03 January 2015

Moin and What's Low-German?


In a recent post about relatives who might have been in the DAR, I used the phrase "low-German peasants."

The use of the word "peasants" was simply done to indicate that the ancestors of the women mention in the post were of the lower and sometimes middle economic classes. They weren't "high-powered" individuals. Low-German actually refers to a language family that is spoken in the north of Germany and in parts of the Netherlands. It's typically called low-German because it's spoken in the low-lying areas of Germany near the North Sea.

My maternal German ancestors were all from Ostfriesland--which is in extreme western modern-day Germany near the Dutch border. The immigrants from this area all spoke low-German (also referred to as Platt or Plattdeutsch), but some did speak or could read the more formal High German language as that was the language generally used in books and legal documents. My grandfather could speak some Platt which he learned from his parents.

"Moin" is a Frisian greeting--one which my maternal ancestors used.