Where does the term language come from?

These German words have a Sorbian origin

Julian is familiar with the Sorbian language. Born in Bautzner, he studied Slavic Studies for many years, the language family that includes Russian, Polish and Ukrainian as well as Sorbian. In his private life, he created a map on which interested parties can look up the place names of Lusatia in Sorbian. In the conversation he gives us a few examples of words that have their origins in Sorbian.

1) The Lausitz: Sorbian word stem itz = "The people of"

“Many people in Lusatia are not even aware of the extent to which Sorbian has shaped the German language in the region,” explains Julian. “It starts with place names: the ending -itz is very characteristic of Sorbian. Translated roughly it means the people of the ‘. Say: The people of the ‘founder's house live here. So if place names on itz end, the probability is very high that the name of the place has its origin in Slavonic.

2) Bautzen: off Budyšin became Bautzen in the late Middle Ages

In addition to Lusatia itself, whose name means something like "marshland", there are also many other place names whose origins are in the Sorbian language. That from Upper Sorbian Budyšin According to Julian, the German Bautzen was due to a so-called umlaut conversion: “In the late Middle Ages, the German language changed. From the long one U in Middle High German became a Au. This is how Middle High German became Hus the House, out Budyšin or Budissin has been Bautzen.“

3) curd (twaroh), Plinsen (plinc), Hitzsche (hečka) & Mauke (muka)

Yes, even when it comes to food, the Sorbian language has had some influence on German and Saxon words. The quark, for example, has its origin in Sorbian or Slavic twaroh / twarog. "Hitzsche" is a common term, especially in Saxon - here, too, the origin can be traced back to Sorbian hečka recognize the mentioned footstool. Anyone who lives in Upper Lusatia is certainly familiar with the word Mauke, which is used to describe mashed potatoes. The word originally comes from Sorbian: Als muka The Sorbs refer to flour, which used to be one of the main ingredients for porridge or soup. The same applies to the plinsen (pancakes), which are also known beyond the Lausitz region. The word also comes from the Slavic language: Sorbian plinc or blinc is also closely related to the Russian Bliny.

4) Plauze

When we have eaten well and a small belly bulges, we like to talk about the place. This word (Plauze, colloquially for belly) has its linguistic origin in Sorbian. Julian: "As płuca is the name given to the lungs in Sorbian. The Plauze is practically the German counterpart, whereby the meaning here has also extended to the stomach. "

5) whip

“Everyone has probably heard the cracking and hissing sound of a whip. That is why the word is also used in Slavic (here: Czech and Sorbian) BIC and is modeled on this sound.“Besides, the verb means BIC also "hit", explains Julian. And this is exactly where the word origin for the German word whip lies.

Sorbian belongs to Saxony

Our list goes on. For many, it is certainly a bit of a surprise that some familiar words actually come from Sorbian and have changed over time. Julian would like it if more Lusatians were aware of this origin: “For me, the Sorbian language is part of Saxony's identity. That is why I am convinced that it would be an enrichment for many students if the Sorbian origin of German words were explained to them in school. Or if they simply get an insight into this language and culture, visit the Sorbian Museum or get points of contact with the language in everyday life ”.

Post picture: Many place names in Saxony and Brandenburg are not easily understandable without their Sorbian origin (Photo: Julian Nyča)

Here you can find the only Sorbian map on the net that Julian Nyča has drawn up.