Low Prussian dialect

Low Prussian
Native to both West and East Prussia, now moribund with an exception of Plautdietsch which is prevalent in a diaspora throughout Germany, the Americas and Australia
Dialects
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
German dialects about 1910, Low Prussian (Niederpreußisch) marked in the northeast
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Low Prussian (German: Niederpreußisch), sometimes known simply as Prussian (Preußisch), is a moribund dialect of East Low German that developed in East Prussia. Low Prussian was spoken in East and West Prussia and Danzig up to 1945. It developed on a Baltic substrate through the influx of Dutch- and Low-German-speaking immigrants. It overruled Old Prussian, which then became extinct in the 17th century.

Plautdietsch, a Low German variety, is included within Low Prussian by some observers. Excluding Plautdietsch, Low Prussian can be considered moribund due to the evacuation and forced expulsion of Germans from East Prussia after World War II. Plautdietsch, however, has several thousand speakers throughout the world, most notably in South America, Canada and Germany.

Simon Dach's poem Anke van Tharaw, the best known East Prussian poem, was written in Low Prussian.

Vocabulary

According to one summary of Low German dialects, words very characteristic of Low Prussian are doa ('dor', there), joa ('jo', yes), goah ('goh', go) and noa ('nober', neighbor), which feature the diphthong "oa" instead of the usual "o" or "a". The dialect is also marked by a substitution of "k" for "ch", such as in mannke ('minsch', person), and a loan of High German-like words, such as zwei ('twee', two). Words are often shortened, in a manner similar to that of the neighboring East Pomeranian dialect, giving beet (beten, little bit) and baakove ('bakåben', bake oven).

Some observers argue that it resembles Dutch and Flemish because of these features. Low Prussian also has a number of words in common with Plautdietsch, such as Klemp (cow), Klopps (lump, ball of earth), and Tsoagel (tail).

Some other words[1] are:

  • Boffke - boy, lad
  • dätsch - dumb
  • Dubs - bum
  • Gnaschel - little child
  • jankere - yearn
  • Kobbel - mare
  • Pungel - pouch
  • schabbere - talk
  • Schischke - pine-cone
  • Schucke - potato(es)

Varieties

Low and Old Prussian

After the assimilation of the Old Prussians, many Old Prussian words were preserved within the Low Prussian dialect.

Low Prussian Old Prussian Latvian Lithuanian Standard German English
FlinsplīnksniplācenisblynasPfannkuchenpancake, scone, biscuit
KaddigkaddegskadiķiskadagysWacholderjuniper
KurpkurpikurpekurpėSchuhshoe
Kujelkūiliscūka, mežacūka, kuiliskuilys, šernasWildschweinboar
Margell, Marjellmērgāmeitene, meičamerga, mergelė, mergaitėMagd, Mädchen, Mädelmaiden, girl
PaparzpapartispapardepapartisFarnfern
Pawirpen(from pawīrps)algādzis, strādniekspadienisLosmannfreelancer
ZurissūrissierssūrisKäsecheese

Low Prussian and Lithuanian

In addition to the words of Old Prussian origin, another source of Balticisms was Lithuanian. After the migration of Lithuanians in the 15th century, many Lithuanian loanwoards appeared in the Low Prussian dialect.

Low Prussian Lithuanian Standard German English
AlusalusBierbeer, ale
BurteninkerburtininkasWahrsager, Zauberer, Besprechermagician, soothsayer, sorcerer
kalbekenkalbėtisprechento talk, to speak
Kausche, KauszelkaušasSchöpfkelle, Trinknapfdipper
Krepsch, Krepsche, Krepszekrepšys, krepšasSack, Handsack, Ranzenbasket
LorbasliurbisTölpel, Tolpatsch, Waschlappenloser, fumbler
Packrantkrantas, pakrantė, pakraštysRand, Küsteedge, coast
PirschlispiršlysBrautwerbermatchmaker
Wabel, WabbelvabalasKäferbug

See also

References

  1. Found in Riemann, Erhard (ed.): Preußisches Wörterbuch, Vol. 1, Issue 1. Neumünster (Wachholtz) 1974.

Bibliography

  • Bauer, G.: Baltismen im ostpreußischen Deutsch. In: Annaberger Annalen, Nr.13, 2005, p.5-82.
  • Mitzka, Walther. Grundzüge nordostdeutscher Sprachgeschichte. (= DDG 59) Marburg (Elwert) 1959
  • Riemann, Erhard. Die preußische Sprachlandschaft. In: Festschrift für Friedrich von Zahn Bd.2   Köln/Wien 1971, 1-34
  • Riemann, Erhard (Hrsg.). Preußisches Wörterbuch. Bd. 1, Lf. 1. Neumünster (Wachholtz) 1974
  • Ziesemer, Walther. Die ostpreußischen Mundarten. Proben und Darstellungen. Breslau 2005
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