Middle Low German
|Middle Low German|
|Region||Southern Baltic littoral, south-eastern North Sea littoral|
|Era||Evolved into Modern Low German and was replaced by High German|
|Writing system||Latin (Fraktur)|
Northern Europe in 1400, showing the extent of the Hanseatic League
Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (ISO 639-3 code
gml) is a language that is the descendant of Old Saxon and the ancestor of modern Low German. It served as the international lingua franca of the Hanseatic League. It was spoken from about 1100 to 1600.
Middle Low German is a term used with varying degrees of inclusivity. It is distinguished from Middle High German, spoken to the south, which was later replaced by Early Modern High German. It is sometimes taken to mean the dialect continuum of all the other high medieval Continental West Germanic dialects, from Flanders in the West to the eastern Baltic, but it is sometimes seen as separate from western varieties such as Middle Dutch.2
Middle Low German provided a large number of loanwords to the Nordic languages as a result of the activities of Hanseatic traders. It is considered the largest single source of loanwords in the continental Scandinavian languages, Estonian and Latvian.
Middle Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League, spoken all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It used to be thought that the language of Lübeck was dominant enough to become a normative standard (the so-called Lübecker Norm) for an emergent spoken and written standard, but more recent work has established that there is no evidence for this and that Middle Low German was non-standardised.3
In the late Middle Ages, Middle Low German lost its prestige to Early Modern High German, which was first used by elites as a written and, later, a spoken language. Reasons for this loss of prestige include the decline of the Hanseatic League, followed by political heteronomy of Northern Germany and the cultural predominance of Middle and Southern Germany during the Protestant Reformation and Luther's German translation of the Bible.
- Bible translations into German
- The Sachsenspiegel
- Low German Incunable prints in Low German as catalogued in the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, including the Low German Ship of Fools, Danse Macabre and the novel Paris und Vienne
- "m". The Linguasphere Register. p. 219. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- D. Nicholas, 2009. The Northern Lands: Germanic Europe, c. 1270–c.1500. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 180-98.
- Mähl, S. (2012). Low German texts from late medieval Sweden. In L. Elmevik and E. H. Jahr (eds), Contact between Low German and Scandinavian in the Late Middle Ages: 25 Years of Research, Acta Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi, 121. Uppsala: Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur. 113–22 (at p. 118).
- A grammar and chrestomathy of Middle Low German by Heinrich August Lübben (1882) (in German), at the Internet Archive
- A grammar of Middle Low German by Agathe Lasch (1914) (in German), at the Internet Archive
- Schiller-Lübben: A Middle Low German to German dictionary by Schiller/Lübben (1875) at Mediaevum.de and at the Internet Archive
- Project TITUS, including texts in Middle Low German
- A Middle Low German to German dictionary by Gerhard Köbler (2010)
- Middle Low German influence on the Scandinavian languages
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