The West Germanic languages, except for High German, of the Germanic branch of Indo-European, represented by Old Low Franconian, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, and Old English, and their later stages, including Dutch, Plattdeutsch, English, and Frisian. Old Low German is the Low German language from its earliest period to about the twelfth century. Middle Low German is the Low German language as written and spoken between circa 1100 and circa 1500.

Distinguished from: High German

Low German was also highly influential in the development of Eastern Scandinavian into modern-day Danish. It was the language of the Hanseatic League (or Hansa) traders, and thus its influence was as wide-spread as Russia.

The term "Low German" comes from the translation of the (modern German) Plattdeutsch (literally "flat German"). Plattdeutsch was spoken in northern Germany, whose topographic composition is mostly plains; lowlands.

"Low German" is generally contrasted with High German, which was historically spoken in Germany's more altitudinous southern terrain, including the Alps.

Note that the terms "Low" and "High", as used here, do not refer to social class, only altitude.


Source: Word Mysteries and Histories. Jost, David A., PhD., Ed. 1986. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 146.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.