A Short History of the German Language by Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker

By Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker

This easy creation to the historical past of the German language seeks to supply scholars who've a few wisdom of recent German, yet no wisdom both of its improvement or of linguistic theories, with a brief account of the fundamental elements - chronological, geographical and linguistic - and their interrelation. the cloth is prepared in 3 components. the 1st strains the heritage of the German language from its origins in Indo-European throughout the pre-documentary Germanic interval and the center a long time to the current day. within the moment half the improvement of the German vocabulary.

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If this theory is correct – and it is not universally accepted, for many obscurities still remain – German may now be seen, not as an original unity which broke into separate parts, but as a drawing together of separate dialects in the context of a common political and cultural life. A symbol of this late-found unity is the preposition von/van, shared by all the continental Germanic languages including Frisian, and unknown in Gothic, English, and the Scandinavian north. = deutsch). There is no good English equivalent of Germanen to designate speakers of Germanic dialects.

Chapter 3 From Germanic to German At some time during the disintegration of the Indo-European community a group of tribes made their way to north-west Europe, the area round the western end of the Baltic comprising South Sweden, Denmark, and Schleswig-Holstein. Here they developed a Bronze Age culture. This migration was probably nearing completion by c. C. In course of time the Indo-European dialect of the settlers underwent a number of far-reaching changes which made of it a new language, known as Germanic1 or Primitive Germanic.

This represents in a much over-simplified form the essential process of communication by language. So far we have spoken of ‘language’ in a general sense. But a distinction must now be drawn between ‘language’ in a more restricted sense and ‘speech’. Speech is a human activity, the individual act of speaking – or a series of such acts – a psycho-physical activity of the kind just described, without permanence but constantly renewed every time a person speaks. Language, on the other hand, is the whole elaborate system of ‘sound-idea’ associations.

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