Sorbian languages

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Sorbian
Wendish, Lusatian
Geographic
distribution:
Lusatia
Linguistic classification:Indo-European
Subdivisions:
ISO 639-2 and 639-5:wen
Germany sorbian region.png
The Sorbian-speaking region in Germany

The Sorbian languages are Slavic languages, a branch of the Indo-European languages.

They are the Sorbs' native languages, who are a Slavic minority in eastern Germany. The languages used to be known as Wendish or Lusatian.

There are two languages: Upper Sorbian (hornjoserbsce), spoken by about 40,000 people in Saxony, and Lower Sorbian (dolnoserbski), spoken by about 10,000 people in Brandenburg. Both languages are spoken is an area known as Lusatia (Łužica in Upper Sorbian, Łužyca in Lower Sorbian and Lausitz in German).

In Germany, Upper and Lower Sorbian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In the home areas of the Sorbs, both languages are officially equal to German.

A bilingual sign in Bautzen

The city of Bautzen, Upper Lusatia, is the centre of Upper Sorbian culture. Bilingual signs can be seen around the city, including the name of the city, "Bautzen/Budyšin".

The city of Cottbus (Chóśebuz) is considered the cultural centre of Lower Sorbian. Cottbuss also has bilingual signs.

Sorbian is also spoken in the small Sorbian (“Wendish”) settlement of Serbin in Lee County, Texas. Until recently newspapers were published in Sorbian there. The local dialect has been heavily influenced by surrounding speakers of German and English.

American and Australian communities often prefer to call themselves “Wends” or “Wendish” since think that “Sorb” and “Sorbian” are bad words.

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