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Plautdietsch

Plautdietsch, or Mennonite Low German, is spoken by Russian Mennonite groups, who are ethnically Dutch, but who adopted a Low Saxon dialect while they were refugees in Prussia.

Today Plautdietsch is spoken in Paraguay, Mexico, Ukraine, Canada, Brazil, Belize and the United States of America. There are two major dialects which trace their division to Ukraine. These two dialects are split between the New Colony and Old Colony Mennonites. Many younger Russian Mennonites in Canada and the United States today speak only English. For example, Homer Groening, the father of Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), spoke Plautdietsch as a child in Saskatchewan in the 1920s but his son Matt never learned the language.

Certain groups like the Old Colony Mennonites of Mexico have guarded the language better than others. However, as Old Colony Mennonites from Mexico resettle in Canada and the United States to flee the suffering Mexican economy, the stability of Plautdietsch in this group may be put to the test in their new homes, especially if the current stigmatisation of Old Colony Mennonites because of their poverty continues, as is the case in some places like Ontario by more prosperous neighbours. This may ultimately lead to an abondonment of the language by even this group in the future.

The Lord's Prayer in Plautdietsch

Onns Foda em Himel,
lot dien Nome jeheilicht woare;
lot dien Rikjdom kome;
lot dien Wele jedone woare,
uk hia oppe Ead soo aus em Himel;
jef onns Dach fa Dach daut Brot daut onns faelt;
en fejef onns onnse Schullt,
soo aus wie daen fejaewe dee sikj jaeajen onns feschulldicht ha;
en brinj onns nich enn Feseakjunk enenn,
oba rad onns fonn Beeset.

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