A History of German: What the past reveals about today's language
At this writing (August 2015), I'm in the middle of work on the second edition. It'll be greatly expanded and improved thanks to lots of input from many people and lots of progress in the field.
This page updates things as our understanding of the history of German advances, and is a place to correct typos and offer clarifications. If you know of something that I didn't include in the book or if you've found a mistake of any sort, please let me know. (I'd like to thank people for such help, but if you prefer to remain anonymous, that's fine too of course.)
I've created answer keys and sets of tests and such for instructors. If you are teaching the book and would like access, send me an email. Thanks to the people who asked me to do these.
Reviews of the first edition
Here are the published reviews I'm aware of, with quotes or comments. I'm extremely grateful for the very positive responses to the book — I started with a variant of an old cliché: "I don't care what you say about my book, just spell my name right." These reviews have shaped the second edition in many ways.
- Schlücker, Barbara. 2013. Morphology 23.91-93.
- Pichigun, Alexander E. 2013. Unterrichtspraxis 46.284-286.
- Durrell, Martin. 2014. The Modern Language Review 109.522-523.
- Fertig, David. 2014. Language 90.548-551.
- Quak, Arend. 2014. Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik. 72.307-308.
- Sundquist, John. 2015. Journal of Germanic Linguistics. 27.194-200.
- Kim Dewey, Tonya. 2015. Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur. 127.328-331.
New relevant work
- A new edition of Kluge's etymological dictionary has appeared, the 25th, with new entries, like Arschkarte, Bierdeckel, Handy, Kugelschreiber, and Spam. Maybe more surprising to a novice is how many old and well-known etymologies have been dramatically revised, including Ball, Baum, Erbe, Faden, Fräulein, Hefe, Lob Pflug, Schuh and Welt. A reminder of just how much progress there is in this area today!
- In 2012, some new work on the homeland of the Indo-Europeans appeared that got attention in the popular media: News article on the IE homeland, Link to original article in Science, A (strident) response on the IE homeland.
- New work on prehistoric population movements in Europe, focusing on modern-day Germany, is providing a more complex and nuanced picture of interactions between early hunter-gatherers and later agriculturalists from the Near East. In October, Science published a couple of articles on this, along with this journalistic overview.
- More recently, big claims about 'long range' relationships between Indo-European and other families have gotten attention, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, here.
- Four new pages of Gothic manuscript have been discovered in Bologna. The actual article first reporting this isn't available electronically, but you can get a set of links here that will give you the relevant information.
- And this made a splash when it hit the news: Anglizismus des Jahres: Shitstorm. Now it's in Duden, and used by the chancellor: English rude word enters German language.
Typographical errors and clarifications
This is a list of all the issues I'm aware of, from minor formatting up to content. Some people have been kind and helpful enough to send full lists of typos, clarifications and questions. Those people are (basically in order things were received): Jim Cathey [jec], David Brodsky [db], Martin Durrell [md], Tyler Luiten [tl], Joshua Bousquette [jb], Richard Hronek [hr], and David Fertig [df]. I'm extremely grateful to all of them for the careful reading and helpful feedback. While there's a lot of small messiness, folks are starting to find the same problems, so I hope most things have been caught. Still, I'm braced for issues of substance that I don't know about yet. From about now (April 2014), basic corrections should be included in new printings of the book.
p. iv: Last sentence: The period should be moved from after 'BCE' to the end of the sentence. [jb].
p. 5, n. 3: as for example as > as for example [df].
p. 21: first paragraph: this tree > the above tree [df].
p. 22: Martin Durrell points out that his bird book classifies the European robin as a 'chat' rather than a 'flycatcher'. Both are parts of the family muscicapidae and if you check the OED entry for 'robin', it turns out that the name 'robin' applies to a wide array of birds around the world.
p. 26: Britain by 500 BCE > Britain by 500 BCE. [df].
p. 47: ... the IE voiceless stops change into fricatives, but new voiceless fricatives arise from the old voiced stops. > 'new voiceless stops' [db].
p. 48: The orthography of the Hessian examples follows Schirmunski.
p. 54: For 'exert', read 'exért' [md].
p. 54: Iverson & Salmons 2003 > 2003a [df].
p. 55: In the vowel chart, 'Low' should be 'low' [md].
p. 63: distinguished them > distinguished it [df].
p. 65: Line line, no indent.
p. 66: These case forms are lost > Some case forms are lost [df].
p. 67: On the nom.pl. form *dagōzez in the chart, Jim Cathey rightly notes that I should have flagged the 'double plural', on which see Bammesberger 1990:44.
p. 68: Table is missing a right border [md].
p. 76: For '*helaup', read '*hehlaup' [md].
p. 79: Under class i verbs, the discussion of drankjan should be in the next paragraph with the other causatives [md].
p. 80: 1.-3. > 1. and 3.[df].
p. 81: URL should be http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pre-roman_iron_age_(map).PNG [df].
p. 89: from the near the end > from near the end [df].
p. 92: of the changes of developments > of the changes or developments [df].
p. 89: from the near the end > from near the end [df].
p. 93: Schleicher%27 > Schleicher's [df].
p. 93: For 'Polomé 1993', read 'Polomé 1996' [tl].
p. 93: The image is wrong, and needs to be fixed in the second edition. [df].
p. 97: arrow inserted above > arrow inserted below [df].
p. 97: Holtingar rather than Holtijar > HoltingaR rather than HoltijaR [df].
p. 97: Delete sentence: In looking at the language, . . . above inscription. and delete paragraph break. [df].
p. 99: S+V+O > S+O+V [df].
p. 101: a change often been treated > a change often treated [df].
p. 104: Martin Durrell rightly notes that I should have mentioned the possibility that deutsch is a case where a language name came to be applied to its speakers, something he argued in 2007 and others have argued as well. And to be completely clear, it was not the form deutsch that was attested but a form of the Latin theodiscus.
p. 106: Figure 4.1, 'Kasseler Gesprache' should read Kasseler Gespräche' [jb].
p. 110: add closing single quote to 'naked'. [jb]
p. 111, line 11: fail > failed [jb].
p. 112: Add 'geographically' before 'high': "only the geographically high German dialects ..." [jec].
p. 113, last line above map: scholars have used these isoglosses since the 19th century. They have of course been around for well over a millennium longer [jb].
p. 114: the degree of shift relatively close > a degree of shift relatively close [df].
p. 115: 'Longobardic' > Langobardic [md].
p. 116, top: The German form in line 3 should read "holz", with 'z' rather than 'long-tailed z' = ʒ, which would be exemplified by faʒʒ 'vat'. [db].
p. 119, penultimate line: replace 'namely' with 'notably' [db].
p. 124: Dutch schoon should be glossed as 'clean' [md].
p. 124: *helfu in the graphic should read '*helpu' [jb].
p. 126: Lateral vocalization in Alemannic is more limited in Alemannic, to an area around Berne [md].
p. 127: In addition to Gothic mes, see also Latin tēgula : OHG ziagal (which competes with ziegal) [jec].
p. 128, middle, on monophthongization: "(*ai) > ie > ..." should read "(*ai) > ei > ..."(with thanks to Christine Evans)
p. 128, The environment for *au monophthongization is most simply stated as 'before alveolars', assuming that the rhotic at this time was indeed alveolar [db].
p. 131: while the coda > and the coda [df].
p. 131: keeping in the mind > keeping in mind [df].
p. 132: reversal sounds > reversal of sounds [df].
p. 139: My example of dialect mixing was amazingly ill-chosen ... Martin Durrell tells me that my double modal example should be acceptable in Scots. (Sadly, I knew that Scots has double modals.)
p. 143: where it was or could be > where the verb was or could be [df].
p. 145: and same basic forms > and the same basic forms [df].
p. 146: pres opt form, 1st pl should read farēm (e with macron) [df].
p. 146: pret, 2nd sg should read fuori [df].
p. 147: wissa, above > wissa, below [df].
p. 147: with infinitives or participles, delete ‘participles’ [df].
p. 153: I have used the label 'weak noun' very broadly for Modern German, but Martin Durrell rightly notes that Name is considered to be part of the 'mixed' declension.
p. 154: OHG -ung > OHG unga [df].
p. 154: Martin Durrell notes "The usual story is that the strong adjective endings are related to the demonstrative rather than the personal pronouns, especially the analogical extension in the nominative singular in German. I will tighten up this discussion in the second edition.
p. 154: Indent on 'strong' not 'adjective'.
p. 154: Martin Durrell points out that "the case forms zweier and zweien of the numeral zwei are used in all genders in ENHG, not just the neuter, with gender neutralised in the marked cases - although in the 17th & 18th centuries you do get gender forms like zwoen, zwenen and zwoer by analogy.".
p. 157: the same assumption > the assumption [df].
p. 161: Just below the table, the sentence should read: 'Isidor and Tatian use overt subject pronouns in main clauses over half the time, while the Monsee Fragments show them just over a third of the time [tl].
p. 166: last line: then where there > then there [df].
p. 166: URL: delete #TOP [df].
p. 169: The discussion here will be reorganized in the second edition to distinguish imperial era loans and post-Christianization loans. In the meantime, I'll put up a worksheet on this [md].
p. 169: No italics on Pech [md].
p. 170: While 'geist' competed with wīh, more relevant is the direct competition in texts with ātum, see Schützeichel under wīh or the AEW under ātum [jec].
p. 170: The word 'got' also changes from neuter to masculine [jec].
p. 178: URL: close up grammatik. de to grammatik.de [df].
p. 179: Koineization and new dialect formation are not identical processes, though I would stress strong similarities between them [md].
p. 183: Shorten URL to http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=FfVlAAAAMAAJ [df].
p. 184: 'in partly' should read 'in part' [tl].
p. 187: Falkenberg is known today as Falquemont [md].
p. 191: MHG should be scœn, not schön [md].
p. 191: mucka < cf. > mucka, cf. [df].
p. 192, line 11: look odd > look odd [md, tl].
p. 192, 4 lines up: hus > hūs [jec].
p. 194, before period, insert: though this spelling serves other functions as well in the modern language [md].
p. 194: The comment about Hannover applies to the dialect, not the High German spoken there [md].
p. 195: Under 'late changes', 'unnormalized' should read 'in normalized' [tl].
p. 195: begins in east central areas > begins in west central areas. [df].
p. 200: GastM should read Gast.
p. 204: ketin > ketin- [jec].
p. 204: "see increasing loanwords changing" > increasingly see loanwords changing [jec].
p. 206: verbal Flexionssystem > verbale Flexionssystem. [df].
p. 207: Paul, Wiehl & Grosse 1989 > Paul 2997 (2x). [df].
p. 208: inflection morphology > inflectional morphology. [df].
p. 216: Hawkins is 1986, not 1985 [tl].
p. 217: corresponds that between > corresponds to that between. [df].
p. 218: Paul, Wiehl & Grosse > Paul (2x). [df].
p. 221: Martin Durrell rightly notes that one aspect of language ideology at play here is nationalism.
p. 221: pokes fun of > pokes fun at. [df].
p. 222, n. 14: It's > It. [df].
p. 225: or with as elaborating > or as elaborating. [df].
p. 227: Luther's dates should be 1483-1546 (with egg on my face and thanks to Jack Thiessen!)
p. 228: David Fertig rightly notes: "backen" in the transliteration of 'Der Beck' should be "bachen". (This -ch- in bachen is arguably one of the most interesting things in this short text; it reflects the original simplex -k- that occurred in the past tense and participle of this verb in WGmc, contrasting with the -ck- < WGmc kk- that was originally restricted to the infinitive and present-tense forms. The direction of leveling of the root-final consonant of backen (-ck- vs. -ch-) is indicative of Central vs. Upper German provenience of a text in the Medieval and Early Modern periods (Paul, Wiehl, and Grosse 1989:250).) [df].
p. 237: wege > weg [jec].
p. 232: In 2., the second line should begin 'many dialects and are reflected' [tl],
p. 233: keep /ai/ on one line. [df].
p. 238: In 6., leidet should be italicized [md].
p. 239: The statement about apocope is primarily for west central dialects. [md]
p. 241: preceding labial consonants > adjacent to labial consonants. [df].
p. 242: stahl > Stahl, i.e. 'steel' not the past tense of stehlen. [jec].
p. 242: gemeindeutschen > binnendeutschen. [df].
p. 244: This chart is simplified various ways. As Martin Durrell notes, some Low German areas do indeed have apocope.
p. 245: Delete the sentence about Map 14. [md]
p. 245: delete period at end of Ingolstadt URL and delete &PagePosition=3 at the end of the Dewey URL. [df].
p. 246: delete ', geist, wald' [md].
p. 246: second line of second full paragraph: 'like' should not be italicized. [rh]
p. 246: only eight words > only nine words; add ‘kale’ to the list. [df].
p. 250: Participle gesagen and related forms are attested in ENGH (Grammatik des Frühneuhochdeutschen, vol. IV, p. 520).
p. 252: line 1: 'werden' should be italicized [rh].
p. 255: line 1: 'with' should read wiht, an inevitable Cupertino effect [rh].
p. 255: Jim Cathey passed along two nice examples: [der sunnun] scī n > der [Sonnenschein] and [der Marien] kirche > die [Marienkirche]. As Jim says, these "show nicely that the Fugenelement -en- is not a plural marker and that historically the article cannot just be brought along per se" [jec].
p. 257: In the second example, just above the section on periphrasis, 'ware' should read 'wäre' [tl].
p. 259: especially the 16th century > especially in the 16th century [df].
p. 262: more not only insights into > more insights not only into [df].
p. 268: St%C3%A4nde" > Stände [df].
p. 278: Thirty Years War, upwards > Thirty Years War, to upwards [df].
p. 284: in part of standardizers > in part by standardizers [df].
p. 287: URL should be http://www.duden.de/ueber_duden [df].
p. 290: Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik > Reichmann and Wegera 1993 [df].
p. 292, n. 7: delete last sentence (video has been removed!) [df].
p. 294: pronunciation of West Central region > pronunciation of the West Central region [df].
p. 299: As on p. 153, Name is considered to be part of the 'mixed' declension, and the forms of name and heart here go back to ENHG. [md]
p. 308: delete 7.2.5 Derivation and fix numbering for following subsections [df].
p. 314: Martin Durrell has presented new work showing that announcements of the demise of the anti-würde rule were premature. I'll discuss this in the second edition.
p. 316: psycholinguistics processing > psycholinguistic processing [df].
p. 317: example of brauchen > example is brauchen [df].
p. 317: modals verbs > modal verbs [df].
p. 318: Tatian (2010:272) > Tatian (Diewald and Smirnova 2010:272) [df].
p. 319: Schiller (2010:277) > Tatian (Diewald and Smirnova 2010:277) [df].
p. 319: The Schiller quote should begin with 'Eine', not 'Ein' [tl].
p. 320: It was the Tagebuch des Lucas Rem, not 'Reim' [tl].
p. 325: as following > as follows [df].
p. 329: Martin Durrell writes this: "I am not sure that Er ist am Schreiben is not stigmatised. The latest Duden grammar is ambiguous about it (p. 427), saying it is not used in the Standardschriftsprache, and I am aware of teachers not accepting it. It is also not very frequent in practice (despite van Pottelberge), as recent studies have shown." It it needs to read 'van' not 'von' in that passage.
p. 329: line 1: do > does and line 3, is > are [jec]. (What can I say? At this point, I'll never master English subject-verb agreement, even with the help of copyeditors.)
p. 329: even in most formal/standard form > even in their most formal/standard forms [df].
p. 330: lassen uns mal > lass uns mal [df].
p. 336: your Austrians > young Austrians [df].
p. 337: sein to haven > haben compared to sein [df].
p. 337: of German media from Germany > of media from Germany [df].
p. 340: 12 lines from bottom, read 'rise of new regional patterns' [md].
p. 340: Verein Deutsch Sprache > Verein Deutsche Sprache [df].
p. 344, line 11 strike 'perhaps' [md].
p. 345: Still, the regional distribution > Still, our understanding of the regional distribution [df].
p. 347: forthcoming > forthcoming a [df].
p. 347: Other terms are built > Other terms not treated here are built [df].
p. 349: time and time > time and time again [df].
p. 350, 4 lines from bottom, provides > provide [jec].
p. 351, 12 lines down, 'the two are today are being made' should not have the second 'are' [tl].
p. 353: Nor are they > Nor are such changes [df].
p. 356: URL, delete #ref=ress [df].
p. 363: Davis and Iverson entry, the title should read 'Segment Organization in the High German Consonant Shift' and it actually appeared in PBB 121(2).177-200 [tl].
p. 363: Davis, Iverson and Salmons entry, the title should read 'Peripherality and Markedness in the Spread of the Old High German Consonant Shift' [tl].
p. 374: Maitz and Tronka entry: Krisztián [md].
p. 376: Paul entry: Schöbler should read Schröbler, though the former form appears on the title page of the book.
p. 376: Nübling 2008 entry: ihr [md].
p. 376: Nübling et al. 2010 entry: Szczepaniak and Sprachwandel [md].
p. 382: Roelke entry: Periodisierung [md].
p. 382: Add comma after 'Trudgill' [md].
p. 382: Tschirsch entry: Schmitt > Schmidt (with thanks to Stephan Elspaß).
p. 383: Von Pottelberge > Van Pottelberge ... which moves the entry and changes the index. Sigh.
The index will be expanded and made more analytic in the second edition.