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Landmarks in the History of the German Language

Horan, Geraldine / Langer, Nils / Watts, Sheila (eds)

Landmarks in the History of the German Language

Series: Britische und Irische Studien zur deutschen Sprache und Literatur / British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature - Volume 52

Year of Publication: 2009

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. VIII, 312 pp., 5 tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-03911-890-8 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.490 kg, 1.080 lbs

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Book synopsis

The contributions to this volume explore eleven key developments in the external history of the German language, that is, the combination of social, political and cultural circumstances which influenced the language and its speakers. Some of these ‘landmarks’ are individuals or groups of people who have exerted influence over the language: Charlemagne, Luther, the early modern grammarians and lexicographers. Others are studies of particular periods, places or groups which have not found their place in more narrative accounts: standardisation in the nineteenth century, the role of Low German, the state of German at the Stunde Null in 1945. An overarching theme is the role of deliberate intervention in the development of German, whether it took the form of education, prescriptivism, purism or political manipulation. The essays, a number of which were originally delivered as lectures in the University of Cambridge and all of which are by specialists in the field, combine to provide a history of the German language in its social context.

Contents

Contents: Geraldine Horan/Nils Langer/Sheila Watts: Introduction – Rosamond McKitterick: A Landmark Figure in the History of German? Charlemagne, Language and Literacy – John L. Flood: Luther and Tyndale as Bible Translators: Achievement and Legacy – Nicola McLelland: Understanding German Grammar Takes Centuries – William Jervis Jones: Dictionaries and their Role in the Formation of German (1500-1900) – Maria B. Lange: Texts and Text Types in the History of German – Falco Pfalzgraf: Linguistic Purism in the History of German – Martin Durrell: Deutsch: Teutons, Germans or Dutch? The Problems of Defining a Nation – Winifred V. Davies: Standard German in the Nineteenth Century – Nils Langer: Sociolinguistic Changes in the History of Low German – Geraldine Horan: Gendered and Political Discourses: Women in National Socialism – C.J. Wells: Language in Limbo? Post-1945 German.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Geraldine Horan completed her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Royal Holloway, University of London. Since 2000 she has been a Lecturer in German Language and Linguistics at University College London. Her research interests lie in feminist linguistics, discourse analysis and political discourse, with a particular focus on the relationship between gender, discourse, nationalism and National Socialism.
Nils Langer obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle and has since worked at the University of Bristol where he is a Reader in German Linguistics. His work focuses on areas of historical sociolinguistics, in particular with regard to the standardisation of German and the stigmatisation of non-standard variants.
Sheila Watts spent her early career at Trinity College Dublin, where she obtained her doctorate. Since 1998 she has been a University Lecturer in German at the University of Cambridge (Newnham College). She has worked on grammaticalisation in the history of German, particularly in Old Saxon, and on early modern linguistic historiography.

Reviews

«This volume is recommended for all those interested in the language-external factors and forces involved in the evolution of the German language. The papers are of uniformly high quality and offer insights from a wide range of viewpoints.» (Shannon A. Dubenion-Smith, Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik LXXX, 2013/1)

Series

British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature. Vol. 52
Edited by H.S. Reiss and W.E. Yates