Index Preface Introduction Ordering


All nouns in Plautdietsch are capitalized. The apostrophe indicates that the syllable following it is accented. The absence of the apostrophe leaves the accent on the first syllable. The apostrophe also indicates a contraction as in met'm = met däm. Words, letters or parts of words in parenthesis can be used optionally. All nouns and pronouns in Plautdietsch have a grammatical gender: masculine, feminine, neuter. Many nouns are derived from verbs and are so indicated by capitalizing and changing the ending from e to a. Examples are: malkje to Malkja; brauntsate to Brauntsata.

Diminutives are formed by the addition of the suffix kje and are always neuter.If the noun ends in t or k then the diminutive is formed by adding the suffix je. Examples are: Schwienkje, Me'jalkje, Kautje, Krietje, Büakje.

A married woman is disignated by adding the suffix sche to the married surname. Examples are: Pannasche, Wiebsche.

Most adjectives have three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative and superlative. The comparative is formed by adding a to the positive word and the superlative is formed by adding ste to the postive word; Examples are: heet, heeta, heetste.

            dee Grope es heet
            dee Grope es heeta
            dee Grope es aum heetste
Following are example of changes that occur in comparing adjectives in the different genders:
      Masculine                 Feminine                  neuter

      en schmock a Jung         ne schmocke Me'jal        en schmocket Bilt
      en schmockra Jung         ne schmockre Me'jal       en  schmockret Bilt
      en schmocksta Jung        ne schmockste Me'jal      en  schmockstet Bilt
Personal pronouns and their related possessive adjectives:
            ekj         mien
            dü          dien
            hee         sien
            see         äa
            wie         ons
            jie         jün
            see (M)     äa
Ordinal numbers designate the rank of an item in a series; fractions are used as adjectives or nouns:
            cardinal             ordinal                   fractions

            eent                 easchta
            twee                 tweeda                    haulf (de halft)
            dree                 dredda                    en dreddel
            fea                  feada                     en feadel
            fiew (fief)          fefta                     en feftel
            sass                 sassta                    en sasstel
            säwen                säwenda                   en säwendel
            acht                 achta                     en achtel
            näajen               näajenda                  en näajendel
            tian                 tianda                    en tiendel
The ordinals listed are masculine; substituting an e for the last a changes these ordinals to the feminine; substituting et for the last a makes them neuter. The cardinal numbers are all feminine.


pers. pron. = personal pronoun.
poss. adj. = possessive adjective.
pl. = plural.
m= masculine.
f= feminine.
n= neuter.
M= Molotschna dialect variant.
prep.= preposition.
conj. = conjunction.
pref. = prefix.
suff. = suffix.
sep. = separable.
insep. = inseparable
lit. = literally.
vulg. = vulgar.
adv. = adverb
comp. = comparative.
sup. = superlative.
refl. = reflexive.
coll. = colloquial.
letters in brackets () can be used optionally.

Key to the pronunciation

Words in this Plautdietscha dictionary are based on phonetic spelling as closely as possible. A relationship with the High German is maintaned by capitalizing the nouns as well as in the use of sch in words like Schoo, School etc. In words where the s precedes a p or a t the sch is heard but not written. Examples are: Stock, späle. The c is used only in conjunction with the h in words such as noch, nijch, Boajch etc. The j following k and the g and precedig the ch softens or flattens those consonants. Examples are: Lijcht, ekj, trigj. These sounds have been somewhat controversial in that Old the Colony Mennonites 'hear' some sounds a little differently from the way the Molotschna Mennonites 'hear' them and consequently see a different symbol. Following is a list of some words that fall into this category:
      As pronounced and heard                  As pronounced and heard
      by the Old Colony Mennonites             by the Molotschna Mennonites

      Winkjla                      Winkler           Wintjla
      Kjoasch                      cherry            Tjoasch
      Kjikjel                      chick(s)          Tjitjel
      kjnette                      to knit           tjnette
      Migj                         mosquito          Midj
      trigj                        back              tridj
      Pligj                        (shoe) tack       Plidj
      Frü                          wife, woman       Fru
      Lüss                         louse             Luss
      jün                          your              jun
      je'neiw                      fussy, particular je'nau
      Meiw                         sleeve            Mau
      moake*                       to make           moake*
      foake*                       often             foake*
      Loake*                       (bed) sheet       Loake*
      Ssoll                        inch              Tsoll
      Ssoagel*                     tail              Tsoagel*
      ssettre                      tremble           tsettre
      ssinjre                      vibrate           tsinjre
      Sselt                        tent              Tselt
* The pronunciation of the diphthong oa is quite different between the Old Colony Mennnites and the Molotschna Mennonites. This difference in the pronunciation is extremely difficult to explain and practically impossible to put into type. It must be heard to get the full significance of this difference. It is close to the diphthong in the English word roar or boar when pronounced by the Molotschna Mennnites. The Old Colony Mennonites bring the tongue forward in the mouth when they pronounce this diphthong. Another somewhat controversial consonant is the hard s. The Old Colony Mennonites pronounced a number of words beginning with the hard s such as Ssoagel, Ssoll, while the same words are pronounced as Tsoagel, Tsoll by the Molotschna Mennonites. This dictionary will use the ss where words begin with the hard s.


      As pronounced by the                       As pronounced by the
      Old Colony Mennonites                      Molotschna Mennonites
      Ssoll                  inch                      Tsoll
      Ssoagel                tail                      Tsoagel
      ssettre                tremble                   tsettre
      ssinjre                vibrate                   tsinjre
      Sselt                  tent                      tselt


Vowels are mostly short when followed by a double consonant and long when they are followed by a single consonant of the same kind.
      short  i  is like i  in  it      e.g. Schilt
             ie is like ie in  field   e.g. hiele, Biel
      long   i  is like i  in  machine e.g. Tia
      short  e  is like e  in  met     e.g. Dell, stell
      long   ee is like ey in  they    e.g. hee, breet
      long   a  is like a  in  father  e.g. Fater, hab
             ä  is like a  in  gate    e.g. bäde, fäl
             äa is like ai in  air     e.g. äajde, mäajlijch
             au is like ow in  gown    e.g. Faut, Launt
      short  o  is like o  in  top     e.g. Spott, bott
      long   o  is like o  in  open    e.g. op, Rot
             oo is like ou in  out     e.g. Hoot, Foot
      short  u  is like u  in  put     e.g. mucht, Luck
             ü  is like u  in  Yule    e.g. Tün, jün*
* The ü, as shown in the above example, relates to the Molotschna pronunciation. The Old Colony Mennonites push their tongue forward when pronouncing this vowel.


b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, t are used as they are used in English;
c is used in conjunction with the h to form ch
ch pronounced like the ch in the Scottish word loch. Examples are: Loch, Dach. It is also used preceding the k after a short vowel as in Bock.
jch here the ch is flattened of softened when preceded by j Examples are: Lijcht, fleijcht.
g pronounced as in English except
gj here the g is flattened or softened when followed by the j Examples: Pligj, Migj, trigj.
k is pronounced as in English except
kj here the k is flattened or softened when followed by the j Examples are Kjoakj, Kjäakj. ( Note: the Molotschna Mennonites
substitute a T for the K in words like Kjoakj, Kjäakj (Tjoatj, Tjäatj)
The w is pronounced like the English v.
zh pronounced as the z in azure Examples are: buzhrijch, uzhent.
q, v, x and y are not used in this Plautdietsch orthography.

In some Mennonite communities verbs and nouns that end in e are closed with a final n. In general terms the Old Colony Mennonites, on which style this dictionary is based, do not use the n after these words. Examples are: scheete(n), rane(n), Woage(n). Letters in brackets can be used optionally.


en is a masculine and neuter article: en Maun, en Kjint
ne is a femnine article: ne Frü
det is a neuter article means the: det Kjint
et is another article in Low German which has the English equivelant of it or the. Examples are: Es et aul däjch; is it dry already? Es et Kjint aul je'sunt; is the child well already? Care must be taken to distinguish det from dit and daut

The following words belong in a class of their own because they do not conform to the general rules that apply to the o and the s: Bos, Hos, Blos are examples where we have the long o like in pole. The s remains soft.
Drosel, Schosel, tose, Kos, Fos are examples where we have a short o like in pot; the s remains soft.
Fros, Os, Oshacka, Osodla, Nätklos are examples where we have the long o like in pole but here we have the hard s like the s in boss.


In Low German a number of contractions have evolved that may look strange but have nevertheless become an idiomatic part of the language.

Here are some examples:
            regular expression     English        contraction
            woat daut              will it        woat't
            kaun ekj               can I          kaun'kj
            met däm                with the       met'm
            woa ekj                will I         woa'kj
There are many others and it may take some time before writers in LG accept the above in written form. The duplication of information contained in parts of this section is deliberate.