Low German or Middle Saxon (
ISO 639-3 code gml) is a language
that is the descendant of
Old Saxon and the ancestor of modern Low
German. It served as the international lingua franca of the Hanseatic
League. It was spoken from about 1100 to 1600, or 1200 to 1650.
1 Related languages
5 External links
Low German is a term used with varying degrees of inclusivity.
It is distinguished from Middle High German, spoken to the south,
which was later replaced by Early New High German. It is sometimes
taken to mean the dialect continuum of all the other high medieval
Continental West Germanic dialects, from
Flanders in the West to the
eastern Baltic, but it is sometimes seen as separate from western
varieties such as Middle Dutch.
Low German provided a large number of loanwords to languages
spoken around the
Baltic Sea as a result of the activities of
Hanseatic traders. It is considered the largest single source of
loanwords in Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian and Swedish.
Sub-periods of Middle
Low German are: 
Low German (German: Frühmittelniederdeutsch):
Low German (German: klassisches Mittelniederdeutsch):
Low German (German: Spätmittelniederdeutsch): 1530–1650
Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League,
spoken all around the
North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It used to be
thought that the language of
Lübeck was dominant enough to become a
normative standard (the so-called Lübecker Norm) 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
Traces of the importance of Middle
Low German can be seen by the many
loanwords found in the Scandinavian, Finnic, and Baltic languages, as
well as standard German and English.
In the late Middle Ages, Middle
Low German lost its prestige to Early
New 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 Middle and
Southern Germany during the
Protestant Reformation and Luther's German
translation of the Bible.
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
(2017). "Middle Low German".
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
^ "m" (PDF). The Linguasphere Register. p. 219. Retrieved 1 March
^ D. Nicholas, 2009. The Northern Lands: Germanic Europe, c.
1270–c.1500. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 180-98.
^ Hilkert Weddige, Mittelhochdeutsch: Eine Einführung. 7th ed., 2007,
^ Mähl, S. (2012).
Low German texts from late medieval Sweden. In L.
Elmevik and E. H. Jahr (eds), Contact between
Low German and
Scandinavian in the Late Middle Ages: 25 Years of Research, Acta
Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi, 121. Uppsala: Kungl. Gustav Adolfs
Akademien för svensk folkkultur. 113–22 (at p. 118).
Bible translations into German
Reynke de Vos, a version of
Reynard (at wikisource)
Low German Incunable prints in
Low German as catalogued in the
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, including the
Low German Ship of
Fools, Danse Macabre and the novel Paris und Vienne
A grammar and chrestomathy of Middle
Low German by Heinrich August
Lübben (1882) (in German), at the Internet Archive
A grammar of Middle
Low German (1914) by
Agathe Lasch (in German), at
the Internet Archive
Schiller-Lübben: A Middle
Low German to German dictionary by
Schiller/Lübben (1875) at Mediaevum.de and at the Internet Archive
Project TITUS, including texts in Middle Low German
Low German to German dictionary by Gerhard Köbler (2010)
Low German influence on the Scandinavian languages
Philology of Germanic languages
Germanic parent language
Middle Low German
Old High German
Middle High German
Mennonite Low German
Germanic substrate hypothesis
West Germanic gemination
High German consonant shift
Germanic spirant law
Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law
Great Vowel Shift
Germanic strong verb
Germanic weak verb