© Nordseeküsten-Radweg/ Florian Trykowski
Noorddüütsch op Platt

Is mol wedder tied för'n Klönschnack! Let’s have a little chat in Low German!

Having a chat in Low German is as much a part of northern Germany as the popular fish roll. You are also sure to encounter the dialect along the North Sea Cycle Route. Whether it's at the fishmonger's, in the shop next door or simply by the roadside - the northern Germans are always happy to have a brief chat. But be warned: you're already babbling a bit with "Moin, Moin". A simple short "Moin" as a greeting is enough. By the way, Moin can be said at any time of day or night and is the most popular greeting in the north.

Interested in learning a few words and phrases in Low German?

History of the Low German language

First mention of the term

The New Testament printed in Delft in the Netherlands was composed "in goede platten duytsche" ("in clear, understandable German"). The term is not to be translated as "language of the low country", however, but rather Low German at the time referred to something "freely, clearly, understandably".

Change in significance

"Plattdeutsch", as it is known in the German language, is part of the historical greater Low German language grouping, being just as old as High German and English.

Low German encompasses three language periods: Old Low German (800-1150; language of the Saxons who lived in what is now Lower Saxony, Holstein and Westphalia), Middle Low German (1150-1600; language of the Hanseatic League and therefore the most important trans-regional lingua franca in the north) and New Low German (since 1600).

The decline of the Hanseatic League resulted in Low German being replaced by High German meaning that "Plattdeutsch" became less important. The educated middle classes only spoke High German, leaving Low German as the everyday language of the rural population.


Figurehead of the region

Low German is becoming increasingly appreciated and fostered in northern Germany today. It is regarded as an important cultural asset and is of great relevance to regional diversity. There are various Low German dialects along the coast - meaning that not all "Platt" is the same.

Small dictionary of Low German

For a chat on the North Sea Coast Cycle Route

British English Plattdeutsch
Hello/Good day/Good evening Moin
Good morning Goden Morgen
Good evening Goden Avend
Good day Goden Dag
Yes Jo
No Nee
Hello, my name is ... Hallo, mien Naam is ...
I come from ... Ik kaam ut ...
I am ... years old. Ik bün ... Jahr oolt.
How are you? Wo geiht di das?
I'm feeling fine. Mi geiht dat goot.
I'm doing a cycle tour along the North Sea coast. Ik maak en Radreis langs de Noordseeküst.
Where can I stay overnight? Woneem kann ik hier övernachten?
What time is it? Wo laat is dat?
Can you tell me ...? Kauns du mij seggen ...?
Do you speak Low German? Proats du Platt?
Can you understand me? Kauns du mij verstoan?
Can you say it again? Segg et noch eenmoal.
See you Tschööt
Goodbye Op Weddersehn
Drop by some other time. Kiek mal wedder in.

Low German expressions

Sabbel nich, dat geit! 

Don't talk so much, just do it.

Do wat du wullt, de Lüh snackt doch.

Do whatever you want, people will still talk either way.

Na denn man tau! 

Let's get going!

Dat löpt sich allens torecht!

Everything will work out in the end.

Up'n Swutsch gahn. 

Head out and enjoy yourself.

Komm inne Puschen. 

Hurry up.

Wat mutt, dat mutt.

Don't moan about it, just do it.

Hand mutt Hand levern.  

One hand washes the other.

Kummt alls, as dat komen mutt.  

Things happen as they happen.

Noch mehr Lust zu stöbern? (Kopie 1)

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