Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Plautdietsch, or Mennonite Low German, is a language spoken by the Russian Mennonites, who are ethnically Dutch, but who adopted a Low Saxon dialect while they were refugees in the Vistula delta area of Royal Prussia (later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), beginning in the early-to-mid 1500s. Beginning in the late 1700s, when the region became part of the Kingdom of Prussia, many Mennonites left and created new colonies north of the Black Sea (present-day Ukraine), in an area that Russia had recently acquired in one of the Russo-Turkish Wars. Many Mennonites migrated to North America — especially Canada and United States of America — and Latin America — especially Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, and Paraguay — most of them live as rural settlers and added some Spanish and Portuguese words to their own language.
Today Plautdietsch is spoken in Paraguay, Mexico, Ukraine, Germany, Canada (particularly Manitoba and Saskatchewan), Brazil, Belize and the United States. There are two major dialects which trace their division to Ukraine. These two dialects are split between the New Colony and Old Colony Mennonites. Many younger Russian Mennonites in Canada and the United States today speak only English. For example, Homer Groening, the father of Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), spoke Plautdietsch as a child in Saskatchewan in the 1920s but his son Matt never learned the language.
Certain groups like the Old Colony Mennonites of Mexico have guarded the language better than others. However, as Old Colony Mennonites from Mexico resettle in Canada and the United States to flee the suffering Mexican economy, the stability of Plautdietsch in this group may be put to the test in their new homes, especially if the current stigmatisation of Old Colony Mennonites because of their poverty continues, as is the case in some places like Ontario by more prosperous neighbours. This may ultimately lead to an abandonment of the language by even this group in the future.
The Lord's Prayer in Plautdietsch
- Ons Voda em Himmel,
- lot dien Nome jeheilicht woare;
- lot dien Ritjdom kome;
- lot dien Welle jedone woare,
- uck hia oppe Ed, soo aus em Himmel;
- jeff ons Dach fe Dach daut Broot, daut ons felt;
- en fejeff ons onse Schult,
- soo aus wie den fejewe, dee sich jeajen ons feschuldicht ha;
- en brinj ons nich en Vesetjunk nenn,
- oba rad ons von Beeset.
- Ethnologue report for Plautdietsch
- Was ist Plautdietsch (in German)
- Plautdietsch-Freunde e.V.
- From the Mennonite Historical Society
- Pennsylvania German vs Plautdietsch among Mennonites
- Plautdietsch online Dictionary and grammar guide
- Low German Mennonite Church, Kansas, USA (enn American Enjelsch)
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