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Download A Short History of the German Language by Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker PDF

By Wilkie, John Ritchie; Chambers, William Walker

This easy creation to the heritage of the German language seeks to supply scholars who've a few wisdom of contemporary German, yet no wisdom both of its improvement or of linguistic theories, with a brief account of the fundamental components - chronological, geographical and linguistic - and their interrelation. the cloth is prepared in 3 elements. the 1st strains the heritage of the German language from its origins in Indo-European during the pre-documentary Germanic interval and the center a while to the current day. within the moment half the advance of the German vocabulary.

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Extra resources for A Short History of the German Language

Example text

We no longer believe, as our remote ancestors did, that language in itself has magic properties; but anyone who has been moved by a great poet or novelist or stirred by a skilful actor or orator or preacher will need no further proof that language is a powerful instrument for good or ill in human affairs. The student of language can hardly be in doubt about either the interest or the value of his subject; at every turn he is involved in all the variety and complexity of human life and history. But how did language begin?

22. Dialect boundaries, unlike most political boundaries, are not sharply defined lines but more or less broad areas of transition between one dialect and the next. They sometimes change their position in the course of centuries. For the earliest period there is not enough evidence to trace boundaries at all. The map is, therefore, intended to show the main dialect areas rather than exact boundaries between them. For the sake of clarity only a few names of rivers are given to guide the reader. Other geographical features may be found on an ordinary map.

The modern Celtic languages fall into the Brythonic group (Welsh and Breton as well as Cornish, which has been extinct since the eighteenth century) and the Goidelic group (Irish and Scots Gaelic and Manx). They are mostly declining before the spread of English and French. Germanic, which we shall examine in detail in Chapter 3. To it belong German and English, Dutch, Flemish, and Frisian, and the Scandinavian languages, as well as the now extinct Gothic. , known only in proper names and scanty documents.

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