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1) UNESCO makes no distinction between Lower and Upper Sorbian. 2) The language vitality of Ethnologue and Endangered Languages reflect Upper Sorbian, not Lower Sorbian.
Lower Sorbian (dolnoserbska rěc or Wendish) and Upper Sorbian (hornjoserbska rěč) are western Slavonic languages spoken in Lower Lusatia (located in the German state Land of Brandenburg) and Upper Lusatia (located in the German state Free State of Saxony). In central parts of Upper Lusatia there are still villages where Upper Sorbian is the first language and the family language of all generations. In Lower Lusatia the language is rarely passed on to to the next generation.
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Sorbian education has varied with changing regimes: 1).
After 1950/during DDR:
In 2020 there are 16 type A schools in Saxony 2) and 7 A-type schools in Brandenburg3) on primary, secundary and Gymnasium level.
Within the Free State of Saxony, Sorbian is recognised and protected in:
Within the State of Brandenburg, Sorbian is recognised and protected in:
Saxony: the State provides Sorbian groups with additional financial support for staff and education materials.
Brandenburg: daycare centres are obliged to teach about Sorbian language and culture. They receive financial support from the Foundation for Sorbian People. The Federal State is obliged to support Sorbian education of the group leaders and to provide pedagogical materials.
Saxony: the Sorbian language may be used as a language of instruction, and taught as a subject. Basic knowledge about the history and culture of the Sorbs has to be taught at school 8).
Brandenburg: schools are obliged to inform parents about the possibilities to learn Sorbian. Basic knowledge about the history and culture of the Sorbs has to be taught at schools 9).
Saxony: the Sorbian language may be used as a language of instruction, and taught as a subject. Basic knowledge about the history and culture of the Sorbs has to be taught at school 10).
Brandenburg: schools are obliged to inform parents about the possibilities to learn Sorbian. Basic knowledge about the history and culture of the Sorbs has to be taught at schools 11).
In the Free state of Saxony:
In the state of Brandenburg:
Especially Lower Sorbian dialects are vanishing due to the learning of the standard language in school.12)
Different methods are available for teaching Sorbian as a first language, and as a foreign language.
Read more about Sorbian language education in Mercator's Regional Dossier (2016).
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