Lowlands-L Anniversary Celebration

The Project

Language lists
Languages A–Z
Language Groups
Audio Files
Language information
Wish list

About Lowlands
Meet Lowlanders!
Project Team
Site map
Offline Resources
The Crypt
Language Tips
Members’ Links
Lowlands Shops
  · Canada
  · Deutschland
  · France
  · 日本 Japan
  · United Kingdom
  · United States
Recommended now!

What's new?

Please click here to leave an anniversary message (in any language you choose). You do not need to be a member of Lowlands-L to do so. In fact, we would be more than thrilled to receive messages from anyone.
Click here to read what others have written so far.

About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

German, Standard German variety (“High German”)

Because of certain speech characteristics, most
North Germans are fairly easily told apart even
when they speak Standard German. But these
echoes from ancestral Low Saxon (Low
German) are now fading away.

Language information: Many North German varieties fall into the Standard German range but are variously northern-colored, sound and read very distinctively northern to German speakers outside Northern Germany. This is mostly due to Low Saxon (Low German) substrates. However, in most urban settings the shift from Low Saxon to Standard German was not direct. These varieties developed from hybrids known as Missingsch. In other words they may be considered “cleaned-up” Missingsch in which more or less Missingsch influences remain, influences that ultimately go back to Low Saxon.
     Among commonly encountered Low-Saxon-derived features of Northern German found in the sample presented here are the following:

  • avoidance of preterite forms (e.g., perfective hat sein Nest im Wagenschuppen gehabt versus more neutral standard preterite hatte sein Nest im Wagenschuppen ‘had his nest in the car shed’)
  • use of originally demonstrative das (neuter ‘that’) in place of personal es ‘it’ in areas where Low Saxon has replaced older et or it with dat,
  • tendency toward using originally demonstrative der (masculine ‘that’), die (feminine ‘that’) in place of personal er and sie respectively,
  • tendency toward using “split” adverbs, much as in English (e.g., da haben wir uns so vor verjagt versus standard davor haben wir uns so erschrocken ‘that scared us so’, cf., Low Saxon daar hebbt wi us so vör verjaagt),
  • frequent doubling of adverbial expressions (e.g.; wie er um die Ecke rum kommt versus standard als er um die Ecke kam ‘as he came around the corner’),
  • tendency toward using the present tense in narratives,
  • omission of -e in first person verb forms (e.g., ich krieg versus standard ich kriege ~ ich bekomme ‘I get’, ‘I am getting’, ‘I will get’),
  • frequent use of wie in place of standard als ‘as’, ‘when’, ‘than’ (cf. Low Saxon as ‘like’, ‘as’, ‘when’, ‘than’, Standard German wie ‘like’, ‘as’, als ‘when’ (past), ‘than’, wenn ‘when’ (non-past)),
  • Low-Saxon-determined choice of words (e.g., daar > da versus standard da ~ dort ‘there’),
  • frequent use of Low Saxon calques (i.e., translated loanwords; e.g., afblieven > abbleiben versus standard bleiben ‘to get to’, langs > lang(s) versus standard entlang ‘along’, doll ‘crazy’ > doll versus standard arg, sehr, stark ‘strongly’, ‘hard’), aflehren > ablehren versus standard abgewöhnen, austreiben ‘to cause to give up (behavior)’),
  • consistent fricativization of syllable-final /g/ (e.g., (ich) sag [zax] ‘(I) say’, verjagt [fэ'jα:xt] ‘scared’, weg [vεç] ‘away’, (er) fliegt [fli:çt] ‘(he) flies’),
  • tendency toward aspirating voiceless stops only in syllables with main stress (e.g., Pappa ['phapa] ~ ['phaba] ‘daddy’), very much as in American English.

     [Click here to read more.]

Historical Lowlands language contacts: Low Saxon

    Click to open the translation: [Northern German] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn#003333