The Info List - Low German

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Plattdüütsch German : _Niederdeutsch_, Dutch : _Nederduits_

NATIVE TO Northern Germany Western Germany Eastern Netherlands Southern Denmark

ETHNICITY Dutch , Frisians and Germans ; Historically Saxons ( Germanic peoples and modern regional subgroup of Germans)

NATIVE SPEAKERS Unknown (est. 6.7 million) Up to 10 million second-language speakers (1996)


* Germanic

* West Germanic

* Ingvaeonic



* Middle Low German


* West Low German * East Low German



Germany Schleswig-Holstein Hamburg Lower Saxony Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Netherlands

Recognised minority language in Mexico (100,000)

Bolivia (70,000) Paraguay (30,000)


ISO 639-2 nds

ISO 639-3 nds (Dutch varieties and Westphalian have separate codes)

GLOTTOLOG lowg1239 Low German


Approximate area in which Low German/Low Saxon dialects are spoken in Europe.

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS IPA PHONETIC SYMBOLS. Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA .

LOW GERMAN or LOW SAXON ( Low German Plattdütsch, Plattdüütsch, Nedderdüütsch; Platduuts, Nedderduuts; German : _Plattdeutsch, Niederdeutsche Dialekte_; Dutch : _Nedersaksisch_, or _Nederduits_ in the wider sense) is a West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands . It is also spoken to a lesser extent in the German diaspora worldwide, notably the Plautdietsch , by ethnic Frisians wherever Friso-Saxon dialects are spoken, and in Southern Denmark .

As an Ingvaeonic language , Low German is quite distinct from the Irminonic (High German ) languages like Standard German , and closely related to Dutch , Frisian and English. This difference resulted from the High German consonant shift , with the Uerdingen and Benrath lines being two notable linguistic borders.

It has been estimated that Low German has approximately 6.7 million native speakers – 5 million in Germany, primarily Northern Germany, and 1.7 million in the Netherlands.


* 1 Geographical extent

* 1.1 Inside Europe * 1.2 Outside Europe and the Mennonites

* 2 Nomenclature

* 3 Classification

* 3.1 A language or a mere dialect? * 3.2 Legal status

* 4 Varieties of Low German

* 4.1 In Germany * 4.2 In the Netherlands

* 5 History

* 5.1 Old Saxon * 5.2 Middle Low German

* 5.3 Contemporary

* 5.3.1 Germany * 5.3.2 Netherlands

* 6 Sound change

* 7 Grammar

* 7.1 Nouns * 7.2 Dative den/dän * 7.3 Verbs * 7.4 Adjectives * 7.5 Personal pronouns

* 8 Phonology

* 8.1 Consonants

* 9 Writing system * 10 Notable Low German Writers * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 Bibliography

* 14 External links

* 14.1 Online dictionaries * 14.2 Information * 14.3 Organizations



_ City limits sign: this city is called Emlichheim _ in Standard German and _Emmelkamp_ in Low German (and Dutch).

It has been estimated that Low German has approximately 6.7 million native speakers – 5 million in Germany, primarily Northern Germany, and 1.7 million in the Netherlands.

Dialects of Low German are spoken in the northeastern area of the Netherlands ( Dutch Low Saxon ) and are written there with an unstandardised orthography based on Standard Dutch orthography. The position of the language is according to UNESCO vulnerable. Between 1995 and 2011 the numbers of speakers of parents dropped from 34% in 1995 to 15% in 2011. Numbers of speakers of their children dropped in the same period from 8% to 2%.

Variants of Low German are spoken in most parts of Northern Germany , for instance in the states of Lower Saxony , North Rhine-Westphalia , Hamburg , Bremen , Schleswig-Holstein , Mecklenburg-Vorpommern , Saxony-Anhalt , and Brandenburg . Small portions of northern Hesse and northern Thuringia are traditionally Low Saxon-speaking too. Historically, Low German was also spoken in formerly German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estonia and Latvia . The Baltic Germans spoke a distinct Low German dialect, which has influenced the vocabulary and phonetics of both Estonian and Latvian languages. The areas numbered 1–10, in shades of brown and yellow, are varieties of Low German and the areas in which they are or have been spoken. (Areas 11–15, in orange and pink, represent Low Franconian languages .)

The language was also formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city-state of Berlin , but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city, the language has vanished (the Berlin dialect itself is a northern outpost of High German ). Under the name _Low Saxon_, there are speakers in the Dutch north-eastern provinces of Groningen , Drenthe , Stellingwerf (part of Friesland ), Overijssel , and Gelderland , in several dialect groups per province.

The historical _ Sprachraum _ of Low German also included contemporary northern Poland , East Prussia (the modern Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia ), a part of western Lithuania , and the German communities in the Baltic states, most notably the Hanseatic cities of modern Latvia and Estonia . German speakers in this area fled the Red Army or were forcibly expelled after the border changes at the end of World War II .

Today, there are still speakers outside Germany and the Netherlands to be found in the coastal areas of present-day Poland (minority of ethnic German East Pomeranian speakers who were not expelled from Pomerania , as well as the regions around Braniewo ). In the Southern Jutland region of Denmark there may still be some Low German speakers in some German minority communities, but the Low German and North Frisian dialects of Denmark can be considered moribund at this time.


Main articles: Plautdietsch and East Low German

Approximate distribution of native speakers of German or a German variety outside Europe (according to Ethnologue 2016 unless referenced otherwise) Numbers of speakers should not be summed up per country, as they most likely overlap considerably. Table includes varieties with disputed statuses as separate language.

STANDARD GERMAN HUNSRIK/HUNSRüCKISCH LOW GERMAN "> _ A public school in Witmarsum Colony (Paraná , Southern Brazil ), teaches in the Portuguese language and in Plautdietsch_.

East Pomeranian is also spoken in parts of Southern and Southeastern Brazil, in the latter especially in the state of Espírito Santo , being official in five municipalities, and spoken among its ethnically European migrants elsewhere, primarily in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Rondônia . East Pomeranian-speaking regions of Southern Brazil are often assimilated into the general German Brazilian population and culture, for example celebrating the Oktoberfest , and there can even be a language shift from it to Riograndenser Hunsrückisch in some areas. In Espírito Santo, nevertheless, Pomeranian Brazilians are more often proud of their language, and particular religious traditions and culture, and not uncommonly inheriting the nationalism of their ancestors, being more likely to accept marriages of its members with Brazilians of origins other than a Germanic Central European one than to assimilate with Brazilians of Swiss , Austrian , Czech , and non-East Pomeranian-speaking German and Prussian heritage – that were much more numerous immigrants to both Brazilian regions (and whose language almost faded out in the latter, due to assimilation and internal migration), by themselves less numerous than the Italian ones (with only Venetian communities in areas of highly Venetian presence conserving Talian , and other Italian languages and dialects fading out elsewhere).


There are different uses of the term "Low German":

* A specific name of any West Germanic varieties that neither have taken part in the High German consonant shift nor classify as Low Franconian or Anglo-Frisian ; this is the scope discussed in this article. * A broader term for the closely related, continental West Germanic languages unaffected by the High German consonant shift, nor classifying as Anglo-Frisian , and thus including Low Franconian varieties spoken in Germany such as Kleverlandish, but not those in the Netherlands, thus excluding Dutch .

In Germany, native speakers of Low German call their language _Platt_, _Plattdüütsch_ or _Nedderdüütsch_. In the Netherlands, native speakers refer to their language as _dialect_, _plat_, _nedersaksies_, or the name of their village, town or district.

Officially, Low German is called _Niederdeutsch_ (Nether or Low German) by the German authorities and _Nedersaksisch_ (Nether or Low Saxon) by the Dutch authorities. _Plattdeutsch_, _Niederdeutsch_ and _Platduits_, _Nedersaksisch_ are seen in linguistic texts from the German and Dutch linguistic communities respectively.

In Danish it is called _Plattysk_, _Nedertysk_ or, rarely, _Lavtysk_. Mennonite Low German is called _ Plautdietsch _.

"Low" refers to the flat plains and coastal area of the northern European lowlands , contrasted with the mountainous areas of central and southern Germany, Switzerland , and Austria , where High German (Highland German) is spoken. Etymologically however, _Platt_ meant "clear" in the sense of a language the simple people could understand. In Dutch, the word _Plat_ can also mean _improper_, or _rude_, which is why the term isn't popular in the Netherlands.

The colloquial term _Platt_ denotes both Low German dialects and any non-standard Western variety of German ; this use is chiefly found in northern and Western Germany and is not considered to be linguistically correct.

The ISO 639-2 language code for Low German (Low Saxon) has been NDS (_NeDerSaksisch_ or _NeDderSassisch_) since May 2000.


Low German is a part of the continental West Germanic dialect continuum . To the West, it blends into the Low Franconian languages , including Dutch . A distinguishing feature between the Southern Low Franconian varieties and Low German varieties is the plural of the verbs. Low German varieties have a common verbal plural ending, whereas Southern Low Franconian varieties have a different form for the second person plural. Northern Low Franconian varieties, including standard Dutch , have also developed a common verbal plural ending.

To the South, Low German blends into the High German dialects of Central German that have been affected by the High German consonant shift . The division is usually drawn at the Benrath line that traces the _maken – machen_ isogloss .

To the East, it abuts the Kashubian language (the only remnant of the Pomeranian language ) and, since the expulsion of nearly all Germans from the Polish part of Pomerania following the Second World War, also by the Polish language . East Pomeranian and Central Pomeranian are dialects of Low German.

To the North and Northwest, it abuts the Danish and the Frisian languages . Note that in Germany, Low German has replaced the Frisian languages in many regions. Saterland Frisian is the only remnant of East Frisian language and is surrounded by Low German, as are the few remaining North Frisian varieties, and the Low German dialects of those regions have influences from Frisian substrates.

Some classify the northern dialects of Low German together with English and Frisian as the _ North Sea Germanic_ or _Ingvaeonic _ languages. However, most exclude Low German from that group often called Anglo- Frisian languages because some distinctive features of that group of languages are only partially observed in Low German, for instance the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law (some dialects have _us_, _os_ for "us" whereas others have _uns_, _ons_), and because other distinctive features do not occur in Low German at all, for instance the palatalization of /k/ (compare palatalized forms such as English _cheese_, Frisian _tsiis_ to non-palatalized forms such as Low German _Kees_ or _Kaise_, Dutch _kaas_, German _Käse_).


The question of whether Low German, as spoken today, should be considered a separate language, rather than a dialect of German or even Dutch , has been a point of contention. Linguistics offers no simple, generally accepted criterion to decide this question.

Scholarly arguments have been put forward in favour of classifying Low German as a German dialect. As said, these arguments are not linguistic but rather socio-political and build mainly around the fact that Low German has no official standard form or use in sophisticated media. The situation of Low German may thus be considered a "pseudo-dialectized abstand language " ("scheindialektisierte Abstandsprache"). In contrast, Old Saxon and Middle Low German are generally considered separate languages in their own rights. Since Low German has undergone a strong decline since the 18th century, the perceived similarities with High German or Dutch may often be direct adaptations from the dominating standard language, resulting in a growing incapability of speakers to speak correctly what was once Low German proper.

Others have argued for the independence of today's Low German dialects, taken as continuous outflow of the Old Saxon and Middle Low German tradition.


Low German has been recognized by the Netherlands and by Germany (since 1999) as a regional language according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages . Within the official terminology defined in the charter, this status would not be available to a dialect of an official language (as per article 1a), and hence not to Low German in Germany if it were considered a dialect of German. Advocates of the promotion of Low German have expressed considerable hope that this political development will at once lend legitimacy to their claim that Low German is a separate language, and help mitigate the functional limits of the language that may still be cited as objective criteria for a mere dialect (such as the virtually complete absence from legal and administrative contexts, schools, the media, etc.).

At the request of Schleswig-Holstein , the German government has declared Low German as a regional language . German offices in Schleswig-Holstein are obliged to accept and handle applications in Low German on the same footing as Standard High German applications. The Bundesgerichtshof ruled in a case that this was even to be done at the patent office in Munich , in a non– Low German region , when the applicant then had to pay the charge for a translator, because applications in Low German are considered "nicht in deutscher Sprache abgefasst" (not written in the German language).



* West Low German

* East Frisian Low Saxon * Northern Low Saxon, included Grafschaft Bentheim and Emsland * Westphalian language, without Grafschaft Bentheim and Emsland * Eastphalian language

* East Low German

* _ Brandenburgisch _ * _ Mecklenburgisch-Vorpommersch _ * _Mittelpommersch _ * East Pomeranian * Low Prussian * _ Plautdietsch _ ( Mennonite Low German, used also in many other countries)


The Dutch Low Saxon varieties, which are also defined as Dutch dialects, consist of:

* Gronings and Noord- Drents

* Hogelandsters * Oldambtsters * Stadsgronings * Veenkoloniaals

* Westerkwartiers

* Kollumerpompsters * Kollumerlands * Middaglands * Midden-Westerkwartiers * Zuid-Westerkwartiers

* Westerwolds

* Stellingwerfs

* Drents

* Midden- Drents * Zuid- Drents

* Twents

* Twents-Graafschaps * _Twents_

* Gelders-Overijssels

* Achterhoeks * Sallands * Oost-Veluws (partly classified as Veluws) * Urkers

* Veluws

* Oost-Veluws (partly classified as Gelders-Overijssels) * West- Veluws


Main article: History of Low German


Main article: Old Saxon

OLD SAXON, also known as OLD LOW GERMAN, is a West Germanic language. It is documented from the 9th century until the 12th century, when it evolved into Middle Low German . It was spoken on the north-west coast of Germany and in Denmark by Saxon peoples . It is closely related to Old Anglo-Frisian ( Old Frisian , Old English ), partially participating in the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law .

Only a few texts survive, predominantly in baptismal vows the Saxons were required to perform at the behest of Charlemagne . The only literary texts preserved are _ Heliand _ and the Old Saxon Genesis .


Main article: Middle Low German

The Middle Low German language is an ancestor of modern Low German. It was spoken from about 1100 to 1600. The neighbouring languages within the dialect continuum of the West Germanic languages were Middle Dutch in the West and Middle High German in the South, later substituted by Early New High German . Middle Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League , spoken all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea . It had a significant influence on the Scandinavian languages . Based on the language of Lübeck , a standardized written language was developing, though it was never codified.


There is a distinction between the German and the Dutch Low Saxon/Low German situation.


After mass education in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, the slow decline which Low German had been experiencing since the end of the Hanseatic League turned into a free fall. The decision to exclude Low German in formal education was not without controversy, however. On one hand, proponents of Low German advocated that since it had a strong cultural and historical value and was the native language of students in northern Germany, it had a place in the classroom. On the other hand, High German was considered the language of education, science, and national unity, and since schools promoted these values, High German was seen as the best candidate for the language of instruction.

Initially, regional languages and dialects were thought to limit the intellectual ability of their speakers. Because of Low German’s archaic features and constructions, historical linguists considered it “backwards.” It wasn’t until the efforts of proponents such as Klaus Groth that this impression changed. Groth’s publications demonstrated that Low German was a valuable language in its own right, and he was able to convince others that Low German was suitable for literary arts and was a national treasure worth keeping.

Through the works of advocates like Groth, both proponents and opponents of Low German in formal education saw the language’s innate value as the cultural and historical language of northern Germany. Nevertheless, the opponents claimed that it should simply remain a spoken and informal language to be used on the street and in the home, but not in formal schooling. According to them, it simply did not match the nationally unifying power of High German. As a result, while Low German literature was deemed worthy of being taught in school, High German was chosen as the language of scholarly instruction. With High German the language of education and Low German the language of the home and daily life, a stable diglossia developed in Northern Germany. Various Low German dialects are understood by 10 million people, and native to about 3 million people all around northern Germany.

The KDE project supports Low German (nds) as a language for its computer desktop environment, as does the GNOME Desktop Project. Open source software has been translated into Low German; this used to be coordinated via a page on Sourceforge, but as of 2015, the most active project is that of KDE.


In the early 20th century, scholars in the Netherlands argued that speaking dialects hindered language acquisition, and it was therefore strongly discouraged. Many parents, however, continued to speak Low Saxon with their children, since they could not speak anything else, nor did they need to; many of the eastern Dutch towns and villages were largely self-reliant, and located far from the economic heart of the country.

As education improved, and mass communication became more widespread, the Low Saxon dialects declined. People in rural areas up to the 1980s often have one of the Low Saxon dialects as one of their first languages, although decline has been greater in urban centres of the Low Saxon regions. When in 1975 dialect folk and rock bands such as Normaal and Boh Foi Toch (nl) became successful with their overt disapproval of what they experienced as "misplaced Dutch snobbery" and the Western Dutch contempt for (speakers of) Low Saxon dialects, they gained a following among the more rurally oriented inhabitants, launching Low Saxon as a sub-culture. They inspired contemporary dialect artists and rock bands, such as Daniël Lohues (nl), Mooi Wark (Nl), Jovink en de Voederbietels (Nl), Hádiejan (Nl) Nonetheless, the position of the language is vulnerable according to UNESCO. Between 1995 and 2011 the numbers of speakers of parents dropped from 34% in 1995 to 15% in 2011. Numbers of speakers of their children dropped in the same period from 8% to 2%. Low Saxon is still spoken more widely than in Northern Germany. A 2005 study showed that in the Tweante region 62% of the inhabitants used Low Saxon daily, and up to 75% regularly. Efforts are made in Germany and in the Netherlands to protect Low German as a regional language .


As with the Anglo- Frisian languages and the North Germanic languages , Low German has not been influenced by the High German consonant shift except for old /ð/ having shifted to /d/. Therefore, a lot of Low German words sound similar to their English counterparts. One feature that does distinguish Low German from English generally is final devoicing of obstruents, as exemplified by the words 'good' and 'wind' below. This is a characteristic of Dutch and German as well and involves positional neutralization of voicing contrast in the coda position for obstruents (i.e. t = d at the end of a syllable.) This is not used in English except in the Yorkshire dialect , where there is a process known as _Yorkshire assimilation _.

For instance: _water_ , _later_ , _bit_ , _dish_ , _ship_ , _pull_ , _good_ , _clock_ , _sail_ , _he_ , _storm_ , _wind_ , _grass_ , _hold_ , _old_ .

The table below shows the relationship between Low German consonants which were unaffected by this chain shift and their equivalents in other West Germanic languages; Swedish (a North Germanic language) is also shown for comparison.


-k- -ch- maken maken make machen meitsje maka (arch.)

k- k- Keerl (_fellow_) kerel churl Kerl * tsjirl (arch.) karl

d- t- Dag dag day Tag dei dag

-t- -ss- eten eten eat essen ite äta

t- z- (/t͡s/) teihn tien ten zehn tsien tio

-tt- -tz-, -z- (/t͡s/) sitten zitten sit sitzen sitte sitta

-p -f, -ff Schipp, Schepp schip ship Schiff skip skepp ***

p- pf- Peper peper pepper Pfeffer piper peppar

-β- -b- Wief, Wiever wijf, wijven ** wife, wives Weib, Weiber ** wiif, wiven viv **

_Notes_: * German _Kerl_ is a loanword from Low German ** The series _Wief_–_wijf_, etc. are cognates , not semantic equivalents. The meanings of some of these words have shifted over time. For example, the correct equivalent term for "wife" in modern Dutch, German and Swedish is _vrouw_, _Frau_ and _fru_ respectively; using _wijf_, _Weib_ or _viv_ for a human is considered archaic in Swedish and nowadays derogatory in Dutch and German, comparable to "wicked girl ". No cognate to _Frau_ / _vrouw_ / _fru_ has survived in English (compare Old English _frōwe_ "lady"; the English word _frow_ "woman, lady" rather being a borrowing of the Middle Dutch word). *** Pronounced _shepp_ since the 17th century


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Generally speaking, Low German grammar shows similarities with the grammars of Dutch , Frisian , English , and Scots , but the dialects of Northern Germany share some features (especially lexical and syntactic features) with German dialects.


Low German declension has only two morphologically marked noun cases, where accusative and dative together constitute an oblique case , and the genitive case has been lost.

Example case marking: _Boom_ (tree), _Bloom_ (flower), _Land_ (land)



NOMINATIVE en Boom, DE Boom Bööm, de Bööm nö Bloom, de Bloom Blomen, de Blomen en Land, dat Land Lannen, de Lannen

OBLIQUE en Boom, DEN Boom Bööm, de Bööm nö Bloom, de Bloom Blomen, de Blomen en Land, dat Land Lannen, de Lannen


In most modern dialects, the nominative and oblique cases are primarily distinguished only in the singular of masculine nouns . In some Low German dialects, the genitive case is distinguished as well (e.g. varieties of Mennonite Low German.) It is marked in the masculine gender by changing the masculine definite determiner 'de' from _de_ to _den/dän_. By contrast, German distinguishes four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative. So, for example, the definite article of the masculine singular has the forms: der (nom), den (acc), des (gen), and dem (dat.) Thus case marking in Low German is simpler than in German .


In Low German verbs are conjugated for person, number, and tense. Verb conjugation for person is only differentiated in the singular. There are five tenses in Low German: present tense , preterite , perfect , and pluperfect , and in Mennonite Low German the present perfect which signifies a remaining effect from a past finished action. For example, "Ekj sie jekomen", "I am come", means that the speaker came and he is still at the place to which he came as a result of his completed action.

Example verb conjugation: slapen, "to sleep"



1ST PERSON ik slaap wi slaapt/slapen ik sleep wi slepen ik heff slapen wi hebbt/hebben slapen

2ND PERSON du slöppst ji slaapt/slapen du sleepst ji slepen du hest slapen ji hebbt/hebben slapen

3RD PERSON he, se, dat slöppt se slaapt/slapen he, se, dat sleep se slepen he, se, dat hett slapen se hebbt/hebben slapen

Unlike Dutch , German , and southern Low German, the northern dialects form the participle without the prefix _ge-_, like the Scandinavian languages , Frisian and English . Compare to the German past participle GEschlafen. This past participle is formed with the auxiliary verbs _hebben_ "to have" and _wesen/sien_ "to be". It should be noted that _e-_ is used instead of _ge-_ in most Southern (below Groningen in the Netherlands ) dialects , though often not when the past participle ends with _-en_ or in a few oft-used words like _west_ (been).

The reason for the two conjugations shown in the plural is regional: dialects in the central area use -t while the dialects in East Frisia and the dialects in Mecklenburg and further east use -en. The -en suffix is of Dutch influence. The -t ending is however more often encountered, even in areas where -en endings were prominent due to the fact that these -t endings are seen as _kennzeichnend Niederdeutsch_, that is to say _a well-known feature of Low German_.

There are 26 verb affixes.

There is also a progressive form of verbs in present, corresponding to the same in the Dutch language. It is formed with _wesen_ (to be), the preposition _an_ (at) and "dat" (the/it).


MAIN FORM Ik bün an't Maken. Ik ben aan het maken. I am making.

MAIN FORM 2 Ik _do_ maken.1 - -

ALTERNATIVE FORM Ik bün an'n Maken.2 Ik ben aan het maken. -

ALTERNATIVE FORM 2 Ik bün maken.3 Ik ben makende. I _am_ making.

1 Instead of 'to _wesen, sien_ (to be) Saxon uses _doon_ (to do) to make to present continuous. 2 Many see the _'n_ as an old dative ending of _dat_ which only occurs when being shortened after prepositions. This is actually the most frequently-used form in colloquial Low German. 3 This form is archaic and mostly unknown to Low German speakers. It is the same pattern as in the English example "I am making." The present participle has the same form as the infinitive: _maken_ is either "to make" or "making".


The forms of Low German’s adjectives are distinct from other closely related languages such as German and English. These forms fall somewhere in between these two languages. Unlike German, Low German does not have a distinction for strong and weak forms of adjectives. However, its adjectives still do have endings, whereas English adjectives do not. The adjectives in Low German make a distinction between singular and plural to agree with the nouns that it modifies. To express the difference between the singular and plural, Low German uses the following adjective endings:


(zero) lütt small

-e (singular) dat lütte Huus the small house

-en (plural) de lütten Hüüs the small houses


Like German, Low German maintains the historical Germanic distinction between the second person singular and second person plural. In English and German, this distinction would translate to “thou” and “du” referring to one person, and “ye” and “ihr” referring to more than one person. The second person pronouns for each case are given below to further illustrate this distinction.


Nominative du “thou” ji “ye”

Accusative di “thee” jug “you”

Dative di “thee” jug “you”

Genitive din, dinen “thy” jug’ “your”

In the genitive (possessive) case, the pronoun functions in the same way as an adjective and so it may take an ending if needed to match the singular or plural status of the noun it is modifying. So, for example, if “you” possess multiple books, then would be used to express that the singular second person possesses multiple objects: the books. If several people in the second person (“you all”) possessed multiple books, then would be used instead.



Since there is no standard Low German, there is no standard Low German consonant system. However, one trait present in the whole Low German speaking area, is the retraction of /s z/ to . However, there are speakers with non-retracted .

The table shows the consonant system of North Saxon, a West Low Saxon dialect.


PLOSIVE p b t d

k ɡ

FRICATIVE f v s z ʃ x ɣ h




r l


Low German is written using the Latin alphabet . There is no true standard orthography , only several locally more or less accepted orthographic guidelines, those in the Netherlands mostly based on Dutch orthography, and those in Germany mostly based on German orthography. To the latter group belongs the standard orthography devised by Johannes Sass . It is mostly used by modern official publications and internet sites, especially the Low German. This diversity, a result of centuries of official neglect and suppression, has a very fragmenting and thus weakening effect on the language as a whole, since it has created barriers that do not exist on the spoken level. Interregional and international communication is severely hampered by this. Most of these systems aim at representing the phonetic (allophonic ) output rather than underlying (phonemic ) representations, but trying to conserve many etymological spellings. Furthermore, many writers follow guidelines only roughly. This adds numerous idiosyncratic and often inconsistent ways of spelling to the already existing great orthographic diversity.

In 2011, writers of the Dutch Low Saxon Wikipedia developed a spelling that would be suitable and applicable to all varieties of Low Saxon in the Netherlands, although the semi-official dialect institutes have not picked up on this, or indicated that they believed that yet another writing system will only further confuse dialect writers rather than suit them. The new spelling was introduced to the Dutch Low Saxon Wikipedia to unify the spelling of categories, templates and comparable source code writings.


* Heinrich Bandlow * Eggerik Beninga * Hans-Friedrich Blunck * Reuben Epp * Gorch Fock * Johannes Gillhoff * Klaus Groth * August Hermann * Fritz Reuter * Julius Stinde * Albert Suho * Rudolf Tarnow * Wilhelm Wieben * Balthasar Russow


* 1614 Low German Bible * Bible translations into German * Friar Rush * Hamborger Veermaster * The Juniper Tree (fairy tale) * Meuse-Rhenish * Moin * Ohnsorg-Theater * Masurian dialect


* ^ Saxon, Low _Ethnologue_.

* ^ German : § 23 Absatz 1 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Bund). Die Frage, ob unter deutsch _rechtlich ausschließlich die hochdeutsche oder auch die niederdeutsche Sprache subsumiert wird, wird juristisch uneinheitlich beantwortet: Während der BGH in einer Entscheidung zu Gebrauchsmustereinreichung beim Deutschen Patent- und Markenamt in plattdeutscher Sprache das Niederdeutsche einer Fremdsprache gleichstellt („Niederdeutsche (plattdeutsche) Anmeldeunterlagen sind im Sinn des § 4a Abs. 1 Satz 1 GebrMG nicht in deutscher Sprache abgefaßt.“ – BGH-Beschluss vom 19. November 2002, Az. X ZB 23/01), ist nach dem Kommentar von Foerster/Friedersen/Rohde zu § 82a des Landesverwaltungsgesetzes Schleswig-Holstein unter Verweis auf Entscheidungen höherer Gerichte zu § 184 des Gerichtsverfassungsgesetzes seit 1927 (OLG Oldenburg, 10. Oktober 1927 – K 48, HRR 1928, 392) unter dem Begriff_ deutsche Sprache _sowohl Hochdeutsch wie auch Niederdeutsch zu verstehen._ * ^ Unterschiedliche Rechtsauffassungen, ob Niederdeutsch in Deutschland insgesamt Amtssprache ist – siehe dazu: Amtssprache (Deutschland) ; zumindest aber in Schleswig-Holstein und Mecklenburg-Vorpommern * ^ Maas, Sabine (2014). _ Twents op sterven na dood? : een sociolinguïstisch onderzoek naar dialectgebruik in Borne_. Münster New York: Waxmann. p. 19. ISBN 3830980337 . * ^ Cascante, Manuel M. (8 August 2012). "Los menonitas dejan México". _ABC_ (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 February 2013. Los cien mil miembros de esta comunidad anabaptista, establecida en Chihuahua desde 1922, se plantean emigrar a la república rusa de Tartaristán, que se ofrece a acogerlos * ^ Los Menonitas en Bolivia Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine . _CNN en Español_ * ^ El Comercio: Menonitas cumplen 85 años en Paraguay con prosperidad sin precedentes * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Low German". _ Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ Lower Saxony, _ Encyclopædia Britannica _, ", a dialect closely related to Dutch, Frisian, and English, is quite distinct from the official High German..." * ^ _A_ _B_ "Gechattet wird auf Plattdeusch". Noz.de. Retrieved 2014-03-14. * ^ _A_ _B_ The Other Languages of Europe: Demographic, Sociolinguistic, and Educational Perspectives by Guus Extra, Durk Gorter; Multilingual Matters, 2001 - 454; page 10. * ^ _A_ _B_ "UNESCO Atlas of the World\'s Languages in danger". _www.unesco.org_. * ^ _A_ _B_ Driessen, Geert (2012). "Ontwikkelingen in het gebruik van Fries, streektalen en dialecten in de periode 1995-2011" (PDF). _Radboud University Nijmegen_. Retrieved 2017-04-29. * ^ Ethnologue 19th Edition (2016) * ^ U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - Language Use in the United States: 2007 * ^ "Platdietsch". 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-02-29. * ^ "O trilinguismo no Colégio Fritz Kliewer de Witmarsum. (Paraná) " (PDF) (in Portuguese). Elvine Siemens Dück. Retrieved 23 September 2012. * ^ (in Portuguese) Claudio Vereza, Espírito Santo\'s state assemblyman by the Workers\' Party The Pomeranian people in Espírito Santo Archived 21 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Cf. the definition of _high_ in the _Oxford English Dictionary _ (Concise Edition): " situated far above ground, sea level, etc; upper, inland, AS HIGH GERMAN". * ^ Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache (AdA) * ^ J. Goossens: "Niederdeutsche Sprache. Versuch einer Definition", in: J. Goossens (ed.), _Niederdeutsch. Sprache und Literatur_, vol. 1, Neumünster 1973. * ^ W. Sanders: _Sachsensprache — Hansesprache — Plattdeutsch. Sprachgeschichtliche Grundzüge des Niederdeutschen_, Göttingen 1982, p. 32, paraphrasing Heinz Kloss : "Abstandsprachen und Ausbausprachen", in: J. Göschel et al. (edd.), _Zur Theorie des Dialekts_, Wiesbaden 1976, pp. 301–322. * ^ Hubertus Menke: "Niederdeutsch: Eigenständige Sprache oder Varietät einer Sprache?", in: Eva Schmitsdorf et al. (edd.), _Lingua Germanica. Studien zur deutschen Philologie. Jochen Splett zum 60. Geburtstag_, Waxmann, Münster et al. 1998, pp. 171–184, in particular p. 180. * ^ Hubertus Menke: "Niederdeutsch: Eigenständige Sprache oder Varietät einer Sprache?", in: Eva Schmitsdorf et al. (edd.), _Lingua Germanica. Studien zur deutschen Philologie. Jochen Splett zum 60. Geburtstag_, Waxmann, Münster et al. 1998, pp. 171–184, in particular p. 183f. * ^ Cf. Institut für niederdeutsche Sprache – Sprachenpolitik * ^ Sprachenchartabericht of the regional government of Schleswig-Holstein for 2016, p. 14 f. * ^ Cf. the German Wikipedia article on Niederdeutsche Sprache. * ^ Sanders, W. (1982) Sachsensprache, Hansesprache, Plattdeutsch. Sprachgeschichtliche Grundzüge des Niederdeutschen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Langer, Nils and Robert Langhanke. "How to Deal with Non-Dominant Languages – Metalingusitic Discourses on Low German in the Nineteenth Century". _Linguistik Online_. 58.1. * ^ http://l10n.kde.org/stats/gui/trunk-kde4/nds/ * ^ nds.sourceforge.net (defunct) * ^ KDE op Platt * ^ See John Wells, _Accents of English_, pages 366-7, Cambridge University Press, 1981 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Biddulph, Joseph (2003). _Platt and Old Saxon: Plattdeutsch (Low German) in its Modern and Historical Forms_. Wales: Cyhoeddwr JOSEPH BIDDULPH Publisher. * ^ _A_ _B_ Adams (1975 :289) * ^ R.E. Keller, _German Dialects. Phonology and Morphology_, Manchester 1960


* Adams, Douglas Q. (1975), "The Distribution of Retracted Sibilants in Medieval Europe", _Language_, Linguistic Society of America, 51 (2): 282–292, JSTOR 412855 , doi :10.2307/412855


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