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New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the
German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultu ...

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 of a standard written German, followed by the standardisation of the spoken language. For this reason, the term New High German (or simply High German) is also used as a synonym for modern
standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German ...
.


Periodisation

The German term was originally coined in 1819 by
Jacob Grimm Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm (4 January 1785 – 20 September 1863), also known as Ludwig Karl, was a German linguist, philologist, jurist, and folklorist Folklore studies, also known as folkloristics, and occasionally tradition studies or ...

Jacob Grimm
for the period from around 1450 to the present day, following on from
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 * ...
(). However, in 1878
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
proposed a transitional period, 1350–1650, for which he coined the new term (
Early New High German Early New High German (ENHG) is a term for the period in the history of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official lang ...
), thus dating New High German from the mid 17th century. In spite of many alternative proposals, Scherer's remains the most widely adopted
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 ...
of German. There are both linguistic and extra-linguistic reasons for regarding the mid-17th century as the beginning of a new linguistic period. By this time, the
sound change A sound change, in historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured syste ...
s which result in the
phonological system
phonological system
of Modern German had been completed – no further major changes take place within the NHG period. The
Thirty Years War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire from 1618 to 1648. Considered one of the most destructive wars in European history, estimates of total deaths caused by the conflict range from 4.5 to 8 million ...

Thirty Years War
saw the population reduced by at least one third, and the subsequent
Treaty 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 ...
, signed in 1648, guaranteed the relative independence of hundreds of small and large states 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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, as well as recognizing the complete independence of the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
and
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
. The 1641 publication of
Justus Georg Schottelius Justus Georg Schottelius (Latinized ''Justus-Georgius Schottelius''; born 23 June 1612 in Einbeck, died 25 October 1676 in Wolfenbüttel) was a leading figure of the German Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque ...
's ''Teutsche Sprachkunst'' marks the beginning of the debate about a standardised national language. The New High German period is often subdivided, with a general consensus over a break in the first half of the 19th century, with another after 1945. The earliest of these periods () sees the gradual establishment of a standard written language by
grammarian Grammarian may refer to: * Alexandrine grammarians, philologists and textual scholars in Hellenistic Alexandria in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE * Biblical grammarians, scholars who study the Bible and the Hebrew language * Grammarian (Greco-Roman ...
s,
lexicographer Lexicography is the study of lexicon A lexicon is the of a or branch of (such as or ). In , a lexicon is a language's inventory of s. The word ''lexicon'' derives from word (), neuter of () meaning 'of or for words'. Linguistic th ...
s and writers; the second () sees the spread of this standard throughout the publishing media (and becoming an international language of science), into the schoolroom, and into spoken German. After 1945, the loss of German-speaking territory in the East, the decline of German as an international language, and the massive influence of English on the vocabulary are seen as markers of a new period, referred to as ("contemporary German"). These changes, however, are in the status and use of the language, while the
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
and
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
have seen only rationalisation and not substantial change over the last 370 years.


Territory

For the first two hundred years of the period, the linguistic boundary of German remained relatively stable, even where the territory itself changed hands, as in Alsace, a French possession since the Treaty of Westphalia. The only major area of change was in the East. Initially only individual German-speaking settlers moved into the underpopulated lands of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is 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 (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Pomerania Pomerania ( pl, Pomorze; german: Pommern; Kashubian: ''Pòmòrskô'') is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the , enclosed by , , , , , , northeast , , and the . The sea stretches fr ...

Pomerania
and
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...

Bohemia
, but in the late 17th century both
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
had policies of attracting settlers to these lands. From the late 19th century, however, there have been significant losses of German-speaking territory. The eastward settlement of the earlier period was reversed by a
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
n government policy of Russianisation and by the resistance of the Polish population to further German immigration, causing many German speakers to return West. At the end of the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
the German-speaking populations of Bohemia and the land east of the Oder-Neisse line, which became part of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, were forcibly expelled.


Characteristics

The New High German period is characterised by the codification of German
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
and the development of a standard language in both writing and speech. Unlike earlier periods, there have been few major changes in
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
or
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
. Rather, the standard language has selected particular features and these choices have then exerted an influence on individual
German dialect German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line are dominated by the geographical spread of the High German consonant sh ...
s.


See also

* German literature of the Baroque period


References


Sources

* * *
Reprint
* * * * * * * * * * *{{cite book , last1=Young , first1=Christopher , last2=Gloning , first2=Thomas , title=A History of the German Language through texts , date=2004 , publisher=Routledge , location=London, New York , isbn=0-415-18331-6 History of the German language High German languages German dialects