East Frisian Low Saxon

East Frisian Low Saxon

name=East Frisian Low Saxon
region=East Frisia
speakers=230,000 in Germany
fam3=West Germanic
fam4=Low German
fam5=West Low German

East Frisian Low Saxon is a West Low German dialect spoken in the East Frisian peninsula of northwestern Lower Saxony. It is used quite frequent in everyday speech there. About half of the East Frisian population in the coastal region uses "Platdüütsk". A number of individuals, despite not being active speakers of Low Saxon, are able to understand it to some extent. However, both active and passive language skills are in a state of decrease.

East Frisian Low Saxon is not to be confused with the Eastern Frisian language; the latter, spoken by about 2000 individuals in the Saterland region, is a Frisian language, not Low German.

There are several dialects in East Frisian Low Saxon. There are two main groups of dialects. The dialects in the east, called Harlinger Platt, are strongly influenced by Northern Low Saxon of Oldenburg. The western dialects are closer to the Low Saxon Language spoken in the Dutch province of Groningen. [http://www.bis.uni-oldenburg.de/bisverlag/hv1/9a2-fort.pdf]

East Frisian Low Saxon differs from Northern Low Saxon in several aspects, which are often linked to Frisian heritage. The language originally spoken in East Frisia and Groningen was Frisian, so the current Low Saxon dialects build on a Frisian substrate, which has led to a large amount of unique lexical, syntactic, and phonological items which differ from other Low Saxon variants.

East Frisian features frequent use of diminutives, as in the Dutch language, e.g. Footjes = little feet, Kluntje = piece of sugar. In many cases, diminutives of names, especially female ones, have become names of their own. For example: Antje (from Anna), Trientje (from Trina = Katharina) etc.

The dialects spoken in East Frisia are closely related to those spoken in the Dutch province of Groningen (Grunnegs, Grünnigs) and in Northern Drenthe (Noordenvelds). The biggest difference seem to be that of loanwords (from Dutch or German, resp.) and the vowel shift in Gronings: IPA| [ɛi] → [ɑi, ɔi] , [ɑi] → [ai] , [ou] → [ɑu] and so forth.

The standard greeting formula is Moin (moi in Gronings), used 24 hours a day. It is nowadays used in whole northern Germany, but more and more spreading to the east, west and south.

External links

* [http://www.ostfriesischelandschaft.de/ol/index.jsp?id=6 Low Saxon Office at the Ostfriesische Landschaft]
* [http://www.oostfreeske-taal.de Ostfreeske Taal]
* [http://www.diesel-online.de Diesel - dat oostfreeske Bladdje, the trilingual East Frisian newspaper]
* [http://www.holger-weigelt.de/projekte/platt/plattrahmen.html Project for an alternative Orthography]


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