Jul 12, 2018 - 4:29 AM
in reply to Slowpoke
>> "High German" implies that other forms are inferior or of lower status.
The origin of the term High German is related to features of the language based on geography rather than social class/status or education.
Here is an extract from Exploring the German Language by Sally Johnson (Professor of Linguistics in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Leeds) and Natalie Braber (lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University.)
The earliest forms of German – Old High German (750–1100)
To summarise very briefly, the German-speaking regions at this time can be divided into three areas (see map 2.1):
- Low German dialects were spoken in the area north of the so-called Benrath Line, and were not affected by the High German sound shift.
- Central German dialects were spoken in the area south of the Benrath Line, but north of the Germersheim Line. These dialects underwent most, but not all, of the changes associated with the High German sound shift.
- Upper German dialects were spoken to the south of the Germersheim Line in the area which now comprises southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. These are the dialects which were most fully affected by the sound shift.
Furthermore, Central and Upper German can be grouped together as High German dialects. These are the forms which were affected by the second sound shift, and therefore provide the basis for the subsequent development of standard ‘High’ German.
At this stage in the history of the language, we can therefore see that the origins of standard German do not lie in northern Germany, as is often assumed. Instead, standard German originates from the areas which now constitute central and southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Last modified on Jul 12, 2018 - 4:40 AM by Removed user