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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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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
306 views

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/...
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 ...
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. ...
5 votes
3 answers
742 views

German in Bach's Cantatas

My German is very rudimentary (A1) and I have no regular exposure to the language except what I get listening to Bach. Recently, I have been very interested in Bach's cantatas. It uses text from the ...
9 votes
4 answers
328 views

Bach und Ache, sind sie verwandt?

Sowohl bei der Ache (bspw. enthalten im Ortsnamen Eisenach) als auch beim Bach handelt es sich um Wasserläufe. Weiß jemand, ob der Bach auf das Wort Ache zurückzuführen ist oder eine anderweitige ...
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 ...
19 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is "der" used for both male nominative and female dative?

Der Mann hilft der Frau. Why is the same definite article used for male nouns in nominative and female nouns in dative? Is there a deep connection, or just a coincidence? Have they always been the ...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does "paar" still mean "two items"? Words that have lost their original meaning

–Ich hätte gerne ein Paar Brötchen –Wie viele? That was (modulo trivialities) a conversation that surprised me. Of course –assuming the grammatical correctness of the sentences–, the baker doesn't ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
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 ℔ ...
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 ...
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Seit wann sagt man „Popo“?

Grimm schreibt: BOBO, m. podex, mit dem ton auf der letzten silbe, ein in der sprache der ammen, mädchen, mütter allgemein übliches wort, traulicher als der hintere oder steisz, feiner als arsch, und ...
27 votes
1 answer
3k views

Wann hat man aufgehört, im Perfekt Hilfsverben wegzulassen?

In der früheren Literatur war es üblich, das Hilfsverb im Perfekt oder Plusquamperfekt wegzulassen. Hier ist ein Beispiel (aus Reichtum, einer Kurzgeschichte von Arthur Schnitzler) in dem das letzte ...
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 ...
17 votes
3 answers
3k 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!
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
-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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
127 views

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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
37 votes
6 answers
19k views

Which letters does the German alphabet consist of?

I mean the “official” or “traditional” alphabet, such as the one taught in schools to children. Is the ordering the same as English? Does it include C, which I notice never seems to show up in native-...
15 votes
7 answers
4k 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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
352 views

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 ...
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 ...
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" ...
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'...
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, ...
25 votes
7 answers
3k 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.
8 votes
3 answers
820 views

Is or was the word "gebenedeit" used in everday language?

In the prayer "Ave Maria" there is the line "Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen" where "gebenedeit" seems to have the meaning of "blessed". Is or has this word been used in everyday language? Does ...
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 ...
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: ...
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 ...
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-...
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 ...
14 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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?
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 ...
1 vote
5 answers
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....
30 votes
6 answers
26k 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
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?
-3 votes
1 answer
136 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 ...
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,...
9 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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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