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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14
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
165 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

When did Germans start write nouns with a capital letter?

When did Germans start write nouns with a capital letter?
1
vote
1answer
136 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Mache dich, mein Herze, rein

Ich studiere in dem Chor, in dem ich singe, gerade die Matthäuspassion von J.S.Bach ein. Die Nummer 65 dieses dreieinhalbstündigen Monsterwerks ist eine Arie, die von einem Bass-Solisten gesungen wird....
28
votes
6answers
24k views

Why is »ß« substituted with »ss« rather than »sz«?

The letter ß is called Eszett, literally meaning s z. However, when the letter is not available (or when a word is in all caps), ß is almost always substituted by the digraph ss rather than sz (e.g. ...
7
votes
2answers
234 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?
-3
votes
1answer
126 views

Gab es früher gravierende Veränderungen des Vokabulars der deutschen Sprache? [closed]

Wie Sie bereits festgestellt haben, hat sich der deutsche Wortschatz wegen der Digitalisierung um mehrere hundert Wörter bereichert, z. B. liken, surfen, posten, usw. Gab es jedoch auch in der ...
25
votes
7answers
2k views

Wird Deutsch auch außerhalb von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz gesprochen?

Wird Deutsch auch außerhalb von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz gesprochen? Wobei ich natürlich nicht zwei Deutsche im Urlaub meine, sondern eine deutliche Verbreitung.
13
votes
1answer
276 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,...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Wann und unter welchen Umständen wurden lateinische Wörter im Deutschen nach Fall dekliniert?

In älteren Texten (zumindest in wissenschaftlichen) kam es vor, dass lateinische Wörter in deutschen Texten lateinisch dekliniert wurden, und zwar nicht nur gemäß Numerus (z. B. Indizes als Plural von ...
2
votes
0answers
188 views

Warum ist die deutsche Grammatik so kompliziert? [closed]

Ich vermute, jeder Deutschlernende hat schon über die Grammatik geflucht. Die Grammatik z.B. der romanischen Sprachen ist durchweg leichter als die von Latein es war, die englische Grammatik ist auch ...
4
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
571 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of Separable Verbs

In what moment in the development of the German language were separable verbs introduced? Also, is there a linguistic reason behind their introduction? Thanks!
8
votes
3answers
591 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
273 views

Warum kriegt z.B. “Student” die Endung “-en” in dem casus obliquus?

der Student, des Studenten Woher kommt die Endung -en bei Wörtern für Personssubstantive lateinischen und griechischen Ursprungs (oder ist das nicht die Regel)? Es geht mir also nicht um die Endung -...
14
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is “das Weib” grammatically neuter?

The word das Weib, meaning woman, is grammatically neuter. While the gender of nouns is generally unpredictable from their meaning, it is unusual that a word with such an explicitly feminine meaning (...
11
votes
1answer
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
534 views

List of words affected by the 1901 spelling reform

Is there a list anywhere (in book form or online, though the latter is preferable) of words that were affected by the 1901 orthographic reform? (The one that changed Th to T in native words, replaced ...
2
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
235 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
149 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
427 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
335 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.,...
4
votes
1answer
246 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
869 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
806 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
213 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
922 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
215 views

Capitalization in 18th Century German - »GOttes« and »GOTTES«

I am working on texts from the composer Telemann and have come across an eighteenth-century text about the writer, Fabricius. In a single paragraph both GOttes and GOTTES appear. I take it that both ...
0
votes
4answers
4k views

Was bedeutet der Ausdruck: “Die Suche nach der Nadel im Heuhaufen?”’

Woher kommt die Redewendung: Die Suche nach der Nadel im Heuhaufen? Was ist damit gemeint? Für welchen Ausdruck im Englischen ist dies eine deutsche Entsprechung?
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Pronunciation of “Ainpöckisch Bier”

While doing research on German beer, I came across the story that beer from Einbeck, Einbecksch or Einbeckisch Bier, came to be pronounced Ainpöckisch Bier in Bavaria in the 16th century, and this ...
1
vote
2answers
173 views

Origin of “zu wehen” and relation to “att vina” in swedish?

I read at Wiktionary https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wehen that in proto-germanic there is the word *wēaną which I suspect (Well, I don't know for sure as I don't know any live Proto-Germanic speaker) ...
0
votes
3answers
153 views

Translating “Axis powers” from an English World War II documentary (1942, Eastern Front)

I am translating subtitles from an English documentary. In this documentary they use only the term "Axis" or "Axis powers" to refer to the troops advancing from Germany to the East. According to ...
15
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
-9
votes
1answer
110 views

Origin of “Toll jemandem sein” [closed]

What is the origin of "Toll jemande* sein". For example "wenn du toll mir bist" in this song. https://youtu.be/CK5MdsewTjM (Can someone please help me embed it? (Lol, what's that supposed to mean ...
4
votes
2answers
394 views

Why are adjectives declined in German?

This is a rather specific question not of language syntax but rather of its origin/history. I’m just trying to understand the specific reasons behind the need for adjective declension. I have read ...
6
votes
3answers
417 views

Gebrauch von »worden« statt »geworden«

Ich unterrichte Deutsch als Fremdsprache für Philosophen und bin kein Deutschmuttersprachler. Ich bin neuerlich auf einen Gebrauch von worden gestoßen, den ich mehrmals gelesen habe aber worüber ich ...
3
votes
5answers
353 views

Was bedeutet Thée auf Deutsch?

What is the meaning of the word Thée in the attached picture? Is it German? Here is whole photo and in context of book. Here is the cover of the book from where the above photos were taken:
3
votes
1answer
291 views

Stochastic: Why are permutations (nPr) called variations in German?

First of all, you should be at least a little familiar with combinatorics to understand that question. Some often used calculator keys in stochastic are the nCr and nPr ones. Edit: Also posted on ...
5
votes
2answers
196 views

War die n-Deklination im Akkusativ früher häufiger?

In »Der Glöckner von Notre-Dame« (Übersetzung: Helmuth Leonhardt) steht der folgende Satz: Die einfache Glasscheibe ersetzte das Kirchenfenster, der handwerkliche Steinhauer folgte auf den ...
9
votes
2answers
865 views

Etymology of “Mohn”

I am very curious about the etymology of the German and Yiddish word "Mohn", meaning "poppy", and, at least in Yiddish, "poppy-seed." Wiktionary suggests a long, meandering, and ill-defined history, ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Popularisierung von „wir haben ein Problem“

Ich bin nicht ganz sicher, ob sich Daten für eine objektive Antwort werden finden lassen, aber da sich hier auch Germanisten tummeln, will ich es versuchen. Meiner Familie ist ein eklatanter Anstieg ...