Questions tagged [history]

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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Do the Amish have English accents?

I am interested in whether the Amish, despite living in North America for 300 years, managed to preserve their accents in their primary language: Examples, with time stamps: https://www.youtube.com/...
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1 vote
1 answer
329 views

What was the Volga German dialect based on?

Wikipedia says: The greatest number of Volga Germans emigrated from Hesse and the Palatinate, and spoke Hessian and Palatine Rhine Franconian dialects[61][62] to which the colonists from other ...
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0 votes
2 answers
122 views

Differences in use of active tense between germanic languages

I was recently comparing Swedish, English, and German ways to express the following: The snow has melted. Eventually I looked into French and Spanish too. In Swedish you would say Snön har smält. ...
Buck Thorn's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

So what's a "Realencyclopädie"?

Given the importance of Pauly's work (Wikipedia, Wikisource), I assume it wasn't written in gibberish by a madman. That said, what secondary or tertiary sense does the German real or Real have that ...
lly's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
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Unknown word "Beuelch" on title page of 16th century German hymnal

The Christmas hymn "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", which is of unknown origin, first appeared in print in a hymnal for the diocese of Speyer that was printed in Cologne in 1599, the so called ...
njuffa's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
713 views

Etymology of "Je... desto.."

German learner (B1) here, and sorry if this sounds like a stupid question. I've heard about the "Je... desto..." conjunction and I'm familiar with it, but it just sounds different than the ...
Pro Poop's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
179 views

War das gesprochene Deutsch vor 500-1000 Jahren ähnlicher dem Hoch- oder dem Plattdeutsch?

Ich weiß nicht, ob es eine genaue Antwort auf diese Frage gibt, aber ich möchte gerne wissen, wenn man heutige deutsche Dialekten mit Altdeutsch vergleicht. Welcher Dialekt blieb dieser Sprache am ...
FLUSHER's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
444 views

What is this symbol for a small weight?

I'm going through old handwritten recipes from 1895 and found this symbol for a small weight that I can't figure out. The recipe starts as follows: Strudel Man nimmt dazu 4 Eier, 10 ?? Hefe, 1/4 ℔ ...
Spade's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
318 views

Why did the rulers of Austria and/or Bavaria not declare Austro-Bavarian a separate language back in the day?

This is more of a history question. But it's about the German language, so I hope this is on-topic here. Typically, the rulers of independent states try to declare their local speech a separate ...
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4 votes
1 answer
377 views

"ich bin deine, du bist meine"

I have been listening to Bach’s secular cantata BWV 213 (“Hercules at the crossroad”) to a text by Picander.. Towards the end there is a duet between Hercules (scored for a boy alto) and the ...
fdb's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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So about endgültige Lösung

I assume it's not as bad as Endlösung within German but it certainly translates to the exact same wtf English in Google, OpenAI, &c. 1st) Within German, is it entirely distinct from Endlösung and ...
lly's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
114 views

From a linguistic PoV, do we know why Akkusativ only changes the masculine? [closed]

From an academic/historical/linguistic perspective, is there any interesting background for why a case that only changes one gender remained in the language and did not become disused? Pardon my ...
maligree's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Modern name or translation of the illness "der rothen Sucht"

I'm trying to translate an old family bible from the 1870s and stumbled upon a cause of death of a child that I'm struggling with. The writing is in an old handwriting (Sütterlin?) so it's a bit of ...
Spade's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
446 views

Obsolete old German glyphs?

Old English has several glyphs that are obsolete today: For example þ, replaced by "th". Old Japanese had several kana not used today, for example ゑ. However, how about German? Did German ...
Christelle Augustin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
123 views

Specific cases for time indications, and their origin

German uses the accusative for definite time expressions, both for durations ("Ich mache es den ganzen Tag") and points in time ("Ich mache es nächsten Samstag"), and the genitive ...
dirkt's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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How did the German case system end up as it is?

How did the irregular German case system develop, specifically that the same article such as "der" occurs in different places in terms of gender and case, and there is no strict overarching ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
282 views

Carl von Clausewitz in original German

Though I'm sure this is simpler than I'm making it I've been unable to find the German original of the Carl von Clausewitz quote Next to victory, the act of pursuit is most important in war. I don't ...
orome's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
300 views

Warum wurde"abend" in "Dienstag abend" früher klein geschrieben?

Seit der Rechtschreibreform 1996 werden Fügungen aus Wochentag und Tageszeit zusammen geschrieben: Dienstag + Abend = Dienstagabend Die Überlegung hinter dieser Regel scheint zu sein, dass die ...
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-5 votes
3 answers
246 views

Streusel-Schnecke oder Schneck? [closed]

Backt mich auf bitte, eine Streuselschnecke hat ja keine Schneckenform. Ähnliche Snacks, die eine derartige Form doch aufweisen, möchten wohl augenfällige Wortspiele sein. Was war zuerst, die Schnecke ...
vectory's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
535 views

Origins of the unified German declensions chart?

In this website , a chart is provided which when combined with the rules to it, one can derive all the other standard declension chart. Here is a picture of the same: However, the only other place I'...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
132 views

Dialect that voices "achtzig" as "achtlig" or "achtling"

About 25 years ago I was traveling in a remote part of Graubünden, Switzerland, and I noticed at a kiosk that the elderly woman behind the counter voiced multiples of ten as ending in "lig" ...
Diogenes Creosote's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
683 views

Why is the section sign (§) placed so prominently on the QWERTZ layout of keyboards?

Today I noticed, that in the past decades, until today, I never typed § (Shift+3) even once in my life intentionally as part of a sentence. However @ (Alt Gr+q) and € (Alt Gr+E) I need fairly often in ...
Ocean's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
386 views

How did präteritum come to be primarily used in writing and mostly unused in everyday speech?

As a native English speaker learning German, one thing that has caught my imagination is the Präteritum. The idea of a tense which you mostly don't really say (with a few exceptions such as sein, ...
rooms's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Help translating the old German word hewrigenn

I'm digging into old German cookbooks from 1400-1600 and I came across the following book. Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard which contains a recipe for a liver dish in which this passage is found: ...
Spade's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What could the old German (or maybe Bayrish?) word gestu:ep mean?

I'm digging into old German cookbooks from 1400-1600 and I came across the following book https://www.uni-giessen.de/fbz/fb05/germanistik/absprache/sprachverwendung/gloning/tx/feyl.htm which contains ...
Spade's user avatar
  • 561
5 votes
1 answer
666 views

Proto-Indo-European language or "Indogermanische Ursprache"?

Can someone please explain me, why does the subject call "Indogermanische Ursprache" in the german version of the article about Proto-Indo-European language? If I'm not wrong, there was Indo-...
PavelPraulov's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
319 views

What's exactly the background of the word “Mädis”?

In the operetta Die Csárdásfürstin they sing in the part 2 about "Mädis vom Chantant". While I do understand Mädis stands obviously for Mädels (or are there additional connotations?), I fail ...
J. Doe's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
353 views

When did Germans start write nouns with a capital letter?

When did Germans start write nouns with a capital letter?
fedor's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
187 views

Did the gender of "der Ozean" change?

I was looking through some old maps published in Hamburg in the 1790s and the label Atlantische Ocean stuck out to me. I would expect it to show Atlantischer Ozean (and looking at modern maps seems ...
Connor's user avatar
  • 185
7 votes
2 answers
263 views

Why is the h in OHG "riohhan" geminated?

Why is the "h" in the Old High German word "riohhan" (riechen, Engl. "to smell", cognate with Engl. "to reek") geminated?
prostorech's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
503 views

What greetings were common before "grüß Gott" became universal?

Today, the overwhelming majority of German speakers in Southern Germany and Austria greet each other using grüß Gott. The English Wikipedia article on grüß Gott claims, without a supporting reference,...
Psychonaut's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
201 views

When did most East Prussians start speaking German?

According to Gedanken und Fakten zur Bevölkerungsentwicklung in Ostpreußen, even as late as 1708, only 25% of East Prussians were deutsch (Presumably, these were the people whose primary language was ...
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21 votes
3 answers
3k views

New German irregular verbs. Are there any?

New verbs in English are invariably regular. Sneak, an old verb in English dating from the 16th century, is one of the very few that have, at least in some parts of the world, become irregular (with ...
CrimsonDark's user avatar
  • 1,407
3 votes
1 answer
213 views

Herkunft Aussprache Ordinalzahlen 4 "Virrtä" und 7 "Sippte" im Rheinland/Süddeutschland

Verfolgt man bspw. die öffentlich-rechtlichen Medien (wie den DLF, vornehmlich im Rheinland produziert), gibt es offenbar insbesondere im rheinländischen und südlichen Teil Deutschlands die ...
wueb's user avatar
  • 163
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do translations of German books read so differently from other books?

I'm unsure whether my question is on-topic here, but it's about the German language, so I've decided to try. I am an undergraduate student from Japan who learns foreign languages and loves reading ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
138 views

War das Deutsch des 18., 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts präziser, ausdrucksstärker und wortgewaltiger als das heutige? [closed]

Wenn ich Werke aus dieser Zeit lese, egal ob sie nun literarischer, philosophischer oder wissenschaftlicher Natur sind, fällt mir dabei nicht nur auf, dass sie aufgrund der damals noch international ...
Nemgathos's user avatar
  • 371
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why was ⟨ß⟩ discontinued in Switzerland?

I can think of three different reasons why ⟨ß⟩ was discontinued in Switzerland. However, I do not know which one to prefer, and there may be other explanations. That is why I am asking. Here are the ...
mach's user avatar
  • 7,262
16 votes
6 answers
4k views

What is the origin of the two past tenses in German?

In my German class, we learned that there are two past tenses, which we referred to as the "narrative" and "conversational," the former only being used for writing, and the other used exclusively for ...
fpf3's user avatar
  • 262
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Need help to read Fraktur from a 18th century book

I am reading Euler's German translation of his work on differential calculus entitled Vollständige Anleitung zur Differentialrechnung (Complete instruction on Differential Calculus). I am struggling ...
James Warthington's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
332 views

Which word did people use before "interessant" got borrowed from French?

The etymology of the word "interessant" seems to be that it was borrowed from the French word "intéressant" - at least that is what wiktionary claims. Which word was used before this word was ...
Christian's user avatar
  • 475
-1 votes
1 answer
151 views

2nd phrase. Help me please to read old german writings?

The writings are pretty old: 1912, 1913 and earlier I guess... That are the writing on the back cover of an old clock. So probably the writings might be about the works being done on it and who did ...
user40056's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
152 views

1st phrase. Help me please to read old german writings? [duplicate]

The writings are pretty old: 1912, 1913. That are the writing on the back cover of an old clock. So probably the writings might be about the works being done on it and who did this works, or about ...
Sergii's user avatar
  • 9
12 votes
2 answers
932 views

Kennzeichnung aspirierter Plosive (z.b. TH in Theater, Thron usw.)

Als Plosive bezeichnet man jene Konsonanten, bei denen der Laut dadurch gebildet wird, dass der Luftstrom für einen kurzen Moment unterbrochen wird. Das anschließende geräuschvolle Entweichen der ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
481 views

vowel length in Mutter and Vater

Mutter used to have a long u realized as a diphthong (MHG, OHG muoter). Vater had a short a, as evidenced in the Grimms' remark about Vater : "der stammvocal, im älteren deutsch stets kurz, wird nhd.,...
grandtout's user avatar
  • 658
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

What were the main German words for a prostitute before 1800?

Prostitution is referred to as the oldest profession, but the German word "Prostituierte" is a borrowing that started being used in the German language around 1800. I would like to know what the ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 1,065
4 votes
1 answer
412 views

Did German have a "possessive apostrophe"?

There is an old question asking whether contemporary German uses the apostrophe to mark possessive constructions in a way similar to contemporary English – or at least, that's the issue that all the ...
Schmuddi's user avatar
  • 424
3 votes
1 answer
462 views

Dativ der Fragepronomina wer und was - wem und … *wam*?

Eine kaiserliche Randnotiz zu einem Telegramm des Reichskanzlers lautet wie folgt: Woher ist das zu entnehmen? Aus dem mir vorgelegten Material nicht. Dies versteht man natürlich problemlos, aber ...
Lumi's user avatar
  • 801
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the origin of the German "n-Deklination"?

Being completely unfamiliar with the answer, I would dare say that it is a legacy of Latin, although I fail to recognize any similarity between Latin declensions and this sort of noun alteration. Is ...
Easymode44's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
164 views

Which fighter has the right stance?

Here is the text we are transcribing: Item schickh dich also Inn das Prechfennster. stand mit deinnem rechten fuosz vor. vnd halt dein gehultz vor deinem haupt. das dein daumen vnnden stee. den ort ...
user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
231 views

Why are there no Empathen

There are Psychopathen, Soziopathen, Homöopathen,... But why are there no Empathen? Why are they called Empathiker? duden.de, for example, has an entry for Empathiker, but not for Empath. And what ...
user38312's user avatar

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