German: Biography of a Language

Paperback | March 1, 2012

byRuth Sanders

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Thousands of years ago, seafront clans in Denmark began speaking the earliest form of Germanic language - the first of six "signal events" that Ruth Sanders highlights in this marvelous history of the German language. Blending linguistic, anthropological, and historical research, Sanders presents a brilliant biography of the language as it evolved across the millennia. She sheds light on the influence of such events as the bloody three-day Battle of Kalkriese, which permanently halted the incursion of both theRomans and the Latin language into northern Europe, and the publication of Martin Luther's German Bible translation, a "People's" Bible which in effect forged from a dozen spoken dialects a single German language. The narrative ranges through the turbulent Middle Ages, the spread of the printingpress, the formation of the nineteenth-century German Empire which united the German-speaking territories north of the Alps, and Germany's twentieth-century military and cultural horrors. The book also covers topics such as the Gothic language (now extinct), the vast expansion of Germanic tribesduring the Roman era, the role of the Vikings in spreading the Norse language, the branching off of Yiddish, the lasting impact of the Thirty Years War on the German psyche, the revolution of 1848, and much more.Ranging from prehistoric times to modern, post-war Germany, this engaging volume offers a fascinating account of the evolution of a major European language as well as a unique look at the history of the German people. It will appeal to everyone interested in German language, culture, orhistory.

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Thousands of years ago, seafront clans in Denmark began speaking the earliest form of Germanic language - the first of six "signal events" that Ruth Sanders highlights in this marvelous history of the German language. Blending linguistic, anthropological, and historical research, Sanders presents a brilliant biography of the language a...

Ruth H. Sanders is Professor of German at Miami University of Ohio.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 1, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199913765

ISBN - 13:9780199913763

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: What this book covers1. Germanic Beginnings: Early Ancestors in DenmarkTimeline : From the earliest settlements in northern Europe to the beginning of the Christian eraSidebars:1. Indo-European: Protolanguage and culture2. The First Sound Shift3. Language contact and language change: The case of Finland2. The Germanic Languages Survive the Romans: The Battle of KalkrieseTimeline: From the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle AgesSidebars:1. The Germanic tribes2. The Goths and the Gothic language3. The Celts3. A Fork in the Road: Germanic languages separate into Low and HighTimeline: From the beginning of the Middle Ages to the Protestant ReformationSidebars:1. The Second Sound Shift2. The Vikings: Raiders, traders, and neighbors3. The Germanen go to England: The Anglo-Saxons and the English language4. Yiddish: The creation of a new Germanic language4. A perfect storm, and the birth of Standard GermanTimeline: From the beginning of the Reformation to the beginning of the First Industrial RevolutionSidebars:1. The Thirty Years' War2. The Reformation3. The history of European printing5. The German language gets a stateTimeline: From the Unification of Germany to the beginning of World War ISidebars:1. Spelling Reforms2. Early Germanic language in a deep freeze: The case of IcelandicBibliography