Middle Low German

Middle Low German
Middle Low German
Pronunciation ˈniːdɐˌdɔʏtʃ
Spoken in Southern Baltic littoral, south-eastern North Sea littoral
Era Evolved into Modern Low German and was replaced by High German Standard German
Language family
Writing system Latin (Fraktur)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 gml – Low German (generic)
Linguasphere 52-ACB-ca
Extent of the Hansa.jpg
Northern Europe in 1400, showing the extent of the Hanseatic League

Middle Low German (ISO 639-3 code gml) is a language that is the descendant of Old Saxon and is the ancestor of modern Low German. It served as the international lingua franca of the Hanseatic League. It was spoken from about 1100 to 1600.


Related languages

Its neighbour languages in the dialect continuum of the West Germanic languages were Middle Dutch to the west and Middle High German to the south, which was later replaced by Early Modern High German.

Middle Low German provided a large number of loanwords to the Nordic languages as a result of the activities of Hanseatic traders. It is considered the largest single source of loanwords in the continental Scandinavian languages and Estonian.


Middle Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League, spoken all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Based on the language of Lübeck, a standardized written language was developing, though it was never codified.

Traces of the importance of Middle Low German can be seen by the many loanwords found in the Scandinavian, Finnic, and Baltic languages, as well as standard German and English.

In the late Middle Ages, Middle Low German lost its prestige to Early Modern High German, which was first used by elites as a written and, later, a spoken language. Reasons for this loss of prestige include the decline of the Hanseatic League, followed by political heteronomy of Northern Germany and the cultural predominance of Middle and Southern Germany during the Protestant Reformation and Luther's German translation of the Bible.


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Middle Low German — n. the Low German language as written and spoken between c. 1100 and c. 1500 …   English World dictionary

  • Middle Low German — noun A language that descended from Old Saxon and is the ancestor of modern Low German, spoken from about 1100 to 1600. The written language is nowhere spoken by the people; it was formed at the period when Luther, rejecting the Middle High and… …   Wiktionary

  • Middle Low German — Low German of the period c1100 c1500. [1885 90] * * * …   Universalium

  • Middle Low German — noun Low German from 1100 to 1500 • Hypernyms: ↑Low German, ↑Plattdeutsch …   Useful english dictionary

  • Middle Low German — Mid′dle Low′ Ger′man n. peo the Low German dialects of c1100–c1500 Abbr.: MLG • Etymology: 1885–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • Middle Low German — noun Date: circa 1889 the Low German in use from about 1100 to 1500 see Indo European languages table …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Middle Low German — noun the Low German language (spoken in northern Germany) from c.1200 to 1500 …   English new terms dictionary

  • Middle Low German — noun Low German of the period approximately 1100–1500 …  

  • Middle High German — diutsch, tiutsch Spoken in southern Germany (south of the Benrath line), parts of Austria and Switzerland Era developed into Early New High German from the 14th century …   Wikipedia

  • Middle Low German — ISO 639 3 Code : gml ISO 639 2/B Code : ISO 639 2/T Code : ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Historical …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

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