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PLAUTDIETSCH ( (help ·info )), or MENNONITE LOW GERMAN, was originally a Low Prussian dialect of East Low German , with Dutch influence, that developed in the 16th and 17th centuries in the Vistula
Vistula
delta area of Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
. The word corresponds, in that language, to Low German Plattdeutsch ( ( listen )). Plaut is the same word as German platt or Dutch plat, meaning 'flat' or 'low' (referring to the plains of northern Germany), and the name Dietsch corresponds etymologically to Dutch Duits and German Deutsch (both meaning "of the Tribe" i. e. "German"), which originally meant 'vernacular language' in all the continental West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
.

Plautdietsch, an East Low German dialect, was a German dialect like others until it was taken by Mennonite
Mennonite
settlers to the south west of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
starting in 1789. From there it evolved and subsequent waves of migration brought it to North America, starting in 1873, and mostly from there to Latin America starting in 1922.

Plautdietsch is spoken by about 400,000 Russian Mennonites , most notably in the Latin American countries of Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Belize, Brazil, Argentina
Argentina
and Uruguay
Uruguay
, as well as in the United States and Canada
Canada
(particularly Manitoba
Manitoba
, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
and Ontario
Ontario
).

Today Plautdietsch is spoken in two major dialects that trace their division to Ukraine. These two dialects are split between Chortitza Colony and Molotschna . Many younger Russian Mennonites in Canada
Canada
and the United States
United States
today speak only English. For example, Homer Groening, the father of Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons ), spoke Plautdietsch as a child in a Mennonite
Mennonite
community in Saskatchewan in the 1920s, but his son Matt never learned the language.

In 2007, Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas directed the film Stellet Licht ( Silent Light ), set in a Mennonite
Mennonite
community in Chihuahua , Mexico. Most of the film's dialogue is in Plautdietsch, which some of the actors had to learn phonetically. Other parts were played by people of the local community.

CONTENTS

* 1 Migration history * 2 Speaker population and language maintenance * 3 Status * 4 Varieties

* 5 Comparison with related languages

* 5.1 Effects of the High German consonant shift
High German consonant shift
* 5.2 Vowel
Vowel
shifts in various Germanic languages
Germanic languages

* 5.3 Unique developments

* 5.3.1 Vowel
Vowel
lowering * 5.3.2 Vowel
Vowel
unrounding * 5.3.3 Diphthongization before g, k, ch and r, with possible loss of r * 5.3.4 Various other vowel equivalences * 5.3.5 Palatalization

* 6 Influences and borrowings

* 6.1 German * 6.2 Dutch * 6.3 Old Prussian and Baltic languages * 6.4 Russian or Ukrainian * 6.5 English * 6.6 Spanish

* 7 Spelling

* 8 Phonetics

* 8.1 Consonants * 8.2 Vowels

* 9 Grammar

* 9.1 Articles

* 9.1.1 Determiners

* 9.2 Nouns

* 9.2.1 Plurals

* 9.2.1.1 Examples

* 9.2.2 Possession * 9.2.3 Diminutive

* 9.3 Pronouns

* 9.3.1 Personal pronouns * 9.3.2 Demonstrative pronouns

* 9.4 Verbs

* 9.4.1 Weak verbs * 9.4.2 Strong verbs * 9.4.3 Auxiliary, modal and anomalous verbs * 9.4.4 Participles * 9.4.5 Compound tenses

* 9.5 Expressions relating to future plans * 9.6 Adjectives * 9.7 Prepositions * 9.8 Numerals * 9.9 Syntax

* 10 Text sample * 11 See also * 12 Notes

* 13 Literature

* 13.1 Dictionaries * 13.2 Grammars

* 14 References * 15 External links

MIGRATION HISTORY

Plautdietsch speakers today are mostly the descendants of Mennonites who fled from what is today the Netherlands
Netherlands
and Belgium
Belgium
in the 16th century to escape persecution and resettled in the Vistula
Vistula
delta . They took with them their Dutch , West Frisian and Dutch Low Saxon dialects, which over time they mixed with East Low German dialects, the so-called Weichselplatt, of the region. As Mennonites they kept their own (primarily Dutch and Low-German) identity, using Standard Dutch well into the 18th century. At the time of their migration to the Russian Empire, their spoken language resembled the dialects of the region with only some few Dutch elements. Their East Low German dialect is still classified as Low Prussian, or simply Prussian. Russian Mennonites trace their genealogical roots mostly to the Low Countries and north Germany, and to a lesser degree to southern Germany and Switzerland.

Beginning in the late 18th century, the expanding Russian Empire invited Germans and many from the Kingdom of Prussia , including many Mennonites, to create new colonies north of the Black Sea
Black Sea
in an area that Russia
Russia
had recently acquired in one of the Russo-Turkish Wars . This is now part of Ukraine
Ukraine
as well as other countries. Beginning in 1873, many Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites migrated from the Russian Empire to the United States
United States
and Canada.

In 1922 Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from Canada
Canada
started to settle in Mexico, and in 1927 in Paraguay. In the 1930s Mennonites emigrated mainly from Soviet Ukraine
Ukraine
directly to Brazil. The first Mennonite
Mennonite
settlement in Bolivia
Bolivia
was founded in 1957 by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from Paraguay. Soon very conservative Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from Canada, Mexico, and Belize
Belize
also relocated to Bolivia, settling together. In 1986/7 a settlement was founded in Argentina
Argentina
by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from other Latin American countries.

SPEAKER POPULATION AND LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE

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  ">

Vowel
Vowel
Unrounding

HIGH GERMAN LOW GERMAN PLAUTDIETSCH DUTCH ENGLISH

grün, schön gröön, schöön jreen, scheen groen, mooi/schoon green, beautiful {compare archaic sheen}

to ei Heu, rein Hau, rein Hei, rein hooi, schoon/rein hay, clean

/œ/ to e, a Götter Gödder Jetta goden gods

Diphthongization Before G, K, Ch And R, With Possible Loss Of R

HIGH GERMAN LOW GERMAN PLAUTDIETSCH DUTCH ENGLISH

Herz Hart Hoat hart heart

machen maken moake(n) maken make

fragen fragen froage(n) vragen ask (compare Old English fraegn)

hoch hooch huach hoog high

Horn, Hörner Hoorn, Höörn Huarn, Hieena hoorn, hoorns horn, horns

The deletion of r has been completed in most final positions, after front vowels and before alveolar consonants, but is still retained in the infinitive of verbs, after short vowels, and sometimes after back vowels as seen in the example Huarn, Hieena.

Various Other Vowel
Vowel
Equivalences

PROTO-GERMANIC HIGH GERMAN LOW GERMAN PLAUTDIETSCH DUTCH ENGLISH

/a/ = /o/ *watraz, *fadar, *namōn Wasser, Vater, Name Water, Vader, Naam Wota, Voda, Nomen water, vader, naam water, father, name

/ai/ = ee *saiwalō, *ainaz, *twai Seele, eins, zwei Seel, een, twee Seel, eent, twee ziel, één, twee soul, one, two

/æ/, /ō/ = oo 1 *raudas, *hōdaz rot, Hut root, Hoot root, Hoot rood, hoed red, hood

* /æ/ shifted to /au/ before voiced consonants.

Palatalization

All words with a /g/ or /k/ preceding or following a front vowel (/e/ or /i/, not counting schwa ) have been shifted to /j/ and /c/ (the latter has been written as kj or tj), even if there is another consonant between the vowel and the consonant. An intervocalic /g/ is palatalized as the voiced palatal stop /ɟ/, written gj or dj. (A similar event occurred with English, but not as generalized). Where an /e/ or /i/ has been sunken to /a/, the palatalized sound is retained. Also where German has a palatalization (of the shifted /ç/ consonant), Plautdietsch retains the palatalization (of /k/) even after lowering a front vowel.

GERMAN LOW GERMAN PLAUTDIETSCH DUTCH ENGLISH

gestern güstern jistren gisteren yesterday

geben geven jäwen geven give

Kirche Kark Kjoakj kerk church

Brücke Brüch Brigj brug bridge

Milch Melk Malkj melk milk

recht recht rajcht recht right

INFLUENCES AND BORROWINGS

GERMAN

Most Anabaptists that settled in the Vistula
Vistula
Delta were of Dutch or northern German origins, and were joined by refugees from different parts of Germany and Switzerland, who influenced their developing language. After almost two centuries in West Prussia, German replaced Dutch as church, school and written language and has become a source from where words are borrowed extensively, especially for religious terms. Many of these words show the effects of the High German consonant shift (something you would not expect in a Low German dialect), even though they are otherwise adapted into Plautdietsch phonetics. Compare:

PLAUTDIETSCH HIGH GERMAN LOW GERMAN DUTCH ENGLISH

hinja hinter (achter, hinner) (achter), old Dutch adverb hinder behind (after)

Zol Zahl Tall tal number (compare "(to) tell" as in "I can't tell how many there are".)

jreessen grüßen gröten groeten greet

kjamfen kämpfen fechten; kempen vechten fight

This is the case particularly on nouns made out of verbs. The verb normally shows the unshifted consonant, whereas the noun has a shifted Germanized consonant: schluten, Schluss; bräakjen, Bruch (to close, closure; to break, a break)

DUTCH

The first half of the 16th century was the onset of the rule of terror by the Duke of Alba in the Spanish Low Countries
Low Countries
during the Dutch Revolt (AKA Eighty Years\' War ), that was centered on religious freedom for the Protestants . As a result, many Mennonites and Reformed left the country. This continued in the 17th century, when the Dutch Reformed Church became the official religion, being less than indulgent to other types of Protestantism, let alone the types perceived as radical (non-violent, no bearing of arms, no recognition of worldly authorities). In Low German area, they left their language traces in particular at the lower Vistula
Vistula
, around Gdańsk and Elbląg , and up the river towards Toruń .

The Mennonites for a long time maintained their old language. In Danzig, Dutch as the language of the church disappeared about 1800. As a spoken language, the Mennonites took up the Vistula
Vistula
Low German , the vocabulary of which they themselves had already influenced. As a written language, they took up High German. It was this Vistula
Vistula
Low German or Weichselplatt that the Mennonites took with them and kept while migrating to Russia, Canada
Canada
and elsewhere.

OLD PRUSSIAN AND BALTIC LANGUAGES

PLAUTDIETSCH ORIGIN ENGLISH

Mejal Margell girl

Kujel Kuigel male pig

RUSSIAN OR UKRAINIAN

Wherever Mennonites settled, they found new foods and other items they were not familiar with, and when that happened, they took the name that local people used for those items. The following words are of Russian or Ukrainian origin:

PLAUTDIETSCH HIGH GERMAN ENGLISH RUSSIAN UKRAINIAN

Bockelzhonn Aubergine aubergine баклажан (baklazhan, “eggplant”) баклажан (baklazhan, “eggplant”)

Arbus/Erbus/Rebus Wassermelone watermelon арбуз (arbuz) Кавун (Kavun, “squash, melon”)

Schisnikj Knoblauch garlic чеснок (chesnok) часник (chasnyk)

ENGLISH

As Mennonites came into contact with new technology, they often adapted the names for the technologies they encountered. For those who had settled in North America in the 1870s, all new words were borrowed from English, and even though many left for South America only 50 years after their arrival, they kept and sometimes adapted these words into the Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German Phonetics:

ENGLISH WORD ADAPTED PD WORD IPA ALTERNATE WORD

bicycle Beissikjel bɛsɪcl Foaraut

highway Heiwä hɛve Huachwajch

truck Trock trɔk -

Particularly words for auto parts are taken from English: hood, fender, brakes (along with the more Low German form Brams), spark plugs (pluralized Ploggen), but also words like peanuts, belt, tax.

A special case is the word jleichen. It is an adaption of the English verb "to like", but taken from the German adverb gleich (equivalent of the English adverb "like", as in "This is like joking").

SPANISH

Plautdietsch speakers living in Spanish speaking countries use many words of Spanish in their daily speech, especially in business and communication (telephone, for instance) vocabulary. Two examples of words which are completely adapted into Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German are Burra ( Mexican Spanish burro, donkey) and Wratsch ( Mexican Spanish huarache, sandal). Both have a Low German plural: Burrasch, Wratschen. The pure Low German words Äsel and Schlorr are seldom used in Mexico.

SPELLING

The spelling of Plautdietsch has also been controversial. The main criteria for spelling systems have been:

* Spelling should be as phonetic as possible. * German spelling rules should be applied whenever possible.

One problem has been what letters to use for sounds that do not exist in German, such as the palatal /c/ and /ʝ/ sounds, which are both pronounced and spelled differently in various dialects of Plautdietsch. Old Colony speakers pronounce these sounds by striking the middle of the tongue against the palate. Others, especially speakers of the Molotschna dialect, instead strike the tongue against the alveolar ridge and spell them ⟨tj⟩ and ⟨dj⟩. Most Plautdietsch speakers' ears are not accustomed to realize these subtle, if not trivial, differences, and will often confuse one with the other.

Other problematic areas: use or non-use of ⟨v⟩ for some words with /f/ sound, use or non-use of Dehnungs-h , when to double consonants and when not to.

When comparing different writers, one must take into account the dialect of that writer. The most famous Plautdietsch writer, Arnold Dyck, wrote in the Molotschna dialect, though his origins were from the Old Colony. During his life he made many changes in his spelling system. His developments are the basis for the various spellings used today. In the following table, only his final system is taken into account, as used in his famous Koop enn Bua series, along with Herman Rempel (Kjennn Jie noch Plautdietsch?), Reuben Epp (Plautdietsche Schreftsteckja), J. Thiessen ( Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German Dictionary), J. J. Neufeld (Daut niehe Tastament) and Ed Zacharias (De Bibel). The latter two claim to write in the Old Colony dialect, as seen in their verb endings, while the other three use the Plautdietsch as spoken by the descendants of the Bergthal Colony, i. e. the Old Colony dialect with a loss of -n endings.

A. DYCK H. REMPEL R. EPP J. THIESSEN J. J. NEUFELD ED ZACHARIAS WORD MEANING

MOLOTSCHNA BERGTHAL OLD COLONY

verb endings saje saje saje saje sajen sajen say

c sound Tjoatj Kjoakj Kjoakj Tjoatj Kjoakj Kjoakj church

Dehnungs-h ahm am ahm ahm am am him

oa diphthong Froag Froag Froag Froag Fruog Froag question

ia/iə diphthong Lea, learen, jeleat Lea, learen, jeleat Lea, learen, jeleat Lea, learen, jeleat Lea, learen, jeleat Lia, lieren, jelieet teaching, learn, learned

u/ü du dü du du du du you

consonant doubling rollen, jerollt, Golt rollen, jerollt, Golt rollen, jerollt, Golt rollen, jerollt, Golt rollen, jerollt, Gollt rollen, jerolt, Golt roll, rolled, gold

ua/ya diphthong Wuat, Buak Wuat, Büak Wuat, Büak Wuat, Büak Wuut, Buuk Wuat, Buak word, book

sound Zocka Ssocka Zocka Zocka Tsocka Zocka sugar

sound von fonn von von fonn von from

PHONETICS

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German has many sounds, including a few not found in other varieties of Low German.

CONSONANTS

IPA CHART OF MENNONITE LOW GERMAN CONSONANTS

BILABIAL LABIODENTAL ALVEOLAR POSTALVEOLAR PALATAL VELAR GLOTTAL

NASAL m

n

ɲ 1 ŋ 2

STOP p b

t d

c ɟ3 k ɡ ʔ 4

FRICATIVE

f v 5 s z 6 ʃ ʒ 7 ç j 8 x ɣ 9 h

FLAP

ɾ 10

APPROXIMANT

ɹ 10

LATERAL

l ɫ 11

Where symbols for consonants occur in pairs, the left represents the voiceless consonant and the right represents the voiced consonant . Observations: According to the spelling system of De Bibel these sounds are spelled as follows:

* /ɲ/ – ⟨nj⟩ as in Kjinja ('children') * /ŋ/ – ⟨ng⟩ as in Hunga ('hunger') * /c ɟ/ – ⟨kj⟩ and ⟨gj⟩ as in Kjoakj ('church') and Brigj ('bridge') * /ʔ/ – no letter, but has to be used if a word that begins with a vowel or a prefix is added to a word which by itself starts with a vowel: ve'achten (to despise) * /f v/ – /f/ can be written as ⟨f⟩ or ⟨v⟩: Fada ('male cousin'), Voda ('father'). The only criterion is the spelling of these words in German. /v/ is spelled ⟨w⟩ as in German: Wota ('water') * /s z/ – at the beginning of a word and between vowels /z/ is written ⟨s⟩: sajen ('to say'), läsen ('to read'). The /s/ sound is written ⟨z⟩ at the beginning of a word (where some speakers pronounce it ), ⟨ss⟩ between vowels and final after a short vowel: Zocka ('sugar'), waussen ('to grow'), Oss ('ox'). At the end of a word after a long vowel or consonant both are written ⟨s⟩, the reader has to know the word to pronounce the correct sound: Hos /hoz/ ('rabbit'), Os /os/ ('carrion'). * /ʃ ʒ/ – ⟨sch⟩ and ⟨zh⟩ as in School ('school') and ruzhen ('rush'). ⟨sp⟩ and ⟨st⟩ represent /ʃp/ and /ʃt/ at the beginning of a word and if a prefix is attached to a word starting with ⟨sp⟩ or ⟨st⟩: spälen ('to play') bestalen ('to order'). * /ç j/ – ⟨j⟩ as in Joa ('year'). The /ç/ sound is written ⟨ch⟩ after consonants, ⟨e⟩, ⟨i⟩ and ⟨äa⟩: Erfolch ('success'), Jesecht ('face'), Jewicht ('weight'), läach ('low'). After ⟨a⟩, it is written ⟨jch⟩ to differentiate it from /x/: rajcht ('right') * /x ɣ/ – /x/ is written ⟨ch⟩, only occurs after back vowels: Dach ('day'), Loch ('hole'). (an allophone of /ɡ/) is rendered ⟨g⟩ between vowels and final: froagen ('to ask'), vondoag ('today'). At the beginning of a word and before consonants, g has the sound. * /ɾ ɹ/ – ⟨r⟩ is a flap (like the Spanish r), or depending on the person, even a trill (like Spanish ⟨rr⟩), before vowels: root ('red'), groot ('big'), Liera ('teacher'); /r/ pronounced as an approximant (English r) before a consonant, at the end and in the -ren endings of Old Colony speakers: kort ('short'), ar ('her'), hieren ('to hear'). The uvular German r is not heard in Plautdietsch. * /l ɫ/ – is an allophone of that occurs after vowels in words like Baul and well.

VOWELS

Vowels of the Canadian Old Colony dialect, from Cox, Driedger the diphthong represented by EE for instances is pronounced or even by some. Likewise the long vowels represented by AU and EI might have a diphthong glide into and , respectively.

* English sound equivalents are approximate. Long vowels ä and o do not have a diphthong glide.

GRAMMAR

Low German grammar resembles High German, as the syntax and morphology is nearly the same as High German's. Over the years, Low German has lost some inflection. It is, however, still moderately inflectional, having two numbers, three genders, two cases, two tenses, three persons, two moods, two voices, and two degrees of comparison.

ARTICLES

Even though Low German has three genders, in the nominative case it has only two definite articles (like Dutch and Low Saxon); masculine and feminine articles are homophonous. However, masculine and feminine indefinite articles are still different (like German) and thus, the three genders can still be perfectly established. In the oblique case , the masculine has a special definite article, making it once more different from the feminine, which, like the neuter, does not change. In the plural number, all gender identification is lost (as in German, Dutch and Low Saxon); all plural determiners and adjective endings are homophonous with the feminine singular.

DEFINITE INDEFINITE

NUMBER SINGULAR PLURAL SINGULAR

GENDER MASC FEM NEUTER ALL MASC FEM NEUTER

Nominative de de daut de een eene een

Oblique dän eenen*

* In colloquial speech the indefinite article is reduced practically to a "n", or "ne" if feminine. If used so, there is no case distinction. However, when used as a numeral, meaning "one", the diphthong "ee" is heavily stressed and the oblique form of the masculine gender is used. There is no indefinite plural article; een has no plural.

Some Plautdietsch writers try to use a three case system with the definite articles, without much consistency. The system looks somewhat like this, some might use the dative neuter articles, others might not:

NUMBER SINGULAR PLURAL

GENDER MASC FEM NEUT ALL

Nominative de de daut de

Accusative dän

Dative däm däm

Determiners

MASC. NOM. MAS. OBJ. FEMININE NEUTER PLURAL ALL

this dis disen dise dit dise

that, proximal dee dän dee daut dee

that, distal jan janen jane jan jane

which woon woonen woone woon woone

such a soon soonen soone soon soone

my mien mienen miene mien miene

All possessives (see under pronouns) are declined like in this way. With the form äA (her/their) an r has to be reinserted before adding endings (äAREN, äARE).

NOUNS

Like High German, Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German nouns inflect into two numbers: singular and plural , three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter, but only two cases, nominative and oblique . The historical dative and accusative have merged, even though some writers try to maintain a three cases distinction, which has been lost for most speakers, perhaps centuries ago. The oblique case is distinct from the nominative only in 1) personal pronouns: EKJ froag AM, HEE auntwuat MIE (I ask him, he answers me) 2) articles and demonstrative and possessive adjectives in the singular masculine gender: DE Voda halpt DäN Sän (the father helps the son) (observe: nouns are not inflected themselves) and 3) proper names, i. e. traditional Mennonite
Mennonite
names: Peeta frajcht Marie-EN, Marie auntwuat PeetREN (Peter asks Mary, Mary answers Peter)

SINGULAR PLURAL

Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter

Nominative DE MENSCH de Sonn daut Hüs de Menschen de Sonnen de Hiesa

Oblique DäN MENSCH de Sonn daut Hüs de Menschen de Sonnen de Hiesa

Plurals

The forming of plurals is complicated. Three major procedures can be established: 1) through an ending, -a, -en, -s, -sch or none at all; 2) voicing the final devoiced consonant and 3) fronting (and maybe lowering) a back vowel, which might require palatalization of a velar consonant. A given word could have one or two, all or none of these characteristics.

Examples

NO ENDING, no voicing, no vowel fronting: de Fesch de Fesch, daut Schop, de Schop, daut Been, de Been (fish, fishes; sheep, sheep; leg, legs)

Voicing, no ending, no vowel fronting: Frint, Friend; Boajch, Boaj (friend/s, mountain/s)

No ending, no voicing, vowel fronting: Foot, Feet (foot, feet)

Voicing and vowel fronting, no ending: Hoot, Heed (hat/s)

-A ENDING:

only: Licht, Lichta (light/s)

with voicing: Bilt, Bilda (picture/s)

with vowel fronting: Maun, Mana (man, men)

with voicing, vowel fronting and palatalization: Kaulf, Kjalwa (calf, calves)

-EN ENDING (the -en, -s and -sch endings have no vowel fronting)

only: Näs Näsen, (nose/s)

with voicing: de Tiet, de Tieden, de Erfoarunk, de Erfoarungen (time/s, experience/s)

Words where a historical r is dropped require it to be reinserted: Däa, Däaren (door/s) Polysyllabic words with a vocalized r drop the final a: Sesta, Sestren (sister/s)

An unstressed schwa also is dropped: Gaufel, Gauflen (fork/s)

-S ENDING

This class consists mainly of 1) short masculine and neuter nouns: Baul -s, Oarm -s (ball/s, arm/s)

2) words related with family members: Sän -s, Fru -es, (son/s, woman, women)

and 3) masculine and neuter nouns ending in -el and -en (the latter may drop the n): Läpel, Läpels; Goaden, Goades (spoon/s; garden/s)

-SCH ENDING

This class consists of masculine and neuter polysyllabic nouns ending with -a: de Voda, de Vodasch; daut Massa, de Massasch (father/s, knife, knives)

For someone knowing (High) German, pluralizing is a fairly predictable process, with some exceptions: the -EN ending covers pretty much the same words in both languages; the -A ending is the equivalent for the German -ER plural, where German has Umlaut , Plautdietsch will have vowel fronting in most cases. The -S and -SCH groups are made almost entirely of polysyllabic nouns which in German have no plural ending.

The most problematic words are those with an -E plural ending in German. Although the entire class with no ending is made out of them, many other words are treated differently. For example, the plurals for STOOL and STOCK (chair and stick) are STEELA and STAKJA (compare German Stuhl, Stühle; Stock, Stöcke). Since they have their vowels fronted there seems to be no reason for the -A ending. Many others have been moved into the -EN class: JEBOOT, JEBOOTEN (commandment/s, German: Gebot, Gebote). With some not so common words, there is no certainty about the correct plural, different speakers create them in different ways: the plural of JESAZ (law) could be JESAZA or JESAZEN (German: Gesetz, Gesetze).

Possession

The classical genitive is no longer used except in a few relic expressions. Instead, possession is expressed as in many German dialects with the his genitive , i. e. naming the possessor in the oblique case with the possessive adjective and the possessed object: Dän Maun sien Hus (the man's house). With proper nouns, and when the possessor is determined by a possessive adjective, the possessor is in the nominative case instead: Peeta sien Hus (Peter's house); mien Voda sien Hus (my father's house). Very long possessive clauses can be created: Mien Voda seine Mutta äare Mutta es miene Uagrootmutta (my father's mother's mother is my great grandmother).

For inanimate or generalized constructions, the preposition von or a composition are used instead: De Lichta von de Staut/ de Stautslichta (the lights of the city).

Diminutive

The diminutive is formed adding by -KJE to the noun: de Jung, daut Jungkje; de Mejal, daut Mejalkje (the boy, the little boy; the girl, the little girl). All diminutive nouns take the neuter gender, with two exceptions: de Oomkje, de Mumkje, two forms used very commonly for mister/man/husband and mistress/woman/wife. These seem to have been created originally as diminutive forms of, respectively, Oom and Mumm (uncle and mother). Today they are no longer seen as diminutives, and therefore retain their respective masculine and feminine genders.

With nouns ending in T or K, only -JE is added; a few nouns ending in KJ, an additional S is inserted: de Staut, daut Stautje, daut Buak, daut Buakje; daut Stekj, daut Stekjsje (the (little) city, the (little) book, the (little) piece).

Plural diminished nouns take -s ending: Jungkjes, Mejalkjes; however, if the original plural requires fronting of a back vowel or has an -A ending, these features are retained before adding the diminutive suffix: de Stool, de Steela --> daut Stoolkje, de Steelakjes (chair/s, little chair/s)

PRONOUNS

Personal Pronouns

SINGULAR PLURAL

PERSON 1ST 2D 3D MASC 3D FEM 3D NT 1ST 2D 3D

Nominative ekj du hee see daut (et) wie jie dee, see

Oblique mie die am ar (äa) ons junt (ju) an (äant)

Reflexive sikj sikj

Possessive Adjectives mien dien sien äa sien ons jun äa

Some pronouns have two forms, different persons may use one or other form, or even alternate between them. DAUT is used at the beginning of a sentence, but may be replaced by ET in other positions.

Possessive adjectives of the masculine (nominative case) or neuter gender. Otherwise they are declined like the indefinite article and determiners (see under article section).

Demonstrative Pronouns

MASC FEM NT PLURAL

Nominative dee dee daut dee

Oblique dän dee/däa daut dee/dän

Demonstrative pronouns are frequently used instead of the personal pronouns. When used so, some people use special oblique forms for feminine and plural. When used strictly demonstrative, only the singular masculine has a special oblique form.

VERBS

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German verbs have six tenses. The present and first past tenses are inflected, while the second and third past and both future tenses are different words marked by auxiliary verbs. Verbs can have two moods: Declarative and Imperative, two voices: active and passive, and three persons:1st pers. sing., 2nd pers. sing., 3rd pers. sing., and plural.

Weak Verbs

The basic conjugation pattern is as follows:

- 1ST SING 2ND SING 3RD SING PLURAL

present stem stem + st stem + t infinitive*

past stem + d stem + sd stem + d stem + den

imperative - stem - stem + t

To determine the stem, take the infinitive and drop the -en ending. There are a few modifications to this basic pattern: 1) If the stem ends with a plosive or fricative voiced consonant (d, g, j, soft s, w, zh), that consonant is devoiced in the 2nd and 3d persons of the present, since voiceless t and st automatically force the preceding consonant (compare the sound of the letter d in English lived and liked). 2) If the stem ends with a voiceless consonant (ch, f, jch, k, kj, p, hard s, sch, t) that consonant devoices the d, sd, d, den endings of the past tense (into t, st, t, ten) for the same reason. 3) If the stem ends with two consonants, the second one being a nasal or lateral , a schwa e is inserted to ease pronunciation. 4) Verbs with a diphthong and r have a special treatment; the r is dropped before endings are attached, and the st/sd of the second person is replaced by scht/zhd.

Examples of a regular verbs: SPäLEN (to play), LACHEN (to laugh), LäWEN (to live), ODMEN (to breathe) and ROAREN (to cry). The first one follows strictly the basic pattern, the others show the various adjustments needed as described above.

If the inverted word order is used, the -EN ending of the plural WIE, JIE (but not SEE) form is dropped, and a root-only form, identical to the 1st person singular, is used.

EKJ DU HEE, SEE, DAUT WIE, JIE, SEE ____ WIE, JIE

SPäLEN, TO PLAY

present späl spälst spält spälen späl

past späld spälsd späld spälden späld

imperative - späl (du) - spält (jie)

LACHEN, TO LAUGH

present lach lachst lacht lachen lach

past lacht lachst lacht lachten lacht

imperative - lach (du) - lacht (jie)

LäWEN, TO LIVE

present läw läfst läft läwen läw

past läwd läwsd läwd läwden läwd

imperative - läw (du) - läft (jie)

ODMEN, TO BREATHE

present odem odemst odemt odmen odem

past odemd odemsd odemd odemden odemd

imperative - odem (du) - odemt (jie)

ROAREN, TO CRY

present roa roascht roat roaren roa

past road roazhd road roaden road

imperative - roa (du) - roat (jie)

Strong Verbs

As in English and Dutch, some verbs have a vowel change in past tense and past participle. As in German, some verbs might have a vowel change in second and third person of the singular in present tense as well. A few verbs that are strong in German are weak in Plautdietsch, but many German weak verbs are strong in Plautdietsch, however, when compared with Dutch and English, those are strong, too.

EKJ DU HEE, SEE, DAUT WIE, JIE, SEE ____ WIE, JIE

FINJEN, TO FIND

present finj finjst finjt finjen finj

past funk fungst funk fungen fung

Imperative

finj (du)

finjt (jie)

SIEEKJEN, TO SEEK

present sieekj sieekjst sieekjt sieekjen sieekj

past socht sochst socht sochten socht

Imperative

sieekj (du)

sieekjt (jie)

SAJEN, TO SAY

present saj sajchst sajcht sajen saj

past säd sätst säd säden säd

Imperative

saj (du)

sajcht (jie)

JäWEN, TO GIVE

present jäw jefst jeft jäwen jäw

past jeef jeefst jeef jeewen jeew

Imperative

jeff (du)

jäft (jie)

SCHRIEWEN, TO WRITE

present schriew schrifst schrift schriewen schriew

past schreef schreefst schreef schreewen schreew

Imperative

schriew (du)

schrieft (jie)

MOAKEN, TO MAKE

present moak moakst moakt moaken

past müak müakst müak müaken

Imperative

moak{dü}

moakt{jie}

GENERALITIES: Vowel
Vowel
changes in present tense are somewhat predictable: long IE and U change into short I; long ä/O change into E or A; diphthongs äA and OA are simplified to A.

The first and third person of the past tense are identical (as in weak verbs).

With only a few exceptions (like the verb sajen), all voiced consonants are devoiced in the three persons of the singular past, the nasal NG and NJ are retained in second person, but devoiced in first and third person.

The past tense has the same vowel through all persons.

If there is a vowel change from ä to E or A in the present tense, that feature is retained in the singular imperative.

The plural form for wie/jie in the inverted word order keep the final consonant voiced.

Auxiliary, Modal And Anomalous Verbs

A small groups of verbs are more irregular: the auxiliaries SENNEN and HABEN, the modal verbs, and a few verbs that originally were monosyllabic and with time have evolved a -NEN ending:

EKJ DU HEE, SEE, DAUT WIE, JIE, SEE ____ WIE, JIE

SENNEN, TO BE

present sie (senn) best es sent sent

past wia wieescht wia wieren wia

Imperative

sie (du)

siet (jie)

HABEN, TO HAVE

present hab hast haft haben hab

past haud hautst haud hauden haud

Imperative

hab (du)

habt (jie)

KJENNEN, CAN, TO BE ABLE

present kaun kau(n)st kaun kjennen kjenn

past kunn ku(n)st kunn kunnen kunn

Imperative

-

-

STONEN, TO STAND

present sto steist steit stonen sto

past stunt stuntst stunt stunden stund

Imperative

sto (du)

stot (jie)

Participles

The present participle, formed of the infinitive plus a -T ending, is not often used. It appears in idiomatic expressions like AUNHOOLENT BLIEWEN (to persist), and in a few adjective forms, which have to be inflected for number, gender and case, the -t is voiced into -d: koaken, koakendet Wota (to boil, boiling water).

The past participle of weak verbs is formed with JE- plus the stem of the verb plus -T. A voiced consonant is devoiced to go along with T, the inserted E between double consonant is retained, the R after a long vowel is dropped. For the weak verbs given above the past participles are: JESPäLT, JELACHT, JEJäFT, JEODEMT, JEROAT.

The past participle for strong and anomalous verbs is hard to predict, they could be formed in five or six different ways:

* some are like the weak verbs: JEJäFT, JESAJCHT (given, said); * others are formed of JE- plus infinitive: JESTONEN (stood); * some, including modal verbs, of JE- plus first person past tense: JEHAUT; JESOCHT, JEKUNT (had, sought, been able); * others of JE- plus plural past: JEFUNGEN (found); * Those with an EE or OO in past tense are simplified to ä/O: JESCHRäWEN, JEDONEN (written, done) * the past participle of SENNEN is JEWAST (been)

Adjectives are frequently made from the past participle by attaching an adjective inflection ending and voicing the final T; if the preceding consonant is voiced, with -EN participles the E is dropped:

MOLEN, JEMOLT, EEN JEMOLDET BILT (to draw, drawn, a drawn picture)

KOAKEN, JEKOAKT, EENE JEKOAKTE IEEDSCHOCK (to boil, boiled, a boiled potato)

STäLEN, JESTOLEN, EEN JESTOLNA HUNT (to steal, stolen, a stolen dog)

Compound Tenses

Except for the present and simple past, all other tenses are constructed with the aid of the auxiliary verbs sennen, haben, woaren:

EKJ DU HEE, SEE, DAUT WIE, JIE, SEE ____ WIE, JIE

Perfect hab jespält hast jespält haft jespält haben jespält hab WIE jespält

Plusquamperfect haud jespält haudst jespält haud jespält hauden jespält haud WIE jespält

Future woa spälen woascht spälen woat spälen woaren spälen woa WIE spälen

Conditional wudd spälen wurscht spälen wudd spälen wudden spälen wudd WIE spälen

Future II woa jespält haben woascht jespält haben woat jespält haben woaren jespält haben woa WIE jespält haben

Some intransitive verbs take SENNEN instead of HABEN as auxiliary verbs if they: 1) indicate a motion from one place to another, or 2) indicate a change of condition, or 3) the verbs SENNEN (to be) and BLIEWEN (to keep being, to remain). Example: EKJ SIE JEKOMEN, EKJ SIE OOLT JEWORDEN, EKJ SIE JEWAST (I have come, I have become old, I was).

EXPRESSIONS RELATING TO FUTURE PLANS

In some communities of Plautdietsch speakers, the religious prohibition of James 4:13-14 is interpreted to proscribe the simple use of the first person in talking about future plans or efforts. In such communities it is considered proper to use a softening introductory phrase such as "Ekj proove," (I try, or will try, or alternately I will want to) to avoid giving offense.

ADJECTIVES

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German also shows a rich inflectional system in its adjectives. Although once even richer, simplification has done its work here too, leaving Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German with only three genders: feminine , masculine and neuter, and two comparison degrees: Comparative
Comparative
and Superlative .

Predicate Masculine Fem/Pl/Weak Neuter Strong Neuter** Oblique***

Positive woam woama woame woamet woamen

Comparative woama woamra woamre woamret woamren

Superlative woamst- woamsta woamste woamstet woamsten

The plural of all genders is identical to the feminine singular.

Strong and weak neuter declension : after the definite article DAUT or the demonstratives DAUT and DIT (neuter form of that, this) the T is dropped and a form identical to the feminine and plural is used. In other situations, as with indefinite articles, possessive adjectives or without article, the strong form is used.

The oblique is used only in the masculine singular. However, if a preposition-article compound is used with a neuter noun, then the oblique would be used. Example: EM GROOTEN HUS, but: EN DAUT GROOTE HUS, EN EEN GROOTET HUS.

There is no predicate form for the superlative, a preposition-article compound with the oblique or weak neuter is used: AUM WOAMSTEN, or: OPPET WOAMSTE, or newly just the neuter form without preposition: DAUT WOAMSTE: ZEMORJES ES ET WOAM, OPP MEDDACH WOAT ET WOAMA, NO MEDDACH ES ET AUM WOAMSTEN/ OPPET WOAMSTE/ DAUT WOAMSTE (in the morning it is warm, at noon it is getting warmer, after noon it is the warmest)

The predicate form is used in predicate sentences for all genders: DE MAUN ES OOLT, DE FRU ES OOLT, DAUT HUS ES OOLT (the man is old, the woman is old, the house is old)

PREPOSITIONS

Plautdietsch preposition inventory is rich. Some of the most common:

* aun, on, in: de Klock henjt aun de Waunt (the clock is hanging on the wall) * äwa, over, about * besied, beside, next to * bie, by, at * bowa, over * buta, except, besides * derch, through * en, in * fa, for * hinja, behind * hinjaraun, following something else * jäajen, against * mank, among * met, with * no, to, after * onen, without * opp, on * to, to * tweschen, between (twixt) * unja, under * ver, in front of * von, of(relative to)

NUMERALS

0-9 0 null 1 eent 2 twee 3 dree 4 vea 5 fiew 6 sas 7 säwen 8 acht 9 näajen

10-19 10 tieen 11 alf 12 twalf 13 drettieen 14 vieetieen 15 feftieen 16 sastieen 17 säwentieen 18 achttieen 19 näajentieen

20-90 0 null 10 tieen 20 twintich 30 dartich 40 vieetich 50 feftich 60 zastich 70 zäwentich 80 tachentich 90 näajentich

0-99 0 null 11 alw 22 twee un twintich 33 dree un dartich 44 vea un vieetich 55 fiew un feftich 66 sas un zastich 77 säwen un zäwentich 88 acht un tachentich 99 näajen un näajentich

ORDINAL

1st ieeschta 2d tweeda 3d dredda 4th vieeda 5th fefta 6th sasta 7th säwenda 8th achta 9th näajenda

PARTITIVE

1/2 haulf, de Halft 1/3 een Dreddel 1/4 een Vieedel 1/5 een Feftel 1/6 een Sastel 1/7 een Säwendel 1/8 een Achtel 1/9 een Näajendel

Observation: the numeral eent (one) is declined like the indefinite article (masculine een , feminine eene, neuter een) or a demonstrative or possessive pronoun (eena , eene, eent for the respective genders); when counting, the neuter form eent is used.

Instead of fiew, alw, twalw, some speakers say fief, alf, twalf (5, 11, 12).

The ordinal for 11th and 12th are: alfta, twalfta; from 13-19 use the ordinal + da: drettieenda (13th) ; from 20-99 use the ordinal + sta: fiew un twintichsta (25th). All ordinal numbers are declined like an adjective, the forms given here are masculine nominative.

The partitive numbers for 1/10, 1/11, 1/12 are een Tieedel, een Alftel, een Twalftel, for 13–19 add -del to the ordinal number, for 20–99 add -stel.

SYNTAX

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German shows similarity with High German in the word order. The basic word order is subject–verb–object as in English. Indirect objects precede direct objects as in English JOHN GIVES MARY A PRESENT. But that is where similarities end. A dependent verb, i.e. an infinitive or past participle comes at the end of the sentence where in English it would be placed immediately after the main verb, as shown in the following:

MENNONITE LOW GERMAN WORD ORDER: Jehaun haft dän Desch jemoakt (John has the table made). ENGLISH WORD ORDER: John has made the table.

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German, like High German has been referred to as verb-second (V2) word order . In embedded clauses, words relating to time or space, can be placed at the sentence's beginning, but then the subject has to move after the main verb to keep that verb in second position. This pattern is demonstrated here:

MENNONITE LOW GERMAN WORD ORDER: NU SIE EKJ SCHAFTICH. MORE EXAMPLES: DAN jeef de Kjennich seine Deena eenen Befäl. (Then the king gave his servants an order)

Also, effects tend to be placed last in the sentence. EXAMPLE: En daut Kuffel wia soo väl Wota, daut et äwarand (In the cup, there was so much water, THAT IT OVERFLOWED).

Mennonite
Mennonite
Low German has syntactic patterns not found in High German, or at least not as often, such as the repetition of a subject, by a pronoun. EXAMPLE: Mien Hoot dee haft dree Akjen. MY HAT IT has three corners.

QUESTIONS, ORDERS AND EXCLAMATIONS have a verb first word order: Hast du daut oole Hus aun de fefte Gauss jeseenen? (Have you seen the old house on fifth street?). All questions are arranged like this. There is no auxiliary verb to form questions. If there is a question word, that word precedes the verb: Wua es dien Voda jebuaren (Where is your father born?). As in English, when using verbs in the imperative mood, it is not necessary to specify the person addressed, but it can be added for emphasis: Brinj (du) mie emol dän Homa (Please, (you,) bring the hammer to me). The word emol is frequently asked to soften the order as a word for PLEASE. Example of an exclamation: Es daut vondoag oba kolt! (Is it cold today!).

DEPENDENT CLAUSES

As in High German, in dependent clauses, the verb goes at the end:

Ekj well morjen miene Mutta besieekjen, wan ekj Tiet hab. (I want to visit my mother tomorrow if I have time). Observe the construction of: if I have time.

However, when a dependent clause has an infinitive or past participle, this rule is no longer strictly applied; there is a strong tendency to move the finite (main) verb before the infinitive or participle, the direct object (or even a long circumstantial complement):

Example: German word order requires a sentence structure like: Hee fruach mie, auf ekj miene Mutta jistren daut Jelt jejäft HAUD. (Translation: He asked me if I had given the money yesterday to my mother.) Even though this sounds right and perfectly understandable, most speakers would rearrange these same words as follows: Hee fruach mie, auf ekj miene Mutta jistren HAUD daut Jelt jejäft. Another example: Hee sajcht, daut sien Brooda jrod no de Staut jefoaren ES/ Hee sajcht, daut sien Brooda jrod ES no de Staut jefoaren (He says that his brother has just gone to the city). Observe: the verb precedes a prepositional phrase, but an adverb is still placed before it.

TEXT SAMPLE

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The Lord\'s Prayer in Plautdietsch, another form of Low German and Dutch.

PLAUTDIETSCH LOW GERMAN DUTCH

Ons Voda em Himmel, Uns Vadder in'n Heven, Onze Vader, die in de hemel zijt,

lot dien Nome jeheilicht woare; laat hilligt warrn dien Naam. Uw naam worde geheiligd.

lot dien Rikjdom kome; Laat kamen dien Riek, Uw (konink)rijk kome.

lot dien Welle jedone woare, laat warrn dien Will, Uw wil geschiede,

uck hia oppe Ead, soo aus em Himmel; so as in'n Heven, so ok op de Eer. op aarde zoals in de hemel.

jeff ons Dach fe Dach daut Broot, daut ons fehlt; Uns dääglich Brood giff uns vundaag Geef ons heden ons dagelijks brood,

en vejeff ons onse Schult, un vergiff uns unse Schuld, en vergeef ons onze schuld,

soo aus wie den vejewe, dee sich jeajen ons veschuldicht ha; as wi de vergeven hebbt, de an uns schüllig worrn sünd. zoals ook wij vergeven onze schuldenaars / zoals ook wij aan anderen hun schuld vergeven;

en brinj ons nich en Vesekjunk nenn, Un laat uns nich versöcht warrn, En leid ons niet in verzoeking / in bekoring,

oba rad ons von Beeset. man maak uns frie vun dat Böös. maar verlos ons van de boze / het kwade.

wiels die jehet daut Rikj, Denn dien is dat Riek Want van U is het koninkrijk,

en dee Krauft en dee Harlichtjeit en Eewichtjeit. un de Kraft un de Herrlichkeid in Ewigkeid. en de kracht en de heerlijkheid in eeuwigheid.

SEE ALSO

* Russian Mennonite (speakers of Plautdietsch all around the globe) * East Low German * Low Prussian dialect * Plautdietsch-Freunde (Germany-based NGO, worldwide documentation and promotion of Plautdietsch) * Living in a Perfect World (National Geographic documentary) * Silent Light , film by Carlos Reygadas * Alexanderwohl Mennonite
Mennonite
Church , a Low German Mennonite
Mennonite
Church, in Goessel, Kansas , USA * Pennsylvania Dutch * Hutterite German (not closely related linguistically, but also used primarily by an Anabaptist group)

NOTES

* ^ Plautdietsch Ethnologue. Retrieved August 2016. * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Plautdietsch". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Dutch&allowed_in_frame=0 * ^ "Plautdietsch". ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2014-09-01. * ^ Welschen (2000-2005), 49-50; De Smet 1983. * ^ Ethnologue 19th Edition (2016) * ^ U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration - Language Use in the United States: 2007 * ^ Plautdietsch does have some loan words from High German which do have the High German sound shift and are acceptable words in the language, according to Herman Rempel's Dictionary Kjenn Jie Noch Plautdietsch, eg. Spruch 'a recitation' http://www.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/dictcgi?ls1146. * ^ Burns, Roslyn. 2015. The Plautdietsch Vowel
Vowel
Shift Across Space and Time. Journal of Linguistic Geography 3.2: pp 72- 94. * ^ De Smet (1983), 730 - 761. * ^ Cox, Driedger Driedger, Jacob M.; Tucker, Benjamin V. (2013), " Mennonite
Mennonite
Plautdietsch (Canadian Old Colony)", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (2): 221–229, doi :10.1017/S0025100313000121 * De Bibel, Kindred Productions, 2003. ISBN 0-921788-97-5 . * De Smet, Gilbert: "Niederländische Einflüsse im Niederdeutschen" in: Gerhard Cordes and Dieter Möhn (eds.), Handbuch zur niederdeutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft, Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-503-01645-7 , pp. 730 – 761. * Epp, Reuben: The Story of Low German ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

* t * e

Varieties of German spoken outside Europe

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* Amana German * Alsatian German * Bernese German * Hutterite German * Pennsylvania German * Texas German * Wisconsin German

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YIDDISH

*

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Languages of Mexico
Mexico

Official/ Indigenous

100,000+ speakers

* Spanish * Nahuatl * Yucatec Maya * Mixtec * Zapotec * Tzeltal Maya * Tzotzil Maya * Otomí * Totonac * Mazatec * Ch\'ol * Huastec * Chinantec * Mixe * Mazahua * Purépecha

10,000-100,000 speakers

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Under 10,000 speakers

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SIGN

* Mexican Sign Language * Mayan Sign Language

NOTE: THE LIST OF OFFICIAL LANGUAGES IS ORDERED BY DECREASING SIZE OF POPULATION.

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Languages of Ukraine
Ukraine

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