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Umlaut Phenomena in Early New High German Discourse

A Pragmatic Approach

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Lee Forester

semantic and discourse considerations. Umlaut Phenomena in Early New High German Discourse is an investigation of the spread and regularization of umlaut in Early New High German that focuses on semantic and pragmatic influences. In a detailed analysis of excerpts from three texts – Brant's Narrenschiff, von Tepl's Ackermann von Böhmen, and Luther's Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen – lexical items displaying variation in umlaut spelling are compared in an attempt to isolate discourse factors that influenced the choice of each variant. This work differs from other studies on umlaut in that, on the basis of evidence from these Early New High German texts, it postulates that the development of umlaut was not only a phonological matter, but was in fact significantly influenced by semantic and discourse considerations.