(Prussian and Saxon subgroups)
Low Prussian (German: Niederpreußisch), sometimes known simply as Prussian (Preußisch), is a moribund dialect of East Low German that developed in East Prussia. Low Prussian was spoken in East and West Prussia and Danzig up to 1945. In Danzig it formed the particular city dialect of Danzig German. It developed on a Baltic substrate through the influx of Dutch- and Low German-speaking immigrants. It supplanted Old Prussian, which became extinct in the 18th century.
Simon Dach's poem Anke van Tharaw was written in Low Prussian.
Low Prussian is a Low German dialect formerly spoken in Prussia. It is separated from its only adjacent German dialect, High Prussian, by the Benrath line and the Uerdingen line, the latter dialect being Central German. This was once one of the, if not the hardest linguistic border within the German dialects.
Plautdietsch, a Low German variety, is included within Low Prussian by some observers. Excluding Plautdietsch, Low Prussian can be considered moribund due to the evacuation and forced expulsion of Germans from East Prussia after World War II. Plautdietsch, however, has several thousand speakers throughout the world, most notably in South America, Canada and Germany.
Almost all Low Prussian speakers were evacuated or expelled from Prussia after 1945. Since the expellees scattered throughout Western Germany the dialects are now moribund. Most of the Low Prussian speakers not expelled after World War II relocated from Poland to Western Germany in the 1970s and 1980s and from Russia in the 1990s as so-called late repatriates (Spätaussiedler). Today, the language is almost extinct, as its use is restricted to communication within the family and gatherings of expellees, where they are spoken out of nostalgia. In Poland, the language of the few non-displaced people was subjected to severe repression after 1945, which meant that the active use of the language was even lower than in Germany. In both countries, the High Prussian dialects were not transmitted to the next generation, therefore, few elderly speakers remain. The German minority in Poland, recognized since 1991, uses Standard German.
It shares some features with High Prussian, differentiating it from other Eastern Low German dialects.
Those Borussisms are:: 79
According to one summary of Low German dialects, words very characteristic of Low Prussian are doa ('dor', there), joa ('jo', yes), goah ('goh', go) and noa ('nober', neighbor), which feature the diphthong "oa" instead of the usual "o" or "a". Further diphthong digressions include such examples as "eu" (pronounced as ei as in Heiser ('Häuser', houses)), as well as "ei" (pronounced as ee as in Beene ('Beine', legs)). Betcke also notes the tendency to transform the long "u" with an umlaut as in dü ('du', you), nü ('nun', now) and Ühr ('Uhr', watch).
The dialect is also marked by a loan of High German-like words, such as zwei ('twee', two). Words are often shortened, in a manner similar to that of the neighboring East Pomeranian dialect, giving beet (beten, little bit) and baakove ('bakåben', bake oven).
Some observers argue that it resembles Dutch and Flemish because of these features. Low Prussian also has a number of words in common with Plautdietsch, such as Klemp (cow), Klopps (lump, ball of earth), and Tsoagel (tail).
Some other words are:
Low Prussian had patalization of /g, k/, which Latvian had since its contact to Low German.
After the assimilation of the Old Prussians, many Old Prussian words were preserved within the Low Prussian dialect.
|Low Prussian||Old Prussian||Latvian||Lithuanian||Standard German||English|
|Flins||plīnksni||plācenis||blynas||Pfannkuchen||pancake, scone, biscuit|
|Kujel||kūilis||cūka, mežacūka, kuilis||kuilys, šernas||Wildschwein||boar|
|Margell, Marjell||mērgā||meitene, meiča||merga, mergelė, mergaitė||Magd, Mädchen, Mädel||maiden, girl|
|Pawirpen||(from pawīrps)||algādzis, strādnieks||padienis||Losmann||freelancer|
In addition to the words of Old Prussian origin, another source of Baltic loanswas Lithuanian. After the migration of Lithuanians in the 15th century, many Lithuanian loanwords appeared in the Low Prussian dialect.
|Low Prussian||Lithuanian||Standard German||English|
|Burteninker||burtininkas||Wahrsager, Zauberer, Besprecher||magician, soothsayer, sorcerer|
|kalbeken||kalbėti||sprechen||to talk, to speak|
|Kausche, Kauszel||kaušas||Schöpfkelle, Trinknapf||dipper|
|Krepsch, Krepsche, Krepsze||krepšys, krepšas||Sack, Handsack, Ranzen||basket|
|Lorbas||liurbis||Tölpel, Tolpatsch, Waschlappen||loser, fumbler|
|Packrant||krantas, pakrantė, pakraštys||Rand, Küste||edge, coast|
The writer Erminia von Olfers-Batocki (1876-1954) from Natangia wrote the following poem in Low Prussian:
Ek häbb e kleen Perdke, ek häbb ok e Pitsch,
I have a little horse, I also have a whip,
|—Erminia von Olfers-Batocki, "Klingelschleede"|