Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

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Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Spoken in

Language codes
ISO 639 -2

nds (Low German)

The Mecklenburgisch-Vorpommersche (proper names Mękelborgsch and Vörpommersch ) forms a dialect group of Ostniederdeutschen and is predominantly in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern spoken. These dialects are extremely similar to one another and do not have any sharp dialect boundaries, but rather smooth transitions.
As in all East Low German dialects, the original Saxon verbal unit plural ending in -t is missing ; instead the unit plural is - (e) n . In addition, since the 19th century, as a result of the decline in the Low German language , the two-form plural has also been used analogously to standard German.

Dialect areas

The following dialect areas belong to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania:

  • West Mecklenburg - East Holstein In
    the west, Mecklenburg flows smoothly into Holstein . This shares some peculiarities with Mecklenburg, which in Holstein alternate with the characteristics of North Lower Saxony depending on the region . In the area around Ratzeburg , which is still part of the Mecklenburg dialect area, there is a dialect transition that partially affects the Hamburg Platt (Marsch) and exchanges and mixes peculiarities of Mecklenburg and Holstein within individual dialects. The areas west of Schwerin, for example, have the unit plural in -t , the Vierlande in Holstein, however, the diphthongization and those in M.-V. more frequent displacement of the V by the B, such as in the words aven or aben .

Phonetic / linguistic peculiarities and writing system

The pronunciation of Mecklenburg and West Pomeranian is commonly referred to as " broad " and shows patterns that are continued and stronger in Pomeranian and Prussian. What is now perceived as direct diphthongization (see below) was understood more as a broad pronunciation of common Low German words until the 20th century . Therefore, even in specific Mecklenburg grammars, there are still indications that the E tends to egg and the O to Au, without this being specifically indicated in the script. The “broad” pronunciation is synonymous with a more open pronunciation of the vowels . In the following, Mecklenburg will be mentioned, since the Pomeranian shares its properties, does not divide it and / or can carry features of the Mark Brandenburg and East Pomeranian, depending on the area . In general, the Pomeranian can be considered a more conservative language area, which remains closer to the Middle Low German sound. However, by no means should the misconception be aroused that the peculiarities would not apply or only to a limited extent for Western Pomerania. They exist there in the same strength and are even found undiminished in Western Pomerania . But similar to Holstein, the Pomeranian area is criss-crossed with larger, contiguous areas with exceptions.

Furthermore, many modern (at least since 1800) texts in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania dialect use the W in the word, where the V is in West Low German without the phonetic value of the <v> [ / v / ] changing to that of the <w> [ / ʋ / ] would have changed. Especially Fritz Reuter , who was strongly oriented towards High German , encouraged this development, while philologists like Karl Nerger viewed this decision rather critically. You may be explained partly by the fact that the V in the Middle Low German initial sound became more pronounced as F, which located in the Mecklenburg dialect in part to the medially transferred in foreign words. Veninsch (poisonous; from French venin) is pronounced as "feniensch", David as "Dafiet". In the West, on the other hand, the initial V is spoken of foreign words as in the original language.

The Mecklenburg diphthongization

In syllables with deep stress (usually marked by single or no consonants at the end of the syllable, e.g. bok and he ), classic Low German does not have a long O ( / oː / ) or long E ( / eː / ). Instead, there are the diphthongs / oʊ / and / eɪ / . In Mecklenburg, the more open pronunciation means that the diphthong character of these sounds is more pronounced. Especially in Mecklenburg, many words that are spoken in other dialects with o ( / oʊ / ) are spoken with au ( / ɔʊ / or / aʊ / ), which is also transferred to the umlauts. So ö ( / øʏ / ) becomes äu ( / œʏ / or even / ɔɪ / ). These broader debates do not occur independently of one another. If a dialect has the <ei>, it also uses the <au>. Which letters are diphthonged depends on the history of the language: words that were still in the primitive Germanic language have a pure O. in Mecklenburg too (e.g. prot.-germ. * Augo and nds. Oge , but prot .-germ. bōksmeckl . bauk ( bok , book)). As a rule of thumb, Mecklenburg never has <au> where it is in German, but always <ei> where it is in German - provided that Low German uses the letters E and O in these places. (E.g. 'side' becomes nds. side , not too silk )

Softening of the G

In Urgermanic, every G was a voiced velar fricative (/ ɣ /), which (with the exception of Dutch and Westphalian ) was replaced by the plosive ( / g / ) in all Germanic dialects . Due to German influence, this plosive spread in the Low German areas at the latest in the 19th century . In Mecklenburg, the fricative G was retained long before E and I. The soft G can still be found in North German pronunciation, especially between vowels. This frikativischen G also explains that the G at the devoicing in northern Germany / x /, ie ch , and its allophones is not a K. (see. The striking North German Tach! Southern Germany with the standard and Tak! Or the standard and northern German lustich with the southern German lustick )

In addition, in many places in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the G replaced the older half-vowel ( / w / ) (gnawen → gnagen), which disappeared with the advance of Standard German.

The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania increase

The Meckl.-Vorp. vocalizes, like many North Low German dialects, the R. This means that the actually rolled R in the final and in connection with the consonants formed with the tongue (N, L, S, partly D / T) to a vowel sound ( Schwa ) will. Before this R, some vowels change. Karl Nerger described this process as “elevation”, in contrast to refraction . (cf. vowel trapezoid ) The changes are: O → U, E → I, Ö → Ü, A → O. The last development, as well as a change from E → A in front of the consonant R (/ r /), is part of almost all North Low German dialects; Words like Jor (mnd. Jar , year) and Barg (mnd. Berg ) are common throughout Northern Germany. Typically Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are words like Nurd (north), Kirl (guy) and hüren (hear). This development was not fully carried out at least in the 19th century and it is only partially present in the area of Ratzeburg and Lauenburg , which traditionally formed a dialect area with the rest of Mecklenburg. Already from Ludwigslust you can transform who (was) into typical meckl.-vorp. we find, but z. B. Ber (beer) only takes part in the diphthongization and becomes Beir (pronounced as hd. 'Bayer'), instead of as in other Mecklenburg Bir (as in Hd.). This situation may have changed in the meantime, as the last comprehensive survey was made in 1876-1880 with the survey by Wenker .

Dialect's own sounds and letters

Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania, due to the more open pronunciation, have their own sounds that do not appear in other dialects of Low German . Depending on the publisher, these are represented by the letters Œ (Æ) and Ę or by Ä, Ae and Oe. Another letter that is used throughout the Saxon region is Å.


The Å / å occurs in the script mainly in Pomeranian, where it indicates on the one hand that a sound spoken as O is an A before a long R in the word stem. Before a vowel R, the long A changes to O in Low German dialects, even where the long A otherwise corresponds to the German A ( Jor , year). It was not uncommon in the eastern areas of what is now Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania that an Å was written there. That this seldom happened in the West can be explained by convention, since the grammar and pronunciation there e.g. T. are identical.
The use of Å instead of A can also be found throughout Northern Germany, as most dialects speak the long A like a Scandinavian Å [ / ɒː / or / ɔː / ]. This is particularly the case in recent times, when in Low German a spelling that conforms to the dialect and pronunciation is prevailing over an etymological, word stem-forming spelling. There the “water”, which is classically written as water , is
found again as Wåder according to the pronunciation [ / ʋɒːtɜ / ], based on the standard high German language .


The Ę / ę denotes a "tone-long E" [/ ɛ: /]. On the one hand, it is in words that have adopted a new sound through sound change, i.e. H. come from certain Old Saxon vowel groups; for example words that have a short I in an open syllable. Examples are as. F i lu and meckl. v ę l (a lot) or as. g i van and meckl. g ę ven (to give). Even the name of Mecklenburg received by this By law be Æ: M i kilinborg → Mekel (s) nborg. Likewise, Slavic Liub i ce became Mecklenburg Lübęke. In addition, this e umlaut of short A, as in singular gr a ss , plural gr ę ser . Depending on the author and editor, Ę alternates relatively freely with Ä .

Œ / Æ

The Æ / æ and Œ / œ denote the same sound [/ ɶː /], which is the umlaut of the long A and is to be separated from the Ä if the font allows it. In terms of sound, it is a long Ä with a strong admixture of the open Ö. This sound is also often denoted by the sign <Ä> . In the 19th century, some authors assumed that this sound only occurs in Mecklenburg.
The symbol Œ has become more widespread in recent times, as the sound itself can be confused with an Ö in abbreviations due to the Ö connotation, or is also written as such. ( de Mœl , the mill → de Möller , the miller; however originally derived from paint , grind) The words with short Ö are of more recent origin. ( Mnd. molarene , Müller) Another influence on this must be attributed to the German, which mostly paraphrases these words as OE, as well as the great similarity of æ and œ in the Fraktur font, in which the vast majority of the known Low German literature was published.
Using the Œ harbors the risk of incorrectly assuming an O-umlaut, which can lead to errors in conjugation and declension. So the singular is of Birds / Vægel about Vagel and not bird . This is also important for pronunciation, as the people of Mecklenburg, especially the central / east Mecklenburg dialect Fritz Reuters, speak the long A with little to no character of the O. Thus one finds approximately in the works, only the spelling with æ / ae and the like.
Vagel such place. B. in the pronunciation of the Lower Saxon dialect area z. Sometimes the realization as "Voogel", in the Mecklenburg and Pomeranian regions, however, a pronunciation like "Våågel" (with a sound like in English w a ter) depending on the area.
Further contributing to the confusion is that the German transcriptions of these words usually use “oe” and the West Low German dialects write and speak Ö or ÖÖ in the appropriate place. However, the difference between Ö and Æ in the East is significant. ( Hög ' , height; Hæg' / Hœg ' , joy)

Table for an overview of the umlaut relationship:

Umlaut word derived or derivative word annotation
dæmlig ladies Origin for the German "stupid"
can ik kan can, first person singular
Slætel slate Key, closed, participle of sluten
Vægel Vague Plural, singular
knækern Creak bones, bones

Apocope and apostrophe

Where there used to be an E, which was often mute in Northern Low German (see Apocope ), an apostrophe is now often written to prevent the final sound from hardening. As in German and Dutch, D, B and W at the end of a word and at the end of a syllable before a consonant become T, P and F. ( Dod is pronounced as “doht”.) A G is pronounced as CH in these places. An apostrophe makes it clear where there used to be an E and that the preceding letters do not go through this change because they are still in the intro. This is also distinctive. A guide to pronunciation can be given in English, where the final sound does not harden and the word cold (cold, also kold in Low German ) is actually spoken with D at the end.

Low German German
de Dod the death
de Dod ' the dead
'n Hus a house (nominative)
'n Hus' a home

A very common exception is Dag (day, short A), where in addition to the plural Dag ' also the plural Dag is common, whereby this retains the long A of the original two-syllable (formerly Dage ). Sometimes the difference is made clear in writing. (Dach / Dag or Dagg / Dag; Dag / Daag more common in the West)
Another system was to assign each sound to a letter, so that death was written as the dot , but the dead as the dod .

Dative, accusative and object case

The dative is clearly marked in contractions with prepositions, where the dative M of the former article deme occurs, or in neuter nouns the old dative article den . In fact, the dative article "den" arose from a sound law of Middle Low German. There, over time, the acquisition occurred and the E at the end of words were no longer spoken. Words that had an -me at the end were often spoken with -n instead of -m without an E. A separation of dative and accusative can be established in the pronunciation as well as in the article. As in German and Dutch, D, B and W are pronounced as T, P and F at the end of the word. As a remnant of an original dative E, there is then a lack of final hardening , which is made clear by an apostrophe.

Low German German annotation
dat Liw the body say Lief
in'n Liw ' in the body speak Liew
Ik ga tau'n / taum Pird '. I go to the horse. see below
Ik ga tau dat Pird. I go to the horse. There is a hardening of the final voice here, since it is actually the accusative that stands where a forgotten dative should be.
Ik ga tau a pird '. I go to a horse.
Ik behead a pird. I am buying a horse.
Ik ga tau (r) Fru. I go to the woman. see below
Ik ga tau de fru. I go to the woman.
de Wulf - de Wülw ' the wolf - the wolves Singular, plural
de Wülwen / Wülben - de Wülw ' the wolves - the wolves Dative accusative

It is unclear whether contractions with -r and -m originate from Old Saxon and Middle Low German or whether they have a High German influence. Old Saxon already showed a mixture of accusative and dative forms, but without building a unitary case. This trend continued in Middle Low German. In addition, a mixture and confusion of N and M can be observed, whereby the literature also deviated from regionally spoken language as standardization progressed, and grammatical distinctions were made in writing that were not audible but conscious when speaking. Furthermore, the lack of a female article “der” speaks for a High German origin, whereby Ritter still lists “de (re)” as a female accusative pronoun in his grammar written in 1832. Regardless of the origin of these forms, they have appeared consistently in Low German texts since at least the 14th century. If these contractions are perceived as alien, they are replaced by the shortened article (Ik ga tau'n Mann / tau Fru.) Or the long form.
The dative E, which has recently been silent, is undoubtedly of Low German origin. Likewise, that in contractions an 'n is used as a dative indicator for de and dat .

In addition, the accusative becomes clear when the object pronoun em , originally dative pronoun, is shortened to 'n , originally from en .

  • Slaten hew ik em not. - I didn't close it.
  • I want to slut. - I want to close it

Inaccurate quantities

One of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's own formation is the imprecise quantity, which is formed with the indefinite article singular and a form of the suffix -ere / -erne, whereby the following numeral becomes a noun through the article.

  • a Jårer 'söss - about six years ( dat Jår , the year)
  • 'n Mannere Fif - around five men ( de Mann )
  • A liter of tein - about ten liters
  • one Dalerne eight - about eight Taler ( de Daler )

Other special features

In the same way, B [ / b / ] is used more frequently in the internal voice , where in other dialects there is a V [ / v / ]. So there are to (too), Toeven (wait), Aven (oven) and grön (green) in Mecklenburg as tau , täuben , Aben (also Awen ) and gräun . In Rostock, borders to other dialects and in many Pomeranian areas, the words are also formed with O.

The S [ / s / ] before consonants is changed to SCH [ / ʃ / ] in Strelitz and parts of Western Pomerania , like the German. Snacken, Strand and Spiker are often spelled with an S, but in many, if not all, East Low German dialects they are pronounced as schnacken, Schtrand and Schpiker. With the dissolution of the East Low German areas in Pomerania and East Prussia , many speakers of Eastern dialects immigrated to Mecklenburg, so that the change from S to SCH now also sometimes occurs in Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Eminent authors and poets

From Mecklenburg :

From Western Pomerania :

Language maintenance

The following linguistic societies are committed to cultivating the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania variations of Low German:

Individual evidence

  2. Agathe Lasch: Middle Low German Grammar. Max Niemeyer publishing house. Halle on the Saale. 1914
  3. ^ Ernst Moritz Arndt : Mährchen and youth memories. 1st edition. Realschule bookstore Berlin. 1818.
  4. Behrend Böckmann: Tales tau dei city history of Güstrow. BS-Verlag, Rostock 2011, ISBN 978-3-86785-163-3 .
  5. Albert Schwarz : Complete dictionary of Fritz Reuter's works. With an epilogue: the language of Fritz Reuters. Separate print from all of Fritz Reuter's works published by Hermann Jahnke and Albert Schwarz . A. Weichert, Berlin 1900, p. 30.
  6. a b Albert Schwarz: Complete dictionary of Fritz Reuter's works: with an afterword: the language of Fritz Reuters; Separate print from all of Fritz Reuter's works published by Hermann Jahnke and Albert Schwarz. A. Weichert, Berlin 1900, p. 9.
  7. a b Agathe Lasch: Middle Low German Grammar . Max Niemeyer publishing house, Halle an der Saale 1914.
  8. ^ J. Ritter: Grammar of the Mecklenburg-Low German dialect . Stillersche Hofbuchhandlung, 1832.
  9. cf. Rudolf Tarnow: Lütt would ask Hoeg un Brüderie. 3. Edition. Hinstorff, Rostock 2003, ISBN 3-356-00995-8 .
  10. ^ Karl Bartsch: Legends, fairy tales and customs from Meklenburg. Vienna 1879.
  11. Felix Stillfried: Ut Sloss un Kathen. Liebeskind loading 1890.
  12. JGC Ritter: grammar of Mecklenburg- Low German dialect. Stillersche Hofbuchhandlung, Rostock / Schwerin 1832.
  13. ^ Albert Schwarz: Complete dictionary of Fritz Reuters works: with an epilogue: the language of Fritz Reuters; Separate print from all of Fritz Reuter's works published by Hermann Jahnke and Albert Schwarz. A. Weichert, Berlin 1900.
  14. ^ Karl Nerger: Grammar of the Mecklenburg dialect of older and more recent times: phonology and inflection theory. FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1869.
  15. cf. John Brinckman: Kasper-Ohm un ick. Carl Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock.
  16. Dedicated to Low German: Annual conference of three literary societies in Ludwigslust , Schweriner Volkszeitung , April 2, 2017