêster'' (
burgomaster Manneken Pis dressed as a burgomaster from the Seven Noble Houses of Brussels. Burgomaster (alternatively spelled burgermeister, literally ''master of the citizenship, town'', ''master of the borough A borough is an administrative division ...
, mayor) < ''borgermêster''. * was often epenthetised between a stressed and an unstressed vowel, e.g. ''neigen'' (to sew) < Old Saxon ''*nāian'', or ''vrûghe'' (lady, woman) < Old Saxon ''frūa''. In Westphalian, this sound could harden into e.g. ''eggere'' (eggs). * in the onset was a glottal fricative , and it merged with historic in the coda (see above). Word-final after consonant or long vowel was frequently dropped, e.g. ''hôch'' or ''hô'' (high). In a compound or phrase, it often became silent (''Willem'' < ''Wilhelm'' William). ** Onset was written ''h'', while coda = was mostly written ''ch'' but also and the like because of its merger with . * Coda = frequently dropped between and , e.g. ''Engelbert'' (a first name) with the common component ''-bert'' < Old Saxon (bright, famous). In unstressed syllables, it could also occur between a vowel and , e.g. ''nit'' (not) < Old Saxon ''niowiht'' (not a thing). ** Often, ''h'' was used for other purposes than its actual sound value: to mark vowel length (see ''h''-spelling under "General Notes" above), to "strengthen" short words (''ghân'' to go), to mark a vocalic onset ( our (infl.)) or vowel
hiatus Hiatus may refer to: *Hiatus (linguistics), the lack of a consonant separating two vowels in separate syllables *Hiatus (television), a break of several weeks or more in television scheduling *Hiatus (anatomy), a natural fissure in a structure *Hi ...
(''sêhes'' (of the) lake). Specific notes on approximants * was a palatal approximant and remained separate from , the palatal allophone of . ** It was often spelled ''g'' before front vowels and was not confused with ''gh'' = . The variant ''y'' was sometimes used (''yöget'' youth). * was likely an alveolar trill or flap , like in most traditional Low German dialects until recently. Post-vocalic sometimes dropped, especially before . * was originally probably velarised, i.e. a "dark l" , at least in the coda, judging from its influence on surrounding vowels, but it was never extensively vocalised as Dutch was. During the MLG era, it seems to have shifted to a "clear l" in many dialects and tended to be dropped in some usually unstressed words, especially in Westphalian, e.g., , instead of (as).


Vowels

Modern renderings of MLG (like this article) often use circumflex or macron to mark vowel length (e.g. ''â'' or ''ā'') to help the modern reader, but original MLG texts marked vowel length not by accents but by doubling vowels, by adding a lengthening ''e'' or ''i'', by doubling the following consonants (after short vowels) or by adding ''h'' after the following consonants.


Morphology


Noun


Verb


Dialects

Lasch distinguished the following large dialect groups, emphasising that she based it strictly on the orthography, which may often omit strongly dialectal phenomena in favour of more prestigious/"standard" forms. Nevertheless, the dialect groups broadly correspond with modern ones. Westphalian (
HG
HG
: ''Westfälisch'',
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
: ''Westfaals''): Broadly speaking, the area between the middle
Weser The Weser () is a river of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It begins at Hann. Münden, Hannoversch Münden through the confluence of the Werra and Fulda (river), Fulda. It passes through the Hanseatic League, Hanseatic city of Bremen. Its m ...
and lower
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
. Main cities:
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity (such as a province). Historical precursors In the H ...

Münster
,
Paderborn Paderborn () is a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn (district), Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader (river), Pader and ''Born'', an old German term for the source of a rive ...

Paderborn
,
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian Westphalian may refer to: * The culture or people of the Westphalia region of Germany * Westphalian language, one of the major dialect groups of West Low German * Westphalian sovereignty, a concept in international relati ...

Dortmund
,
Bielefeld Bielefeld () is a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 341,730, it is also the most populous city in the administrative region (''Regierungsbezirk'') of Detmold (region), ...

Bielefeld
,
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...
. Some Saxon dialects in the modern
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
(esp. modern
Gelderland Gelderland (), also known as Guelders () in English, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnationa ...

Gelderland
and
Overijssel Overijssel (, ; nds, Oaveriessel ; german: Oberyssel) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...

Overijssel
) belonged to this group. Dutch influence on them strongly increased since the 15th century. ''Some features'': In the West, strong influence from Low Franconian orthographic patterns (e.g. ''e'' or ''i'' as a sign of length, like ''oi'' = ). The "breaking" of old short vowels in open syllables and before was often marked in writing (e.g. ''karn'' instead of ''korn''). Old geminated and sometimes was hardened into ; frequently shifted to (sometimes reversed in writing); instead of (''sal'' vs ''schal''). The native present plural verbs was ''-et'' but the written norm often impressed ''-en''. Similarly, the participal prefix ''ge-'' was usually written, though probably only spoken in the Southwest. Lexically, strong connections with adjacent dialects further north (East Frisian and Oldenburgish), e.g. ('Wednesday') instead of . Westphalian was and is often thought to be altogether the most conservative dialect group. North Low Saxon (
HG
HG
: ''Nordniedersächsisch'',
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
: ''Noord-Nedersaksisch''): Spoken in a long stretch of coastal regions from the
Zuiderzee The Zuiderzee or Zuider Zee ( , also , ; old spelling ''Zuyderzee'' or ''Zuyder Zee'') was a shallow bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The oce ...

Zuiderzee
in the West to
East Prussia East Prussia (german: Ostpreußen, ; pl, Prusy Wschodnie; lt, Rytų Prūsija; la, Borussia orientalis; russian: Восточная Пруссия, Vostóchnaya Prússiya) was a of the from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 (with the Kingdom ...
in the East. Its orthographic habits come closest to what was traditionally perceived as a MLG standard (the ''Lübeck standard'', nowadays disputed). Some features: Short and in open syllables are stretched into a -like vowel. The personal suffixes ''-er'' and ''-ald'' appear as ''-ar'' and ''-old''. The pronouns ''mî'' (1.sg.), ''dî'' (2.sg.) and ''jû'' (2.pl.) are used for both dative and accusative. Three subgroups can be distinguished: (1) ''East Frisian and Oldenburgish'', i.e. the areas west of the lower
Weser The Weser () is a river of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It begins at Hann. Münden, Hannoversch Münden through the confluence of the Werra and Fulda (river), Fulda. It passes through the Hanseatic League, Hanseatic city of Bremen. Its m ...
, in the North including dialects on
Frisian Frisian usually refers to: *Frisia, a region on the western coasts of Germany and the Netherlands **Frisians, the medieval and modern ethnic group inhabiting Frisia ***Frisii, the ancient inhabitants of Frisia prior to 600 AD **Frisian languages, a ...
substrate. As can be expected, there is much Westphalian, Dutch and Frisian influence (''hem'' next to ''em'' 'him'; plurals in ''-s''; ''vrent'' next to ''vrünt'' 'friend'). (2) ''Nordalbingian'', between the lower
Weser The Weser () is a river of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It begins at Hann. Münden, Hannoversch Münden through the confluence of the Werra and Fulda (river), Fulda. It passes through the Hanseatic League, Hanseatic city of Bremen. Its m ...
and the lower
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
, and also Holstein on the right bank of the lower
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
. main towns:
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
,
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
,
Lunenburg
Lunenburg
,
Kiel Kiel () is the capital and most populous city in the northern German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany ...

Kiel
. (3) ''East Elbian'', including
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
and the areas further east, like
Mecklenburg Mecklenburg (; nds, label=Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic languages, Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic languages, West Ge ...

Mecklenburg
,
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô'') is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches fr ...

Pomerania
, northern
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
(Prignitz, Uckermark, Altmark),
Old Prussia Prussia (Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-European l ...
,
Livonia Livonia ( liv, Līvõmō, et, Liivimaa, fi, Liivinmaa, German and North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages: ', archaic German: ''Liefland'', nl, Lijfland, Latvian language, Latvian and lt, Livonija, pl, Inflanty, archaic English ...

Livonia
. Very close to ''Nordalbingian''. While the Eastern dialects are today clearly distinguished from the West by their uniform present plural verb ending in ''-en'' (against Western uniform ), in MLG times, both endings competed against each other in West and East. Main towns: Lübeck,
Wismar Wismar (; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their us ...

Wismar
,
Rostock Rostock (), officially the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock (german: link=no, Hanse- und Universitätsstadt Rostock), is the largest city in the German States of Germany, state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and lies in the Mecklenbur ...

Rostock
,
Stralsund Stralsund (; Swedish language, Swedish: ''Strålsund''), officially the Hanseatic City of Stralsund (German language, German: ''Hansestadt Stralsund''), is a city in the Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is located at the sout ...

Stralsund
. High German influence was strong in the
Teutonic Order The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: la, Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, german: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly the Te ...
, due to the diverse regional origins of its chivalric elite, therefore MLG written culture was neglected early on. Eastphalian (
HG
HG
: ''Ostfälisch''): Roughly the area east of the middle
Weser The Weser () is a river of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It begins at Hann. Münden, Hannoversch Münden through the confluence of the Werra and Fulda (river), Fulda. It passes through the Hanseatic League, Hanseatic city of Bremen. Its m ...
, north and partly west of the
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is ...

Harz
mountains, reaching the middle
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
, but leaving out the
Altmark:''See German tanker Altmark for the ship named after Altmark and Stary Targ for the Polish village named Altmark in German language, German.'' The (English: Old March (territorial entity), MarchHansard, ''The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 18 ...

Altmark
region. In the north, the sparsely populated Lunenburg Heath forms something of a natural border. Main cities:
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...

Hanover
,
Hildesheim Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated s ...

Hildesheim
,
Brunswick Brunswick is the historical English name for the German city of Braunschweig (Low German: ''Brunswiek'', Braunschweig dialect: ''Bronswiek''). Brunswick may also refer to: Places and other topographs Australia * Brunswick, Victoria, a suburb of ...

Brunswick
,
Goslar Goslar () is a historic town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares an ...

Goslar
,
Göttingen Göttingen (, , ; nds, Chöttingen) is a university city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consist ...
,
Magdeburg Magdeburg (; nds, label=Low German, Low Saxon, Meideborg ) is the capital and second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony-Anhalt, after Halle (Saale). It is situated on the Elbe River. Otto I, Holy Roman Emp ...

Magdeburg
,
Halle Halle may refer to: Places Germany * Halle (Saale), also called Halle an der Saale, a city in Saxony-Anhalt ** Halle (region), a former administrative region in Saxony-Anhalt ** Bezirk Halle, a former administrative division of East Germany ** Hall ...

Halle
(early times). The area within the Elbe's drainage was established by colonisation and is in many ways special. The southern part of this ''Elbe Eastphalian'' (
HG
HG
: ''Elbostfälisch'') area switched to High German already in Late Medieval times. ''Some features'': Umlaut is more productive, occurring before ''-ich'' and ''-isch'' (e.g. 'Saxon, Low German') and shifting also ''e'' to ''i'' (e.g. ''stidde'' for ''stêde'' 'place'). Diphthongised short is rarely marked as such, contrary to other dialects. Before , ''e'' and ''a'' are frequently interchanged for each other. Unstressed ''o'' (as in the suffix ''-schop'') frequently changes into ''u'' (''-schup''). The modal verb for 'shall/should' features , not (i.e. ''schal''). The past participle's prefix was commonly spoken ''e-'' but mostly written ''ge-'' under prescriptive influence. The local form ''ek'' ('I' (pron. 1.sg.)) competed with "standard" ''ik''; in a similar way the oblique form ''mik'' ('me') with "standard" ''mî''. Unusually, there is also a dative pronoun (1.sg. ''mê''). Lexically, close connections with Nordalbingian. Unusual plural ''menne'' ('men'). (South) Brandenburgish (
HG
HG
: ''(Süd-)Brandenburgisch'') and ''East Anhaltish'' (
HG
HG
: ''Ostanhaltisch''): Roughly between the middle Elbe and the middle Oder, and along the middle Havel, bordering old Sorbian territory to the Southeast. Main cities:
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
,
Frankfurt/Oder Frankfurt (Oder) (also known as Frankfurt an der Oder, ; abbreviated ', 'Frankfurt on the Oder') is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, located on the west side of the Oder River, on the Germany-Poland border, about east of Berlin. The town's reco ...
,
Zerbst Zerbst () is a List of cities and towns in Germany, town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until an administrative reform in 2007, Zerbst was the capital of the former Anhalt-Zerbst district. Geography Zerbst is sit ...
. A colonial dialect strongly influenced by settlers speaking Low Franconian. Also strongly influenced by High German early on. ''Some features'': Old long ''ê'' and ''ô'' were diphthongised into and , written ''i'' and ''u''. Old Germanic coda is restored, contrary to Ingvaeonic sound changes, e.g. ''gans'' 'goose'. Present plural of verbs features the suffix ''-en''. Lack of negative determiner ''nên'' ('no' (attr.)), instead: ''keyn'', similar to High German. The past participle retains the prefix ''ge-''. Lack of ''gaderen'' ('to gather') and ''tőgen'' ('to show'); instead of them, forms close to High German, i.e. and . In East Anhaltish, distinction of dative and accusative pronouns (e.g. ''mi'' vs ''mik'', cf.
HG
HG
''mir'' and ''mich'').


Literature

*
Bible translations into German German language translations of the Bible The Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and o ...
* The ''
Sachsenspiegel The (; gml, Sassen Speyghel; modern nds, Sassenspegel; all literally "Saxon Mirror") is the most important law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of ru ...

Sachsenspiegel
'' * ''Reynke de Vos'', a version of
Reynard ''Reynard the Fox'' is a literary cycle of medieval allegorical Dutch, English, French and German fable Fable is a literary genre: a succinct fictional story, in prose Prose is a form of written (or spoken) language that usually exhibit ...

at wikisource

Low German Incunable prints
in Low German as catalogued in the
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke ''Der Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke'' (English: The Union Catalogue of Incunabula) (Abbreviation, abbreviated as ''GW or GKW'') is an ongoing project of the Berlin State Library, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and appears in conjunction with the pri ...

Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke
, including the Low German
Ship of Fools
',

' and the novel

'


Sample texts


References


External links


A grammar and chrestomathy of Middle Low German by Heinrich August Lübben (1882)
(in German), at the
Internet Archive The Internet Archive is an American digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database In computing ...

A grammar of Middle Low German (1914)
by
Agathe Lasch
Agathe Lasch
(in German), at the Internet Archive
Schiller-Lübben
A Middle Low German to German dictionary by Schiller/Lübben (1875–1881) a

an
at the Internet Archive

Project TITUS
including texts i



* [http://germanic-studies.org/Middle-Low-German-loanwords-in-the-Scandinavian-languages.htm Middle Low German influence on the Scandinavian languages]
Middle Low German corpus
Still under construction, but the website contains a very concise sketch of MLG grammar also based on Lasch {{Authority control Low German German dialects Hanseatic League History of the German language Medieval languages, Low German, Middle Languages attested from the 12th century