The Lower Sorbian vocabulary is relatively well described. Although so far there is no systematic comprehensive study of loanwords in Lower Sorbian, there exist some dictionaries, the Sorbian Language Atlas and quite a lot of detailed research literature. In most cases the loanword status of a given word is determined on the basis of these sources.
0 (No evidence for borrowing)
Words that are shown to be inherited from Proto-Slavonic or from an older historical stage of Sorbian without having been borrowed into it.
1 (Very little evidence for borrowing)
Mainly words of unclear etymology, but without further or only with meanwhile disproved indication that they are borrowed. In some other cases there is some indication that an indigenous word was replaced by a German loanword and later reborrowed from Upper Sorbian.
2 (Perhaps borrowed)
Mainly words of unclear etymology, but with some indication that they are borrowed. In some other cases it seems possible that an indigenous word was replaced by a German loanword and later reborrowed from Upper Sorbian, but it cannot be excluded that the original Lower Sorbian word had coexisted with the German loanword, although being less frequent than the loanword.
3 (Probably borrowed)
Mainly words generally considered to have been borrowed, but where there is still some doubt about it. One group of words within this category consists of items that are probably borrowed from Upper Sorbian but could also have been built on a Lower Sorbian basis under Upper Sorbian influence.
4 (Clearly borrowed)
Words generally considered to have been borrowed and where there is no doubt about it. Words not yet documented or not explicitly characterized as loans are assigned to category 4 if their status as a loanword was obvious (e.g. ocean < NHG Ozean ‘the ocean’).
|1. clearly borrowed|
|Salience:||Present in pre-contact environment|
Upper Sorbian as a model
Upper Sorbian as a model
Regardless of the close relationship between the two Sorbian languages one can recognize an increasing influence of Upper Sorbian on the Lower Sorbian literary language in the last two centuries. In the middle of the 19th century Upper Sorbian culture experienced a revival with a lot of new publications in literature and a steady flow of new words. In Lower Lusatia this process began later and was also less intensive so that Upper Sorbian became a model for the development of the Lower Sorbian lexicon. Up to 1945 the main agents of the Lower Sorbian literary language were native speakers, mostly schoolmasters and pastors. At this time Upper Sorbian influence is found only with respect to new terminology, to the replacement of German borrowings for purist reasons and to some grammatical structures.