Northern Low Saxon
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|Northern Low Saxon|
|Region||Lower Saxony, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg|
As such, it covers a great part of the West Low-German-speaking areas of northern Germany, with the exception of the border regions where Eastphalian and Westphalian are spoken. However, Northern Low Saxon is easily understood by speakers of these dialects.
Holsteinisch is spoken in Holstein, the southern part of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, in Dithmarschen, around Neumünster, Rendsburg, Kiel and Lübeck. The Lübeck dialect ("Lübsch") was a lingua franca for the Hanseatic league in the Middle Ages.
Schleswigsch (German pronunciation: [ˈʃleːsvɪkʃ]) is spoken in Schleswig, which is divided between Germany and Denmark. It is mainly based on a South Jutlandic substrate. Therefore, it has some notable differences in pronunciation and grammar with its southern neighbour dialects. The dialects on the west coast of Schleswig (Nordfriesland district) and some islands show some North Frisian influences.
Oldenburg dialect (Low Saxon: Ollnborger Platt, German: Oldenburger Platt) is spoken around the city of Oldenburg. It is limited to Germany. The main difference between it and East Frisian Low Saxon, which is spoken in the Frisian parts of Low Saxony, is the lack of an East Frisian substrate. Ollnborger Platt is spoken in the city of Bremen as Breemsch ("Bremian"), which is the only capital where Ollnborger Platt is spoken. Minden in Westphalia, where Ollnborger Platt is traditionally spoken, possibly belongs partially to the area.
The most obvious common character in grammar is the forming of the perfect participle. It is formed without a prefix, as in English, Danish, Swedish, Norse and Frisian, but unlike standard German, Dutch and some dialects of Westphalian and Eastphalian Low Saxon:
- gahn [ɡɒːn] (to go): Ik bün gahn [ʔɪkbʏŋˈɡɒːn] (I have gone/I went)
- seilen [zaˑɪln] (to sail): He hett seilt [hɛɪhɛtˈzaˑɪlt] (He (has) sailed)
- kopen [ˈkʰoʊpm] (to buy): Wi harrn köfft [vihaːŋˈkɶft] (We had bought)
- kamen [kɒːmˑ] (to come): Ji sünd kamen [ɟizʏŋˈkɒːmˑ] (You (all) have come/You came)
- eten [ˈʔeːtn] (to eat): Se hebbt eten [zɛɪhɛptˈʔeːtn] (They have eaten/They ate)
The diminutive (-je) (Dutch and Eastern Frisian -tje, Eastphalian -ke, High German -chen, Alemannic -le, li) is hardly used. Some examples are Buscherumpje, a fisherman's shirt, or lüttje, a diminutive of lütt, little. Instead the adjective lütt is used, e.g. dat lütte Huus, de lütte Deern, de lütte Jung.
There are a lot of special characteristics in the vocabulary, too, but they are shared partly with other languages and dialects, e.g.:
- Personal pronouns: ik [ʔɪk] (like Dutch ik), du [du] (like German Du), he [hɛɪ] (like English he), se [zɛɪ], dat [dat] (Dutch dat), wi [vi], ji [ɟi] (similar to English ye, Dutch jij), se [zɛɪ].
- Interrogatives (English/High German): wo [voʊ], woans [voʊˈʔaˑns] (how/wie), wo laat [voʊˈlɒːt] (how late/wie spät), wokeen [voʊˈkʰɛˑɪn] (who/wer), [voʊˈneːm] woneem (where/wo), wokeen sien [voʊˈkʰɛˑɪnziːn] / wen sien [vɛˑnziːn] (whose/wessen)
- Adverbs (English/High German): laat [lɒːt] (late/spät), gau [ɡaˑʊ] (fast/schnell), suutje [ˈzutɕe] (slowly, carefully/langsam, vorsichtig, from Dutch zoetjes [ˈzutɕəs] ‘nice and easy’, adverbial diminutive of zoet [ˈzut] ‘sweet’), vigeliensch [fiɡeˈliːnʃ] (difficult, tricky/schwierig)
- Prepositions (English/High German): bi [biː] (by, at/bei), achter [ˈʔaxtɜ] (behind/hinter), vör [fɶɜ] (before, in front of/vor), blangen [blaˑŋˑ] (beside, next to, alongside/neben), twüschen [ˈtvʏʃn] (betwixt, between/zwischen), mang, mank [maˑŋk] (among/unter)
- Northern Low Saxon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "German Northern Low Saxon". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Noble, Cecil A. M. (1983). Modern German dialects New York [et al.], Lang, p. 103-104