Northern Low Saxon

Northern Low Saxon
Northern Low Saxon
Spoken in Germany
Region East Frisia
Language family
Ollnborger Platt
North Hanoveranian
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Northern Low Saxon (in Low German, Noordneddersassisch) is a West Low German dialect.

As such, it covers a great part of the West Low-German-speaking areas of northern Germany, with the exception of the border regions where Eastphalian and Westphalian are spoken. However, Northern Low Saxon is easily understood by speakers of these dialects.

Northern Low Saxon can be divided into Holsteinisch, Schleswigsch, East Frisian Low Saxon, Dithmarsch, North Hanoveranian, Emsländisch and Oldenburgisch. [1]


The most obvious common character in grammar is the forming of the perfect participle. It is formed without a prefix, as in English, Danish, Swedish, Norse and Frisian, but unlike standard German, Dutch and some dialects of Westphalian and Eastphalian Low Saxon:

  • gahn [ɡɒːn] (to go): Ik bün gahn [ʔɪkbʏnˈɡɒːn] (I have gone/I went)
  • seilen [zaˑɪln] (to sail): He hett seilt [hɛɪhɛtˈzaˑɪlt] (He (has) sailed)
  • kopen [ˈkʰoʊpm] (to buy): Wi harrn köfft [vihaːŋˈkɶft] (We had bought)
  • kamen [kɒːmˑ] (to come): Ji sünd kamen [ɟizʏŋˈkɒːmˑ] (You (all) have come/You came)
  • eten [ˈʔeːtn] (to eat): Se hebbt eten [zɛɪhɛptˈʔeːtn] (They have eaten/They ate)

The diminutive (-je) (Dutch and Eastern Frisian -tje, Eastphalian -ke, High German -chen, Alemannic -le, li) is hardly used. Some examples are Buscherumpje, a fisherman's shirt, or lüttje, a diminutive of lütt, little. Instead the adjective lütt is used, e.g. dat lütte Huus, de lütte Deern, de lütte Jung.

There are a lot of special characteristics in the vocabulary, too, but they are shared partly with other languages and dialects, e.g.:

  • Personal pronouns: ik [ʔɪk] (like Dutch), du [du] (like German), he [hɛɪ] (like English), se [zɛɪ], dat [dat], wi [vi], ji [ɟi] (similar to English), se [zɛɪ].
  • Interrogatives (English/High German): wo [voʊ], woans [voʊˈʔaˑns] (how/wie), wo laat [voʊˈlɒːt] (how late/wie spät), wokeen [voʊˈkʰɛˑɪn] (who/wer), [voʊˈneːm] woneem (where/wo), wokeen sien [voʊˈkʰɛˑɪnziːn] / wen sien [vɛˑnziːn] (whose/wessen)
  • Adverbs (English/High German): laat [lɒːt] (late/spät), gau [ɡaˑʊ] (fast/schnell), suutje [ˈzutɕe] (slowly, carefully/langsam, vorsichtig, from Dutch zoetjes [ˈzutɕəs] ‘nice and easy’, adverbial diminutive of zoet [ˈzut] ‘sweet’), vigeliensch [fiɡeˈliːnʃ] (difficult, tricky/schwierig)
  • Prepositions (English/High German): bi [biː] (by, at/bei), achter [ˈʔaxtɝ] (behind/hinter), vör [fɶɝ] (before, in front of/vor), blangen [blaˑŋˑ] (beside, next to, alongside/neben), twüschen [ˈtvʏʃn] (betwixt, between/zwischen), mang, mank [maˑŋk] (among/unter)

External links


  1. ^ Noble, Cecil A. M. (1983). Modern German dialects New York [u.a.], Lang, p. 103-104

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