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15

All images are hyperlinks to their sources. As with all historical typographic and linguistic developments, it’s much more easy to say what happened than why it happened. The following is a brief overview over the history, which I try to back up where I can: In medieval calligraphy and typsetting before movable type, it was quite common to use superscript ...


14

First a correction regarding the underlying facts: It is misleading to say that standard German does not have a progressive aspect. As pointed out in a passage you quoted, standard German has an extremely short and efficient method to express the progressive aspect: adding the adverb gerade, which roughly translates to right now. It's just not obligatory. ...


13

Yes, the rules of capitalization are different. In English, only the beginning of sentences as well as proper names (of people, of organisations, of "special things" such as specific celebrations, e.g. "Christmas") are generally capitalized. In German (not only in older text, but also according to the contemporary spelling rules), all of these are ...


12

Der Duden sagt Folgendes: mittelhochdeutsch bet(te), althochdeutsch betti, auch: Beet; ursprüngliche Bezeichnung für das mit Stroh und Fellen gepolsterte Lager entlang den Wänden des germanischen Hauses und vielleicht eigentlich = Polster (Quelle: Duden.de) Ebenso besagt er in einem anderen Artikel Folgendes: mittelhochdeutsch bette, ...


9

It does not make much sense to ask why a certain language has this or that feature. Why does english have just only one noun class (i.e. gender)? (with the exception of pronouns for persons; he, she, it). German has three such classes (male, female, neuter) and Swahili has 22. Why does modern English just have 3 grammatical cases, while old english had 5, ...


6

There is no such thing as a “German alphabet”, and while we are at it there is also no such thing as an “English alphabet” either. I don’t really know where this originated, but it appears to be perpetuated by American teachers. To my knowledge, no such concept ever got wide traction anywhere in the German-speaking area. Presumably, for a culture that ...


5

I'm not very comfortable with that question. Languages generally have grown over centuries without asking for "purpose" of specific language features. Language tends to be redundant and not minimalistic, and sometimes the redundancy even serves a purpose - like in literature or poetry - As it does in an everyday conversation. You could just as well ask why ...


5

(My answer doesn't really answers your question, but it is too long for a comment.) If your native language is English, you may be surprised, because English had genders in the past (see Wikipedia). Due to some reasons, genders died out and actually that's not something special (for example, French doesn't have neuter anymore, though it had). German has ...


5

Der Duden gibt für das norddeutsche Wort Queene (Färse) als Herkunft an: mittelniederdeutsch quene, altsächsisch quena = (alte) Frau


4

I'm having a hard time finding good etymological resources, but it seems like Latin loans have been going on for a long time. To tell which ones came via French or English requires you to check the individual etymology. For example, according to wiktionary, Relation has been around since Middle High German. It gives no estimate for Isolation, but given that ...


4

When you omit a letter (very often an e at the end of an word), you mark this with an apostrophe: Ruh’ = Ruhe (calm/peace) Wo ich geh’ und steh’ = Wo ich gehe und stehe. But very often this apostrophe is taken as optional, so it is omitted too. But when being strict this is not correct: Ruh = Ruh’ = Ruhe Wo ich geh und steh = Wo ich geh’ und ...


4

All nouns in German are capitalized. Interesse - interest Bruchstück - snippet / shard Schluss - ending / conclusion Bestand - collection / population / etc. These are all nouns, so they should be capitalized as such. :)


4

In addition to the article cited by Veredomon, I suggest watching the video by the same author (Belles Lettres). Gist: Grammatical gender is less about actual, prescriptive 'rules' as such, but more about usage and slowly developing consensus. (Note: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth background information on linguistics, ...


4

Belles Lettres wrote a text about grammatical gender - ie. noun classes, albeit in German: http://www.belleslettres.eu/artikel/genus-gendersprech.php There is definitely no moment where gender sprang into life and people accepted it, and it is far older than the German languages, dating back to Indoeuropean roots. In the end, there is a simple definition ...


4

I’ve found some interesting explainations on Wikipedia. Origin of the various substitutes. In the late 18th and early 19th century, when more and more German texts were printed in Roman type, typesetters looked for a Roman counterpart for the blackletter ſz ligature, which did not exist in Roman fonts. Printers experimented with various techniques, ...


4

Your question has already been answered very well. But to add some more information about the meaning of German apostrophe: In German, an apostrophe is always the hint that one letter is missing (in direct speech also more than one letters) even though many people use it in the wrong sense. Examples Wie geht es: Wie geht’s Explanation: The letter ‘e’ ...


3

There are multiple issues that are solved by having multiple articles. One of these issues is to decide whether a word, that has the same plural form as the singular, is in plural or not, i.e. Das Mädchen - Die Mädchen (the girl - the girls) Another problem is homonyms. These are words that are written the same way, but have different meanings. One example ...


3

Gemäss indirekte Rede « atlas-alltagssprache ist der Konjunktiv präsens in der Alltagssprache in Deutschland und Österreich weitgehend unüblich. Dies liefert eine gute Erklärung für die Unsicherheit im gehobenen Stil, wo der Konjunktiv präsens verwendet werden sollte: Wer den Konjunktiv präsens im Alltag nicht verwendet, wird oft kein Gespür für die ...


3

There is no such thing as the genitive apostrophe known in English (*). In German, the genitive "s" is attached without an apostrophe: Der Hut meines Vaters Tonys Pommesbude Andreas Friseursalon (it belongs to Andrea) Only if the noun already ends with a spoken "s"-sound, an apostrophe is appended to avoid ambiguity: Andreas' Friseursalon (it ...


2

Der Stamm war nicht baltisch sondern slavisch und die "Germanen oder Katholiken" haben dessen Territorium annektiert. Dieses Völkchen hieß "Porussen" und nicht Prussen oder Pruzzen (Fehlerhaft bei Wikipedia). PO bedeutet hier entlang, auf oder zusamen und RUSSEN bedarf keiner Übersetzung. Hier noch weitere Beispiele: - Pomeranie - Am Meer entlang - ...


2

Official Ignoring the table of contents and the preface, the official German spelling rules begin with the following: Die Schreibung des Deutschen beruht auf einer Buchstabenschrift. Jeder Buchstabe existiert als Kleinbuchstabe und als Großbuchstabe (Ausnahme ß): a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z ä ö ü ß A B C D E F G H I J K L ...


2

Wie es scheint, lässt sich der genaue Ursprung des Punktes in Ordnungszahlen nicht klären. Wie Em1 festgestellt hat, handelt es sich dabei keinesfalls um eine Besonderheit des Deutschen, weil es in den Sprachen wie Bosnisch, Kroatisch, Serbisch, Tschechisch, Dänisch, Ungarisch, Slowakisch oder Türkisch ähnlich gehandhabt wird. Nachdem ich ein wenig zum ...


2

No, in general the German language does not have an apostrophe in that case. Im Gegensatz zum Englischen wird der deutsche Genitiv ohne Apostroph geschrieben. DeutscheGrammatik20 Beispiel: Englisch: Peter’s house Deutsch: Peters Haus There's one exception to the rule. If the name already ends in an -s, an apostrophe is used to indicate the ...


1

"Gender" is not the best word to denote this grammatical category; think of it as being „noun classes“, which may or may not reflect on real categories of things. Some languages have strict connections between noun classes and reality, such as classes for animate and inanimate, or male, female, neuter, or whatever. In German, you can and should treat them ...


1

First: I’m not a pro at this, I’m just a German. Second, you’re right. This sentence seems over-complex and clearly out of date. Some single words wouldn’t be written like this: Volke → Volk. Using the dative form Volke (where Volk is the nominative) indicates either the age of the text or some kind of arts (like the lyrics of a song). And also, in modern ...


1

While reading this Ask MetaFilter thread, I encountered the following comment that suggested this book (which I have not read myself; so its readers should inform me of the quality) but which I thought to present here as it may assist: The Third Gender Studies in the Origin and History of Germanic Grammatical Gender by Frederick W Schwink, 1. Edition, 2004 ...


1

Words like "Information" or "Operation" actually come from latin words. So no, the words did not come from English or French, but from Latin. Either they were adapted through roman settlers or later on through the scientific community, which used to mainly use latin as a formal language.


1

Hubert’s answer nicely explains the pre-reformed orthographic situation. Anything pre-1996 is likely to follow one of the two former standards (or no standard at all) and would therefore prefer to use an apostrophe here to replace the missing e. Following the reform, a large number of formerly required apostrophes were either disallowed completely or made ...



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