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Sorbs
Serby, Serbja, Sorben
Total population
c. 40,000 Upper Sorbs
20,000 Lower Sorbs.
Regions with significant populations
 Germany 60,000
Languages

Sorbian (Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian), German

Religion

Catholicism, Lutheranism

Related ethnic groups

Eastern Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Kashubians and other West Slavs

Sorbs (Upper Sorbian: Serbja; Lower Sorbian: Serby) also known as Wends, Lusatian Sorbs or Lusatian Serbs are a Slavic people settled in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland.

Sorbs are divided into two groups:

  • Upper Sorbs, who speak Upper Sorbian (about 40,000 people).[citation needed]
  • Lower Sorbs, who speak Lower Sorbian (about 20,000 people).[citation needed]

The dialects spoken vary in intelligibility in different areas.

Contents

Toponyms

The national flag of Lusatian Sorbs

The name of the nation is probably connected with the Polish word “stepson” (Polish: pasierb) and originally meant tribesman (the one who sucked milk of the same mother). The name Lusatia (German: Lausitz), originally meaning marshy ground probably derives from the Slavic word ług (grove, young forest), at the same time indicating that the regions surroundings were rich in forest. Sorbs call themselves Serbs (Serbja, Serby), and Balkan Serbs are referred to as South Serbs. Serbs call Sorbs Lusatian Serbs (Лужички Срби, Lužički Srbi).

An attempt of localizing West Slavic tribes by the Bavarian Geographer (A.D. 845))

Tribal division

Lusatian tribes are noted in Bavarian Geographer. The document contains a list of the tribes in Central-Eastern Europe east of the Elbe and north of the Danube to the Wolga rivers to the Black and Caspian Sea most of them of Slavic origin.[1] [2]Having settled by the Elbe, Spree and Neisse in the 6th century, Sorbian tribes divided into two main groups, which have taken their names from the characteristics of the area where they had settled. Sorbs living on the swampy broads of the Lower Spree have taken their name from the word marsh. The Milceni (ancestors of Upper Sorbs) settled on fertile soil around Upper Spree, the name derives from the word měl’ (loess soil). Both groups were separated from each other by a wide and uninhabited forest range. The rest of the tribes settled themselves between the Elbe and Saale. Among many Slavic tribes Bavarian Geographer noted also few lusatian tribes:

History of the Sorbs

National costume of Lusatian Sorbs as traditionally worn in the northern part of Lusatia
Small region where the Sorbs still live in Germany, the area that used to be much larger in the past
The close-up map of area inhabited by Sorbians

During the 6th century A.D., Sorbs arrived in the area extending between the Bober, Kwisa and Oder rivers to the East and the Saale and Elbe rivers to the West. In the North, the area of their settlement reached Berlin. In 631 A.D., for the first time, the Fredegar’s Chronicle described them as Surbi. Annales Regni Francorum mention that in 806 A.D., Miliduch (the Sorbian King) fought against the Francs and was killed. In 932 Henry I conquered Lusatia and Milsko. In 933 Lusatia was again conquered by Gero II – the Margrave of the Saxon Ostmark, who in 939 treacherously murdered 30 Sorbian princes during the feast. As a result, there were many Sorbian uprisings against the Germans. From this early period there remains only a reconstructed castle —Raddusch in Lower Lusatia. During the reign of Boleslaw I of Poland in 1002-1018, three Polish-German wars were waged which caused Lusatia to come under the domination of new rulers. In 1018, on the strength of peace in Bautzen, Lusatia became a part of Poland; however, before 1031 it was returned to Germany. From the 11th to the 15th century, agriculture in Lusatia developed and colonization by Frankish, Flemish and Saxon settlers intensified. In 1327 the first prohibitions on using Sorbian in Altenburg, Zwickau and Leipzig appeared. Between 1376 and 1635 Lusatia was again part of an Empire, under the rule of the Bohemian Luxembourgs, part of Saint Waclav's Crown. At the beginning of the 16th century the whole Sorbian area, with the exception of Lusatia, underwent Germanization. From 1635 Lusatia became a fiefdom of Saxon electors.

The Thirty Years War and the Black Death caused terrible devastation in Lusatia: almost half the Sorbs died. This led to further German colonization and Germanization. In 1667 the Prince of Brandenburg, Frederick Wilhelm, ordered the immediate destruction of all Sorbian printed materials and banned saying masses in this language. At the same time the Evangelical Church supported printing Sorbian religious literature as a means of fighting the Counterreformation. In 1706 the Sorbian Seminary, the main centre for the education of Sorbian Catholic priests, was founded in Prague. Evangelical students of theology formed the Sorbian College of Ministers.

The Congress of Vienna, in 1815, gave part of Upper Lusatia to Saxony, but most of Lusatia to Prussia. More and more bans on the use of Sorbian languages appeared from then until 1835 in Saxony and Prussia; emigration of the Sorbs, mainly to the town of Serbin in Texas and to Australia, increased. In 1848, 5000 Sorbs signed a petition to the Saxon Government, in which they demanded equality for the Sorbian language with the German one in churches, courts, schools and Government departments. From 1871 the whole of Lusatia became a part of united Germany and was divided between three parts: Silesia, Prussia and Saxony.

From 1871 the industrialization of the region and German immigration began; official Germanization intensified. Although the Weimar Republic guaranteed constitutional minority rights, it did not practice them.

Throughout The Third Reich, Sorbians were described as a German tribe who spoke a Slavic language and their national poet Handrij Zejler as German as well. Sorbian costume, culture, customs and even the language was said to be no indication of a non-German origin. The Reich declared that there were truly no "Sorbs" or "Lusatians", only Wendish-Speaking Germans. As such, the cultivation of "Wendish" customs and traditions was to be encouraged in a controlled manner and the Slavic language would deccline due to natural causes. Young Sorbs enlisted in the Wehrmacht and were sent to the front. Entangled lives of the Sorbs during World War II are exemplified by life stories of Mina Witkojc, Měrčin Nowak-Njechorński and Jan Skala.

The first Lusatian cities were captured in April 1945, when the Red Army and the Polish Second Army crossed the river Queis (pol:Kwisa). The defeat of Nazi Germany changed the Sorbs’ situation considerably: those to the east of Neisse and Oder were expelled or assimilated by Poland[citation needed]. The regions in East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) faced a large influx of expelled Germans and heavy industrialisation, which both forced Germanization. The East German authorities tried to counteract this development by creating a broad range of Sorbian institutions. The Sorbs were officially recognized as an ethnic minority, more than 100 Sorbian schools and several academic institutions were founded, the Domowina and its associated societies were re-established and a Sorbian theatre was created. Owing to the oppression of the church and forced collectivization, however, these efforts were severely affected and consequently over time the number of people speaking Sorbian languages decreased by half.

Sorbian Slovians caused the communist government of the GDR (the German Democratic Republic) plenty of trouble, mainly because of the high levels of religious observance and resistance to the nationalisation of agriculture. During the compulsory collectivization campaign, a great many unprecedented incidents were reported. Thus, throughout the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany, violent clashes with the police were reported in Lusatia. An open uprising took place in three upper communes of Błot.

After the unification of Germany on 3 October 1990, Lusatians made efforts to create an autonomous administrative unit; however Helmut Kohl’s government did not agree to it. After 1989 the Sorbian movement revived, however it still encounters many obstacles. Although Germany supports national minorities, Sorbs claim that their aspirations are not sufficiently fulfilled. The desire to unite Lusatia into one country has not been taken into consideration. Upper Lusatia still belongs to Saxony and Lower Lusatia to Brandenburg. Liquidations of Sorbian schools, even in areas mostly populated by Sorbs, still happen, under the pretext of financial difficulties or demolition of whole villages to create lignite quarries.

Today (2008) Sorbian institutions serving 60,000 Sorb people receive less money for preservation of their culture in face of Germanisation than one German theater's yearly budget in Berlin[3], an annual state grant of 15.6 million Euro by the Federal and the Saxon governments[4]. Faced with growing threat of cultural extincton the Domowina issued a memorandum in March 2008 [5] and called for "help and protection against the growing threat of their cultural extinction, since an ongoing conflict between the German government, Saxony and Brandenburg about the financial distribution of help blocks the financing of almost all Sorbian institutions". The memorandum also demands a reorganisation of competence by ceding responsibility from the Länder to the federal government and an expanded legal status. The call has been issued to all governments and heads of state of the European Union[6].

Besides the memorandum Sorbs also called on Poland and Polish President Lech Kaczynski for protection and to represent them in talks with German state as unlike for example Danes have no state to help them against German authorities, as Jan Nuck stated "I think if Angela Merkel speaks about German minority rights in Poland to Lech Kaczynski, then Polish President should demand the same about us". Nuck also said that the rights of Sorb people are not respected in German "Federal government and land government don't respect them(rights)" [2] Further appeal has been made to Polish Embassy in Berlin starting with "Help us. Do something for us. Our culture is dying. We are dying out. Slavs should help each other". Jan Nuck says it is difficult to judge if the situation comes from indifference of officials or if it is a concentrated effort aiming against existence of Sorb national identity in Germany[3].

On 28 May 2008, the Sorbian politician Stanislaw Tillich, member of the governing Christian Democrats, was elected as Minister President of the State of Saxony.

Bautzen: German-Sorbian folk theatre

Language and culture

The oldest known relic of Sorbian literature originated in about 1530 - Bautzen townsmen’ oath. In 1548 Mikołaj Jakubica – Lower Sorbian vicar, from the village called Lubanice, wrote the first unprinted translation of the New Testament into Lower Sorbian.

In 1574 the first Sorbian book was printed: Albin Mollers’ songbook. In 1688 Jurij Hawštyn Swětlik translated the Bible for Catholic Sorbs. In 1706-1709 the New Testament was printed in the Upper Sorbian translation was done by Michał Frencel and in Lower Sorbian by Jan Bogumił Fabricius (1681-1741). Jan Bjedrich Fryco (a.k.a.Johann Friedrich Fritze) (1747-1819), translated the Old Testament for the first time into Lower Sorbian, published in 1790.

Other Sorbian Bible translators include Jakub Buk (1825-1895), Michał Hórnik (Michael Hornig) (1833-1894), Jurij Łušćanski (a.k.a. Georg Wuschanski) (1839-1905).

In 1809 for the short period of time, there was the first printed Sorbian newspaper. In 1767 Jurij Mjeń publishes the first secular Sorbian book. Between 1841 and 1843, Jan Arnošt Smoler and Leopold Haupt published two-volume collection of Wendish folk-songs in Upper and Lower Lusatia.

From 1842, the first Sorbian publishing companies started to appear: the poet Handrij Zejler set up a weekly magazine, the precursor of today’s Serbian News. In 1845 in Bautzen the first festival of Sorbian songs took place.

Stamps from the GDR period

In 1875, Jakub Bart-Ćišinski, the poet and classicist of Upper Sorbian literature, and Karol Arnošt Muka created a movement of young Sorbians influencing Lusatian art, science and literature for the following 50 years.

Similar movement in Lower Lusatia was organized around the most prominent Lower Lusatian poets Mato Kósyk (Mato Kosyk) and Bogumił Šwjela.

In 1904, mainly thanks to the Sorbs’ contribution, the most important Sorbian cultural centre (the Sorbian House) was built in Bautzen. In 1912, the social and cultural organization of Lusatian Sorbs was created, the Domowina Institution - the union of Sorbian organizations. In 1919 it had 180,000 members. In 1920 Jan Skala set up a Sorbian party and in 1925 in Berlin, Skala started Kulturwille- the newspaper for the protection of national minorities in Germany. In 1920 the Sokol Movement was founded (youth movement and gymnastic organization). From 1933 the Nazi party started to repress the Sorbs. At that time the Nazi also dissolved the Sokol Movement and began to combat every sign of Sorbian culture. In 1937 activities of the Domowina Institution and other organizations were banned as anti-national. Sorbian clergymen and teachers were forcedly deported from Lusatia; The Third Reich confiscated the Sorbian House, other buildings and crops.

On May 10, in Crostwitz, after The Red Army’s invasion, the Domowina Institution renewed its activity. In 1948 Landtag of Saxony passed an Act guaranteeing protection to Sorbian Lusatians; in 1949 Brandenburg resolved a similar law. In the times of the GDR, Sorbian organizations were financially supported by the country, but at the same time the authorities encouraged Germanization of Sorbian youth as a means of incorporating them into the system of “building Socialism”. Sorbian language and culture could only be publicly presented as long as they promoted Socialistic ideology.

For over 1000 years the Sorbs were able to maintain and even develop their national culture, despite escalating Germanization and Polonization, mainly due to the high level of religious observance, cultivation of their tradition and strong families (Sorbian families still often have 5 children).

In the middle of the 20th century, the revival of the Central European nations included some Sorbs, who became strong enough to attempt twice to regain their independence. After World War II, the Lusatian National Committee in Prague claimed the right to self-government and separation from Germany and the creation of a Lusatian Free State or attachment to Czechoslovakia. The majority of the Sorbs were organized in the Domowina, though, and did not wish to split from Germany. Claims asserted by the Lusatian National movement were postulates of joining Lusatia to Poland or Czechoslovakia. Between 1945 – 1947 they postulated about ten memorials[7] to the UN, USA, USSR, Great Britain, France, Poland and Czechoslovakia, however, it did not bring any results. On April 30, 1946, the Lusatian National Committee also postulated a petition to the Polish Government, signed by Paweł Cyż – the minister and an official Sorbian delegate in Poland. There was also a project of proclaiming a Lusatian Free State, whose Prime Minister was supposed to be a Polish archaeologist of Lusatian origin- Wojciech Kóčka. The most radical postulates in this area (" Na swobodu so ńečeka, swobodu so beŕe!") [8] were expressed by the Lusatian youth organization- Narodny Partyzan Łužica.

Bilingual names of streets in Cottbus

Similarly, in Czechoslovakia, where before the Potsdam Conference in Prague, 300,000 people demonstrated for the independence of Lusatia. The endeavours to separate Lusatia from Germany did not succeed because of various individual and geopolitical interests.

The statistics might prove the progression of Germanization among Sorbs: by the end of the 19th century, about 150,000 people spoke Sorbian languages. In 1920 almost all Sorbs mastered Sorbian and German to the same degree. The last Sorb who spoke little or no German died in Műschen village in 1954. Nowadays, in 2004, the number of people using Sorbian languages has been estimated to be no more than 50,000.

Regions of Lusatia

There are 3 main regions of Lusatia that differ in language, religion and customs.

Region of Catholic Lusatia

The flag of Upper Lusatia

Catholic Lusatia encompasses 85 towns in the districts of Bautzen, Kamenz, and Hoyerswerda, where Upper Sorbian language, customs, and tradition are still thriving. In some of these places (e.g., Radibor, known as "Radwor" in Sorbian; Crostwitz, or "Chrósćicy"; and Rosenthal, or "Róžant"), Sorbs constitute the majority of the population, and children grow up speaking Sorbian.

On Sundays, during holidays, and at weddings, people wear regional costumes, rich in decoration and embroidery, encrusted with pearls.

Some of the customs and traditions observed include Bird Wedding (25th of January), Easter Cavalcade of Riders, Witch Burning (30 April), Maik, singing on Saint Martin’s Day (Nicolay), and the celebrations of Saint Barbara’s Day and Saint Nicholas’s Day.

Region of Hoyerswerda (Wojerecy) and Schleife (Slepo)

In the area from Hoyerswerda to Schleife, a dialect of Sorbian which combines characteristic features of both Upper and Lower Sorbian is spoken. The region is predominantly Protestant, highly devastated by the brown coal mining industry, sparsely populated, and to a great extent germanicized. Most speakers of Sorbian are over 60 years old.

The region distinguishes itself through many examples of Slavic wooden architecture monuments including churches and regular houses, a diversity of regional costumes (mainly worn by elderly women) that feature white-knitting with black, cross-like embroidery, and a tradition of playing bagpipes. In several villages, residents uphold traditional festivities such as expelling of winter, Maik, Easter and Great Friday singing, and the celebration of dźěćetko (disguised child or young girl giving Christmas presents).

Region of Lower Lusatia

The Flag of Lower Lusatia

There are 60 towns from the area of Cottbus belonging to this region, where most of the older people over 60 but few young people and children can speak the Lower Sorbian language; the local variant often incorporates many words taken from the German, and in conversations with the younger generation, German is generally preferred. Some primary schools in the region teach bilingually, and in Cottbus there is an important Gymnasium whose main medium of instruction is Lower Sorbian. The region is predominantly Protestant, again highly devastated by the brown coal mining industry. The biggest tourist attraction of the region and in the whole Lusatia are the marshlands, with many Spreewald/Błóta canals, picturesque broads of the Spree.

Worn mainly by older but on holidays by young women, regional costumes are colourful, including a large headscarf called "lapa", rich in golden embroidering and differing from village to village.

In some villages, following traditions are observed: Shrovetide, Maik, Easter bonfires, Roosters catching/hunting. In Jänschwalde (Sorbian: Janšojcach) so called Janšojki bog (disguised young girl) gives Christmas presents.

Lusatian anthem

in Lower Sorbian

Rědna Łužyca
Rědna Łužyca,
spšawna, pśijazna,
mojich serbskich woścow kraj,
mojich glucnych myslow raj,
swěte su mě twoje strony.
Cas ty pśichodny,
zakwiś radostny!
Och, gab muže stanuli,
za swoj narod źěłali,
godne nimjer wobspomnjeśa!

in Upper Sorbian

Rjana Łužica
Rjana Łužica,
sprawna přećelna,
mojich serbskich wótcow kraj,
mojich zbóžnych sonow raj,
swjate su mi twoje hona!
Časo přichodny,
zakćěj radostny!
Ow, zo bychu z twojeho
klina wušli mužojo,
hódni wěčnoh wopomnjeća!

The Sorbs and Poland

One of the pioneers of the cooperation between the two nations was Polish historian Wilhelm Bogusławski who lived in the 19th century and wrote the first book on Polish-Sorbian history Rys dziejów serbołużyckich (Polish title), it was published in Saint Petersburg in 1861. The book was expanded and published again in cooperation with Michał Hórnik in 1884 in Bautzen, under a new title Historije serbskeho naroda. Alfons Parczewski was another friend of Sorbs, who from 1875 was involved in Sorbs' rights protection, participating in Sorbian meetings in Bautzen. It was thanks to him, among others, that Józef Ignacy Kraszewski founded a scholarship for Sorbian students. An association of friends of Sorbian Nation was established at the University of Warsaw in 1936 (Polish full name: Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Narodu Serbo-Łużyckiego). It gathered people not only from the university. Its president was Professor Stanisław Słoński, and the deputy president was Julia Wieleżyńska. The association was a legal entity. There were 3 individual organizations devoted to Sorbian matters. Prołuż founded in Krotoszyn, expanded to all Poland (3000 members). It was biggest noncommunist organization that dealt with foreign affairs. This youth organization was created during the soviet occupation and its motto was “Polish guard over Lusatia” (pl. Nad Łużycami polska straż). Its highest activity was in Greater Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska, a district of western Poland). After the creation of East Germany, Prołuż was dissolved, and its president historian from Poznań Alojzy Stanisław Matyniak was arrested[citation needed].

Bibliography

  • Filip Gańczak Mniejszość w czasach popkultury, Newsweek, nr 22/2007, 03.06.2007.
  • W kręgu Krabata. Szkice o Juriju Brězanie, literaturze, kulturze i językach łużyckich, pod red. J.Zarka, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, Katowice, 2002.
  • Mirosław Cygański, Rafał Leszczyński Zarys dziejów narodowościowych Łużyczan PIN, Instytut Śląski, Opole 1997.
  • Die Sorben in Deutschland, pod red. M.Schiemann, Stiftung für das sorbische Volk, Görlitz 1997.
  • Mały informator o Serbołużyczanach w Niemczech, pod red. J.Pětrowej, Załožba za serbski lud, 1997.
  • Dolnoserbske nałogi/Obyczaje Dolnych Łużyc, pod red. M.Stock, Załožba za serbski lud, 1997.
  • "Rys dziejów serbołużyckich" Wilhelm Bogusławski Piotrogród 1861
  • "Prołuż Akademicki Związek Przyjaciół Łużyc" Jakub Brodacki. Polska Grupa Marketingowa 2006 ISBN 83-60151-00-8.
  • "Polska wobec Łużyc w drugiej połowie XX wieku. Wybrane problemy", Mieczkowska Małgorzata, Szczecin 2006 ISBN 83-7241-487-4.

See also

References

  1. ^ V. von Keltsch, Der bairische Geograph, Alpreussische Monatsschr., 23 (1886),
  2. ^ Gerhard Billig, Zur Rekonstruktion der ältesten slawischen Burgbezirke im obersächsisch-meißnischen Raum auf der Grundlage des Bayerischen Geographen, Neues Archiv für sächsische Geschichte 66 (1995), s. 27-67
  3. ^ a b "Serbowie liczą na pomoc Polski" Rzeczpospolita 25 March 2008
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ DOMOWINA - Medijowe wozjewjenje | Pressemitteilung| Press release
  6. ^ Sorben bitten Europa um Hilfe
  7. ^ Działalność Wojciecha (Wojcecha) Kócki w serbołużyckim ruchu narodowym w latach 1945 - 1950
  8. ^ Piotr Pałys - "Akcja Narodny Partyzan Łužica (1946-1947) i jej reperkusje w serbołużyckim ruchu narodowym" 2003

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SORBS, the tribal name cf the Slavonic people, whom the Germans call Wends in Lusatia (Lausitz); they call themselves Serbs or Lu z icane. Their country includes the western extremity of the kingdom of Saxony and parts of the districts of Hoyerswerda, Muskau, Kottbus, Kalau, Spremberg and Sorau in Prussia; they are now surrounded on all sides by Germans, but they formerly had them as neighbours only on the west along the Fulda, while on the north towards Kdpenick they marched with the Lutici, on the east with the Poles and Silesians along the Queiss and Bobr, and on the south were separated from the Bohemians by the mountains that now make the Austrian frontier. The Sorbs are divided into High and Low along a line from Sagan to Muskau and Spremberg. They are in all about 180,000 in number; 80,000 Low Sorbs and 40,000 of the 10o,000 High Sorbs are in Prussia, and 60,000 High Sorbs in Saxony. These have gained definite rights for their language in school and administration, so that Bautzen (Budysin), their capital, is the intellectual centre not only for Saxon subjects, but for all High Sorbs and to a great extent for Low Sorbs. The first monuments of both dialects belong to the Reformation period, these being translations of Luther's Catechism by Warichius and Moller. Some Sorbs are Protestants, though the Saxon Sorbs are mostly Roman Catholics. Early in the 19th century the High Sorbs had a revival under the leadership of F. A. Klin, a lawyer and politician; A. Seidler, a considerable poet, and S. E. Smoler, an ethnographer and publicist. More recent writers are J. Cisinsk and J. Radyserb. A Macica or Literary and Linguistic Society was founded in 1847, and publishes a Casopis or Periodical. Meanwhile Low Sorb has remained almost uncultivated owing to the pressure of the Prussian administration.

The two dialects stand between Polish and Cech: they have lost the nasal vowels, have the accent on the first syllable, and make tj into c, dj into z, like Cech, but they retain x and y and, like Polish, have grod for Cech grad. High Sorb has h, Low the original g. They have kept the old aorist and dual. Sorb is usually printed in German blackletter variously adapted; the Macica publishes some books spelt after the Cech system.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.-G. Kral, Grammatik der wendischen Sprache in der Oberlausitz (Bautzen, 1895); K. E. Mucke, Historische and vergleichende Lautu. Formen-Lehre d. niedersorbischen Sprache (Jablonowski Preisschrift, xviii.) (Leipzig, 1891); Pfuhl, LausitzischWendisch Worterbuch (High Sorb) (Bautzen, 1866); J. G. Zwahr, Niederlausitz-wendisch-deutsches HandwOrterbuch (Spremberg, 1847); M. Hornik, Citanka (Chrestomathy of High Sorb) (Bautzen, 1863); L. Haupt and J. S. Smoler, Volkslieder der Wenden in der Oberund Niederlausitz (Grimma, 1842-1843). (E. H. M.)


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Noun

Sorbs

  1. Plural form of Sorb.

Simple English

File:Sorbische
sorbs in typical dressings

The Sorbs are Slavic people. They live mostly in Germany and Poland. There are 60,000 Sorbian people in the world. About 25,000 people speak one of the Sorbian languages.

In Germany and Poland Sorbs do not use the old fashioned words "Wends" or "Wendish" to describe themselves. American and Australian communities often prefer to call themselves "Wends" or "Wendish". They think that “Sorb” and “Sorbian” are bad words.

Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian dialects are protected languages in parts of Germany under the European Charter for Minority or Regional Languages








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