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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
53
votes
13answers
14k views

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 '...
34
votes
2answers
12k 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?
26
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k 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/...
8
votes
1answer
279 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
434 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
828 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
932 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 "...
7
votes
2answers
413 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
2k 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?
6
votes
2answers
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. ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
992 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
167 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
335 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
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 ...
5
votes
6answers
802 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
977 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,...
5
votes
2answers
962 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
150 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
150 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
599 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
308 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
205 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
448 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

Can one word be classified as two different word classes?

Over at German Language Stack Exchange, the question was asked what the structure of the sentence Ihr Antrag ist abgelehnt. is, and what the word abgelehnt can be classified as. Traditional German ...
4
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

What methods do languages use to re-introduce the subject of a passive construction?

In German and Spanish (I think), you use the word for 'from'. In Japanese though, I think they use 'ni' (which can either mean 'to' or 'at'). In English we use the preposition 'by', which is rarely ...
4
votes
1answer
296 views

English an Oral, German a Written Culture?

From my perception (native German, lived in UK) German culture is more focused on the written word and values precision and perfection when expressing yourself. English culture on the contrary ...
4
votes
0answers
75 views

What is the syntactic function (if there is any) of the prefix in some German verbs?

Consider the following sentence: "Ich rufe dich an". It is a very simple Standard German sentence with the verb "anrufen", the unusual thing about it is this prefix that comes ...
4
votes
0answers
97 views

Is there a name for this type of language divergence and isolation?

In South Australia there is a region called the Barossa Valley. At some point [after WW2? not sure] it was settled by a lot of German farmers who bought land and started dairy farms. They applied ...
3
votes
4answers
953 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? ...
3
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
842 views

Why are English and German West Germanic languages while Scandinavian Germanic languages are an own branch

The Germanic languages are according to Wikipedia subdivided into North Germanic languages and West Germanic languages (historically, there also existed East Germanic languages). The most important (...
3
votes
3answers
346 views

Do "wise" and "wissen" share the same root?

A cursory search shows that the English adjective "wise" and the German verb "wissen" descend from the same root: the PIE *weyd- ("to see, to know"). I found this by using Etymonline to search the ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Natural vs. "Forced" language learning

Would the "natural" way of learning a language (the way we learn our mother tongue) be better even for acquiring second (and third, etc.) languages? What I mean is: The "natural" way to learn a ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

"Maybe" in German (vielleicht)

The word maybe is pretty much a direct translation of "may be" in all languages I know, with or without concatenation. Examples: kanske (Swedish), måske (Danish), peut-être (French), может быть (...
3
votes
2answers
483 views

German long "o" vs. "au". Is there a rule?

There are common words in Germanic languages that have a long "o" vowel in the stem, and which in modern German seem to be either "o" or "au" randomly. Examples: Dutch ROOD, Swedish RÖD, German ROT ...