Sorbian, or Wendisch, is a member of the West Slavic subgroup of Indo-European languges spoken by about 54,000 people in Upper and Lower Lusatia in the German Länder of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Sorbs are descendents of the Wends, the German name for the Slavic tribes who occupied the area between the Elbe and Saale rivers in the west and the Odra (Oder) River in the east during the medieval period.
Sorbian first appeared in writing during the 16th century. The first Sorbian texts include a fragment of a liturgy (1543) from Zossen and the translation of the New Testament (1548) by M Jakubica from Laubnitz. In the mid-19th century, written Upper Sorbian based on the dialect spoken around Bautzen was introduced as the compulsory standard in the Sorbian-speaking area in Upper Lusatia, while written Lower Sorbian based on the Cottbus dialect was introduced as the standard written form in Lower Lusatia.