German Language Distribution Part II

The German language has two numbers for nouns (singular and plural) and retains (in contrast to other Western European languages) four cases and three declension classes (a strong, a weak and a mixed declension); However, due to the progressive loss of case endings in the course of linguistic development, the articles and the attributes also take on the function of case marking (unlike e.g. in Russian, where the case is marked by the ending). The German also has three genera of nouns (masculine, feminine and neuter); it differs in this way from languages ​​without gender differentiation such as English and languages ​​with two-gender systems such as French, Italian, Dutch and most Scandinavian languages. While nouns in German usually only have one gender (gender fluctuation can be found in a few words, e.g. the disgust, including short words, e.g. the radar, and in foreign words, e.g. the / the primacy), adjectives change their gender depending on the noun they accompany. The verb becomes strong, weak and irregularDifferentiated conjugation.

When it comes to sentence structure, the word order is relatively free. The parts of the sentence can usually be moved, only the verb is always in the second position in the declarative sentence and in the last position in the subordinate clause. If the predicate consists of several parts, only the finite form takes the second position in the propositional sentence, the rest takes the final position (it came yesterday evening). The “bracket construction” is therefore characteristic for the structure of a longer sentence. When it comes to German word formation, the high proportion of compositions is particularly noticeable (e.g. German going in, driving, rowing, flying, riding versus French entrer with corresponding spelling) and the ability to speak German (in contrast to the Romance languages), to spontaneously form new compound words (e.g. environmentally friendly).

The German-speaking area is surrounded by neighboring languages ​​whose influence in the border areas has led to the penetration of numerous foreign words and loan translations (see section History). Resistance to a feared foreign infiltration became apparent on several occasions (e.g. in language societies 17th century); today, however, the need for international intelligibility is recognized. The idea of ​​a unified linguistic community with the model of the literary figure who exemplified the language of his time was replaced by the conception of a society with numerous interest groups (with their own specialist vocabulary and specific language usage). The social consideration for all circles of language participants also works against the orientation towards the linguistic model of an elite, especially with regard to equal opportunities in training. The increasingly negative attitude towards a pretentious stylistic evaluation can also be seen in this context. Language barrier). The media of radio and television can counteract an overly strong linguistic group formation with their sound norms, which are closer to colloquial language.

The development of the German language as a colloquial language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is determined by different linguistic models – with the possibility of mutual linguistic communication in principle. Swiss German developed on the basis of the Alemannic dialects. Despite the relatively large difference between the spoken and the written language, there is already a clear shift in the use of Swiss German – also in public life – in favor of the dialect. Zurich German is increasingly assuming the function of a supra-regional lingua franca. Due to the coexistence of several languages ​​in Switzerland, there are also linguistic interferences for Swiss German as a written language, especially the influences of French, to be observed (e.g. Velo for bicycle). There are also other differences to internal German (so-called “Helvetisms”), e. B. in pronunciation (including the articulation of k as [(k) x]), grammar (e.g. different gender in nouns such as “the” meter or partly deviating direction in verbs, e.g. “in” being somewhat interested), word formation (e.g. negative instead of negative) and vocabulary (e.g. broadcast instead of radio, hall daughter instead of waitress, farewell instead of death, skirt instead of dress).

The German language spoken in Austria (apart from Alemannic in Vorarlberg) originated on a Bavarian basis. The transitions between the more dialectic colloquial language and the written language are – unlike in Switzerland – rather fluid. The Viennese city dialect developed into a national lingua franca. Like Swiss German, Austrian also shows in pronunciation (e.g. anise with the stress on the first, mathematics on the penultimate syllable, boss with a closed instead of an open e), grammar (sometimes different gender) and sometimes a different section of verbs (e.g. forgetting “on something”), v. a. but peculiarities that differ from inland German in terms of vocabulary (so-called “Austriazisms”).

The differences in the use of the German language in the Federal Republic of Germany and in the GDR were mainly evident in the vocabulary. A high proportion of formulaic and standardized expressions (e.g. “democratic centralism”, “socialist competition”) and acronyms (e.g. LPG for agricultural production cooperative, HO for trade organization) was characteristic of official language usage in the GDR. Also, quite a few words, v. a. the ideologically occupied terms, different contents (e.g. “democracy”, “socialism”). The 40-year division of Germany did not result in two different language systems.

German Language Distribution Part II