Version of 2007-07-29

Wersja polskaBilanguage versionWersja dwujęzyczna

Grzegorz Jagodziński

The Sorbian languages

Who enabled the rise of this page was Sonja Wölke. She both offered me information on Sorbian languages, and was so kind to make me scans of materials from the manual of the Lower Sorbian language:

which is possible to purchase here. The examples below come from this manual.

Lower Sorbian – dolnoserbski

The Lower Sorbian alphabet

A B C Č Ć D E Ě F
a bej cej čet ćej dej ej ět ef
 
G H I J K Ł L M  
gej ha i jot ka el em  
 
N Ń O (Ó) P R Ŕ S Š
en ejn o pej er ejŕ es
 
Ś T U W Y Z Ž Ź  
śej tej u wej y zet žet źej  

Remarks:

Examples

Rules of pronunciation

biś, bibuš, biblija, běły, bědny, zaběgnuś, bjachaŕ, njebjo, sebje, mica, miły, mimo, měch, měso, měriś, mjenaś, smjerś, mjasec, łamjo, drěmju, rigotaś, ricaś, burik, rěd, rědny, krě, rjagotaś, rjeśaz, mórjo, źerjo se, wórju In the Lower Sorbian language, hard and soft pronunciation of consonants occurs. Soft pronunciation of b, m, p, r is obligatory before i, j, ě.
baba, baran, bedło, bubon, byk, beton, słaby, Błota, zbadaś, brožnja, mama, mazaś, mech, mešk, mokšy, mucha, mucny, mysliś, zmysł, sam, bom, rada, wěra, rozym, ruka, ryba, rora, murka, nerka, měr, cukor, zraniś, Bramborska Besides, hard pronunciation occurs. The hard r is pronounced as tongued [r] or uvular [ʀ].
figa, fidle, filowaś, telegrafěrowaś, felowaś, fejfa, na reliefje, pśi šefje, fjord, ginuś, gižla, nogi, rogi, agěrowaś, gerc, gelń, nage, gjarnc, gjarsć, gjagaś, kisały, kiwaś, měki, šokěrowaś, blokěrowaś, keluch, słodke, kjarl, kjarchob, lipa, list, Lipsk, liniś, lěgwo, lěwy, lětaś, lěpšy, leluja, leja, lenuś, lemjaz The consonants f, g, k, l stay soft before i, j, ě, e,
faraŕ, fora, futrowaś, fyštaś, flaša, fromny, fryjny, girafa, telefon, relief, gano, gasa, Gogolow, guska, gusor, gyžaś, gluka, głodny, groniś, gnaś, glicka, kazaś, kamušk, kokot, skokaś, kusack, dobytk, kk, krowa, knakotaś, zamknuś, lampa, lan, lažaś, lod, lom, balo, lud, luby, kowalnja, wugel, lylowy, lymjel Examples of hard pronunciation.
how, holiś, Hochoza, hupa, hupac, Hus, hamaś, hapa, Hažow, hyś, hytška, hynźi The letter h is mute (denotes no sound) before u, o, rarely before a, y, never before e.
hela, heblik, hendryški The letter h denotes the voiceless weak [ʰ] before e.
hamaś, hapa, Hažow, hyś, hytška, hynźi, how, Hus The same pronunciation can also occur in some other words
cakaś, Cazow, cesaś, cowaś, Fryco, cuś, rucka, noc, wěc, cło The letters c, č, d, dz, dž, s, š, t, tš, z, ž denote only hard consonants; the counterpart of Polish cz is often Lower Sorbian c.
čaj, čajnik, česki, češćina, rědnučki, měkučki, małučko, lažčej, śěžčejšy, awa, adaś, ocha, ubiś, narl, wuoba, hyka, kmóa, bra, wě, Pětš, šantk, šery, šorca, šuflity, šyja, škóda, štapiś, šmara, lušt, póšk, ptašk, bibuš, ruš, suš The letters č, tš are both pronounced like Polish cz ( occurs where tr is in Polish), similarly dž, š, ž are pronounced like Polish dż, sz, ż.
sćena, sćina, šćitaś, šćuwaś, lubosć, zawěsće, pušćiś, źowćo, lězć, dosć, błyšć, tśasaś, apaś, eńtśliś, eśi, i, ikotaś, o, uko, ěsć, braik, bao, nutś, śamny, śěsto, śele, śicho, śopło, w lěśu, śma, śpa, znaś, maś, sněś, braś The letters ć, dź, ś, ź are pronounced similarly as in Polish, besides has the same pronunciation as ć.
śicho – sćicha, śele – sćelna The sound ś is the counterpart of Polish ć; however ć remains after a consonant, hence alternations.
łdza [ʒa], w mězdze, na rozdze, ła [ǯa], ło, raś, ryny, ungel, unka, amila, rozěliś, zarâś, zěliś, rozěra, na gryze, drožeje, Drježany The clusters dz, dž, dź denote consonants [ʒ, ǯ, ʒ́], the same as Polish dz, dż, dź.
[χ]: chachaś, chamny, chopiś, chudy, chytaś, chmuriś, mech, dych, brjuch, pcha
[ç]: nicht, mnich, zapalich, něcht, měch, grěch, ruprajcht, šlajchtny, leśech
Ch denotes two different sounds, similarily as in German. The most frequent pronunciation is [χ]. When ch ends a syllable after i, j, ě, it is read [ç]; the same pronunciation is also obligatory in the aorist endings -ech, -echu. In borrowings the digraph ch is read, as a rule, like in their German renderings.
  The letter e denotes 4, and even 5 sounds:
rež, žeden, weto, dep, cepy, terpik, seno, deno, mech, knecht, zdechnuś — [æ] between two hard consonants (pronunciation is wider than in Polish);
derje, mjenaś, wobjed, šeriś, semje, zele, pyrje, źe, nješyk, wjedro, pjerje — open [ɛ], similar to the Polish one, between two consonants, one of which is soft and the other is hard, or word-finally after a soft consonant;
crjej, dej, mej, smej, sejźeś, cejźiś, pśejś, nejjasnjej, zemja, zemski, zemjan, reja [rɛja] ~ [reja] — the half–close [e] before j in a close syllable and in the word zemja and its derivatives, variantly also before j in an open syllable;
jeleń, rjemjeń, mjeńšy, pjenjeze, młoźeńc, paprjeńc, pjepjeŕ, njerěch, njewjesta — the close [ë] between soft consonants;
motorske, tśěsate, sněgowanje, sudobje, telikerake, wětšowate, literatura — reduced [ə] in an unstressed syllable in fast speech (such a pronunciation is not considered correct).
  The letter ě denotes:
něga, lěwy, rědny, měki, jěza, sćěna, śěgnuś, stśěliś, źěłaś, pěsk, wězaś, źěk — the strongly closed [ě] in a stressed (first) syllable, a half–high vowel, intermediate between e and i, pronounced with lips easily pulled away;
naběły, sněgběły, naběg, žywjenjoběg, narěcny, wěcejrěcny — in compound words and after prefixes, instead of [ě] appears [ɛ] in fast speech and dialects;
měj!, rozměj!, mrěju, natrěj!, njezaprěj!, trějałko, pjerjedrějarnica, plějański — the half–closed long [e] before j;
źiśi, spiwaś, gniwaś, źinsa, nimski, źiśelc, źiśelina — in a few words the original ě changed into i, which is noted in spelling.
  The letter j denotes:
jabłuko, jeleń, jebaś, jěsno, jěza, jo, jopka, jucha, juskaju, Juroju, sajźaś, zajtša, najsy, sejm, dejm, złoźej, gnoj, dojś, domoj, bujka, dłujki, rozuj, ryjny, fryjny, myjnica, měj!, rozgrěj se!, njezatrěj, jajo, daju, stoje — the consonant [j] ([i̯]) word-initially, after a vowel and between vowels;
pij!, gymnazij, kij — the group ij is pronounced as long [i:];
njamam, njerěch, njok, na nju, murja, derje, wrjos, z twarju, mjasec, mjod, łamju, wjacor, wjedro, na cerwju — palatalization of the preceding consonant n, r, m, w before a vowel different than i, ě;
bjakaś, bjeru, njebjo, rubju, pjas, pjerje, dłypjo, sypju, gjagaś, gjardy, kjarchob, kjarcma, kjarliž — palatalization of the preceding consonant b, p, d, g, k and the weak element [ʲ] before a vowel.
kał, wałma, pałka, zgełko, spjełko, pśišeł, běłk, měłki, grěł, piłka, stśiłka, kupił, doł, połny, žołty, śěgnuł, rubnuł, stanuł, žyłka, tył, zabył, łapiś, łacny, łamaś, kisałe, śopłe, łopata, łoni, łykaś, gniły, słowo, tła, tłocyś The letter ł denotes the bilabial consonant [w] ([u̯]), just like in Polish.
łžyca, łžycka, łdza, łdža, sekł, pjakł, kwitł, pśedł, mjatł, rosł The letter ł is mute word-initially before a consonant and word-finally after a consonant.
  The letter n denotes:
nana, naš, ned, knecht, nos, noga, nuza, nužliś, nykata, Nysa, snaź, znowa, lan — hard [n] in the majority of positions;
niski, nic, nichten, něchten, něco, něga, njamam, donjasć, pjenjeze, njok, na nju — soft [n′] before i, j, ě;
kanka, wanka, bengel, denko, wingel, špingel, zagonk, škobrjonk, tunk, kunkac — [ŋ] before k, g.
  The letter ń denotes:
mań, dań, seń se!, źeń, kamjeń, pěseń, toń, dłoń, tuń, suń!, gropyń, kazń, pśijazń — soft [n′];
śańki, sańki, bańka, pjeńk, zachopjeńk, brjeńkaś, źeńk, pěseńka, zeleńk, grjebjeńk — soft [ŋ′] before k, g.
  The letter o denotes:
togodla, kokot, torta, kosty, som, blido, słoma, złoto, teliko, dno, mloko, seno — open [ɔ];
row, schow, how, Wětošow, rowny, šołta, žołty, połny, doł, połtera, stoł, sowa, znowa, w rowje, schowaś, toboła, koło, wokoło, do doła, stoły — closed [o] before ł, w.
  The ó letter was introduced with a resolution of the Lower Sorbian Linguistic Committee in 1995 as an optional, auxiliary spelling sign in learning materials. The letter ó means the sound which is still pronounced as closed [ó], but today most frequently as:
sobóta, komóra, sromóta, somót, skobódny, pomóc, góla, móliś, zamóliś, dozamóliś, chóry, póchóry, zbórk, do zbórka, pó góli, wó bratša, pósec, póběliś, wóśeliś se — [ɛ] or [y] (i.e. like Polish e or y);
wójna, wójca, wójnik, gójc, chójca, chójna, mój, swój, pójź! — [e] before j;
bójaś se, wójowaś, wójo, mójogodla, swójorazny — [e] or [ɛ] in an open syllable.
keŕ, źěłaśeŕ, pjepjeŕ, pjakaŕ, talaŕ, grajaŕ, twaŕ, šyŕ, twóŕ, spaŕ, měŕ!, bjeŕśo!, wěŕmy! The letter ŕ denotes soft [r′]
  The letter w denotes:
sławny, dawno, pšawda, cewka, wusew, zewšym, glěwki, slěwka, wobotrěwko, kśiwda, piwnica, źiwny, row, Wětošow, rownina, žywnosć, zešywk, pśikšyw — bilabial [w] ([u̯]) after a vowel in a closed syllable (here w = ł);
wariś, wažyś, barwa, wence, weto, weš, wóda, wócy, zawónoźeś, wy, wyrkaś — bilabial [w] ([u̯]) before a, e, ó, y;
wokable [u̯ɔkablɛ], wokatiw, wulkan, wulkaniz(ěr)owaś, wulfenit — bilabial [w] ([u̯]) in borrowings;
wina, wiźeś, w cerkwi, wěźeś, wěra, dwě, wjedro, strowje, wjacor, pśi cerwju — bilabial softened [w′] ([u̯′]) before i, ě, j;
wucho, wuchac, wutšoba, wucyś, wuspěch, wusta, wugel, wużiś, woko, wogeń, wobej, woběg, wobgranicowaś, wokno, wochlica, wótwucyś, zwucowaś, wuwucowaś, wobwuski, wótwobalaś, zwoblekaś — weak [ʰ] or no sound before u, o word-initially or after a prefix;
wlac, wliw, wrjaskaś, wrobel, wrota, wšak, wšykno, wześ, włos, wšaty, wzdaś — no sound word-initially before a consonant.

The other letters (a, i, u, y) are pronounced like in Polish.

The stress is on the first syllable.

Upper Sorbian – hornjoserbski

The Upper Sorbian alphabet

A B C Č Ć D E Ě
a bej cej čej ćet dej dźej e ět
 
F G H CH I J K Ł L
ef gej ha cha i jot ka el
 
M N Ń O Ó P (Q) R Ř
em en ejn o ót pej ku er erš
 
S Š T U W (X) Y Z Ž
es tej u wej iks y zet žet

Remark: a new proposal is presented here; the following order has been used so far:, (see e.g. here):
a, b, c, č, d, dź, e, ě, f, g, h, ch, i, j, k, ł, l, m, n, ń, o, ó, p, [q], r, ř, s, š, t, ć, u, [v], w, [x], y, z, ž.

Sorbian links

Remark: you will find a number of links to pages on the Sorbian languages here.