How similar is Low German (Nederduits) to Dutch?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tegenwoordige verspreidingsgebied van de Nederlandse en de Nederduitse dialecten

A chart on the Dutch Wikipedia here compares the vocabulary for a number of Germanic languages, beginning with English and then moving on to Frisian, Afrikaans, Dutch, Low German (Nederduits), German, Swedish, Danish, and finally Norwegian. Removing Afrikaans, Swedish and Danish gives the following:

English Frisian Dutch Low German German Norwegian
Apple Appel Appel Appel Apfel Eple
Board Board Bord Boord Brett Brett
Beech Boek Beuk Böke Buche Bøk
Book Boek Boek Book Buch Bok
Breast Boarst Borst Borst Brust Bryst
Brown Brún Bruin Bruun Braun Brun
Day Dei Dag Dag Tag Dag
Dead Dea Dood Dod Tot Død
Die Stjerre Sterven sterven Sterben
Enough Genôch Genoeg Nog Genug Nok
Finger Finger Vinger Finger Finger Finger
Give Jaan Geven Geven Geben Gi
Glass Glês Glas Glas Glas Glass
Gold Goud Goud Gold Gold Gull
Hand Hân Hand Hand Hand Hånd
Head Holle Hoofd/ Kop Kopp Haupt/ Kopf Hode
High Heech Hoog hog Hoch Høy
Home Hiem Heim / thuis Heem Heim Hjem
Hook Heak Haak Haak Haken
House Hûs Huis Huus Haus Hus
Many Mennich Menige Mennig Manch Mange
Moon Moanne Maan Maan Mond Måne
Night Nacht Nacht Natt/ Nacht Nacht Natt
No Nee Nee(n) Nee Nein Nei
Old Âld Oud aol alt Gammel (maar: eldre, eldst)
One Ien Een Een Eins En
Ounce Ûns Ons Ons Unze Øse
Snow Snie Sneeuw Snee Schnee Snø
Stone Stien Steen Steen Stein Stein
That Dat Dat, Die Dat (Dit) Das Det
Two/Twain Twa Twee Twee Zwei/ Zwo/ Zwan To
Who Wa Wie Wee Wer Hvem
Worm Wjirm Wurm/ Worm Worm Wurm Orm

Aside from Norwegian (since it's a Northern Germanic language, not Western) you can see that German really sticks out from the others (Frisian, Dutch and Low German) with a lot of T in place of D, B in place of V and a lot of other differences. Makes you wonder what the linguistic situation would have been like if Germany had been unified around the languages in the northern part of the country and England hadn't spent so much time under Norman rule.

In a related story, here's something from Coaldale near Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) today:
A unique children’s storybook has been published in Coaldale featuring true stories in two languages.

The Jeschijchtenbuak storybook was two years in the making from the initial idea to the gathering of stories from the Low German speaking community. Susana Dyck, project coordinator, was “excited and thrilled” when the book was officially launched last Thursday.
The writing and collecting of stories and illustrations for the book began about a year ago. Dyck said the dream of creating the book, which will give parents in the Low German community an opportunity to read stories to their children in their own language, began two years ago...The book sells for $10 and is available at the County of Lethbridge Literacy office.


Anonymous said...

Goeie Morgen Dave!

The answers I had gotten about this problem were contradictory. But three years ago, my German teacher at Strasbourg told us a few sentences in his Low German dialect. I was amazed since it effectively sounded very like Netherlandic.


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