For questions on the history of grammar, orthography, pronunciation and similar – with the main exception of word and phrase meanings, for which the etymology tag should be used.

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3
votes
1answer
200 views

Die “Dichter- und Denkerpose” in der deutschen Literatur seit dem 18.Jh

Ich suche nach Nennungen, Charakterisierungen und Transformationen der Denkerpose1 in literarischen und poetologischen deutschen Texten seit dem 18. Jahrhundert. Wie ist es zu dem Klischee gekommen? ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Is the second verse of the German national anthem offensive? Why is it not used?

My understanding is that today's national anthem, "Einigkeit, und Recht, und Freiheit..." was the third verse of the original and that we're not supposed to sing the original first verse, "Deutschland,...
7
votes
3answers
229 views

Wie vergleichbar sind die Widerstände gegen die Rechtschreibreformen 1876 und 1901 mit denen von 1996?

Gab es 1876 und 1901 auch derartige Widerstände wie gegen die Rechtschreibreform von 1996 und ihre Folgereformen? Was wurde damals anders oder evtl. besser gemacht?
11
votes
3answers
410 views

What caused “ss” to gain popularity over “ß” in the 19th century?

From Google Books' Ngram Viewer: Notice that the "hasst" form gained popularity towards the end of the 19th century, only to drop again in favor of "haßt" later on. I noticed the same pattern on ...
6
votes
1answer
184 views

Can anyone explain this strange feature in the ratio in usage gern and gerne in late 1940s?

I was looking at some google N-grams and noticed that the ratio between usage for gern and gerne has a strange bump in the late 1940s. In particular, gerne gained in usage but then returned to the ...
9
votes
1answer
207 views

Wie kam das 'e' in den “Schmied”?

Schon länger frage ich mich, wie es zur Dehnung des "i"-Vokals und zur Bildung eines "-ie-" in der Berufsbezeichnung "Schmied" kam. Im Duden, aber auch in anderen Wörterbüchern ist die Herkunft aus ...
4
votes
3answers
624 views

Does “paar” still mean “two items”? Words that have lost their original meaning

–Ich hätte gerne ein Paar Brötchen –Wie viele? That was (modulo trivialities) a conversation that surprised me. Of course –assuming the grammatical correctness of the sentences–, the baker doesn't ...
8
votes
2answers
458 views

Who still uses Fraktur?

I am a speaker of German as well as a math student and enthusiast. As one might expect, scripts and notation are very important in math, and much of the notation developed in the German-speaking world....
3
votes
1answer
377 views

How can I find out what is written on an image of the Spiezer chronicle?

The following is a drawing of the Spiezer chronicle from the 15th Century showing John Hoss being burnt alive, I want to include it in my research about Protestantism. While preparing a ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

passage from C to K

I happened to notice in Köpenick that the name of the city was spelt Cöpenick in an old street sign. Was there a general passage from C to K at some time in the history of the german language ?
6
votes
2answers
210 views

When did “zu Gunsten”, “zu Liebe” etc. become “zugunsten”, “zuliebe”? (In case they did)

In this question we learned that one origin of new prepositions are adverbs or fixed prepositional phrases. These prepositions go initially with genitive (and then perhaps mutate into dative). When ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

allgemeiner Zeitpunkt einer dt. Rechtschreibreform [closed]

Wann ist jeweils die Zeit reif für eine deutsche Rechtschreibreform? Wird man jemals die deutsche Schriftsprache weitreichend "durchoptimieren" können, wie z.B. durch den "Verzicht" auf c, q, v, x, y, ...
0
votes
1answer
136 views

Die Durchführung der dt. Rechtschreibreform von 1996 (und der Folgejahre) [closed]

Was war richtig, was war falsch an der Rechtschreibreform von 1996 (und der Folgereformen)? Was müsste man tun, um eine Rechtschreibreform optimal, d.h. mit minimalen Konflikten, durchzuführen? ...
2
votes
1answer
144 views

Classic German Literature

I´m looking for a book on German Literature, describing its history the differents phases and currents, something rather exhaustive and "umfangreich". Is there a classic textbook ? (like for example ...
19
votes
2answers
482 views

Is/Was there a Basic German?

There is a whole Wikipedia written in Basic English. This leads to the question if something similar exists for German. Maybe a type of controlled language for teaching aboriginals a simplified German ...
0
votes
2answers
577 views

What are the historical reasons behind false friends English/German (and reverse)? [closed]

I've recently encountered the verb "bekommen", which, to my surprise, is not "to become" but "to receive". This is one example of a false friend English/German. One other, more evident example is also,...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Präteritum of “sein” in Southern dialects

As in Southern dialects the Präteritum or Mitvergangenheit is often dropped in favor of the perfect tense, I was wondering about some things regarding the "i wår" (apparently the Präteritum of "sein") ...
5
votes
1answer
412 views

Wie entstand aus “Sicht” die “Zuversicht”?

Schon länger frage ich mich, wie man die Etymologie von "Zuversicht" erkärt. Im Duden wird knapp aufgeführt mittelhochdeutsch zuoversiht, althochdeutsch zuofirsiht Duden und auch das ...
7
votes
1answer
555 views

Reduplikation in der deutschen Sprache

Gemäss Wikipedia gibt es im deutschen beinahe keine Reduplikationen. Bei uns in der Schweiz sind diese aber in der gesprochenen Sprache sehr weit verbreitet. Beispiele dafür gibt es auch in Wikipedia,...
11
votes
2answers
951 views

Meaning of Mann as a tribe rather than a male individual

Everybody understands the substantive Mann as designating a male human individual. Some people might also be aware of the kinship between Mann and the verb to command, which crops up for instance in ...
8
votes
1answer
404 views

Seit wann ist ein “Wurm” nur noch ein Wurm und kein anderes Insekt?

Heutzutage versteht man unter einem Wurm ein bein- und wirbelloses Kriechtier wie auf folgendem Bild: Bild eines Regenwurms Wikimedia Das war aber möglicherweise nicht immer so. So nennt man im ...
5
votes
1answer
435 views

Did the gender of “Müll” change with its meaning?

Still in the 19. Century for "Müll" we have both, a neuter and a masculine gender whereas its gender today is masculine. Interestingly it also seems to have had a different meaning than today (trash, ...
1
vote
1answer
496 views

Hat der “Rosenmontag” etwas mit Rosen zu tun?

Im Karneval wird der Rosenmontag als Tag vor dem Faschingsdienstag in großen Teilen der Republik mit Umzügen gefeiert: Bild vom Rosenmontagsumzug Nach Duden und nach Grimms Wörterbuch soll sich "...
3
votes
2answers
238 views

Welche Schriftsteller oder Dichter waren für die Entwicklung der deutschen Sprache ausschlaggebend?

In jeder Sprache gab es Schriftsteller und Dichter, die für zeitgenössische Sprache stehen und einen erheblichen Einfluss in der Entwicklung der Sprache haben. So war es Chaucer für die englische und ...
10
votes
2answers
493 views

Did “zwo” exist before invention of radio?

Was "zwo" often or ever used before radio, or was it developed as a result of radio? Or has it just always been used around crowds and loud noises? And have other numbers ever had similar ...
4
votes
2answers
698 views

What, exactly, is meant by “Anschluss” in politics?

In its "usual" usage in politics, it refers to the (forced) union of Germany and Austria in 1938. And a literal translation of the word might be "closing." Can the term be used to refer to a "merger ...
5
votes
2answers
785 views

Did “Frohes Schaffen!” originate from Nazi propaganda?

At work I often hear the greeting: "Frohes Schaffen!" Some time ago I was told that I should not use "Frohes Schaffen" as it is supposed to come from Nazi propaganda. Ever since then I feel ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Did German borrow any words from Old Prussian?

Considering the huge influence Prussia had for a time over Germany, did many words from the Old Prussian language get borrowed into German? (Sorry I didn't originally include the word "Old" as I ...
7
votes
1answer
160 views

Dropped 'H' in 1901 Orthography Conference

In 1901, was the letter 'H' dropped in some words where not needed? I think "thun" was a example. What other words were affected? Was "Tür" (door) one of them? Thanks.
6
votes
1answer
735 views

Warum sächselt Erich Honecker, obwohl er aus dem Saarland kommt?

In all the speeches and interviews I know, Erich Honecker is speaking with what seems to me a notably east German accent (Apologies if "Sächseln" isn't entirely correct. I don't know much about east ...
6
votes
1answer
536 views

Why does “fliegen” not always happen in the air?

In German "fliegen" is quite often used in a context where it has nothing to do with flying like a bird or with a flight by an airplane. Kevin ist von der Schule geflogen. Morgen machen wir ...
11
votes
1answer
240 views

Why is indirect speech marked by modus instead of tempus in German?

If marked, most (according to Wikipedia) european languages use tempus instead of modus for indirect speech. Actually i think this is more intuitive too, as something was said by another person. Also, ...
1
vote
2answers
585 views

English analog to “Stelzbock” or why so few sexual cusses for men?

german female version of Stelzbock someone told me would be Flittchen - Hussy (eng). Is there an appropriate translation? Imo, Macho and Gigolo doesn't match , to less animal-like and more a lifestyle....
8
votes
2answers
278 views

Wo kommt “meinen” in der Bedeutung von “lieben” vor?

Im Lied "Die Freiheit, die ich meine", das hauptsächlich in Burschenschaften gesungen wird, und das auch als Titel des Buches von Jörg Haider gedient hat, kommt das Wort "meinen" im Sinne von "lieben" ...
5
votes
1answer
446 views

Where does/did word-formation in German language happen?

I am interested in a comprehensible overview, summarization where most of word-formation in German language actually happen. How are new words finally accepted to end in an official dictionary like ...
12
votes
1answer
272 views

Wann ging der häufige Gebrauch des »th« verloren?

In alten deutschen Texten liest man häufig Wörter mit th geschrieben, die heutzutage ohne ein Solches geschrieben werden. Beispiele sind Theil, Thor. Wann wurden diese Schreibungen abgeschafft? Nach ...
9
votes
3answers
586 views

Do the noun 'Reich' and the adjective 'reich' have a common origin?

The adjective rich in present-day English used to be spelled rice in Old English and its meaning was then actually broader than it is today. For instance the adjective rice could mean "wealthy" as it ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Neuter gender for nouns referring to children

In German we say der Mann/die Frau, but then we say das Kind/das Mädchen, so I got two questions: Are there particular historic and/or etymological reasons for this? "Das Mädchen" refers to a ...
18
votes
1answer
692 views

Does Swabian have English influences?

Many variations of the swabian dialect contain words and pronunciations that to me always subtly sounded like influenced by modern english. One of the more prominent examples is the pronunciation of "...