New High German Language

New High German begins around the end of the Thirty Years’ War; it can be divided into older New High German (around 1650 to around 1750), middle or classic New High German (around 1750 to around 1850) and younger New High German (around 1850 to around 1950). The effects of the Thirty Years’ War, along with the political, cultural and economic situation, also shaped the development of the German language. The contact with foreign languages ​​- due to the warlike events – brought an influx of foreign language elements, especially from French. The French language also gained influence with the adoption of the French way of life and court culture under the sign of absolutism (in Germany, too, the importance of the nobility increased again with the expansion of princely sovereignty after the Peace of Westphalia). On the one hand, this resulted in a disadvantage of the German language, but on the other hand it also resulted in opposition to linguistic foreign infiltration. In this way, efforts to cultivate the language were favored within the framework of the emerging language societies (1617 foundation of the »Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft« in Weimar, 1633 of the »Aufrichtigen Tannengesellschaft« in Strasbourg, 1642 of the »German-minded Cooperative« in Hamburg, 1644 of the »Pegnesian Flower Order« in Nuremberg and 1717 of the “Poetic Society” in Leipzig, which was transformed into the “German Society” in 1726). The linguistic societies aimed to standardize and unify the German language and to cleanse it of dialectal influences and foreign language influences; On the one hand, this gave impulses for improving the expressiveness of the German language, on the other hand, one remained stuck with one-sided puristic concepts.

Attempts at a theoretical description of the German language led to standardization approaches in the form of German grammars (e.g. J. G. Schottelius: “Teutsche Sprachkunst”, 1641, and “Detailed work from the Teutsche HaubtSsprache”, 1663; J. C. Gottsched: ” Grundführung einer Deutschen Sprachkunst”, 1748; J. C. Adelung: “Deutsche Sprachlehre”, 1781, and “Umnahmliche Lehrgebäude der Deutschen Sprache”, 1782), works on German orthography (P. von Zesen: “Hochdeutsches Helikon”, 1640) and on German dictionaries (C. Stieler: “The German language family tree and growth”, 1691; J. A. Comenius: “Janua linguarum reserrata quinquelinguis”, 1659; but especially J. C. Adelung: “Attempt of a complete grammatical-critical dictionary of the High German dialect, with constant comparison of the other dialects, but especially the Upper German”, 1774–86, 4 volumes). In addition to being the language of art, poetry, religion, law and administration, trade and traffic, the German language now also became important as the language of science, for which a.o. G. W. Leibniz began (in 1687 C. Thomasius was one of the first to give lectures in German at the University of Leipzig). A number of German technical languages ​​developed in the 17th century (e.g. in music). In the 18th century the style and handling of the German language were changed by individual poets (KlopstockGoetheSchiller) exemplary for the forms of expression of the educated classes.

Overall, between 1650 and 1800, the tendency towards standardization at all language levels increased significantly. The theoretical debates of the linguistic societies were just as much a part of this as the intensification of contacts between the individual linguistic landscapes. The model character of the language of Goethe and Schiller lasted in connection with the role of the educated middle class as a culture-bearing social class throughout the 19th century and continued into the 20th century. In the 19th century, the philological discussion of the German language began in the narrower sense. With the “Deutsche Grammatik” (1819–37, 4 volumes) by J. Grimm the historical Germanic linguistic research was founded. The “German Dictionary” by J. and W. Grimm (1852–1960, revised since 1965) is an attempt to collect the New High German vocabulary and its etymological and historical explanation linguistic unification and standardization efforts (but also puristic tendencies) new impulses; They found their expression in the establishment of pronunciation norms in the “Deutsche Bühnenaussprache” by T. Siebs (1898), in which the articulation of German was elevated to the norm on leading German theaters, and in the definition of German spelling by K. Duden (“Complete Orthographic Dictionary of the German Language”, 1st edition 1880), which was confirmed in this form by the resolutions of the “Orthographic Conference” of 1901 (with the participation of Austria and Switzerland): It essentially recognized and recognized Duden’s rules In addition, put a phonetic spelling of the foreign words as possible, the replacement of th by t in all German words as well as others the restriction of the ph-spelling to foreign words for the entire German-speaking area.

The German vocabulary was subject to the greatest change – with the other progressive consolidation of the German language in the 19th century. As a result of the development of science and technology and in the course of industrialization, the lexicon experienced a characteristic expansion from around 1830 onwards. At the same time, as a result of urbanization and the worsening of social differences, there was a linguistic shift: the emergence of sociolects with special characteristics in their choice of words, styles and voices. The high-level language standard, which was based on humanistic educational traditions, was overlaid by a vocabulary shaped by the requirements and conditions of modern life. This tendency continued into the 20th century.

New High German Language