Requests for new languages/Wikisource Low Saxon

Low Saxon Wikisource

main page Request for a new language edition: Wikisource Low Saxon
submitted verification final decision
  This language has been verified as eligible.
The language is eligible for a project, which means that the subdomain can be created once there is an active community and a localized interface, as described in the language proposal policy. You can discuss the creation of this language project on this page.

Once the criteria are met, the language committee can proceed with the approval.

If you think the criteria are met, but the project is still waiting for approval, feel free to notify the committee and ask them to consider its approval.

  • The community needs to develop an active test project; it must remain active until approval (automated statistics). It is generally considered active if the analysis lists at least three active, not-grayed-out editors listed in the sections for the previous few months.
  • The community needs to complete required MediaWiki interface translations in that language (about localization, translatewiki, check completion).
  • The community needs to discuss and complete the settings table below:
What Value Example / Explanation
Language code nds (SILGlottolog) A valid ISO 639-1 or 639-3 language code, like "fr", "de", "nso", ...
Language name Low German Language name in English
Language name Plattdüütsch Language name in your language. This will appear in the language list on Special:Preferences, in the interwiki sidebar on other wikis, ...
Language Wikidata item Q25433 - item has currently the following values:
  • en label = Low German
  • native label (P1705) = Plattdütsch, Niedersächsisch, Plattdüütsch, Plattdütsk
  • instance/subclass (P31/P279) = language family, language, modern language / North Sea Germanic
  • Wikimedia language code (P424) = nds
  • writing system (P282) = Latin script
  • number of speakers (P1098) = 5,000,000

Item about the language at Wikidata. It would normally include the Wikimedia language code, name of the language, etc. Please complete at Wikidata if needed.
Directionality LTR Is the language written from left to right (LTR) or from right to left (RTL)?
Links Institut für niederdeutsche Sprache, Lowlands-l Links to previous requests, or references to external websites or documents.
Project name "Wikisource" in your language
Project namespace usually the same as the project name
Project talk namespace "Wikisource talk" (the discussion namespace of the project namespace)
Enable uploads no Default is "no". Preferably, files should be uploaded to Commons.
If you want, you can enable local file uploading, either by any user ("yes") or by administrators only ("admin").
Notes: (1) This setting can be changed afterwards. The setting can only be "yes" or "admin" at approval if the test creates an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) first. (2) Files on Commons can be used on all Wikis. (3) Uploading fair-use images is not allowed on Commons (more info). (4) Localisation to your language may be insufficient on Commons.
Optional settings
Project logo File:... This needs to be an SVG image (instructions for logo creation).
Default project timezone Continent/City "Continent/City", e.g. "Europe/Brussels" or "America/Mexico City" (see list of valid timezones)
Additional namespaces For example, a Wikisource would need "Page", "Page talk", "Index", "Index talk", "Author", "Author talk".
Additional settings Anything else that should be set
submit phabricator task (includes everything automatically, except additional namespaces/settings)


Low Saxon/Low German is a regional language officially recognized by the Netherlands and Germany through the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. It has some millions speakers (exact numbers are not known) in those both countries and all around the world (communities for example exist in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Namibia and others). It is considered a dialect of German by some, but there are strong arguments to consider it a different language. It is mainly considered a German dialect cause German is the Dachsprache for the majority of Low Saxon dialects. But the "dialect of Dachsprache" concept is disputable cause with the same criterion one could consider the Slavic language Sorbian a German dialect too. It has German as Dachsprache. Or Sami in Sweden. A second point is the fact, that Low Saxon communities in other countries have different Dachsprachen. English, Dutch, Portuguese or Spanish. Low Saxon is just lacking a standard or a nation state that could establish a standard for the language. If you don't look at the situation now, lacking a common standard and being covered by a Dachsprache, and look at the history instead, it get's more obvious, that Low Saxon is a language and should not be included in a German project. The oldest Saxon literature is from the 8th century. In the 14th/15th century it was the language of the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League was an alliance of merchants operating in the North and Baltic Seas. It was a very powerful alliance and Low Saxon had in this region a status as a trade language comparable to the role of English today. Low Saxon had massive influences on the Scandinavian languages (linguists consider up to 50 % of Swedish or Danish vocabulary to be of Low Saxon origin). It too had influence on Icelandic, English, High German, Russian and some Baltic languages. After the breakdown of the Hanseatic League the language lost much of it's prestige. It became subject to the Dachsprache High German. Upcoming nationalism in Europe now subdued Saxon identity and made them subject to whole-German identity. But in the 19th century the language recovered from it's long sleep as written language (but it was the language of the folks all the times) and a new literature began to evolve. There is a canon with classical writers like Fritz Reuter, Klaus Groth, John Brinckman, Gorch Fock, Augustin Wibbelt and others. Since then there were a steady literature work going on and it was at all times considered to be in a different language by its authors.

The High German project under wants to include the Low Saxon works, but I think this is a very bad solution. Since the 16th century High German was adverse to the continuation of Low Saxon. The minds of people maybe have changed and High German doesn't want to suppress Low Saxon actively, but Low Saxon would better fit in a secure environment for its own, where Low Saxon can't go under and be covered by the masses of other contents.


Arguments in favour

  • Support While I feel, that the proponent has somewhat over-politicised the issue (Wiki{source,pedia, etc} is by its mandate not a place for nation-building) , there is undoubtedly a rich literary tradition in Low German/Low Saxon, which should have its place in the Wikiverse. --Johannes Rohr 19:56, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Comment: The proponent (me) doesn't want to build a nation, but only wants to make the point, that Low Saxon cannot be seen as integral part of a German language when this German language is considered to be ruled by its High German Standard. Users on the de.Wikisource project in the past wanted to integrate Low Saxon, but didn't make any steps to show to the outside, that "German" is not only High German, but that it is more of a grouping of languages including Low Saxon/Low German. It's like with Dutch. It is German (Dutch coming from Duits/Deutsch/Düütsch), but they had to take distance from the rest of German territories, to be seen as a entity on its own. It's the same here, if we don't take distance from High German, we won't be seen. But thank you for your supporting argument. --::Slomox:: >< 13:54, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I do agree to Johannes Rohr and Slomox. Eastfrisian 18:52, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
  • The Low Saxon language area is not just located in Germany. The Dutch part of the area is shown in light yellow in the image on the right side. They, too, have written literature in Low Saxon. It would not be fair to them to force their texts into a German wikisource. HeikoEvermann 20:29, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
That's a fair argument. Nevertheless, since the Dutch Low Saxon community already runs their own Wikipedia edition (nds-nl:), I doubt that they would happily join a common Wikisource. BTW, your map appears to depict the historical linguistic landscape rather than the contemporary one. In many if not most areas shown in yellow on the map, Low Saxon is nowadays almost or completely extinct, sometimes being replaced by High German dialects which preserve some traits of Low German (like e.g. Ruhr German or Berlinerisch). Additionally, if you seriously wish to include literature from all those regions, you would end up with a mix of many different regional languages which are not always mutually intelligible. E.g. Westfalian platt comes to mind, which, while today being highly marginalised, has little in common with variants of Platt spoken up in the North. --Johannes Rohr 20:53, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Whether a language is a majority language or a minority language should not matter here. Sorbian is a minority language. Does that mean that they should not have a wikisource?
  • For a wikipedia the dialect differences are so big that the distinction between nds and nds-nl makes sense. However here we are talking about a wikisource that would collect texts in the original dialect. And even if we would have different version of the same text in different spellings that would not matter in a wikisource. But in a wikipedia that would not work. HeikoEvermann 06:48, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree to HeikoEvermann, the differences in language which led to different Wikipedias are no problem in Wikisource. Spelling is predetermined through the original source. And of course I asked on nds-nl, whether they like the idea of one Wikisource for all varieties. The main protagonist on nds-nl and initial creator of the project, Servien, said, that he is too busy to take part but likes the idea. There where no objections by any other participant of that project.
Westfalian is a different dialect than Northern Low Saxon spoken in the north, but it is easily recognizable as a related dialect. Low Saxon is not a made-up group, its varieties are related closely, which is obvious if you compare Northern Low Saxon texts with Westfalian ones and with Low Frankish (for example in ksh:-wiki) or Hessian ones on the other side.
Low Saxon maybe is in no place the majority language (perhaps except some Mennonite Low German enclaves in (South) America), but being minority and being extinct is a big difference. West- and Eastfalian are far away from being extinct. The only area, where we are near to extinction is the east. Behind the Polish border Pomeranian and Netherprussian are factual extinct (therefore not shown on the map, some scattered speakers may exist, but they form no language community) and on this side of the border Mark-Brandenburgish (the two areas in the southeast of the map, around the "bight", which is Berlin) is under heavy pressure of the Standard language and the Berlin regiolect. In the North-Mark-Brandenburgish region there is some activity to protect the language (so I guess there are speakers ;-) ) in the South-Mark-Brandenburgish region there is no activity or very few, so the language community is very weak and I guess, few left. --::Slomox:: >< 14:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I do agree to Slomox. The Low German that is spoken in Germany today may be different from region to region, even from village to village but it is still in use and if you take a look at you can also find audio examples of these sentences. The eastern parts of Germany were recorded in the 90s. You can still find Low German speakers south of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), even near Berlin. Furthermore I don't think it doesn't really matter how many Speaker are using the language, it's more important that it is still in use and that there are people who take care of it. The most amazing thing of wikipedia and its related projects is diversity. It has been possible to build up an encyclopedia in Low German. It has been done and it is still growing despite of these many dialects. So they is no problem. Low German speakers can understand each other despite those differences so it would not really be difficult to build up a Wikisource.--IP-Los

I just want to add some arguments in favour. Last time I was in a hurry so my arguments could only be considered to be little addition. Slomox et al. have already introduced linguistic arguments – let me introduce another point of view: Low German literature. Its tradition is very long. Even thousend years ago people wrote texts in Low German. Slomox already mentioned the Hanseatic League and its texts. I don’t want to focus on the Middle Low German period as it is a special topic with lots of interesting points but on New Low German literature. Though you can find texts in Low German between 1650 and 1850 the beginning of New Low German literature can be set around 1850 when Klaus Groths “Quickborn” was published. His writing was somewhat a little pathetic but he considered Low German in a more serious way than writers had done before. Some of his poems became somewhat popular songs in Northern German and are still sung. Groth was known and accepted in Germany not just as a dialect writer but as a German writer (by geographic terms). Even Storm and Fontane regarded him as a friend. He then influenced one of the most famous Low German writers ever, Fritz Reuter. Reuter’s writings include humoristic but also serious topics. Just like Groth some of his poems are still popular and are often cited. He also wrote the first autobiographical novels in Low German (e. g. “Ut mine Festungstid”.) ”Ut mine Stromtid” became one of his most famous but also most influential works and inspired lots of well known authors just like Thomas Mann. Even recent German authors read Reuter’s works, e. g. Günter Grass. Reuter’s books were read even in southern Germany. In 1905 he became the most successful author in Germany! Nevertheless we must not forget the tradition of fairy tales etc. Some of the most famous tales were told and later written in Low German, e. g. “Von dem Fischer un syner Fru” or “De Has un de Swinegel”. I think there is no one in Germany who doesn’t know at least one of these stories. Low German literature is of course part of German culture but it is almost always separated from (High) German Literature. Books and lectures on this subject exclude Low German writers very often, sometimes Reuter is mentioned. Low German authors have been influenced by (High) German literature but also by many other writers, too, such as Burns, Longfellow and Smollet. Low German literature can’t simply be seen as part of the High German culture: Reuter refused to translate his works into High German even they were translated into Swedish, French etc. because they would have lost somewhat of its “spirit”. I think there are good reasons for a Low German wikisource. -IP-Los

  • Support In favour of a Low Saxon Wikisource: Low Saxon is spoken in Germany and the Netherlands, and so is not an exclusively German affair. For this reason it would be wrong for the (High) German Wikisource to want to be the exclusive seat of Low Saxon sources. Also, the German and Dutch varieties of Low Saxon have their own Wikipedia language versions, but a Wikisource could easily be shared, since any uploaded text itself determines which dialect it appears in. N.B. This proposal seems to have been waiting for months. Ni'jluuseger 18:31, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Deutschland über alles! Die Niedersachsische Wikisource wird sehr aktiv, Ich weiße es! Deutschlehrer 14:06, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
    Die Sprache ist nicht auf Deutschland begrenzt. Aber trotzdem danke für deine positive Einschätzung. --::Slomox:: >< 11:38, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • There are 600 pages. Which brings it close to a major language like Danish and even to Limburgish. Localisation seems the only thing to be done now. We'd better create this wiki, before it gets to large to import :) --OosWesThoesBes 16:22, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, per above--Andrijko Z. 20:53, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support, this is a wiki that was ready for activation once, it serves a minority language, and has PD literature enough to build up a good library. Please do not let their motivation down.--C.R. (talk) 10:22, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, there is an extensive number of poetry and anecdotes in Gronings and if one lives in the Surrounding Countries (“de Ommelanden”) one is greeted with Groninger poetry and sometimes even Groninger literature 📚 every day, I strongly support this and have the works of great people like Geert Teis added to a Low Saxon Wikisource. Sent 📩 from my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL with Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile 📱. --Donald Trung (Talk 🤳🏻) (My global lock 😒🌏🔒) (My global unlock 😄🌏🔓) 10:16, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Arguments against

  • There is already a fully functional project for German texts, which accepts texts in all variants of the German language. This includes High German, Middle High German, Old High German, Low German, Middle Low German and so on. We have high standards of quality, edition and categorisation there. There's no apparant reason for creating yet another project if it shares the same standards; and there's no reason at all to create it if its standards will be inferior.
  • Just because we at use High German as a lingua franca, it doesn't mean we wish to suppress the Low German. We have no personal grudge against them (and personally I admire them for their unique language), but since most people don't understand Low German, it seems an unfitting lingua franca for our project. Sincerly yours, Jonathan Groß 09:04, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
First of all Low Saxon is not German. Low Saxon is also spoken in the Netherlands. So when you consider German as an acceptable "lingua franca" you do not appreciate the difference between German and Low Saxon. GerardM 10:00, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
So can we expect a go-ahead any time soon? --Johannes Rohr 19:46, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Currently 77.60% of the MediaWiki messages and 24.53% of the messages used in the extensions used by the WMF have been localised. For the nds-nl these numbers are 3.88% and 0.00% respectively. As localisation is a requirement, we will be happy to assess the request once the localisation is done. GerardM 07:42, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
This is news to me and this was no requirement when the request was filed. I too was told by Bèrto 'd Sèra that final approval only depends on some internal organisational issues for which we had to care first. If you require it now, okay, but one localisation should be enough. Don't request them both. I have asked the nds-nl community to import their localisation work done on nds-nl Wikipedia to Betawiki and I'm sure the completeness of the localisation will rise by times, but complete localisation would be a hard setback. --::Slomox:: >< 14:41, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Which Low Saxon do you prefer? As I understand it, every village has its own variety. Is it within the project's scope to invent something like Standard Low Saxon? Just curious. Jonathan Groß 22:48, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Did you actually realize, that we speak about an edition of Wikisource? I thought de: has such high standards of quality? Not altering the original text is the main basis of quality in source texts, isn't it? So, where exactly do you see potential for inventions at all? There is no such potential. On the content level there are only the source texts. Nothing else. --::Slomox:: >< 23:23, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
That's a misunderstanding. I mean: Which variety will be your meta language? Which variety will you use to describe your content? Jonathan Groß 09:30, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, we have two localization files. One for Dutch rules based spelling, one for German rules based spelling. In the future there likely will be a third localization file for Plautdietsch (Mennonite Low Saxon). So on interface level that will be the three variants to choose from. At the wiki text meta level we likely will implement template based means to serve the needs of the three main subdivisions.
Of course there is further variation (every village has its own characteristics, as you said), but serving the three main subdivisions at least will make every speaker of Low Saxon be able to understand at least one of them. Low Saxon is dialect and there's no standard, but still Low Saxon is a language of its own, and so there is a common abstraction layer. Lithuanian Low Saxon is perfectly understandable to a Emsländer (and would be for Groningers and other Dutchmen too, if there wasn't the standard language based spelling issue) if you don't insist on implementing every ellipsis and every phonological caprice in spelling. So there's no need for 50,000+ localizations for every village.
The template based localized meta information could be served in Standard High German or English too, but this a thing to be considered on a later point. Everybody able to read Low Saxon source texts (whatever kind of) should be able to understand the short meta texts too, I guess. --::Slomox:: >< 14:04, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Strongly oppose' I do not believe Low Saxon is a language, it is only a dialect. Too many people are trying to take dialects and spin them into languages. (Red4tribe 04:37, 21 April 2008 (UTC))

There is no agreed upon distinction in linguistics between 'dialects' and 'languages'. Any variety of speech is just about as complex and complete as any other. And until fairly recently, most speakers of Low Saxon could only speak (their variety of) Low Saxon - not the national standard language. Would you have it that they were speaking 'a dialect' whereas people whose speech happened to coincide (more or less) with what was to become the standard language were speaking 'a language' all along?
Ni'jluuseger 19:37, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

General discussion

There is a Dutch Low Saxon and a German Low Saxon Wikipedia because of the insistence of the Germans on one orthography. What would the criteria for inclusion be for a Wikisource text ? GerardM 15:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

First let me say, that the Dutch Low Saxons wanted the second wiki too. And then orthography is no problem, cause source texts keep their original orthography, regardless of what kind of orthography this is. So there is no need for separate wikis. --::Slomox:: >< 11:44, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Currently the localisation for nds is 90.09% 43.85% and for nds-nl 83.51% 0.46% at Betawiki. Thanks, GerardM 07:17, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I think this project should - like Limburgish - deserve a chance. There seems to be interest, but nobody is editing the test project, that's not going to help this project. If there would be a little bit more/some activity I would be supporting this project. --OosWesThoesBes 20:09, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not edited every day, but it was just one day before your post here, that I created five new pages. I'm regularly editing, adding new content and caring for the existing content. I hope to include two new complete books in the nearest future (I have given them to another user to do the OCR of Fraktur letters and waiting for the results).
I don't know the exact number of pages in our test project, but when I counted them the last time, it was about 600. Looking at Wikisource/List that would put as at place 40 or 41 of the biggest Wikisources close behind or close before Danish, which was created 2004. I think, we are doing very well. --::Slomox:: >< 16:51, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I just say you today add a few pages too. Compared to the 850 pages Limburgish has, 600 is not a small number for a Wikisource. The only problem left for now seems to be the localisation. But I have strong believes that it will be taken care of. Let's do this! :) --OosWesThoesBes 16:20, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your support. Actually before the import of new Limburgish content today, Low Saxon test was bigger than the Limburgish project ;-) I still don't know the exact number (oh, how nice it would be to have a working {{NUMBEROFPAGES}}...), but a rough recount showed about 820 pages. --::Slomox:: >< 20:32, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Concurrence :P Then you'll have to finish the localisation :) --OosWesThoesBes 20:34, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Mediawiki core is above 99% for both nds-nl and nds-de. Extensions used by Mediawiki is about 80% for nds-de and much less for nds-nl (but I think, one full localization should be enough to fulfil the requirements). How did li.Wikisource get around the requirement, it's at 40%? Or is this due to adding new and removing old extensions? --::Slomox:: >< 21:54, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
li.wikisource is already 10 months old. That's how long nobody has been translating on betawiki. I do have time to translate it, but the people on li.wikipedia don't like it when I'm translating, because they want everything in a "standardised Limburgish" or Maastrichts :( --OosWesThoesBes 08:09, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Please re-open the discussion and revise the decision

There was no notification of the German Wikisource of this request. de.WS is a high standard quality project which has a lot of Low Saxon texts and will continue working with such texts. -- 18:45, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree --Histo 18:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
What decision where ???? GerardM 19:59, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
The above message is probably referring to the conditional appropoval statement of eligibility of the language. --Johannes Rohr 00:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Why should the German Wikisource have anything to do with a Low Saxon Wikisource? They are different languages and both languages are spoken in multiple countries which are not the same countries. GerardM 10:02, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Because (many) Germans are (unconscious) language fascists :-)
They pejorize everything of now that deviates from their respective current "standards", and embrace (or occupy) everything from the past as "theirs", no matter how far away from current "standard". In other words: All older Germanic language texts belong into German Wikisource alone, provided noone actively speaks these languages any more in Germany; and many want all but one language variety extinct, and even claim, they were already. Sorry to say, this is only brief, not exaggerated. --Purodha Blissenbach 00:04, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "fascist". It's like that: In the 19th century linguistic rights (and many other human rights) were nothing that had to be considered. There was no lobby that forbade the "big" languages to kill the "small" ones (by physically killing them, absorbing or assimilating them, driving them out of the country etc.). Nobody really cared. It was a age of nation states and nationalism. And the nation states thought they had the right to assimilate all minorities on their territory to the national culture/language. The national scientific communities of the nation states staked claims. Studies regarding Breton language/culture were to be conducted in French. Basque studies in French or Spanish, Saxon studies in Dutch or German always depending on which side of the political border the studied object happens to be located. Doing Basque studies in Basque was of course absurd to them. The German Wikisource has a very scientific attitude and is very lofty with their high standards of quality which are superior to the quality standards of all the other Wikisources (so they say). The German Wikisource stands in the nation-based scientific tradition of the 19th century. They divide the world in worthy science-experienced standard languages and scientifically unworthy non-standard and minority languages.
In short: Scientific loftiness. Wissenschaftlich-intellektuelle Hochfahrendheit. --::Slomox:: >< 01:19, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Technical Ramifications

Please see Translatewiki:Support#move_nds, Bugzilla:17592, and Bugzilla:17608. --Purodha Blissenbach 00:04, 22 February 2009 (UTC)