A Short History of the German Language by Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker

By Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker

This easy advent to the historical past of the German language seeks to supply scholars who've a few wisdom of contemporary German, yet no wisdom both of its improvement or of linguistic theories, with a brief account of the fundamental elements - chronological, geographical and linguistic - and their interrelation. the cloth is prepared in 3 components. the 1st lines the heritage of the German language from its origins in Indo-European in the course of the pre-documentary Germanic interval and the center a while to the current day. within the moment half the improvement of the German vocabulary.

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Their languages are said to be related culturally. We shall find examples of both these relationships in the history of German. A short introductory book like the present one may give the impression that the history of the German language presents no further problems. In fact almost all the theories about the history of German which were once so confidently held have been questioned; over large areas of the field there is as yet no agreement. We shall be happy if some readers at least find in the following chapters a stimulus to investigate a few of the many problems which still await solution.

37. 7 For example OHG. andar, Goth, anpar, ON. annarr (with a short initial vowel followed by a nasal consonant) contrast with OE. ōðer (Eng. other), OFris. ōther, OS. āðar (with a long vowel and no nasal consonant); cf. p. , point (9). Chapter 4 Writing and printing We have now reached the point where writing enters the history of the Germanic language. From the late eighth century until the invention of the phonograph in the nineteenth we are almost entirely dependent for our knowledge of German on written and printed records.

1 The first aims at studying a language as it exists at a certain historical period, without concern for its development before or after that period. Such studies have shown that a language is not a mere jumble of ‘sound-idea’ associations, but a coherent system, an organic structure in which all the parts are complementary to each other. Yet it is not a fixed, immutable structure; on the contrary, it changes in small ways all the time. And any change in one part of the system brings changes in other parts.

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