LSGL 07: The Altai Dialect of Plautdiitsch

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The Altai Dialect of Plautdiitsch

West-Siberian Mennonite Low German

Rogier Nieuweboer
University of Groningen

Plautdiitsch, the language used by Mennonites in many parts of the world, is a descendant of the West Prussian Low German dialects once spoken in the Weichsel delta area. Many of its characteristics can be explained by the two centuries of isolation from other (Low) German dialects and by contacts with other languages, especially Russian. The Altai dialect of Plautdiitsch, although still mutually intelligible with other varieties of the language, shows a number of peculiarities. Some of these are developments of traits common to all Plautdiitsch dialects, others have arisen as a result of the increasingly intensive contacts with the Russian speaking surroundings.

Apart from a short historical introduction, The Altai Dialect of Plautdiitsch consists of two parts. The first contains chapters on phonetics and phonology, the place of the Altai dialect in the Plautdiitsch diasystem, morfology (the case system), syntax (the auxiliary döune 'to do'), contact phenomena (elements from Germanic and Slavonic languages; code switching), and orthography. The second part contains interviews in Plautdiitsch with an English translation. Topics discussed by the informants include the history of the Mennonites in Russia, everyday life in Siberia, contacts with other ethnic Germans and Russians, and emigration to Germany.

Part I: 1. The phoneme system of Siberian Plautdiitsch. 1.1. Methodology. 1.2. The phonetic transcription. 1.3. Word list. 1.4. Phoneme description. 1.5. The vowel phoneme inventory. 1.6. The consonant phoneme inventory. 2. The place of West Siberian Plautdiitsch. 2.1. Introduction. 2.2. Data from recordings of various forms of Plautdiitsch. 2.3. The vowel phoneme in a historical perspective - Labov's chain shift theory. 2.4. Material from descriptions of various forms of Plautdiitsch. 2.5. Towards a historical phonology of Plautdiitsch. 2.6. Conclusions. 3. Morphology: the case system. 3.1. Introduction. 3.2. Analysis of Low German dialects. 3.3. Analysis of some varieties of Plautdiitsch. 3.4. Conclusions. 4. The verb 'to do' as an auxiliary. 4.1. Semantic functions and distribution. 4.2. Aspect: some definitions. 4.3. Analysis of examples from Low German texts. 4.4. Auxiliary 'to do' in Siberian Mennonite Low German. 4.5. Auxiliary 'to do' in other varieties of Mennonite Low German. 4.6. Aspect in Russian. 4.7. The rise of aspect. 4.8. Conclusions. 5. Plautdiitsch in contact with other languages. 5.1. Languages in contact. 5.2. Russian and Standard German elements in Plautdiitsch. 5.3. Code switching. 6. Towards a spelling of Plautdiitsch. 6.1. Does Plautdiitsch need an orthography? 6.2. Low German orthography. 6.3. Analysis of existing Plautdiitsch orthographies. 6.4. Some proposals for a Plautdiitsch orthography. Conclusions.
Part II: Plautdiitsch texts. Introduction. Speaker 1-6.

ISBN 9783895869365. LINCOM Studies in Germanic Linguistics 07. 360pp. 1999.

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