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the language of the Wends, who live in Dresden and Cottbus districts in the German Democratic Republic. The number of Wendish-speaking people is approximately 100,000 (1970, estimate).
Wendish belongs to the western branch of the Slavic languages. It is broken down into two groups of dialects—Upper Wendish in the south and Lower Wendish in the north, with a wide zone of transitional dialects. The written language appeared in the 16th century. There are two literary languages, Upper and Lower Wendish, differing in phonetics (for example, trawa or tsawa, “grass,” and njesc or njasc, “to carry”), morphology (for example, the category of masculine person of the noun, the verb, and other parts of speech in Upper Wendish and the absence of it in Lower Wendish; the absence of the supine form in Upper vocabulary (for example, ćisla or, twarc “carpenter,” and žbofo or gluka, “happiness”), syntax, and word formation. In the opinion of a number of linguists, Wendish is the aggregate of the two languages, Upper Wendish and Lower Wendish.
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K. K. TROFIMOVICH