German

(redirected from Germanist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.

German

the official language of Germany and Austria and one of the official languages of Switzerland; the native language of approximately 100 million people. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch, closely related to English and Dutch. There is considerable diversity of dialects; modern standard German is a development of Old High German, influenced by Martin Luther's translation of the Bible
www.goethe.de/enindex.htm

German

 

the language of the Germans living in the Federal Republic of Germany (56 million people), the German Democratic Republic (17 million), and West Berlin (2.1 million); of the Austrians (approximately 7 million; 1970, estimate); and of part of the population of Switzerland. It is one of the two official languages of Luxembourg. German is spoken by more than 85 million people. Separate regions with German-speaking populations exist in the USSR, the USA, and several other countries. German belongs to the West Germanic group of Indo-European languages; it is based on the closely related tribal dialects of the Franks, Alamanni (Alemanni), and Bavarians.

The history of the German language is divided into three periods: Old High German (eighth through 11th centuries), Middle High German (12th and 13th centuries), and New High German, which is in turn subdivided into Early New High German (14th through 16th centuries), and New High German proper (since the 17th century). A writing system based on the Latin alphabet came into existence in the eighth century. The literature of the Old High German period is primarily clerical; writings from this period contain features of different West Germanic dialects. No common literary language existed during this period.

The Middle High German period is represented by a considerable number of clerical and secular literary texts. Twelfth- and 13th-century courtly lyric poetry reveals a tendency toward the unification of the language of the German people based on the Alamannic and East Frankish dialects. In the 15th century, supradialectal tendencies appeared in various local dialects of the language, especially in the Augsburg literary variant (Ge-meindeutsch). The colonization of Slavic and Lithuanian lands east of the Elbe enlarged the area of German language distribution and led to the formation of mixed East Middle German colonial dialects. From the 14th century, German was increasingly used in various written business transactions. The written literary language of the East Middle German region served as the basis for linguistic consolidation, which occurred slowly owing to feudal disunity.

From the second half of the 15th century, book printing, begun by J. Gutenberg, played an important role in the formation of a national literary language. In the 16th century, the Reformation and the Peasants’ War intensified the drive toward linguistic unification; M. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German played a significant role in this drive. East Middle German literary norms spread to northern Germany and also influenced the language of the south (Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland) and west. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the standardization of the language continued under the influence of periodical publications and classical German literature. In the late 19th century, the norms for the literary “stage” pronunciation (Bühnendeutsch) were established (to a considerable extent, artificially).

The phonological system of the modern German literary language consists of 16 vowel phonemes (seven long closed vowels and seven short open vowels a, e, i, o, ö, u, ü, a long open [∊:], and a reduced [ə]), three diphthongs [ae, ao, cɸ], 19 consonant phonemes, and two affricates [pf, ts]. Vowels at the beginning of a word or root are pronounced with a hard on-glide [’aof]; the voiceless consonants p, t, and k are aspirated. Voiced consonants in final syllable or word position are devoiced. The hard-soft consonant opposition, an important phonological feature of several Slavic languages, does not exist in German.

Morphological features include synthetic and analytic methods of expressing grammatical categories and the categories of gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter), number (singular and plural), and case (nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative) in the noun system. Gender is marked by the article (sometimes by a derivational suffix), number is marked by an inflectional suffix and the article, and noun case is marked by an article and, in certain instances, also by an inflectional ending. The system of verb conjugation, in which forms are marked for person and number, has six tenses, three moods, and two voices. There are two basic types of conjugation: the weak conjugation, which uses productive inflectional suffixes, and the strong conjugation, in which forms are made by ablaut (there is a limited number of strong verbs). Compounding is a characteristic feature of the noun (for example, Völkerfreundschaft and Volkseigentum). Syntax is characterized by predominantly verbal-type sentences and fixed position of the personal form of the verb. The impersonal part of the predicate usually occupies the final position in an independent sentence (forming, with the personal form, a “framelike” construction) and the next-to-last position in a subordinate clause. The adjectival attribute is also enclosed within the frame formed by the article and noun.

Normative differences, chiefly in vocabulary and pronunciation, exist in the modern German literary language of the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Certain regional differences have been preserved in the spoken language; these differences are also reflected in literature.

REFERENCES

Gukhman, M. M. Ot iazyka nemetskoi narodnosti k nemetskomu natsional’nomu iazyku, parts 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955–59.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. Nemetskaia dialektologiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. Istoriia nemetskogo iazyka, 5th ed. Moscow, 1965.
Brinkmann, H. Die deutsche Sprache: Gestalt und Leistung, 2nd ed. Düsseldorf, 1971.
Fleischer, W. Wortbildung der deutschen Gegenwartssprache, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1971.
Admoni, W. G. Der deutsche Sprachbau, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1972.
Der Grosse Duden. Mannheim, 1962.
Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. vols. 1–4. Berlin, 1961–72.
Wörterbuch der deutschen Aussprache. Leipzig, 1964.

B. A. ABRAMOV and N. N. SEMENIUK

German

(human language)
\j*r'mn\ A human language written (in latin alphabet) and spoken in Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland.

German writing normally uses four non-ASCII characters: "????", the first three have "umlauts" (two dots over the top): A O and U and the last is a double-S ("scharfes S") which looks like the Greek letter beta (except in capitalised words where it should be written "SS"). These can be written in ASCII in several ways, the most common are ae, oe ue AE OE UE ss or sz and the TeX versions "a "o "u "A "O "U "s.

See also ABEND, blinkenlights, DAU, DIN, gedanken, GMD, kluge.

Usenet newsgroup: news:soc.culture.german. ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/usenet/news-info/soc.answers/german-faq, ftp://alice.fmi.uni-passau.de/pub/dictionaries/german.dat.Z.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the matter of earlier Germanist feminist sources in nineteenth-century studies, I think of Renate Mohrmann, whose investigation of women writers during the Jungdeutschland period is pioneering and innovative.
The following essay by Germanist Kyung-Ho Cha discusses narrated globalization by focusing on the exchange of objects: shoes, a book, and a weapon.
[24] Burdach (1859-1936) was a Germanist who argued that the Renaissance emerged from the "medieval apocalyptic-chiliastic tradition of rebirth and reformation of the political-religious community." [25] Cola di Rienzo's seizure of Rome as the "white-mantled knight of the Holy Spirit" and "tribune and liberator of the Roman Republic" in 1347 marked the "beginning of a new age." [26] According to Burdach:
She is a long-time editor of the important monthly Odra, and lives in Wroclaw with her husband, the Germanist and Celan translator Feliks Przybylak.
A work on the Tatianic links of the Old High German Tatian, left by him ready for publication, was published posthumously in 1964 by a Germanist, Johannes Rathofer.
This book is in the series Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs: the author is a Germanist and quotes from his sources (critical as well as primary) in the original language.
The Germanist Saine writes history with seemingly less deference to those literary modes than many historians do--especially during the years since Black Bread--White Bread was published in 1988.
We are today quite frequently more monolingual, and more mononational, than the early Germanist promoters of vernaculars.
In 1992 the American Germanist Mary Tannert wrote a doctoral dissertation on Groner that remains the only hi-depth study in any language of Groner's crime fiction.
Brinson (author and Germanist), Muller-Harlin (art historian), and Winckler (artist and photographer) provides an insightful look into the life of Fred Uhlman (1901-1985), one of many Hitler refugees incarcerated by the British in an internment camp on the Isle of Man, along with numerous other refugees and artists.
Influenced by the turbulent events underway in fall of 1989, the Women in German conference had voted that October to invite Angela Krauss as one of the GDR guests for the 1990 conference, along with authors Helga Konigsdorf and Waltraud Lewin, as well as the Humboldt University Germanist Eva Kaufmann.
In addition to a Germanist's detailed reading of manuscripts, Poor's book offers an analysis of gender as a factor in medieval religious authority, the role of material culture (how books traveled and were produced), and conflicts in church leadership (secular/mendicant; universal/local).