The Sorbian languages are a
Slavic branch of the
They are the native languages of the
Sorbs, a Slavic minority in eastern
Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian.
There are two languages:
Upper Sorbian (hornjoserbsce), spoken by about 40,000 people in
Lower Sorbian (dolnoserbski) spoken by about 10,000 people in
Brandenburg. The area where the two languages are spoken is known as
Lusatia (Łužica in Upper Sorbian, Łužyca in Lower Sorbian, or Lausitz in
In Germany, Upper and Lower Sorbian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages by the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In the home areas of the Sorbs, both languages are officially equal to German.
The city of
Upper Lusatia is the centre of Upper Sorbian culture. Bilingual signs can be seen around the city, including the name of the city, "Bautzen/Budyšin".
The city of
Cottbus (Chóśebuz) is considered the cultural centre of Lower Sorbian. Cottbuss also has bilingual signs.
Sorbian is also spoken in the small Sorbian (“Wendish”) settlement of
Lee County, Texas. Until recently newspapers were published in Sorbian there. The local dialect has been heavily influenced by surrounding speakers of
American and Australian communities often prefer to call themselves “Wends” or “Wendish,”. They think that “Sorb” and “Sorbian” are bad words.