East Low German

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East Low German

Spoken in

Germany , Russia , Ukraine , Poland , Brazil , USA , Canada
Language codes
ISO 639 -2


East Low German (as well as other Low German dialects colloquially often called " Low German ") is included in Germany mainly those Low German dialects , in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , Brandenburg and in the north of Saxony-Anhalt , in the Altmark the east and in the fields or are spoken or were. International mainly talk Mennonite emigrant descendants with Plautdietsch a dialect of Ostniederdeutschen.

Linguistic particularities

Compared with Lower Saxony , East Low German is closer to High German in the transition area to East Central German dialects . Due to medieval settlement movements, many words and expressions of the Westphalian dialect can be found in East Low German. There are also some words of West Slavic and French origin. In contrast to North and South Low German , the division between East and West Low German is more a geographical one that distinguishes between old and new (populated from approx. 1250) settlement areas. In particular, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is largely identical in pronunciation and grammar with (western) North Lower Saxony . In general, Low German shows fewer regional differences between the dialects than High German does .

As a difference to the West Low German dialects , the formation of the plural of the verbs in the present tense is usually used. This should go out to - (e) t in West Low German, but to -en in East Low German :

person Standard German West Low German East Low German
1st person plural we do wi mak (e) t wi maken
2nd person plural you do ji mak (e) t ji maken or makt
3rd person plural they do se mak (e) t se maken

The ending on -en is also valid in dialects that are usually considered to be West Low German, such as East Frisian and Schleswig-Holstein Platt. Furthermore, only the ending -t is used in the western part of Mecklenburg and in Ratzeburg . Originally distinctive for the dialects of Brandenburg / Prussia was that / s / (sharp S) before consonants became / ʃ / (Sch sound). Snacken , Strand and Spiker were so often pronounced as schnacken , Schtrand and Schpiker . Originally this only affected the Mittelmark and the dialects east of the Elbe , but thanks to the influence of High German and greater speaker mobility , it spread over time to the other regions without displacing the original forms.

The two largest East Low German dialect groups today are Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Plautdietsche . Their peculiarities are described in the respective articles.


The following dialect groups are included in East Low German:

  1. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ( Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania )
  2. Märkisch ( Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt ; also includes Central Pomeranian in the historical landscape of Hinterpommern and southern Western Pomerania)
  3. Eastern Pomeranian (in the historical landscape of Western Pomerania ; also includes Pomerano in Brazil )
  4. Low Prussian (almost extinct; until 1945 in East Prussia , West Prussia and Danzig in what is now Poland , Russia and Lithuania ; also includes Plautdietsch ,spoken today in Russia, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, and recently in Germany againdue to the worldwide migration of Russian mennonites )

The Lausitzian-Neumark dialects took a special development . They used to belong to East Low German, as they have their roots in Märkisch. However, due to strong Central German influence, they are now assigned to East Central German .

The vocabulary of the East Low German dialects is recorded and described in the Mecklenburg dictionary (dialects in Mecklenburg), in the Pomeranian dictionary (dialects in Vor and Hinterpommern), in the Brandenburg-Berlin dictionary (Mark-Brandenburg dialects), in the Middle Elbian dictionary (including East Low German dialects in northern Saxony-Anhalt) and in the Prussian dictionary (dialects in West and East Prussia).

See also



  • Karl Bischoff : Medieval tradition and the history of languages ​​and settlements in East Low German. 1966 (= treatises of the humanities and social sciences class of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Born in 1966, No. 4).
  • Hans Joachim Gernentz : Low German - yesterday and today. Contributions to the language situation in the northern districts of the GDR in the past and present. Hinstorff-Verlag, Rostock 1980.
  • Eberhard Krienke: Uns Uckermark - language and dialect literature of a region. Schibri Verlag, Milow 1996, ISBN 3-928878-46-8 .
  • Willy Sanders : Saxon language, Hanseatic language, Low German. Linguistic history basics of Low German. Göttingen 1982

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