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Academic Paper


Title: Mennonite Plautdietsch (Canadian Old Colony)
Author: Christopher Cox
Institution: University of Alberta
Author: Jacob M. Driedger
Institution: University of Saskatchewan
Author: Benjamin Vardell Tucker
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Alberta
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: Plautdietsch
Abstract: Mennonite Plautdietsch (ISO 639–3: pdt) is a West Germanic (Indo-European) language belonging to the Low Prussian (Niederpreußisch) subgroup of Eastern Low German (Ostniederdeutsch), a continuum of closely related varieties spoken in northern Poland until the Second World War (Ziesemer 1924, Mitzka 1930, Thiessen 1963). Although its genetic affiliation with these other, now-moribund Polish varieties is uncontested, Mennonite Plautdietsch represents an exceptional member of this grouping. It was adopted as the language of in-group communication by Mennonites escaping religious persecution in northwestern and central Europe during the mid-sixteenth century, and later accompanied these pacifist Anabaptist Christians over several successive generations of emigration and exile through Poland, Ukraine, and parts of the Russian Empire. As a result of this extensive migration history, Mennonite Plautdietsch is spoken today in diasporic speech communities on four continents and in over a dozen countries by an estimated 300,000 people, primarily descendants of these so-called Russian Mennonites (Epp 1993, Lewis 2009).

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 43, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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