Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Martin Luther and the Development of the Modern High German Standard Language

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Last Online
    Sunday, February 25th, 2007 @ 10:29 AM
    Subrace
    nordiſch-weſtiſch
    Location
    Deutſchland
    Gender
    Family
    Single
    Politics
    Volk und Raſſe
    Posts
    1,628
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    5
    Thanked in
    5 Posts

    Post Martin Luther and the Development of the Modern High German Standard Language

    Here is a short text that throws light on Luther's contribution to the development of the German language. I translated it from Werner König, dtv-Atlas der deutschen Sprache, Munich 1994 (10th ed.), p. 97:

    Grammarians and authors especially in the Protestant sphere cite Martin Luther as stylist example until to the 18th century. His enormous effects in religious respect has lead to an overestimation of his influence to the development of the Modern High German language.
    The first edition of Luther's New Testament (1522) was in spite of a probable number of copies of 3-5000 sold out after two months. Luther's writings spreaded like wildfire through the whole Reich. The German printings of those days were made of his works for a high part. But that his vocabulary wasn't understood without further ado everywhere, does the fact show that the Basle reprinter of 1522 gives a list of words which "shows the foreign words in our German".
    Luther wasn't the first who translated the Bible into German: but he was the first who's translation prevailed in wide circles. He wants to grasp the sense, the contents of the original text and impart it to the people, even if he departs with this often from a literary translation. Thus Luther inserts many modal words into his translation, words, which are rare in the pattern, but make the text more fluently and contribute to the clearing of the sense. Such "spicy words" as allein, doch, nur, schon give more immediacy to his writings, they bring them nearer to the spoken language, they appeal to the reader and mediate a relationship of familiarity.
    Luther keeps a middle course between hypotaxes and parataxes: while the business and academic language in those times was because of the excessive usage of hypotaxes hardly understandable, and while a more vernacular language level was predominantly paratactical and therefore relatively clumsy, Luther connects both by creating with the balanced use of both syntax principles an understandable and also flexible plain prose, therefore his tendency for replacing nominal verbal constructions at revisions. So in psalm 89,10, where he translates in 1523: "Die Zeyt unser iare ist siebenzig iar", which however looks in 1545 like this: "Unser Leben wehret (währt) siebenzig Jahr."
    Luther's struggle for the sense-apting term let many expressions be new created, a number of words got through his new theology and his linguistic power a re-coining of their meaning. So the adj. fromm "capable", "upright", which was narrowed-down through Luther to the meaning "pious", "devout". Beruf became "office", "profession" in contrary to the older meaning "calling" (modern German: Berufung). Under his neologisms come among others: Bubenstücke, Feuereifer, friedfertig, Herzenslust, wetterwendisch, gastfrei, ihr Kleingläubigen, Glaubenskampf, Gnadenbild and gottesgelehrt, Ehescheidung, Lückenbüßer, Machtwort, Schwarmgeist.
    At the time of Matin Luther, the linguistic equalization in the German language area is in full swing. Luther doesn't create a new language (in grammatical respect), also not a new spelling system; in this relationship he receives what is already existing and continues it towards the direction of already longer active tendencies. No syntactical constructions can be proven at Luther, which are not already existing in the linguistic usage of his contemporaries, such as the replacement of the explaining ponderous conjunction wan (from Middle High German wande) through denn or while. His word order is in its freer possibilities of variation closer to that of the spoken language.
    His influence is especially to look for in the stylistic field and in him helping a writing form, which developed already earlier in the East Middle German, East-Francomian-Bavarian area, to wide spreading, because of the popularity of his writings. Calling Luther the "cretor" of Modern High German, is unsuited. One even has to notice that Luther stayed in all his life in some linguistic phenomenons behind the developments of his time (e. g. to a great extent he had not got the ä).
    Luther made efforts until to the end of his life to standardize his printed work especially in spelling and in the field of flexion; in doing so he gives up the many variants of the early printings in favour of one spelling, orientated to the supraregional usage. It often happens that Luther vacillates at the beginning between East Middle German (northern) and south(east)ern forms, decides later for the south(east)ern ones, which then also prevail in Modern High German, such as e. g. wilch/welch, wortzel/wurtzel, sulch/solch, sall/soll, zichtigen/züchtigen, gahn/gehen, disser/dieser, brengen/bringen. - But there is also the case that Luther vacillates at the beginning between more south(east)ern and more northern variants and then decides for the northern forms: brinnen/brennen, sundern/sondern, sunne/sonne, which then prevailed. To this belongs also the phenomenon of the apocope of unstressed ending vowels: ich mach/ich mache. Here, Luther's (northern, East Middle German) form also entered Modern High German, at other forms the southern form prevailed (against Luther's usage): glauben/gleuben, ruffen/rüffen, Jude/Jüde. Also at Hilfe Luther decides for northern "Hülfe"; that leads to a competition between the two words which is decided not until in the Duden of the year 1929 in favour of "Hilfe". But such cases are rare.
    Luther himself considers the pronunciation of Upper Saxony*, the Mark Brandenburg and Hesse to be exemplary. His remark ("I speak after the Saxon chancellery") means that in his pronunciation - with the principle of spelling-sounding - he folllows the Saxon respectively Imperial chancellery. He was used after 1555 for propagating the Saxon-Meißenian as exemplary.

    *"Niedersachsens" in the original König book can only be a text error.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

    SPENGLER

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Last Online
    Sunday, February 25th, 2007 @ 10:29 AM
    Subrace
    nordiſch-weſtiſch
    Location
    Deutſchland
    Gender
    Family
    Single
    Politics
    Volk und Raſſe
    Posts
    1,628
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    5
    Thanked in
    5 Posts

    Post

    update

Similar Threads

  1. Classify Martin Luther
    By Horagalles in forum Anthropological Taxonomy
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 04:15 PM
  2. Martin Luther and Other German Historical Figures in the GDR
    By Ossi in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, 10:03 AM
  3. Two Overlooked Aspects of Martin Luther
    By Eiserner Adler in forum Christianity
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Wednesday, January 17th, 2007, 12:36 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •