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Lower Saxony hopes song contest will give voice to Plattdeutsch

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Lower Saxony hopes song contest will give voice to Plattdeutsch
Die Tüdelband Photo: Plattsounds
12:20 CET+01:00
The Culture Ministry of Lower Saxony has launched a song competition to promote Low German, or Plattdeutsch, in a bid to keep the regional language alive among younger people.

The “Plattsounds” song contest is open to entrants aged 15 to 30 and will accept entries from any genre, from reggae to rock.

Until 31 August, musicians are invited to share tracks in any language, even English, via a specially designed internet platform.

“We'll accept anything- including High German,” said organiser Thorsten Böhrnsen.

People also can use the Plattsounds website to discuss their favourite Plattdeutsch artists and swap tracks, as well as providing tips and translation-help to competition entries. The completed, translated tracks will then be pitted against one another starting September 1.

The winner will be crowned in a ceremony in Oldenburg on October 8 and will receive prize money of €1,000. Second and third-place entrants will receive €500 and €250 respectively.

Considered by some to be a dialect of standard “High German” and others an entirely separate language with similarities to Dutch, the number of people speaking Plattdüütsche has dwindled in recent years.

“Languages can be so quickly forgotten,” said the Lower Saxon Culture Minister Johanna Wanka this week in Hannover. “It is a very real fear for us that Low German will die out. We must do everything that we can to get young people to say that ‘Plattdeutsch is cool'.”

Platt, as it is called by Germans, is most widely spoken in Lower Saxony along the region bordering the Netherlands, but it influences regional German dialects as far east as Berlin. Today Plattdeutsch is spoken by 2.5 million people, roughly half as many as 25 years ago.

The language is no stranger to the German music scene, with cabaret singer Ina Müller storming the charts with a version of the Motown hit “I've Never Been to Me” sung in Plattdeutsch as “De Wind vun Hamborg,” or “The Wind from Hamburg.” The Hamburg-based rap group Fettes Brot has also frequently sprinkled Platt into their songs.

DAPD/rm

Die Tüdelband - Uwe from Plattsounds Bandfestival on Vimeo.

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