Bus announcements in the district of Bautzen now also in Sorbian

The first buses with bilingual – Sorbian-German – bus stop announcements have been travelling between Bautzen/Budyšin and Kamenz/Kamjenc since the beginning of March 2024. This is announced by Domowina - Bund Lausitzer Sorben e.V. / Domowina - Zwjazk Łužiskich Serbow z.t. / Domowina - Zwězk Łužyskich Serbow z.t. on its website 

While the German-language announcements were created digitally, the Sorbian announcements were specially recorded. There are currently Sorbian-German announcements for over 110 stops on twelve bus routes. According to Domowina, however, this is only the beginning. The aim is to have such bilingual announcements on all bus routes in the entire Sorbian settlement area of Saxony: i.e. from Bad Muskau/Mužakow to Gaußig/Huska and from Kamenz/Kamjenc to Weißenberg/Wóspork. Around 800 names need to be translated, recorded and transferred to the bus announcements. The project should be completed by 2025. 

The “bilingual” bus project was initiated and coordinated by Julian Nyča, head of language resources for the Domowina project ZARI. Julian Nyča: “We want to anchor the Sorbian language in the everyday lives of the population in the entire settlement area. And not only in written form, but also so that the Sorbian language is audible and thus an equal part of everyday life.” 

Domowina chairman Dawid Statnik sees this plan as a success for the Sorbs: “The Sorbian people have a special status as a minority, which is given by the Saxon Sorbian Law. However, this has not yet been implemented everywhere. Sorbian is a language of equal value to German and can and should fulfill the same functions. In Hoyerswerda/Wojerecy and Cottbus/Choćebus, Sorbian is already being announced on buses, and now we are moving towards area-wide implementation. We would therefore also like to thank our partners, such as the VVO in this case, for their openness and excellent cooperation,” says Dawid Statnik. 

Cooperation partners in this project are the Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe (VVO), the LUCIJA project and the municipal service office for the Sorbian language. 


Background: the ZARI project 

The ZARI project, which is sponsored by Domowina, aims to revitalize Sorbian in those areas of Lusatia where it is currently not an integral part of everyday life due to historical developments. The ultimate goal is to reach 100,000 speakers by the year 2100. The “bilingual” bus project is intended to open up further language areas and thus create additional motivation for speakers and learners. 


Photo: Mr. Wissenschaft/wikimedia.org