Theme: Dialects of Germanic Languages and Standard German Languages


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Lecture 4.

Theme: Dialects of Germanic Languages and Standard German Languages.

Task on the topic.

1.What kind of dialects are there in Germany?

2.What does the term"Standard German"mean.

3. What do you know about the written system of Germanic language?

4.What language is Danish derived from?

1) The term "German" could be described as " The ancestor of all West Germanic languages excluding the Anglo-Frisian group".Only Low German dialects and the Dutch language are the closest related languages to the"German". These languages didn't participate in the High German consonant shift.

All German dialects belong to the dialect continuum of High German and Low German (Piatt) languages.

In the past there was a dialect continuum of all the continental West Germanic languages because nearly any pair of neighboring dialects were perfectly mutually intelligible.

Distribution of the native speakers of major continental West Germanic dialects today.The dialect continuum of the continental West Germanic languages is typically divided Low Germanic languages and High Germanic languages.

Low Germanic/Low German.Low Germanic is defined as the verities that were not affected by the High German consonant shift.They consist of two subgroups,Low Franconian and Low German.Low Franconian includes Dutch and Afrikaans,spoken primarily in the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname and South Africa,Low German includes dialects spoken primarily in the German Lowlands and in the Eastern Netherlands. The Low German varieties (spoken on German territory) are considered dialects of the German language by some,but a separate language by others, the Low Franconian varieties are not considered a part of the German language.

High Germanic/High German.High Germanic is divided into Central German and Upper German, Central German dialects include Ripuarian,MoselleFranconian ,Rhine Franconian, Hessian,Thuringian and Upper Saxon. It is spoken in the south eastern Netherlands, eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France and in Germany approximately between the River Main and the southern edge of the Lowlands.Modern Standard German is mostly based on Central German, but it should be noted that the usual German term for modern Standard German is Hochdeutsch, that is High German.

2)In German linguistics,only the traditional regional varieties are called dialects, not the different varieties of Standard German. Standard German has originated not as traditional dialect of specific region , but as a written language.In major cities of Germany and extent in Vienna traditional regional dialects have been replaced by Standard German.Standard German differs regionally, especially in vocabulary and pronunciation and even grammar.

3) German is written using the Latin alphabet.In addition, to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlaut, namely a,o and ii,as well as a special symbol for"as", the Es/.ett or Scharfe S(Sharp"s")J.In additional German spelling,/1replaces inseparable"ss"before consonants,word-, or partial- word- endings, while it appears only after long vowels it diphthongs in reform spelling, that is.in places, where it originally replaced sz.fiis not used at all in Switzerland.

Until the early 20 th century German was most printed in blackletter typefaces ( mostly in Iraktur but also in Schwabacher ) and written in corresponding handwriting ( for example Kurrent and Siittetline).These variants of the Latin alphabet are very different from the serif or sans serif antiqua typefaces and used today , and particularly the handwritten forms are difficult for the untrained to read.The printed forms however are claimed by some to be actually more readable when used for printing Germanic languages.The Nazis initially promoted Fraktur and Schwabacher since they were considered Aryan, although they later abolished them in 1941 by claiming that these letters were Jewish.



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