What language came first, Plautdietsch or “Huach Dietsch” (High German / “proper” German) ? If you answered High German….you guessed wrong! Low German was spoken and written for more than 500 years before a single word of “High German” ever existed!
Today, the vast majority of Plautdietsch speaking people think that Plautdietsch is a “slang” version of “proper German”. This is absolutely false. Thanks to the work of Rueben Epp and many university researchers, we have a solid understanding of the beginnings of the Plautdietsch language that began in the year 1050. A.D. In fact the Hanseatic League, (which was the first signed “European Union agreement”) was written in "Low German" in the early eleventh century! The earlier two centuries saw a steady stream of settlers moving eastward from north central Europe, colonizing Slavic territories and the shores of the Baltic with people who spoke Low German. In the century of commercial development before 1350 AD, the Hanseatic merchants abroad led the way with Plautdietsch as the official written and spoken language that was used in northern European trade.
This is the introduction to our upcoming twelve part series, “Everything you never knew about Plautdietsch and were afraid to ask”. If you can speak Plautdietsch, you can speak a language that traces it's roots back almost a thousand years! And now you know,…..Plautdietsch came first! So where did "High German" come into existence? Don't worry, we'll answer that in an upcoming edition.
Would you like to learn more Plautdietsch? The ultimate low German dictionary ever published is still available. This amazing dictionary is the most complete reference of a language that was only used verbally for almost 500 years. Professor Jack Thiessen undertook the immense project of putting together a definitive and comprehensive dictionary to preserve this unique language. It makes a great gift for the younger generation who would like to learn and understand the spoken low German language of their parents and grandparents. It also makes a great gift for those who have forgotten many of the unique words and Plautdietsch phrases that have been used by Mennonites in the past 5 centuries. Order your copy and enjoy Plautdietsch like never before!
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