A History of German - book

A History of German: What the past reveals about today's language

Joseph Salmons

This website is a companion to A History of German: What the past reveals about today's language by Joseph Salmons, Oxford University Press, 2012.

The book provides a detailed introduction to the development of the German language from the earliest reconstructible prehistory to the present day. It covers structural aspects, like how sounds and word forms and sentence structures have changed, and social aspects, like who produced the texts we have and why, how language varied regionally and by social groups and how changes spread through society and over space. The focus is on how knowing the history of the language can inform our understanding of German today, whether as teachers, students, people who know the language or people who are simply interested in German.