Questions tagged [german]

A Germanic language spoken in, among others, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. For non-linguistic questions about the German language, visit our sister site German Language Stack Exchange.

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52 votes
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Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

I wonder if the case system is devised/imposed by literates and not really natural: it is said that the vulgar Latin that most people really used didn't have e.g. the cases (or all of them) of the '...
newinterested's user avatar
36 votes
2 answers
13k views

Why is “ß” not used in Swiss German?

What are some of the historical reasons why the orthographic symbol ß is not used in Swiss Standard German and “ss” is used instead?
alecxe's user avatar
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25 votes
9 answers
18k views

Why did English lose declensions while German retained them?

Why did (or more specifically what caused) English lose declensions whilst they were retained in German? I ask as I have recently been reading into the various Germanic languages and it struck me that ...
user2521439's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do some German words have 'th' instead of 't' in their older spelling?

My guess is that it was used to distinguish aspiration (as opposed to 't' in words of Latin/ Old French origin, which was not aspirated?). I'm pretty sure German lost its dental fricative to d pretty ...
user3482545's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
6k views

Days of the week in Yiddish -- why so similar to Germanic?

I note that Saturday is Shabbes but the other days are similar to German which are based on Norse mythology -- one could easily see this being a problem and that a choice to use the Hebrew words for ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 529
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

How did the generic masculine emerge?

In an essay for school I recently claimed the generic masculine was caused by sexism, but my teacher complained that I hadn't given a reason for this. Assuming my hypothesis is correct, how did this ...
zvavybir's user avatar
  • 235
9 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is the German "conjunctive" the same as the "subjunctive" of other languages? If so why the different name?

Many languages have a subjunctive mood but German has a conjunctive. However is the German conjunctive just a different name for the same mood? If the two are different what is the difference? If not ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why did the pronunciation of the rhotic phoneme /r/ change after the 2ndWW in public speech?

For example why did radio presenters roll the r on the BBC before the war and not after? Why did Brecht roll the r extensively? Why did Hitler roll the r extensively? My perspective is from the ...
V.Rettich's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
20k views

Is learning German easier for people who know Sanskrit, and vice versa?

I've heard many times that learning German is easier for those who speak Sanskrit, and vice versa. Is there any linguistic basis for this? What similarities exist between the two languages that may be ...
Manishearth's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

German Place Names ending in -AU

I recently traveled in Bavaria. I was struck by the prevalence of place names ending in -au, like Donau, Passau, Oberammergau, and Dachau... I looked up the dictionary, and found the word aue which ...
ian tarnbis's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are different varieties of German closer to each other than different Slav languages?

Are different varieties of German (e.g. Bavarian and Low German) closer to each other than different Slav languages (e.g. Russian and Polish)? The lexical distance map from https://elms.wordpress.com/...
MWB's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
308 views

Does capitalizing nouns improve readability?

In German, one capitalizes the nouns in a sentence. In the video Life in Germany - Ep. 42: English vs. German, an American claims that capitalizing the nouns makes it easier to understand a sentence. ...
eueu's user avatar
  • 81
7 votes
4 answers
6k views

Are the longest German and Turkish words really single words?

First, I don't speak/understand any so-called agglutinative languages, like Turkish. I also don't know German. I understand there's no good definition for the concept of "word", which could ...
GA1's user avatar
  • 1,179
7 votes
4 answers
889 views

Is there a clear linguistic reason for Swiss German not being considered its own Germanic language?

This question has been inspired by the fact that I’ve recently heard the Swiss talk among each other and I started to dig deeper. Having done minors in Italian and American studies which each included ...
Kortelly Zamatosh's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
706 views

Why did German <d> and <t> flip over?

I speak English and Norwegian and a little German and a little Dutch and I discovered a pattern while thinking about words which are obviously cognate. The pattern is wherever English, Norwegian and ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
897 views

Why is it problematic to assume a null morpheme signifying the singular number of nouns in German?

In a lecture, my professor said that assumig a null morpheme signifying the singular number of nouns in German is problematic. Now I´m wondering why. The issue came up during a discussion on whether ...
LittleD's user avatar
  • 73
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Does the English "Garden" come from the French "Jardin" or the German "Garten"?

I always assumed that the English word "Garden" was similar to the German "Garten" due to the Germanic roots of English. But according to Wikipedia, "Garden" in English is related to the French "...
Alex Kinman's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
457 views

German Dependency Parsing - question about dependencies between "sich ____ lassen"

I'm working on project regarding German dependency parsing, and came across something I'm a bit unsure about. Using a parser, when given an input (whether it be in a sentence or just the verbs) which ...
roughosing's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why do we use an upward inflection when asking questions?

I have tried Googling where the upward inflection comes from but all I get are "Valley Girl" results. My curiosity in this started with my new German Language course I'm taking and noticed that the ...
Nick Williams's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
3k views

Ei (egg in German) and eye; Auge (eye in German) and egg

Is it known if there was some weird flipping of [Ei (egg in German) and eye] with [Auge(eye in German) and egg] that happened historically or do you think the apparent similarities are coincidence?
Richard Peterson's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

West Germanic Th-Stopping

This is just one example: In the word "father", there is the interdental voiced fricative. However, in Old English, the word is fæder with a voiced alveolar stop; it is also fader in Middle English. ...
Scott Clendenin's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Feminization suffix "-in" in German: etymology and relatives

The suffix "-in" in German modifies an actor noun into a specifically feminine form: Der Lehrer, die Lehrerin Most of the original nouns have the suffix "-er", which is widely used in the Germanic ...
shuhalo's user avatar
  • 251
6 votes
3 answers
200 views

Looking for bi-/tri-lingual dictionaries or corpora

I will be attempting to solve the problem of automatic language identification/detection (and later translation), and I'm in a need of free digital dictionaries or corpora. I'm looking for ...
Howie's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
1 answer
644 views

V to T movement in German

Consider the the embedded clause "du Schach gespielt hast" in this sentence Ich glaube dass du Schach gespielt hast. I think that you chess played have ‘I think that you have ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
4k views

Where does the word "kitsch" come from?

While a lot of sources on wiktionary for instance agree that "kitsch" comes from dialectal german word "kitschen", the meaning of this word is different between wikitionary pages (in the french ...
Nikko's user avatar
  • 163
5 votes
3 answers
6k views

German is SOV: should it not have been "Ich ein Berliner bin"?

German is typically described as a Subject-Object-Verb language. For former American President Kennedy's mistake to be grammatical (i.e. without the indefinite article "ein"), why should it not have ...
Lucas's user avatar
  • 667
5 votes
6 answers
2k views

Why does English have progressive aspect but German does not?

In english there are two ways to express a present action: I go I am going However, In German there is really only one way to express a present action: Ich gehe If English is a ...
OriginalOldMan's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
717 views

What exactly is the "German Language"

After reading up on this topic on Wikipedia, I am left in confusion. Before I started to read the article I thought that "German" usually refers to standard German. If it is actually defined like ...
Matthias Schreiber's user avatar
5 votes
6 answers
953 views

German (-stell-) and Slavic (-stav-) languages: who was first?

I have been wondering about the following close parallel between German (I'm not aware of any other Germanic language for which this would hold) and Czech in particular: postavit ~ stellen (to place ...
The Vee's user avatar
  • 153
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Pronunciation of umlaut vowels in the history of German

I know that the umlaut vowels were also written as ae oe and ue, and this orthography shows the process of assimilation with a high vowel. But were these vowels ever actually pronounced as a diphthong,...
X30Marco's user avatar
  • 891
5 votes
3 answers
543 views

German Noun Roots of Germanic Origin with Multiple Non-Schwa Syllables

With non-schwa syllables I mean bisyllabic words ending in -e, -en, -er, -el don't count. But trisyllabic words with similar endings do. Some examples I've found: Arbeit, Armut, Heimat, Heirat ...
user3482545's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
458 views

What IPA Symbols Are Equivalent to Each of These Middle High German Diacritics?

I recently came across this article on the inclusion of certain superscript combining characters for use with representing Middle High German in Unicode. From what I understand, scribes and early ...
Avana Vana's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
390 views

Can an object be in functional case A even though it's declined like case B?

Pardon my word choice, since I'm obviously lacking the background in linguistics. I know that language-specific questions are off-topic, yet I still like to use Finnish as an example, since it spawned ...
infinitezero's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
992 views

Does French retain more Celtic words than English does?

English has very few words left from the Ancient British. I am wondering if the language of the Gauls suffered much the same fate, or whether there are significantly more Celtic substrate words ...
Scott's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Influence of Polish and Czech on the phonology of German dialects

German has for more than 1000 years been in contact with West Slavic languages, notably Polish and Czech. This is highly likely to have led to borrowing or interference between these languages, in ...
robert's user avatar
  • 4,279
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Did the Dutch "zee" (sea) and "meer" (lake) diverge or did the German "das Meer" (sea) and "der See" (lake) diverge from a shared linguistic heritage?

The words for: sea; and lake respectively, in Dutch, are: zee; and meer, whereas the German translation of the same is: das Meer; and der See1. This striking, almost completely opposing, ...
O0123's user avatar
  • 177
5 votes
2 answers
205 views

Why do some languages distinguish between "identical" and "indistinguishable", and others don't?

In some languages, there's a very prevalent distinction between different meanings of the English word "same" as in "These two items are the same". For example German: dasselbe / das gleiche Greek: ...
jimmy_jammy's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
226 views

Why are telling and counting related in many languages?

In many languages, verbs for telling a story are based on or related to verbs for counting. There are (at least) three groups of such verbs: English "recount", French "conter" and ...
joriki's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes
1 answer
310 views

Transcribing German written text to computer readable phonetic alphabet

I already found some programs that can transcribe text automatically but they don't comply with my requirements. I need: A software that transcribes written text to IPA, SAMPA or some other phonetic ...
doc's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
0 answers
200 views

Genitive forms (German)

Do you know any rule how I can decide (formally), wheter a German sentence contains a Genitivus subjectivus or a Genitivus objectivus? Example: "der Besuch des Botschafters". Here, the ambassador ...
Randy's user avatar
  • 51
4 votes
6 answers
1k views

What was the original pronunciation of 'ä' in German?

I always learnt it was pronounced the same as how 'e' is usually pronounced in German (in either its short or long forms respectively). But then the question is: why have a different letter for it? ...
Noldorin's user avatar
  • 486
4 votes
3 answers
377 views

GVS similarity in cognate words other Germanic Languages

I am no professional Linguist (nor have I ever studied it) so there might be a straightforward explanation to this which I could't find searching in ordinary places. I was analysing a few words from ...
embedded_dev's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Beta vs eszett character difference

How to write the Greek letter beta and the German letter eszett so that they look different enough? I've seen variants of beta with the final arc ending on the vertical line and ones which have a ...
ByteEater's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
2 answers
160 views

How does the Sankt Goar isogloss work?

The Sankt Goar line crosses the german town of Sankt Goar and separates the dialects that have t in words like wat and dat and the dialects that have s in the corresponding words was and das. Is this ...
X30Marco's user avatar
  • 891
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How intelligible are German and Dutch to each other?

I'm asking this because I stumbled upon what I believe is a Dutch copy of The Brothers Grimm at a used book store. I initially thought it was archaic German and looked over it to see if I could make ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

When did the sounds of 'w' and 'v' change in High German?

As far as I know, the sound 'w' is always pronounced as 'v', and 'v' as 'f' in German words, relative to their cognate English words. So my questions, why did these sounds shift, and when? As far as I ...
Noldorin's user avatar
  • 486
4 votes
1 answer
384 views

Fewest number of vowels in a Germanic language?

Yiddish has an unusually small vowel inventory for a Germanic language, which are generally notorious for their large number of vowel phonemes. Probably under the influence of the surrounding gentile ...
Khove's user avatar
  • 774
4 votes
1 answer
312 views

Dependency parsing that preserves structural ambiguities?

Does a (publicly available) dependency parser exist, that either preserves structural ambiguities in its output or that allows me to generate all possible parse trees for a given input? I am ...
empty-barrel's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
539 views

Where exactly was the Polish-German language border in Silesia around 1900?

I am asking about lower class rural population, I know that German was spoken in cities. There already exists maps which shows some details on the matter: Map about german language extention Map ...
Bregalad's user avatar
  • 344
4 votes
1 answer
165 views

Case matching asymmetry in German dislocation

Left- and right-dislocation in German behave differently regarding the case the dislocated expression takes. Left-dislocation seems to be lenient, as it allows the nominative as well as the case the ...
Thomas Gross's user avatar
  • 1,424