The Info List - Lower Sorbian

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Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
(Dolnoserbšćina) is a Slavic minority language spoken in eastern Germany
in the historical province of Lower Lusatia, today part of Brandenburg. It is one of the two literary Sorbian languages, the other being Upper Sorbian. Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
is spoken in and around the city of Cottbus
in Brandenburg. Signs in this region are usually bilingual, and Cottbus has a Gymnasium where one language of instruction is Lower Sorbian. It is a heavily endangered language.[3] Most native speakers are in the oldest generation today.


1 Phonology

1.1 Consonants

1.1.1 Final devoicing and assimilation

1.2 Vowels 1.3 Stress

2 Orthography 3 Sample 4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links

7.1 Dictionaries

7.1.1 Czech- Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
and Lower Sorbian-Czech 7.1.2 German–Lower Sorbian 7.1.3 Lower Sorbian–German


Bilingual road sign in Cottbus, Germany

The phonology of Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
has been greatly influenced by contact with German, especially in Cottbus
and larger towns. For example, German-influenced pronunciation tends to have a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] instead of the alveolar trill [r]. In villages and rural areas German influence is less marked, and the pronunciation is more "typically Slavic". Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes[4][5]

Labial Dental/ Alveolar Postalveolar Dorsal Glottal

hard soft hard soft hard soft

Nasal m mʲ n nʲ

Plosive voiceless p pʲ t


voiced b bʲ d


Affricate voiceless


t͡ʃ t͡ɕ

Fricative voiceless f


ʃ ɕ x h

voiced v


ʒ ʑ


r rʲ

Approximant w wʲ l


/m, mʲ, p, pʲ, b, bʲ, w, wʲ/ are bilabial,[are /w, wʲ/ bilabial or labialized velar?] whereas /f, v/ are labiodental.[4] /n, nʲ, l, r, rʲ/ are alveolar [n, nʲ, l, r, rʲ], whereas /t, d, t͡s, s, z/ are dental [t̪, d̪, t̪͡s̪, s̪, z̪].[4] /t͡ʃ, ʃ, ʒ/ have been variously transcribed with ⟨t͡ʃ, ʃ, ʒ⟩[6][7] and ⟨t͡ʂ, ʂ, ʐ⟩.[8] Their actual phonetic realization is flat postalveolar [t͡ʃ˖, ʃ˖, ʒ˖][9] in all of the Lower Sorbian-speaking area. This is unlike in standard Upper Sorbian, where these are palato-alveolar [t͡ʃ, ʃ, ʒ].[10][11] /h/ is voiceless [h], unlike Upper Sorbian, where it is voiced [ɦ].[12][13]

Final devoicing and assimilation[edit] Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
has both final devoicing and regressive voicing assimilation:[14]

dub /dub/ "oak" is pronounced [dup] susedka /ˈsusedka/ "(female) neighbor" is pronounced [ˈsusetka] licba /ˈlit͡sba/ "number" is pronounced [ˈlʲid͡zba]

The hard postalveolar fricative /ʃ/ is assimilated to [ɕ] before /t͡ɕ/:[15]

šćit /ʃt͡ɕit/ "protection" is pronounced [ɕt͡ɕit]

Vowels[edit] The vowel inventory of Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
is exactly the same as that of Upper Sorbian.[16] It is also very similar to the vowel inventory of Slovene.

Vowel phonemes[16]

Front Central Back

Close i


Close-mid e


Open-mid ɛ




/i/ is retracted to [ɨ][is it really [ɨ]? It is [ɪ] in Upper Sorbian.] after hard consonants. /e, o/ are diphthongized to [i̯ɛ, u̯ɔ] in slow speech.[16] The /e–ɛ/ and /o–ɔ/ distinctions are weakened or lost in unstressed syllables.[17] /a/ is phonetically central [ä].[16]

Stress[edit] Stress in Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
normally falls on the first syllable of the word:[18]

Łužyca [ˈwuʒɨt͡sa] "Lusatia" pśijaśel [ˈpɕijaɕɛl] "friend" Chóśebuz [ˈxɨɕɛbus] "Cottbus"

In loanwords, stress may fall on any of the last three syllables:[18]

internat [intɛrˈnat] "boarding school" kontrola [kɔnˈtrɔla] "control" september [sɛpˈtɛmbɛr] "September" policija [pɔˈlʲit͡sija] "police" organizacija [ɔrɡanʲiˈzat͡sija] "organization"

Most one-syllable prepositions attract the stress to themselves when they precede a noun or pronoun of one or two syllables:[18]

na dwórje [ˈna dwɨrʲɛ] "on the courtyard" pśi mnjo [ˈpɕi mnʲɔ] "near me" do města [ˈdɔ mʲɛsta] "into the city" (note that the [iɪ̯] of město [ˈmʲiɪ̯stɔ] becomes [ɛ] when unstressed)

However, nouns of three or more syllables retain their stress:

pśed wucabnikom [pɕɛd ˈut͡sabnʲikɔm] "in front of the teacher" na drogowanju [na ˈdrɔɡowanʲu] "on a journey"

Orthography[edit] The Sorbian alphabet is based on the Latin script
Latin script
but uses diacritics such as acute accent and caron. Sample[edit] Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
in Lower Sorbian: Wšykne luźe su lichotne roźone a jadnake po dostojnosći a pšawach. Woni maju rozym a wědobnosć a maju ze sobu w duchu bratšojstwa wobchadaś. (All people are born free and equal in their dignity and rights. They are given reason and conscience and they shall create their relationships to one another according to the spirit of brotherhood.)[19] See also[edit]

Upper Sorbian
Upper Sorbian


^ Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lower Sorbian". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Moseley, Christopher, ed. (2010). Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger (3rd ed.). Paris: UNESCO Publishing. ISBN 978-92-3-104096-2.  ^ a b c Stone (2002), p. 605. ^ Zygis (2003), pp. 180–181. ^ Hannusch (1988). ^ Stone (2002). ^ Zygis (2003). ^ This transcription follows Laver (1994:251–252). Other scholars may transcribe these sounds differently. ^ Zygis (2003), pp. 180–181, 190–191. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), pp. 40–41. ^ Stone (2002), pp. 600, 605. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), pp. 43, 46. ^ Hannusch (1998), p. 12. ^ Hannusch (1998), p. 13. ^ a b c d Stone (2002), p. 600. ^ Stone (2002), pp. 606–607. ^ a b c Hannusch (1998), p. 14. ^ Omniglot


Hannusch, Erwin (1998), Niedersorbisch praktisch und verständlich, Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag, ISBN 3-7420-1667-9  Laver, John (1994), Principles of Phonetics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-45655-X  Šewc-Schuster, Hinc (1984), Gramatika hornjo-serbskeje rěče, Budyšin: Ludowe nakładnistwo Domowina  Stone, Gerald (2002), "Sorbian (Upper and Lower)", in Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville G., The Slavonic Languages, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 593–685, ISBN 9780415280785  Zygis, Marzena (2003), "Phonetic and Phonological Aspects of Slavic Sibilant Fricatives" (PDF), ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 3: 175–213 

External links[edit]

Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
edition of, the free encyclopedia

For a list of words relating to Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
language, see the Lower Sorbian language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Lower Sorbian

(in German) (in Lower Sorbian) Dolnoserbski radio program (RealAudio) Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database)

Dictionaries[edit] Czech- Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian
and Lower Sorbian-Czech[edit]

(in Czech) (in Lower Sorbian) at slovnik.vancl.eu/dls

German–Lower Sorbian[edit]

(in German) (in Lower Sorbian) at dolnoserbski.de (in German) (in Lower Sorbian) at Korpus GENIE

Lower Sorbian–German[edit]

(in German) (in Lower Sorbian) at dolnoserbski.de (in German) (in Lower Sorbian) Lexikalische Übungen und Terminologie

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Languages of Germany

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Czech Kashubian Polabian Middle Polish Old Polish Polish Pomeranian Slovak Slovincian Lower Sorbian Upper Sorbian

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Separate Slavic dialects and microlanguages

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Historical phonology

Slavic first palatalization Slavic second palatalization Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony Dybo's law Havlík's law Hirt's law Illič-Svityč's law Ivšić's law Meillet's law Pedersen's law Ruki sound law Winter's law

Italics indicate extinct languages.

Authority control

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