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You are right. German has a tendency not only to long words, but also to long interlaced sentences. Mark Twain wrote a satirical essay about the German language from a native English point of view (full text). A quote from this essay for an interlaced sentence example: "The trunks being now ready, he DE- after kissing his mother and sisters, and once ...
Bach used a German spoken at his time (1685-1750) which is considered as Neuhochdeutsch but it is not spoken any more today. Nevertheless it is still understood. In addition to this a lot of changes to grammar and spelling were done for rhyming so that stanzas fit to the melody. Example: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, voll Schmerz und voller Hohn, ...
We are talking here on the geographic development of German dialects over time. This did not match political development of Central Europe countries. From a linguist's view the German language is divided into Low German (Niederdeutsch, syn. Plattdüütsch) and High German (Hochdeutsch) along the Uerdingen Line, or the Benrath Line respectively: ...
Religious verses in a language of around 1750. This language will hardly help you to read a novel, newspapers or to understand everday German.
It wasn't always like this. English sentences in formal writing used to be rather long as well. Consider the first sentence from Washington's Farewell Address 1796: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be ...
In an etymological context the abbreviations you found mean: altn. altnordisch altn. altniederländisch nnl. neuniederländisch schw. Dafür gibt es unterschiedliche Verwendungen: Im nordischen Kontext "schwedisch", evtl. auch "schweizerisch" oder "schwäbisch". Note: the abbreviation schw. also means schwach [gebeugt] in dictionaries.
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