Wiktionary:About German Low German

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Accessories-text-editor.svg This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.
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This page is a draft guideline for handling entries in the form(s) of Low German spoken in Germany.

For the forms of Low German/Saxon spoken in the Netherlands, see Wiktionary:About Dutch Low Saxon. For Mennonite Low German, see Wiktionary:About Plautdietsch. For an overview of all the lects called "Low German" or "Low Saxon", an information on those names, see Wiktionary:About Low German.

(German) Low German is represented on Wiktionary by the code nds-de. This is a modification of its ISO code (nds) which distinguishes it from Dutch Low Saxon, which has the code nds-nl.

Basic format for entries[edit]

The basic format for entries is:

==German Low German==

===Part of speech (e.g. Noun, Verb, etc.)===
{{infl|nds-de|part of speech}}

# {{context|dialect in which the given form of the word has the given sense|lang=nds-de}} [[translation]], [[definition]] OR {{alternative spelling of|another word|lang=nds-de}}

For example, the entry [[Water]] is formatted like this:

==German Low German==

===Noun===
{{head|nds-de|noun}}

# {{context|in most dialects, including|_|Low Prussian|lang=nds-de}} [[water]]

Standardized lemmata[edit]

When creating a German Low German entry, one must decide which form to use as the lemma. The spelling and pronunciation of words varies between dialects as well as between orthographical systems; the lect does not have a standard form, and many orthographies have been influenced by the orthography of High German, just as Dutch Low Saxon has been influenced by Dutch orthography.

See a comparison of (German) Low German and Dutch Low Saxon orthographies here.

One key difference to note is that the lemma forms of German Low German nouns are capitalized (with uncapitalized forms being alternative forms), the reverse of the situation of Dutch Low Saxon.

(Sub)dialectal differences[edit]

Within the dialect continuum which is (German) Low German, there is much variation. The word for "green", for example, could be written grön, gräun, or green. To some extent, the difference in spelling is related to difference in pronunciation: one pronunciation is diphtongized (grön, /gɾœɪ̯n/), another is not (gräun, /gɾɔɪn/). (See some information on long vowels.) There is also the issue of varying vowel length in terms such as Land/land, which may be either long or short, and which are thus written loand, Laand etc in various dialects.

The representation of long vs short vowels many vary among authors even within a particular dialect: thus grön might also be written gröön to show that it has a long vowel. The various representations of vowel length are shown here using the words for "white" and "wide" and their inflections:

  • One could represent only the shortness of short vowels, by doubling the following consonant. One would then write witt - witte/n/s for "white", and wid - wide/s/n for "wide".
  • One could represent only the length of long vowels, using a digraph: wit - wite/n/s vs wied - wiede/s/n.
  • One could represent both: witt - witte/n/s, and wied - wiede/s/n.

Another divide is that between phonetic and derivative orthography. The word Ding ("thing") is pronounced /-ŋk/ and could hence be written "Dink": but the plural is Dinger, pronounced /-ŋg-/.