Sorbian, or Wendisch, is a member of the West Slavic subgroup of Indo-European languges spoken by about 55,000 people in Upper and Lower Lusatia in the German Länder of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Sorbs are descendents of the Wends, the German name for the Slavic tribes who occupied the area between the Elbe and Saale rivers in the west and the Odra (Oder) River in the east during the medieval period.
Sorbian first appeared in writing during the 16th century. The first Sorbian texts include a fragment of a liturgy (1543) from Zossen and the translation of the New Testament (1548) by M Jakubica from Laubnitz. In the mid-19th century, written Upper Sorbian based on the dialect spoken around Bautzen was introduced as the compulsory standard in the Sorbian-speaking area in Upper Lusatia, while written Lower Sorbian based on the Cottbus dialect was introduced as the standard written form in Lower Lusatia.
Sorbian is taught as a subject in a number of secondary schools and used as a medium of instruction for some subjects. There are a number of nursery and primary schools which teach through the medium of Sorbian.
There is one daily paper, Serbske Nowiny, entirely in Upper Sorbian and one weekly paper, Nowy Casnik, half in Lower Sorbian and half in German. There are also a few journals and magazines in Sorbian. Each week about 10 hours of Sorbian programmes are broadcast on German radio stations. There are also a couple of hours of Sorbian on German TV
Prounciation details and notes provided by Grzegorz Jagodziński
Witcy čłowjekojo su wot naroda swobodni a su jenacy po dostojnosći a prawach. Woni su z rozumom a swědomjom wobdarjeni a maja mjezsobu w duchu bratrowstwa wobchadźeć.
Wykne luźe su lichotne roźone a jadnake po dostojnosći a pawach. Woni maju rozym a wědobnosć a maju ze sobu w duchu bratojstwa wobchadaś.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Longer sample text (Tower of Babel)
Information about Sorbian in Germany by Euromosaic
Sorbian radio programmes
News in Sorbian
Project Rastko - Lusitia (Electronic library of Sorbian-Serbian cultural ties)
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