Lower Sorbian language

Spoken in

  • Indo-European Slavic Westslawisch Sorbian Lower Sorbian language




Lower ( colloquially and partly as a German -language self-designation also Wendish; Lower Sorbian own names Dolnoserbski, Dolnoserbska Rec, dolnoserbšćina [ ˌ dɔlnɔ sɛrsk ʲ i]) is a spoken in Lower Lusatia West Slavic language. It is one of the two Sorbian standard languages ​​, the other being Upper Sorbian.

Lower Sorbian is spoken mainly in and around Cottbus, in Vetschau, Lübbenau and Spremberg in Brandenburg. Street signs in this region are usually bilingual, and in Cottbus, there is a Lower Sorbian Grammar School, committed to the preservation and care of the Lower Sorbian language and culture.

Lower was originally almost to the southeastern outskirts of Berlin, the south of Frankfurt (Oder), the Oder, the region around Beeskow - Storkow, Fürstenwalde / Spree, King Wusterhausen as well as in and around Calau, Guben, Luckau, Lubben, Senftenberg and the Polish Zary and Lubsko distribution.


The phonology of Lower Sorbian has been strongly influenced by language contact with the Germans, especially in Cottbus and the larger cities. For example, a German -influenced pronunciation tends to have a uvular voiced fricative [ ʁ ] instead of the alveolar trills [r] and a not particularly palataliertes [ l] instead of [l ʲ ]. In villages and rural areas of German influence is less strong and pronunciation rather "typically Slavic ".


The consonantal phonemes of Lower Sorbian are as follows:

In Lower Sorbian both devoicing and regressive assimilation of phonation occur:

  • Dub (oak) is / dup / pronounced
  • Licba ( number) / ' Lidzba / pronounced
  • Susedka ( neighbor ) is / ' susetka / pronounced

The postalveolare fricative [ ʃ ] is assimilated before [ tɕ ] to [ ɕ ]:

  • SCIT ( protection) is / ɕtɕit / pronounced


The vowel phonemes are as follows:

Word accent

The word stress normally falls in Lower Sorbian on the first syllable of the word:

  • Chóśebuz / xɨɕɛbus / " Cottbus "
  • Łužyca / wuʒɨtsa / " Lausitz "
  • Pśijaśel / pɕijaɕɛl ʲ / " friend "

In loanwords, the accent can fall on one of the last three syllables of the word:

  • Internat / intɛrnat / " boarding "
  • Kontrola / kɔntrɔl ʲ a / "control"
  • Policija / pɔl itsija ʲ / " police "
  • September / sɛptɛmbɛr / " September "
  • Organizacija / ɔrgan izatsija ʲ / "Organisation"


The Sorbian alphabet based on the Latin alphabet but uses diacritics such as the acute and Caron. The default character encoding for the Sorbian alphabet is ISO 8859-2 ( Latin-2 ).

Current language situation

Since 1998, Lower Sorbian, after the adoption of the Law on the European Charter and regional languages ​​of Europe, officially recognized as a distinct language which is, however, closely related to Upper Sorbian. A feature to recognize Lower Sorbian as their own language, the Lower Sorbian literary language, which differs from the Upper Sorbian literary language.

In the years 1993-1995 investigations were carried out in villages of Lower Lusatia, since you wanted to know how many people are still in the Sorbian language / Lower Sorbian are powerful and how the age structure of the speaker looks, so if the language preservation is good or bad.

Some villages that were studied from 1993 to 1995:

  • Dissen / desno: 28.9 % wendischsprachig ( )
  • Fehrow / Prjawoz: 25.7 % wendischsprachig ( )
  • Neuendorf / Nowa Wjas: 23.5% wendischsprachig ( )
  • Müschen / Mysyn: 21.4% wendischsprachig (-)
  • Preilack / Pśiłuk: 20.3% wendischsprachig ( )
  • Guhrow / Gory: 19.4% wendischsprachig (-)
  • Jaenschwalde / Janšojce: 18.9% wendischsprachig ( )
  • Babow / Bobow: 16.6% wendischsprachig (-)
  • Tauer / Turjej: 16.3% wendischsprachig (-)
  • Drehnow / Drjenow: 16.0% wendischsprachig ( )
  • Döbbrick / Depsk: 15.4% wendischsprachig ( )
  • Merzdorf / Žylowk: 5.7% wendischsprachig (-)

= Good language maintenance / - = Bad language preservation

It should be noted that all persons were admitted with lower Sorbisch-/Wendischkenntnissen as Wendish language in the investigations.

According to the census of December 1, 1900 talked in circles Cottbus ( Brandenburg province ) still 55.8 % the Wendish language. Today Lower Sorbian is still spoken 7000-10000 people, but most of the older generations, making the Lower Sorbian worse off than Upper Sorbian, which is actively used by young people and children.

It can be seen that e.g. all villages (up to Neuendorf ), which have a good retention of the Wendish, teach the Wendish in their schools or taught. The Wendish language was supported by the fact that there was until 1941 Wendish church services in Dissen and until 1894 in Jaenschwalde.

Today the Lower Sorbian missing - in contrast to Upper Sorbian - a stable core language area in which it is the majority language.

Education in the Lower Sorbian Wendish language

School education in Lower Sorbian Wendish language was mostly limited to the religious education and as an aid for teaching the German language. At the time of National Socialism, the Lower Sorbian Wendish language was forbidden in all areas of life, whether on the road., In schools or in the measuring As of 1945, the situation of the low - sorbent contact was still considered to be very ambiguous, since it was the assumption that you received on life, for example with the Sorbian only somewhat artificial. Once in 1952 took place a change of course, the Sorbian Wendish language should be a higher priority be guaranteed. Thus for the first time supported by the state schools have been built, in which the Lower Sorbian Wendish language was taught. In the school year 1954/55 there were 22 schools of type B. However, it was also planned to convert the schools in the villages Döbbrick, Dissen and Drachhausen in A schools (see also Sorbian education). In 1952 also the Lower Sorbian Wendish high school Marjana Domaškojc was founded. The Lower - Sorbian schools were distributed as follows:

  • Circle Calau = 1 school
  • Circle Cottbus = 19 schools ( high school 1 )
  • District forestry = 1
  • Circle Guben = 1

Despite the declining birth-rate, the number of students currently remains constant, participating in Brandenburg on Sorbian. With the new project Witaj, which was introduced in Cottbus first time in 1998, there is the possibility the children in kindergarten the Lower Sorbian Wendish language by immersion as a " second "Bring mother tongue closer. Is at about 30 schools today the option to teach Lower Sorbian - Lusatian and to learn, although it is threatened by cuts in the state parliament in the future for the lower classes.

Lower Sorbian Wendish media

The first newspaper, which published their contributions in Lower Sorbian Wendish language, was the Bramborski Serbski Casnik. It first appeared in 1848 and was later replaced by the Nowy Casnik. The Nowy Casnik was re-established after the ban in 1947, but for the time being as a weekly supplement of the Nova Doba. Since 1954, she appeared again on its own as a weekly newspaper. Today, the Nowy Casnik German and Lower Sorbian Wendish posts as content and it will be printed each year some books in Lower Sorbian. The Nowy Casnik has a print run of about 1,100. For children, the monthly Lower Sorbian Wendish children's magazine Płomje has a circulation strength of about 850 pieces.

On television there since 1992, the monthly TV magazine Łužyca, which will be chaired alternately by the two moderators Anja Pohontsch and Christian Matthée. Every three months, will air a monothematic shipment.

In the radio several hours Lower Sorbian Wendish radio programs are recorded and broadcasted by RBB. The Lower Sorbian Wendish youth program Bubak is produced by young low - sorbent contact itself and RBB broadcast (see Sorbian radio ).


The best prospects to keep yourself has the Lower Sorbian language in the northern area around Cottbus ( Chóśebuz ) and to the west of its language area. In the south is already spoken almost no Wendish, even if for example in Bahnsdorf ( southern part of Lower Lusatia, Oberspreewald -Lausitz ) before about 70 years talked almost all the inhabitants Sorbian.