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Re: What is Standard German? (was: Re: CHAT letter names)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 3, 2004, 13:52

> > Just to clarify, I do not talk about the one-and-only, maybe > > constructed, Standard High German that probably no-one speaks and > > all people claim people from Hanover speak. > > Why should people from Hanover speak Std. High German? Hanover > should definitely be beyond the machen-maken line, i.e. Low German > (Ostfälisch?) should be spoken there... what happened? Was Hanover > the first town to lose Plattdeutsch completely? > > I've always wondered how far Std. German can be considered a conlang.
:-))) High German *is* spoken. It is the exchange language everywhere and most people have it as their mother tongue (though by far not all of them). It is used in school, and is the language that you hear on the radio, on TV and read in newspapers, magazines, etc. High German is still a class of dialects: under the influence of the Lower/Central and High German regional dialects/language, the specific shade of High German is different from region to region. And in contrast to Low and Central German dialects/languages it underwent another vowel shift (the 'Second Vowel Shift' IIRC). Concerning 'contructed': when it is tried to find an 'ideal' High German language, called Standard High German, often Hanover is cited, because their normal shade of High German seems to be very close. Who defined 'ideal', however, I do not know. It seems to be some kind of average, maybe with some features rectified that are considered bad :-) (e.g. simplified grammar is bad :-)))). However, many, many speakers with L1 High German are very close to that strange Standard, so there is a justification of defining a standard by the mere number of people who speak so very similar a language. Hanover and Plattdeutsch: Plattdeutsch (Lower German) is considered a different language than HG, with a very high dialectal diversity -- greater than that of HG. If people cite Hanover for good SHG, this is no contradiction to people speaking Plattdeutsch there: Hanover has two languages. And in many regions, Plattdeutsch is not the mother tongue of the majority of people anymore, but instead, HG is. Hanover is one such region. I'm from close to Hanover, also from a region where my grandparents had L1 Low German, but my mother and I already had HG as L1 (not sure about my father). However, only 100km away from Hanover, the language is not so close to SHG anymore. And Ostfälisch may be right. I'm not sure. Ostfälisch has very, very many diphthongues (like our Ostwestfälisches Platt, too). But I never consciously heard anyone from Hanover talk Platt. Unfortunately, the dialects of Plattdeutsch in my home region and Hanover and probably many other regions as well, are moribund now. Maybe the situation is even more messed up because in areas with L1 not HG, people try to speak HG when someone else does not properly understand their language. The natives then consider this trial HG as well, but it is usually a good mixture. :-) Sometimes it is good for linguistic study: in Saarbrücken, a woman in a market once explained to me something in her variant of HG. But that was actually very thoroughly pronounced Westpalatinian with all its endings and bells and wistles clearly realised and not swallowed in any way. I should have had a tape recorder to study its phonemes and morphology that I had never heard so clearly distinguished before. :-) I had to grin. :-) Bye, Henrik -- ------------------------------ Dr. Henrik Theiling ------------- Tel: +49 681 83183 04 AbsInt Angewandte Informatik GmbH Fax: +49 681 83183 20 Stuhlsatzenhausweg 69 D-66123 Saarbruecken Encrypted e-mail preferred. PGP keys: // 0x9E314CA5 FA 1C 02 C9 58 04 57 6E 53 9C DF 94 B4 45 AE 24