Friday, May 30, 2008

Germans take notice of German in the U.S. Part II - Die Welt op Platt

Speakers of German immigrated to places all over the world. The same holds true for those who came from the Northern German regions and spoke “Plattdeutsch” or Low German. For three years now, the Northern German TV broadcaster NDR has been running a successful series called “Die Welt op Platt” (The World in Low German). Two reporters, Julia Westlake and Yared Dibaba, travel the world to record speakers of the many variants of Low German, some of them heritage speakers generations removed from the original immigrant. They traveled from Siberia to Namibia, from Brazil to China, and to many other places. In the United States they visited New York, Nebraska, Kansas, Seattle, and Iowa. Rumor has it that they soon will record Pommersch speakers in Marathon County, Wisconsin. It is interesting to note that Yared Dibaba himself is an immigrant from Ethiopia, who grew up learning “Platt” in a German village. Thus the series shows language and immigration in full circle.
Image: "Die Welt op Platt" in New York (from

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