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Spoken in

Lower Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt , Hesse , Thuringia
Official status
Official language in officially recognized as a Low German dialect in Germany under the Language Charter of the Council of Europe
Ostfälische (7) within the Low German and Dutch language areas

Ostfälisch is a dialect association of Low German that is found in Lower Saxony approximately southeast of a line Uelzen - Celle - Hanover - Stadthagen - Bückeburg (including these cities), i.e. in the southern Lüneburg Heath and in the Hanover, Hildesheim , Braunschweig and Göttingen area and in Saxony-Anhalt in the Magdeburg Börde and in the north-eastern or northern Harz and Harz foreland is (or was) spoken. Small areas north of Kassel in Hesse and in the Thuringian part of the Eichsfeld also belong to the East Westphalian language area, which makes up a large part of historic East Westphalia .


In contrast to Northern Lower Saxony , which is even more common on radio and television and which has a larger, coherent language area, East Westphalian is only spoken by a few, mostly older people, mainly in the domestic sphere and in dialect groups.

The term Ostfälisch comes from the linguistics of the 19th century, which for the first time dealt with the dialects in this area almost comprehensively and thereby established the similarities and peculiarities to be described here (to some extent). Since some of these can be traced back to the (scanty) written documents of the Old Low German period, the name of the eastern part of the former Old Saxon tribal duchy , which has since disappeared, was reactivated for this purpose. - Even if this name has been used in other contexts since the end of the 20th century (e.g. Deuregio Ostfalen ), it has at most a marginal meaning in everyday life in the region. The same applies to the name of the dialect derived from it: The few active speakers kören Platt ("speak Low German"), to distinguish it from other variants, paraphrases such as use ("our") and ju'e Platt ("your Platt"), since the old district and landscape names are hardly in use anymore (apart from names like Papenteich / Poppendiek, which were used when the unified municipalities were created from 1974).

In Ostfälish the object pronouns get a k ( mik or mek and dik or dek ), which is missing in Northern Low German ( mi and di ; each for high German me and me or you and you ). Except in the Braunschweiger and Hildesheimer Land and some other regions, st and sp are spoken as scht and schp . On the other side of the border with Halberstadt towards Magdeburg, the high German sound prevails . (There “schtolpern de Lüe ower'n schpitzen Schtein”.) The Ostfälische carries out the diphthongization, which is common for some Low German areas ( tauwen “wait” compared to the common in most regions toöven ) and also the assimilation of the d after l and n ( e.g. hille “hastily”, from mnd. hilde “quickly”; Münner Platt , the dialect of Mündens ).

The Ostfälische is a dialect rich in variety, the vocabulary and phonology of which can differ considerably in relatively small areas. For example, there are at least three variants of one form of the word “but” in Ostfälischen: aver, åver and obber . Because of this difference, the dialect, like Westphalian , cannot simply be written down. The vocabulary of Ostfälischen is described in the Lower Saxon and Middle Elbian dictionary .

Regional variants

Linguistic characteristics

The mentioned personal pronouns mik and dik (compared to northern Low German mi and di, Nedersaksisch je ) are only examples, as this difference also applies to the forms öhn (e), üsch and jück (northern low German em, u [n] s, jo [ju ], high dt. him / him , us , you ). Ostfälische agrees with many Low German dialects (with exceptions e.g. in southern Westphalian) in that the dative and the accusative coincide in the forms mentioned (for further details see the article on the personal pronouns of the Germanic languages ), However, its peculiarity is shown in the fact that in all these forms the accusative has prevailed over the dative (in Northern Lower Saxony it is exactly the other way around). In Eastphalian has the form üsch (see. Althochdt. Obtain an accusative of the first person plural unsih, Old English. USIC [next US ], as well as High Alemannic German üs , South Bavarian into the Upper German-speaking).

Another feature of Ostfälish is the remaining preservation of the prefix ge as e- in the past participle (past participle) of the verbs; since this prefix has also been lost in Heideostfälischen, z. B. in Celle whose wään ("been") south of ewää (se) n [əˈvɛː (z) n̩] opposite.

A noticeable difference between Ostfälische and all other Low German dialects is the absence (or undoing) of the tone stretching in the open syllable before -el, -en, -er in the following syllable, e.g. B. Eastphalian Löppel [lœpl̩] , beds [bɛtn̩] , Pepper [pɛpɐ] ( "spoons, little, pepper") to North Lower Saxon Läpel [lɛːpl̩] , begged [bɛːtn̩] , Paeper [pɛːpɐ] .

The above-mentioned "unusual words" in East German include Üütsche ("frog", nordnieders . Pogg ), Kempe ("Eber", nordnieders . Äver, Ever ) and Hailebort / Hallebot ("stork", nordnieders . Aadboor and others). But there are also noticeable equations (inherited similarities) with English and Norwegian: For example, East Fälisch corresponds to Snake [ˈsnɔːkə] (" grass snake "; from mnd. Snake , "snake", which is still preserved in its original meaning in other dialects) norway. snok and the engl. snake , East Westphalian Drake [ˈdrɔːkə] ("drake") the Engl. drake , Ostfälisch Schare [ˈʃɔːrə] (“magpie”) denotes norway . skjor ( Bokmål : skjære ) and Ostfälisch Mull [mʊl] ("mole") the Engl. mole .

Even when balancing the Old Low German phonetic oppositions, especially when reducing the vowels that are differentiated in open syllables, Ostfälische takes its own position in that it is more simplified than Westphalian (which has no reduction in its southern dialects), but does not go as far as the core area of ​​Northern Lower Saxony (where only three of the original eight vowel phonemes remain). Despite the differences in the individual sounds, most East Westphalian dialects have a common sound system. (In this case, in addition to the Heide-Ostfälischen, the Göttingisch-Grubenhagensche - which is represented here as the East Westphalian - is left out).

Web links

Commons : Ostfälisch  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Ostfälisch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Paul Alpers (Hrsg.): Small Low German dictionary of the district of Celle. Celle 1955 (reproduced as a manuscript by the district of Celle).
  • Friedrich Binroth: How does that happen in Platt? ∙ Small dictionary for East Westphalian Platt. Cremlingen 1987, ISBN 3-9800219-8-X .
  • Christian Flemes: The little book of the Hanoverian dialect . Sayings and sayings in Calenberg - Stadthannoverscher dialect with dictionary (editor: Wilhelm Netzel), Hanover 2005, ISBN 3-923976-47-X .
  • Albert Hansen: Holzland- Ostfälisches Dictionary. Especially the dialects of Eilsleben and Klein Wanzleben . Ummendorf 1994.
  • Heinrich Heike-Cramm: Selection from the vocabulary of the Low German language Groß Gleidingens and the surrounding area . Braunschweig 1970.
  • Otto Rohkamm: North Harz Dictionary. Low German. Based on the dialect of Harzburg and the Upper Oker . Peine 2003, ISBN 3-926560-47-9 .
  • Hans-Friedrich Rosenfeld: Wernigeroder dictionary. Neumünster 1975, ISBN 3-352-94612-4 .
  • Wilhelm Schrader: Low German dictionary for Helmstedt and the surrounding area. Based on the dialect of Emmerstedt .
  • Heinrich Sievers, Heinrich Keese (editor: Werner Sührig): Ostfälisches Platt in Hildesheimer Land . (Dictionary, linguistics and grammar), Hildesheim 2002, ISBN 3-487-11594-8 .
  • Hans J. Toll: The little Hanoverian dictionary. (Editor: Wolfgang Risse), Hannover 2001, ISBN 3-923976-36-4 .
  • Franz Wrede: Low German dictionary of the parish Sievershausen , district of Burgdorf i. Hanover . A contribution to the dialect of the Südheide, Celle 1960.
  • Franz Wrede, Jürgen Schierer, Harald Gold: High German-Low German Dictionary (Ostfälisch). Peine 1995, ISBN 3-926560-32-0 (based on Franz Wredes dictionary from 1960).
  • Wilfried Zilz: The local dictionary of Eltze in the Hanover region. Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-89534-885-3 .


  • Rolf Ahlers : Speech and writing theory for East Westphalian Low German - thoughts and tips for speaking and writing. Wendeburg 2001, ISBN 3-932030-13-3 .
  • Rolf Ahlers: Let's have a cup of coffee every now and then. Low German village stories. Wendeburg 2002, ISBN 3-932030-21-4 .
  • Edvin Brugge: Vocalism of the dialect of Emmerstedt · With contributions to the dialect geography of eastern Ostfalen. Lund (Sweden) 1944.
  • Werner Flechsig : Ostfälische proverbs. Folk wisdom and humor from five centuries compiled from printed and unprinted sources. (First edition Braunschweig 1974).
  • Theodore le Singe ( alias Theodor Lessing ): Jäö or how a Frenchman set out to learn the "roughest" German in Hanover . Friedrich Gersbach Verlag, Hanover 1919. (New: Schmorl & von Seefeld, Hanover 2002, ISBN 3-936836-05-1 )
  • Ursula Föllner, Saskia Luther, Dieter Stellmacher (Ed.): The Ostfalen area. History, language and literature of the country between the Weser and Elbe on the low mountain range threshold. Frankfurt am Main 2015, ISBN 978-3-631-65054-7 .
  • Carl Kreye: Main Derp (Calenberger Platt) poem and translation juxtaposed
  • Wilhelm Pape (editor: Jürgen Pape): Vertell but mol en betten Platt. Low German stories and memories. 3. Edition. Braunschweig 1981.
  • Ulrich Scheuermann : Aspects of a language history of Ostfälische . In: Handbooks for Linguistics and Communication Studies , Volume 2, de Gruyter, Berlin 2003, S 2663–2673, ISBN 3-11-015883-3
  • Jürgen Schierer (Ed.): Twischen Bronswiek and Hannower. Low German from yesterday and today. [Anthology with contributions by various authors], Peine 1982, ISBN 3-923500-02-5 .
  • Jürgen Schierer (Ed.): Other anthologies like the one above (each around 400 pages):
  • Jürgen Schierer (Ed.): Wat de Lüe sik vertellt - Low German from the Peine area , Peine 1978.
  • Dieter Schoß, Robert Schoß: Between Large Fallstone and Large Rupture . Rural life in the German Empire [Ostfälisch and High German translation] Verlag Karin Fischer, Aachen 2015, ISBN 978-3842243224
  • Martin Selber (1924–2006): Stippsteereken in East Westphalian dialect from the Magdeburg Börde :
    • Mien Dorpspaijel. Low German dialect stories. Wanzleben 1981.
    • Ick am Mieneken Musekeddel. Low German dialect stories. Zentralhaus-Verlag, Leipzig 1988.
    • I have my beard. Low German dialect stories. Dr. Ziethen Verlag, Oschersleben.
    • Justel advances. Low German dialect stories. Dr. Ziethen Verlag, Oschersleben 1993, ISBN 3-928703-13-7 .
    • Stunne bi Kanter Bosse. School stories from the Magdeburg Börde in East Westphalian Platt. Dr. Ziethen Verlag, Oschersleben 1994, ISBN 3-932090-17-9 .
    • Dat are you, mien Bördeland: Instructive and entertaining information on the history of Bördeland. 1999, ISBN 3-932090-60-8 .
  • Erika Stegemann:
    • Bi üsch up'n Dorpe. Low German stories. 2nd Edition. Grossmoor 1998.
    • More from üsch ut'n Dorpe. Low German stories. Grossmoor 1999.
  • Heinrich Vollmer (editor: Jürgen Schierer): Mek is still sensual - Dat Lewen uppen platten Lanne. (Hohenhameln-Soßmar, Peine district), Lahstedt-Münstedt 1981.
  • Friedrich Wille: De Plattduitsche Baibel - et Aule Testament, de Laten Boiker, et Naie Testament. - a family and homeland Bible - oversetted by Friedrich Wille. Einbeck 1997.
  • Friedrich Wille: Our Father. in Ostfälisch.
  • Friedrich Wille: Et Plattduitsche Märchenböok - 12 of Grimm's fairy tales naavertellt up Ostfälisch Platt. Peine 1992, ISBN 3-926560-23-1 .


  1. Deuregio Ostfalen e. V. ( Helmstedt ) ostfalen.de .
  2. a b "About the dialects of the Harz and the Harz foreland"
  3. Dialect sample from Riefensbeek ( DSA archive): Ostfälisch
  4. Georg Schambach : Dictionary of the Low German dialects of the principalities of Göttingen and Grubenhagen or Göttingisch-Grubenhagen'sches Idiotikon. Hanover, 1858 ( Google digitized version )
  5. Runas birth , in Hildesheim Low German: Runas Gebiuert - Möine Swester kummt uppe Welt (PDF; 16 kB).