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Are there any differences between the "German" language in Hitler's days and the "German" language today. I mean in terms of spelling, grammar, definition/meaning, etc.

  • 6
    What have you found so far? How does your native language compare to how it was used 70 to 100 years ago? – Robert Aug 2 '16 at 17:45
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    Welc... , nevermind. I mean, what role does that guy play in this language evolution question? Even if it would, you should state the year. And even so, the question would be too broad. – c.p. Aug 2 '16 at 18:07
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    I generally read German newspapers; Der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung and the like are relatively easy to read for me by now. But a few months ago, I was reading a speech by Hitler, and it was really really tough! Looots of new vocabulary. – Eugene Str. Aug 2 '16 at 18:09
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    In addition to what c.p. said: Can you please say why you are interested in this? You will likely get more helpful answers this way. – Wrzlprmft Aug 2 '16 at 19:19
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    You may also want to look for a more descriptive title for your next question(s). "A little inquiry" is pretty much pointless. – Robert Aug 2 '16 at 20:49
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From 1889, when Hitler was born, until now (2016), there have been writing reforms for the German language in 1901, 1944 and 1996. The reform of 1996 was adjusted in 2004, 2006 and 2011. But these all were just changes in how to write words, i.e. orthography. None of these reforms did really change the language itself, i.e. the way how people speak with each other. No meaning of words and no grammar rules were changed by these reforms. No new words were invented, no words were deleted, and the meaning of words was not changed by these reforms.

Hitler lived from 1889 to 1945, this is between 71 and 127 years ago (counted from 2016). So, we are talking about a time difference of about one century. I guess the differences are similar to the differences in English or any other language within the period of one century.

Today we have tons of words that did not exist 100 years ago. This are new words like internet, skateboard and car-sharing, but also words like television and even blitzkrieg (which was invented by the Nazis, so it didn't exist when Hitler was a young boy).

We also no longer use certain words that were common a hundred years ago. Sorry, I don't have examples for this, but just watch historic movies and listen to what people are saying there.

And of course the meaning of some words has changed. Changes in grammar can also be found in almost every living language, and German is a living language, so it is permanently changing.

  • "Sorry, I don't have examples for this, but just watch historic movies and listen to what people are saying there." - where "historic" is relative ... even in the 1970s, people in movies seemed to routinely say "Wo steckst du?" (instead of "Wo bist du?"), which sounds extremely dated nowadays. – O. R. Mapper Aug 2 '16 at 22:06
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    @O.R.Mapper: That’s dated? You may live in a different region than me or than the writers of those 1970s films. Of course, it doesn’t mean exactly the same as the neutral Wo bist du?. – chirlu Aug 3 '16 at 18:16
  • @chirlu: Quite possible. To me as a native from South-Western Germany, Wo steckst du? sounds like a very unnatural thing to say nowadays. With that said, I am not sure I see any difference in neutrality or lack thereof compared to Wo bist du? – O. R. Mapper Aug 3 '16 at 19:01
  • @K. M. Ich würde aus dem Bauch heraus noch hinzufügen, dass der Nominalstil viel mächtiger wurde, der Genitiv zurückging, Sätze wie "...weil ich habe gegessen " begannen sich zu häufen und schließlich die Verwendung des Präsenz zur Beschreibung der Vergangenheit zunahm. Und dass das Präteritum ausstarb, genauso der Konjunktiv I und seltene Verbformen, wie "flicht". – Ludi Aug 6 '16 at 16:41
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    Blitzkrieg never was part of the Nazi propaganda teminology. It was first printed in the "Times" 1939 after the Poland invasion. jstor.org/stable/2953968?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents – tofro Oct 6 '16 at 14:07
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Considering spelling, there was a reform in 1996:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_orthography_reform_of_1996

in the course of which several changes were introduced. (e.g. doubled consonants, when preceding vowel is pronounced short. Removal of a lot of "ß" and replacement with "ss". The aim was to unify spelling more strongly)

Regarding "definition/meaning", the first thing coming to my mind is the term "Propaganda" which, at the time, was afaik a common word for "political advertising". "Propaganda" nowadays has a strong negative connotation.

  • Welche Nebenbedeutung hat denn Propaganda? Ist es nicht die Hauptbedeutung, die meist negativ bewertet wird? – user unknown Aug 3 '16 at 15:36
  • Die Rechtschreibreform hat die Sprache überhaupt nicht verändert. Sie hat nur die Regeln verändert, wie man Sprache schriftlich codieren soll. Aber die Sprache an sich blieb bisher bei jeder Reform unangetastet, und davon gab es insgesamt bereits vier (Nachbesserungen nicht mitgezählt), nämlich 1876, 1901, 1944 und 1996. – Hubert Schölnast Aug 4 '16 at 6:50

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