Sorbian languages

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Патрислав Андреевич

Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-16, 21:57

I couldn’t find any topic about these languages so here it is! Is anyone interested in them? They are minority languages, which are sooo loved by UniLang members. :P

Upper and Lower Sorbian are two closely related Slavonic languages from the Western branch (including also Czech, Kashubian, Polish, and Slovak) spoken by estimately 55,000 people in Lusatia, a historical region in today Germany. Their situation is very hard since the younger Sorbian generation speaks almost exclusively German. This makes the languages close to extinction...

Here are some maps:
Image
A map of West Slavonic languages
Upper Sorbian is H and Lower Serbian is H2

Image
Sorbian-speaking region on the map of Germany

Image
A better view on Lusatia. Upper Sorbian is spoken by about 40-50 thousand people in areas around the city of Budyšin, while Lower Sorbian by about 5-15 thousand people in areas around Chośebuz.

Image
Very interesting map of the Sorbian dialect continuum. It shows that the linguistic situation is not as simple as Upper and Lower Sorbian, with intermediate dialects which don’t fit into one or another. Of course the most important are the Budyšin dialect (on which the literary Upper Sorbian is based) and the Choćebuz dialect (on which the literary Lower Sorbian is based).

Some resources (mostly taken from the external links on Wikipedia):

Hornjoserbšćina (Upper Sorbian)

Dolnoserbšćina (Lower Sorbian)
Last edited by Патрислав Андреевич on 2013-11-18, 16:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-17, 1:08

A minority language AND Western Slavic! Hell yeah, I'm in! 8-)

Патрислав Андреевич

Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-17, 18:41

księżycowy wrote:A minority language AND Western Slavic! Hell yeah, I'm in! 8-)

Another such language (minority and West Slavonic) is also Kashubian, in Northern Poland. :yep:

Meanwhile, I have applied for access to Czech National Corpus (korpus.cz), which supposedly contains also some Sorbian texts. There a few (well, 170) open texts publicly available in Wikisource: http://wikisource.org/wiki/Main_Page/Hornjoserb%C5%A1%C4%87ina. It’s really great! And I understand a lot of it, thanks to my Polish (but also Serbian and a little Slovak) knowledge! :mrgreen: Learning this language shouldn’t be too hard. I couldn’t find any good Sorbian-English electronic dictionary, so I’m planning to create one myself. :wink: There is a Sorbian-German one already, and so many words have their Polish equivalents that I think the most basic vocabulary won’t be difficult to collect. :)

Here are some samples of spoken Sorbian. Yes, it sounds very German-like — for many Sorbs German is a native language, and all of them live in German-speaking environment... that’s why there is [ʁ] for /r/ for example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK1-LTWBMkw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E73DHMNwURA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bD_5uye34

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSke_dbHWVA&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLF8B0D52A6B028D02

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwnfOPKnMQ8

As far as I can tell, they are all Upper Sorbian.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-17, 20:17

I've been eying Kashubian, and Silesian as well. Who knows if I'd actually learn any of them, but I'd like to think I might learn a bit of one.

Keep the posts on Sorbian coming! I'm definitely going to be following this thread either way.

Патрислав Андреевич

Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-18, 16:50

I've been eying Kashubian, and Silesian as well. Who knows if I'd actually learn any of them, but I'd like to think I might learn a bit of one.

Yeah, they are awesome. :P Although resources for them are available mostly in Polish as far as I know. :wink:

I have found a very interesting map depicting the Sorbian dialects and added it to the original post. :)

I have also added the Wikisource website and the website of Serbske Nowiny to it. It’s a newspaper based in Budyšin, published 5 times a week. It comes out in both paper and electronic editions. I would really like to subscribe to it, but even the electronic version costs 44 euro a year. It’s not that much, seeing that the regular paper edition costs 0.54 euro (if I’m correct). Buuuut, I’m poor, and for that money I could have a Sorbian textbook and a grammar... :? I will decide later, for now I have more than enough Sorbian texts to read. :D (They also have a facebook page here on which they post news a few times a day‚ so I recommend subscribing to it. :) )

Meanwhile I’m also reviewing my Ruby skills to create the bestest e-dictionary evah. :silly:

Edit:

Another batch of links! After I review them I will add some most useful ones to the first post. :D

http://www.rastko.org.rs/rastko-lu/ - website about Sorbs in Serbian (Balkan :wink:)
http://80.153.223.118/~edi/wucbnica/ - Wučbnica - Upper Sorbian textbook in German
http://www.kolumbus.fi/eero.balk/SORBIT.HTM - A F*** LOT of links!!! It seems like it was last updated in 2008 so some of them might not work, but hey! That’s amazing! :shock:
http://ski.sorben.com/ - cultural informations about Lusatia

And a website of Lower Sorbian newspaper: http://www.nowycasnik.de/

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-18, 20:07

They have a ton of textbooks are dictionaries here (in German):
http://www.domowina-verlag.de/de/verlag
I'm thinking that once I get my German studies going again (which might be very soon), I might look into buying a few things from them! :yep:

Do they have textbooks for Kashubian and Silesian? I imagine they do, but figured I'd check.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-18, 21:21

Yeah, I’ve seen that, really awesome. I have bookmarked 3 of their books:

http://www.domowina-verlag.de/hs/titule ... samostudij - a course
http://www.domowina-verlag.de/hs/titule ... serbscinje - a grammar
http://www.domowina-verlag.de/hs/titule ... s-woerterb - a dictionary

Now only to get some €65 (including €5 for delivery)... It really hurts, since in Poland a regular language book costs no more than €10. :? If you ever happen to own any of them... let me know. :lol:

(As a side note, I prefer browsing this site in Sorbian, since I understand more than in German, despite having studied it for some time... :para: )

About Kashubian and Silesian, surely there are some out there, for example this little book for as much as €3 (yes, I’m comparing to the Sorbian books above :lol: .) I searched only briefly and only in Polish, though.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-18, 22:50

As long as they ship to America, you can bet on the fact that I'll eventually have them. Maybe within a year.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby arajan » 2013-11-21, 21:16

I grew up in the Sorbian-speaking region, although I cannot speak it myself - I have German speaking parents :? I can recommend the books linked by xivrox. They are of excellent quality, I have both the grammar and the textbook. Both books are for the Upper-Sorbian language which has much more speakers than the Lower-Sorbian dialects. Lower Sorbian is closer to Polish by the way, so for a Polish mother tongue speaker, Lower-Sorbian might be a tad easier to learn. There is also a highly recommendable text book for Lower-Sorbian:
http://www.domowina-verlag.de/de/titel/357-niedersorbisch-praktisch-und-verstaendlich
All of the books are in German unfortunately, except for the pućnik which is only in Sorbian. If you are really interested in the lingustic details, there is a massive grammar still available:
http://www.domowina-verlag.de/de/titel/64-grammatik-der-obersorbischen-schriftsprache-der-gegenwart-morphologie-gramatika-hornjoserbskeje-spis - This thing has almost 900 pages.

Last but not least, let me add that although you might consider the books expensive, they are comparably cheap for Germany and I think they are even subsidized. For books of this print quality (all hardcover) and such a small minority language you would usually pay double or three times the price here.

If you have more questions about the language or the books, feel free to ask...

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-21, 21:57

Cool, thanks arajan! Unfortunately it might be a while before I can learn either, but it does make me wonder which I'd like to learn. I've always arbitrarily sided with Upper Sorbian. I have time to figure it out though.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby arajan » 2013-11-21, 22:24

It's a difficult decision which one to learn. I would probably also recommend Upper Sorbian. It has more speakers, more literature and more textbooks/grammars etc. There is at least one Upper Sorbian grammar in English which was published some 10, 15 years ago, but I do not recall the details. Lower Sorbian is close to moribund and the perspectives are not particularly bright at the moment. As a minus for Upper Sorbian, I have the feeling that the pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary of Upper Sorbian have been influenced by German more than Lower Sorbian. Upper Sorbian is a beautiful language in print but unpleasant to listen to in my opinion. It really sounds like a slavic language spoken by Germans.

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-11-21, 22:28

Ah, it's no difference to me what the book in English is, I've wanted to revive my rusty as hell German, and this is just one more excuse to do it! :D

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-21, 22:40

Yeah, it’s amazing, thank you a lot! :) I think I will buy 2 books: the dictionary and the pućnik (I guess it’s a complete grammar guide, is it?) I decided to resign from buying the textbook because I believe it was created with German speakers in mind. And as such it probably explains a lot of features that are obvious for me, being a native speaker of Polish. I wouldn’t call it useless (Gosh, I’ll miss them CD’s!) but regarding my limited budget, the other two might be more useful.. For me studying Sorbian is more like learning what the differences between it and Polish are, so I won’t need the entire course... (but, but, but the CD’s....... :( ) Maybe some other time.

arajan wrote:Last but not least, let me add that although you might consider the books expensive, they are comparably cheap for Germany and I think they are even subsidized. For books of this print quality (all hardcover) and such a small minority language you would usually pay double or three times the price here.

Well then, I wish my family earned as much as the average German one! :?

If you have more questions about the language or the books, feel free to ask...

If I (or anyone else) have any (other than the one about pućnik I asked above) question, I’ll surely ask! That’s what this thread is for after all. :yep:

As a minus for Upper Sorbian, I have the feeling that the pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary of Upper Sorbian have been influenced by German more than Lower Sorbian. Upper Sorbian is a beautiful language in print but unpleasant to listen to in my opinion. It really sounds like a slavic language spoken by Germans.

Oh yeah, I must agree, unfortunately. It lost its Slavic feel in speech.. Although it does add to its unique character, of a Slavic language that sounds like German. :D

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby arajan » 2013-11-22, 21:44

So, to answer some questions...

xivrox wrote:Yeah, it’s amazing, thank you a lot! :) I think I will buy 2 books: the dictionary and the pućnik (I guess it’s a complete grammar guide, is it?) I decided to resign from buying the textbook because I believe it was created with German speakers in mind. And as such it probably explains a lot of features that are obvious for me, being a native speaker of Polish.

Yes, the textbooks are indented for German speakers. If you are looking for something fast-paced, there is a series of 2 textbooks for Lower Sorbian which is called "Niedersorbisch schnell und intensiv". This is for people with a background; already the first lesson of textbook 1 was 1,5 pages small print entirely in Sorbian. At least the 2nd volume is still available.
As for the pućnik: Yes, it is pretty complete with all kinds of inflection charts and so on. I copied a part of the introduction and the main chapters, so you can get a better picture. It's in Upper-Sorbian, but I am sure you'll understand (despite the typos I probably made):
Gramatika Pućnik po hornoserbšćinje je myslena za wuknjacych a wučacych a móže so tuž dwojim zaměrom wužiwać:
1. Wona chce być přiručka, z kotrejež pomocu móže jeje wužiwar w padźe njewěstosće zhonić konkretnu formu jednotliweho słowa a jeje prawe nałožowanje w teksće. Tajke informacije namaka wón spěšnje předewšěm we wotrězkomaj D a E, tola tež – z mjeńšej wahu w šulskej wučbje – we wotrežkomaj A a F.
2. Wona chce być – drje popularne, tola nic zjednorjene – systematiske powučenje wo strukturje hornjoserbšćiny a wo jeje natwarje a chce z tym přinošować k pohłubšenju wědy wo rěči, wo jeje twarskim materialu (wo zwukach a fonemach – morfemach – słowach – syntagmach – sadach) a wo fungowanju a woznamje tajkich jednotkow. Wužiwar tuteje gramatiki dóstanje, w prěnim rjedźe we wotrězkomaj B a C, trěbne informacije, kiž jemu dokładišo wujasnjuja natwar rěče a wšelakorosć, tola mjezsobnu splećenosć rěčnych formow. Mjenowane wotrězki su tak koncipowane, zo móže tež wučer na jich zakładźe a z jich pomocu sej lochko wudźěłać za swoju wučbu efektiwne zwučowanja, kiž rěčnu zamóžnosć šulerja skrućić pomhaja, na př. wo trjebanju aspekta, wo distributiwnym abo sumatiwnym numerusu, wo nałožowanju refleksiwneho pronomena abo wo podobnych, za wužiwarja spisowneje serbšćiny často z ćežemi a dwělemi zwjazanych problemach.
+++
A Wučba wo zwukach a fonemach – 10 pages
B Wučba wo słowach - 48 pages
C Wučba wo woznamje formow słowa – 28 pages
D Wučba wo tworjenju słownych formow – 78 pages
E Wučba wo nałožowanju gramatiskich formow – 36 pages
F Wučba wo wuprajenjach a sadach – 45 pages

Good luck with your studies! :D

Ah, and one more note. The link that was posted earlier on http://80.153.223.118/~edi/wucbnica/ is the electronic shortened version of the book Obersorbisch im Selbstsudium.

Патрислав Андреевич

Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-11-22, 23:37

Wow, thank you for the excerpt! The book is exactly what I need then. :) Plus a German-Sorbian dictionary to check the unknown words (and a Polish-German one which I already have.) That Lower Sorbian course might be interesting too! Though I am focusing on the Upper variant right now. Maybe some other time. :P

Патрислав Андреевич

Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2013-12-11, 16:16

I’m so excited! I just got this:

Image
:whoo:

I must agree, their quality is really awesome! Totally worth the price! :yep: They are damaged a bit in the lower right corner, stupid post. :evil: But other than that, the covers are awesome, the paper is great.. and the contents.. I haven’t got enough time to look through it but it looks really nice. :D

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby stordragon » 2014-01-31, 13:30

Czy ktoś może mi powiedzieć jak się mówi "is there..?" po górnołużycku? Jak się mówi "czy jest sposób(wašnje??) na uratowanie/zachowanie tych języków przed wymarciem"? Z góry dziękuję!
Last edited by stordragon on 2014-01-31, 15:55, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-01-31, 15:44

I’m still learning Upper Sorbian so I’m bound to make mistakes... but here’s my proposal:

Je wašnje by tej rěč wot wotemrěnja wuchować? (dual, 2 languages)
Je wašnje by te rěče wot wotemrěnja wuchować? (plural, 3 or more languages)

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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby stordragon » 2014-02-01, 18:58

xivrox wrote:I’m still learning Upper Sorbian so I’m bound to make mistakes... but here’s my proposal:

Je wašnje by tej rěč wot wotemrěnja wuchować? (dual, 2 languages)
Je wašnje by te rěče wot wotemrěnja wuchować? (plural, 3 or more languages)


Hm, I think wašnje means rather "manner" than "method", and I don't think the Upper Sorbian "by" can be associated to an infinitive verb form like "wuchować" ..

(Unlike the Lechitic subbranch, Upper Sorbian seems to be much more similar to the Czech-Slovak subbranch in this respect: they don't have something like "by/aby/żeby uratować.." but they *only* use "zo bych/bychmy(bychmoj)/by/byšće(byštaj)/by/bychu(byštaj)..wuchował" which is correspondent to "bym/byśmy/byś/byście/by/by..uratował" in Polish)

So my attempt is as follows:
Je puć/metoda k wuchowanju tutych rěčow před wotemrěnjom???

(I just found the following sentence from this sample corpus here: wšak je tež morsowanje jedyn puć komunikacije – tež „metoda k posrědkowanju pismikow a znamješkow“ mjenowany)

In addition, I suspect they use the following structure:
"..je wašnje, kak..(+infinitive or reflexive forms e.g. "Wašnje, kak so kultura definuje, postaja do dalokeje měry, što a kak so přepytuje" as it shows [url=http://hsb.wiktionary.org/wiki/definować]here[/url])"
"..je způsob, jak..(+infinitive form)"
just as what they do in Czech, which is different from "..jest sposób by..(+infinitive form)" in Polish.

However, I still cannot figure out what the most common way is for them to express "a way to do something"? With the k-structure (namely a PP parallel to the Polish na-structure "sposób na (z)robienia czegoś") or with the kak-clause?? :oops: Perhaps only the native Sorbians know this.. :P
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Re: Sorbian languages

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-02-03, 22:38

Ah, sorry! Unfortunately, I don’t know Sorbian very well, and what I know is influenced by my Polish, so that’s why my sentence was erroneous.. Thank you for correcting it, by the way! :mrgreen: It seems like you know it better than I do, so I won’t give my opinion about that.. so we might indeed need a help from a native Sorbian then. ;)


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