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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
Mennonite Low Saxon (“Low German”)
17th-century painting of a Mennonite
preacher and his wife—
Having been a persecuted religious
Mennonites fled the Netherlands
via today’s Northern Germany to today’s
From there they took
their language varieties all
over the world.
Language information: Mennonite
Low Saxon (“Plautdietsch”) originated at the Vistula Delta in Northern Poland as a local dialect adopted
by Mennonite immigrants from the Netherlands and Northern Germany. It was later
exported to the Molochna and Khortitza regions of Ukraine where it developed
further under Ukrainian, Russian and Turkic influences, with constant influences
from German as a “high” and liturgical language. From there it was taken to Siberia
and Central Asia by replaced “Germans” and especially to the Americas by emigrants.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Mennonite Low Saxon speakers have
moved to Germany as repatriated Germans, and Germany now has the largest number
of speakers, followed by Canada, the United States and Mexico and some South
American countries. The “Russian” (Russlända) dialects, which predominate in Germany and represent a minority outside Europe,
are quite distinct, though mutually comprehensible with other dialects. Centuries
of geographic and religious
separation of Mennonites
to estrangement from speakers of other Low Saxon dialects, and some activists
seek to reconnect them with each other.