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Early New High German (ENHG) is a term for the period in the history of the German language generally defined, following
Wilhelm Scherer Wilhelm Scherer (26 April 18416 August 1886) was a German philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with espe ...

Wilhelm Scherer
, as the period 1350 to 1650. The term is the standard translation of the German (Fnhd., Frnhd.), introduced by Scherer. The term ''Early Modern High German'' is also occasionally used for this period (but the abbreviation EMHG is generally used for '' Early Middle High German'').


Periodisation

The start and end dates of ENHG are, like all linguistic
periodisation Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Institute for the Study of the Ancient Wo ...
s, somewhat arbitrary. In spite of many alternative suggestions, Scherer's dates still command widespread acceptance. Linguistically, the mid-14th century is marked by the phonological changes to the
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
system that characterise the modern standard language; the mid-17th sees the loss of status for regional forms of language, and the triumph of German over
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
as the dominant, and then sole, language for public discourse. Scherer's dates also have the merit of coinciding with two major demographic catastrophes with linguistic consequences: the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by the plague bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bact ...

Black Death
, and the end of the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
. Arguably, the
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
in 1648, by ending religious wars and creating a Germany of many small sovereign states, brought about the essential political conditions for the final development of a universally acceptable standard language in the subsequent
New High German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language, starting in the 17th century. It is a loan translation of the German (). The most important characteristic of the period is the development ...
period. Alternative periodisations take the period to begin later, such as the invention of printing with moveable type in the 1450s.


Geographical variation

There was no standard Early New High German, and all forms of language display some local or regional characteristics. However, there was increasing harmonisation in the written and printed word, the start of developments towards the unified standard which was codified in the New High German period.


The dialects

With the end of
eastward expansion
eastward expansion
, the geographical spread and the
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
map of German in the ENHG period remained the same as at the close of the MHG period.


, "printers' languages"

Since the printers had a commercial interest in making their texts acceptable to a wide readership, they often strove to avoid purely local forms of language. This gave rise to so-called ("printers' languages"), which are not necessarily identical to the spoken dialect of the town where the press was located. The most important centres of printing, with their regional are: * Alemannic:
Basel , french: link=no, Bâlois(e), it, Basilese , neighboring_municipalities= Allschwil , neighboring_municipalities= Baselland (BL), Binningen, Switzerland, Binningen, Buschwiller (FR-68), Hégenheim (FR-68), Neuwiller (FR-68), Oberwil, Basel- ...

Basel
,
Strassburg Strasbourg (, , ; gsw, label= Bas Rhin Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label= Haut Rhin Alsatian, Strossburig ; german: Straßburg lat, Argentoratum) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical langua ...
,
Zürich Zürich (#Name, see below) is the list of cities in Switzerland, largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland, at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. As of January 2020, the mun ...

Zürich
*
Austro-Bavarian Austro-Bavarian (also known as Austrian or Bavarian; or ; german: Bairisch ) is a West Germanic language spoken in parts of Bavaria and most of Austria. Before 1945, Austro-Bavarian was also prevalent in parts of the southern Czech Republic ...
:
Ingolstadt Ingolstadt ( , , Austro-Bavarian Austro-Bavarian (also known as Austrian or Bavarian; or ; german: Bairisch ) is a West Germanic language spoken in parts of Bavaria and most of Austria. Before 1945, Austro-Bavarian was also prevalent in parts ...

Ingolstadt
, Vienna. *
East Central German East Central German or East Middle German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present-day Standard German as a High German languages, ...
:
Wittenberg Wittenberg ( , ; Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern ...
,
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
, Leipzig *
East Franconian East Franconian (german: Ostfränkisch) or Mainfränkisch, usually referred to as Franconian (') in German, is a dialect which is spoken in Franconia Franconia (german: Franken, ; Franconian dialect: ''Franggn'' ; bar, Frankn) is a region of ...
:
Nuremberg Nuremberg ( ; german: link=no, Nürnberg ; in the local East Franconian dialect: ''Nämberch'' ) is the second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants ...

Nuremberg
,
Bamberg Bamberg (, , ) is a town in Upper Franconia Upper Franconia (german: Oberfranken) is a ''Regierungsbezirk A ' () means "governmental district" and is a type of administrative division in Germany. Four of sixteen ' (states of Germany) are s ...

Bamberg
,
Würzburg Würzburg (; Main-Franconian Main-Franconian (german: Mainfränkisch) is group of Upper German dialects being part of the East Franconian German, East Franconian group. The name is derived from the river Main (river), Main which meets the rive ...

Würzburg
* Swabian:
Augsburg Augsburg ( , , ; bar, Augschburg, links=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swabian_German, label=Swabian German) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, ...

Augsburg
,
Ulm Ulm () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It c ...
,
Tübingen Tübingen (, , Swabian: ''Dibenga'') is a traditional university city in central Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a States of Germany, state (''Land'') in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the southern part of ...
*
West Central German West Central German (german: Westmitteldeutsch) belongs to the Central, High German The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Uerdin ...
:
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
,
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
,
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,
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne


Chancery languages

While the language of the printers remained regional, the period saw the gradual development of two forms of German (one Upper German, one Central German), which were supra-regional: the ("written languages", "documentary languages") of the chanceries of the two main political centres. * The ("common German") of the
Chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval office), a medieval writing office * Chancery (Scotland) (also called The office of Director of Chancery, or Chan ...
of the
Emperor Maximilian I Maximilian I (22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519) was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) du ...

Emperor Maximilian I
and his successors in
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
and then Vienna. * The
East Central German East Central German or East Middle German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present-day Standard German as a High German languages, ...
of the Chancery of the
Electorate of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony (german: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also ') was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (news ...
in
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
The language of these centres had influence well beyond their own territorial and dialect boundaries. The influence of the Saxon Chancery was due in part to its adoption for his own published works by Martin Luther, who stated, "" ("My language is based on that of the Saxon Chancery, which is followed by all the princes and kings in Germany"). He also recognized the standardising force of the two chanceries: "" ("The Emperor Maximilian and Duke Frederick, Elector of Saxony etc., have drawn the languages of Germany together").


Low German

Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle ...
, spoken across the whole of
Northern Germany Northern Germany (german: Norddeutschland) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomen ...
north of the
Benrath Line In German linguistics, the Benrath line (German: ''Benrather Linie'') is the ''maken–machen'' isogloss Image:German dialectal map.PNG">300px, High German subdivides into Upper German (green) and Central German (blue), and is distinguished fro ...
in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, was a distinct
West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples ...
language. From the start of the 16th century, however, High German came increasingly to be used in this area not only in writing but also in the pulpit and in schools. By the end of the ENHG period, Low German had almost completely ceased to be used in writing or in formal and public speech and had become the low-status variant in a
diglossic In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
situation, with High German as the high-status variant.


Phonology and orthography

For a number of reasons it is not possible to give a single phonological system for ENHG: * dialectal variation * the differing times at which individual dialects introduced even shared sound changes * the lack of a prestige variant (such as the "Dichtersprache" provides for
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * ...
) Also, the difficulty of deriving phonological information from the complexity of ENHG orthography means that many reference works do not treat orthography and phonology separately for this period.


Vowels

The MHG vowel system undergoes significant changes in the transition to ENHG and their uneven geographical distribution has served to further differentiate the modern dialects.


Diphthongisation

The long high vowels , and (spelt , and ) are diphthongised to , and , spelt , and . In many dialects they fall together with the original MHG diphthongs , and , which are all lowered. Examples: *MHG ''snîden'' ("to cut") > NHG ''schneiden'' *MHG ''hût'' ("skin") > NHG ''Haut'' *MHG ''liute'' ("people") > NHG ''Leute''. This change started as early as the 12th century in Upper Bavarian and only reached Moselle Franconian in the 16th century. It does not affect Alemannic or Ripuarian dialects, which still retain the original long vowels. The map shows the distribution and chronology of this sound change. In Bavarian, the original diphthongs are monophthongized, avoiding a merger with the new diphthongs.


Monophthongisation

The MHG falling diphthongs , and (spelt , and ) are monophthongised, replacing the long high vowels lost in the diphthongisation. In the case of > the MHG spelling is retained and in Modern German indicates the long vowel. Examples: *MHG ''liebe'' ("love) > NHG ''Liebe'' *MHG ''bruoder'' ("brother") > NHG ''Bruder'' *MHG ''brüeder'' ("brothers") > NHG ''Brüder'' This change, sometimes called the Central German Monophthongisation, affects mainly the Central German dialects, along with South Franconian and East Franconian. The other Upper German dialects largely retain the original diphthongs.


Changes in Vowel Quantity

There are two changes in vowel quantity in ENHG, the lengthening of short vowels and the shortening of long vowels. Both show wide variation between dialects but appear earlier and more completely in Central German dialects. Many individual words form exceptions to these changes, though the lengthening is carried out more consistently. 1. Lengthening: MHG short vowels in open syllables (that is, syllables that end in a vowel) tend to be lengthened in the ENHG period. This is not reflected directly in spelling, but it is the source of the Modern German spelling convention that a vowel ending a syllable is always long. Examples: *MHG ''sagen'' ("to say") > NHG ''sagen'' *MHG ''übel'' ("evil") > NHG ''Übel'' 2. Shortening: MHG long vowels tend to be shortened in the ENHG period before certain consonants (, and others) and before certain consonant combinations (, , and , , , followed by another consonant). Examples: *MHG ''hât'' ("has") > NHG ''hat'' *MHG ''dâhte'' ("thought") > NHG ''dachte'' *MHG ''lêrche'' ("lark") > NHG ''Lerche'' *MHG ''jâmer'' ("suffering") > NHG ''Jammer'' This shortening seems to have taken place later than the monophthongisation, since the long vowels which result from that change are often shortened. Examples: *MHG ''muoter'' ("mother" > NHG ''Mutter'' (via ) *MHG ''lieht'' ("light" > NHG ''Licht'' (via )


Consonants

The overall consonant system of German remains largely unchanged in the transition from MHG to Modern German. However, in many cases sounds changed in particular environments and therefore changed in distribution. Some of the more significant are the following. (In addition, there are many other changes in particular dialects or in particular words.)


#MHG had two sibilants, written / and /. The difference between these is uncertain, but in ENHG both fell together in . (The affricate , for which is also used, remained unchanged.) #Before vowels this becomes voiced to , e.g. MHG ''sehen'' ("to see") > NHG ''sehen'' . #Initially before consonants becomes , indicated by the grapheme , e.g. MHG ''snîden'' ("to cut") > NHG ''schneiden'' . Before and this is not indicated in spelling, e.g. MHG ''stein'' ("stone") > NHG ''Stein'' .


#In initial position the bilabial fricative becomes the labio-dental , though this is not reflected in any change in spelling, e.g. MHG ''wil'' ("want to") > NHG ''will'' . In a few words, this also takes place between vowels, e.g. ''ewig'' ("eternal"). #Otherwise it is either lost, e.g. MHG ''snėwes'' ("of the snow") > NHG ''Schnees'', or forms a diphthong with a neighbouring vowel (e.g. MHG ''brâwe'' ("brow") > NHG ''Braue''.


#Medial is lost, though it remains in spelling to indicate the length of the preceding vowel, e.g. MHG ''sehen'' ("to see") > NHG ''sehen'' . The loss of and the : contrast are the only structural changes to the consonant system.


Morphology

As with phonology, the range of variation between dialects and time periods makes it impossible to cite a unified morphology for ENHG. The sound changes of the vowels had which brought consequent changes to *
verb conjugation A verb () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many langu ...
s * further simplification of the
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
declensions


Syntax

The following are the main syntactical developments in ENHG: *The Noun Phrase **Increasing complexity: in chancery documents noun phrases increasingly incorporate prepositional and participial phases, and this development spreads from there to other types of formal and official writing. **Attributive genitive: the so-called "
Saxon genitive In English, possessive words or phrases exist for noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states ...
", in which the genitive phrase precedes the noun (e.g. ''der sunnen schein'', literally "of-the-sun shine") increasingly makes way for the now standard, post-nominal construction (e.g. ''der schein der sonne'', literally "the shine of the sun"), though it remains the norm where the noun in the genitive is a proper noun (''Marias Auto''). *The Verb Phrase **Increasing complexity: more complex verbal constructions with participles and infinitives. **Verb position: the positioning of verbal components characteristic of NHG (finite verb second in main clauses, first in subordinate clauses; non-finite verb forms in clause-final position) gradually becomes firmly established. **Decline of the preterite: an earlier development in the spoken language (especially in Upper German), the replacement of simple preterite forms by perfect forms with an auxiliary verb and the past participle becomes increasingly common from the 17th century. **Negation: double negation ceases to be acceptable as an intensified negation; the enclitic negative particle ''ne/en'' falls out of use and an adverb of negation (''nicht'', ''nie'') becomes obligatory (e.g.MHG ''ine weiz (niht)'', ENHG ''ich weiss nicht'', "I don't know"). *Case government **Decline of the genitive: Verbs that take a genitive object increasingly replace this with an accusative object or a prepositional phrase. Prepositions that govern the genitive likewise tend to switch to the accusative.


Literature

The period saw the invention of printing with moveable type (c.1455) and the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Cit ...
(from 1517). Both of these were significant contributors to the development of the Modern German Standard language, as they further promoted the development of non-local forms of language and exposed all speakers to forms of German from outside their own area – even the illiterate, who were read ''to''. The most important single text of the period was
Luther Luther may refer to: People * Martin Luther Martin Luther, (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadl ...

Luther
's
Bible translation The Bible has been translation, translated into Bible translations by language, many languages from the biblical languages of Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic and Koine Greek, Greek. the full Bible has been translated into ...
, the first part of which was published in 1522, though this is now not credited with the central role in creating the standard that was once attributed to it. This is also the first period in which
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions ...

prose
works, both literary and discursive, became more numerous and more important than
verse Verse may refer to: Poetry * Verse, an occasional synonym for poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetics, aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language ...

verse
.


Example texts


The Gospel of John, 1:1–5


From ''Fortunatus''


See also

*
Early Modern English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient th ...
* German language * German literature of the Baroque period *
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * ...
*
New High German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language, starting in the 17th century. It is a loan translation of the German (). The most important characteristic of the period is the development ...


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading


Grammar

* 7 vols. * (Reprint of 1909 edition)


Dictionaries

* Alfred Götze. ''Frühneuhochdeutsches Glossar.'' 2. Aufl. Bonn 1920 (= ''Kleine Texte für Vorlesungen und Übungen,'' 101); 5. Aufl. Berlin 1956; Neudrucke 1960 u. ö. The second edition (1920) is online: archive.org. * Christa Baufeld, ''Kleines frühneuhochdeutsches Wörterbuch.'' Niemeyer, Tübingen 1996, . * ''Frühneuhochdeutsches Wörterbuch.'' Hrsg. von Robert R. Anderson ür Bd. 1/ Ulrich Goebel / Anja Lobenstein-Reichmann ür die Bände 5, 6, 11–13und Oskar Reichmann. Berlin / New York 1989 ff.


External links


Early New High German texts
(German Wikisource)
Luther's translation of the New Testament
(German Wikisource) {{Authority control History of the German language High German languages German, High