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Low Saxon in The Netherlands
This article is a part of the
Dutch dialects series.

Low Franconian

Low Franconian/Ripuarian

Low Saxon

Dutch Low Saxon (Dutch Low Saxon: Nedersaksisch) is a group of Low Saxon (i.e., Low German) dialects spoken in the northeastern Netherlands (in comparison, the remainder of the Netherlands speak a collection of Low Franconian dialects). The class "Dutch Low Saxon" is not unanimous. From a diachronic point of view, the Dutch Low Saxon dialects are merely the Low Saxon dialects which are native to areas in the Netherlands (as opposed to areas in northern Germany or Denmark). From a strictly synchronic point of view, however, some linguists classify Dutch Low Saxon as a variety of Dutch.[1] Some Dutch Low Saxon dialects show features of Westphalian, a West Low German dialect spoken in Germany.


Language classification
Indo-European languages
Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
Low German
Dutch Low Saxon
Key: K - Kollumerlands GN - Grunnegs and North-Drèents S - Stellingwarfs MD - Middle-Drèents SD - South-Drèents T - Tweants TG - Tweants-Groafschops GO - Gelders-Oaveriessels (Achterhooks) and Urkers V - Veluws

Dutch Low Saxon comprises the following forms (any of which are considered separate languages in ISO 639-3):

Most varieties belong to the West Low Saxon group. Grunnegs is so different from the rest of the Dutch Low Saxon varieties that it may be treated separately. Tweants and Achterhooks belong to the Westphalian group of dialects. The remainder, Drèents, Stellingwarfs, Sallaans, Urkers and Veluws, could be classified in their own subdivision, since they form the westermost group of Low Saxon dialects, considerably affected by Dutch. Urkers and West-Veluws are even so heavily Hollandified that some people classify these dialects as Low Franconian rather than Low Saxon.

Dutch influence

Spread of the contemporary Dutch and Low German dialects

A lot of these dialects have been affected by the Hollandic expansion of the seventeenth century. All of them are lexically dependent on Dutch rather than German for neologisms. When written down, they use a Dutch-based orthography.

a unified plural in -en rather than -t
This is found in West-Veluws and Urkers and clearly ensued from Dutch influence, since a unified plural in -t for verbs is common in Low Saxon. These dialects have wiej warken instead of wiej warkt for "we work". This feature is, surprisingly, also found in Stellingwarfs and Grunnegs, but here this trait is believed to have Frisian rather than Hollandic origins (the Stellingwerven have been Frisian for centuries and Groningen was a Frisian speaking area in the Middle Ages). Modern Frisian has -e here, -en may be a kind of intermediate form between -t and -e. This unified plural takes the form -et rather than -t in the Achterhooks dialect of Winterswijk.
several long vowel shifts
Veluws, Sallaans, Stellingwarfs and Drèents have experienced mutation as the Hollandic dialect rose in prestige during the seventeenth century. The ee [e:] mutated into ie [i:], the oo [o:] into oe [u:] and the oe [u:] into uu [y:]. Tweants and Eastern Achterhooks, by contrast retained their old vowels. Compare these Tweants and Sallaans couples: deer - dier ("animal"); good - goed ("good"); hoes - huus ("house"). Surprisingly, in many dialects the oe sound was preserved in some words while it mutated towards uu in others. As a result, in Sallaans "huis" (house) translates as huus but "muis" (mouse) as moes (as in Tweants).
loss of the word du "thou"
Dutch has lost the word doe "thou" for long and replaced it by jij, originally a personal pronoun for the pluralic second person. In many Low Saxon dialects in the Netherlands, the very same happened. The doe - ie/ieje/ij isogloss runs surprisingly close to the Dutch border, except in Groningen, where it enters the Dutch territory with a vengeance (in the entire province this word is known). In Twente, it is present in the easternmost villages of Denekamp and Oldenzaal, in de Achterhoek (Gelderland), dou is present in Winterswijk and Groenlo .


Low Saxon (Netherlands) edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  1. ^ Hermann Niebaum/Jürgen Macha: Einführung in die Dialektologie des Deutschen, 2., neubearbeitete Auflage, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 2006, p. 221, footnote 7.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl


Nedersaksen +‎ -isch


Proper noun

Nedersaksisch n.

  1. Dutch Low Saxon


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