What is German?

Different dimensions - view of Astrid Stedje:

1. Medium

2. Historical

3. Regional

4. Social

5. Stylistic

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What is German?

Different dimensions - view of Astrid Stedje:

1. Medium

2. Historical

3. Regional

4. Social

5. Stylistic

1 of 5

1. Medium

  • Form of language e.g. literature 
  • 2 main different forms - written or spoken (dichotomy - mutual exclusivity/either or)
  • Spoken language - die Urform der Sprache (model/original form of the language) - how the language started - all written forms are modelled on spoken langauge 

|Distanzsprache ------------------------------|---------------------------Nähesprache|

                                                   <--    Continuum    -->

  • Distanzsprache e.g. a standard language
  • Nähesprache e.g. a local dialect, spontaneous 
  • Different between is level of mediation and monitoring 

How much you think about language defines what sort of language you use

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2. Historical

  • Process of linguistic development
  • Modern Standard German (one form of German) - developed since late 18th Century
  • Old High German (first written German, -700 - 1000) - e.g. Old Bavarian, Old Franconean 
  • Protogermanic (around 0ac) -  no written sources exist - proto = reconstructed 
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3. Regional

1. Dialects of German (Nähesprache)

  • highly regional
  • intimately linked with geography

2. Umgangssprachen (between dialects and German)

  • primarily spoken
  • colloquialism etc. 
  • some dialectic features
  • more standard than dialects

3. Standard German

  • not geographically linked


Theoretically a speaker could move between all 3 forms - normally context determined - social and stylistic forms brought in 

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4. Social and 5. Stylistic

Social

Refers to factors such as: age, gender, social background 

These factors determine how someone speaks and uses the German language

Stylistic

Shows how the language is written or spoken

Distanz- and Nähesprache can help to define how langauge is being used

5 of 5

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