World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Low Prussian

Article Id: WHEBN0027644706
Reproduction Date:

Title: Low Prussian  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kashubians, Old Prussian language, Pomerania, Warmia, East Prussia, Slovincian language, Plautdietsch language, List of Germanic languages, Mundart des Ostgebietes, Mundart des Kürzungsgebietes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Low Prussian

Low Prussian
Native to originally Prussia, now America
Native speakers (no estimate available)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguist List

Low Prussian (German: Niederpreußisch), sometimes known simply as Prussian (Preußisch), is a dialect of East Low German that developed in East Prussia. Low Prussian was spoken in East and West Prussia and Danzig up to 1945. It developed on a Baltic substrate through the influx of Dutch and Low German speaking immigrants. It overruled Old Prussian, which then became extinct in the 17th century.

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 thousands of speakers throughout the world, most notably in South America, Canada and Germany.

Simon Dach's poem Anke van Tharaw, the best known East Prussian poem, was written in Low Prussian.


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". The dialect is also marked by a substitution of "k" for "ch", such as in mannke ('minsch', person), and 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 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[1] are:

  • Boffke - boy, lad
  • dätsch - dumb
  • Dubs - bum
  • Gnaschel - little child
  • jankere - yearn
  • Kobbel - mare
  • Pungel - pouch
  • schabbere - talk
  • Schischke - pine-cone
  • Schucke - potato(es)


Low and Old Prussian

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
Kaddig kaddegs kadiķis kadagys Wacholder juniper
Kurp kurpi kurpe kurpė Schuh shoe
Kujel kūilis cūka, mežacūka, kuilis kuilys, šernas Wildschwein boar
Margell, Marjell mērgā meitene, meiča merga, mergelė, mergaitė Magd, Mädchen, Mädel maiden, girl
Paparz papartis paparde papartis Farn fern
Pawirpen (from pawīrps) algādzis, strādnieks padienis Losmann freelancer
Zuris sūris siers sūris Käse cheese

Low Prussian and Lithuanian

In addition to the words of Old Prussian origin, another source of Balticisms was Lithuanian. After the migration of Lithuanians in the 15th century, many Lithuanian loanwoards appeared in the Low Prussian dialect.

Low Prussian Lithuanian Standard German English
Alus alus Bier beer
Burteninker burtininkas Wahrsager, Zauberer, Besprecher magician
kalbeken kalbėti sprechen to talk
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
Pirschlis piršlys Brautwerber matchmaker
Wabel, Wabbel vabalas Käfer bug

See also


  • Bauer, G.: Baltismen im ostpreußischen Deutsch. In: Annaberger Annalen, Nr.13, 2005, p.5-82.
  • Mitzka, Walther. Grundzüge nordostdeutscher Sprachgeschichte. (= DDG 59) Marburg (Elwert) 1959
  • Riemann, Erhard. Die preußische Sprachlandschaft. In: Festschrift für Friedrich von Zahn Bd.2   Köln/Wien 1971, 1-34
  • Riemann, Erhard (Hrsg.). Preußisches Wörterbuch. Bd. 1, Lf. 1. Neumünster (Wachholtz) 1974
  • Ziesemer, Walther. Die ostpreußischen Mundarten. Proben und Darstellungen. Breslau 2005

External links

  • Map of German dialects in 1897 (German)
  • Brief descriptions of most of the major Low German dialects
  • - Mundartprobe (German)
  • - Plautdietsch-Freunde e.V. (German)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.