Polabian language

Polabian language

extinct=18th century
fam4=West Slavic

The Polabian language, which became extinct in the 18th century, was a group of Slavic dialects spoken in present-day northern Germany: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, eastern parts of Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein. It was one of the Lechitic languages and it was similar to Lusatian language and Kashubian language.

The name derives from the name of Polabian tribes, which in turn derives from the name of the Elbe river in Slavic languages: "Łaba" in Polish and "Labe" in Czech.

There are few known Polabian texts from the Wendland (Lüchow-Dannenberg) in the 17th and 18th centuries. These texts were written in German spelling, therefore their meaning possibly was distorted. Also, they come from twilight of the language, when it had already been declining and under strong influence of the Lower German language. Last native speaker of Polabian, a woman, died in 1756, and last person who spoke limited Polabian passed away in 1825.

The Lord's Prayer in Polabian is: "Aita nos, tâ toi jis wâ nebesai, sjętü wordoj tüji jaimą; tüji rik komaj; tüja wüľa mo są ťüńot kok wâ nebesai tok no zemi; nosę wisedanesnę sťaibę doj nam dâns; a wütâdoj nam nose greche, kok moi wütâdojeme nosim gresnarem; ni bringoj nos wâ warsükongę; toi losoj nos wüt wisokag chaudag. Pritü tüje ją tü ťenądztwü un müc un câst, warchni Büzac, nekąda in nekędisa. Amen."


*"Słownik etymologiczny języka Drzewian połabskich", Part 1: ed. Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński & Kazimierz Polański, Wrocław, 1962, from Part 2 on: ed. K. Polański, Wrocław, 1971-
*Kazimierz Polański & Janusz Sehnert: "Polabian-English Dictionary". The Hague: Mouton 1967

ee also


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