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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

German (Standard German, “High German”)

Old German came to be propelled to unprecendented heights by
Minnesingers (troubadours) such as Walther von der Vogelweide
(ca. 1170–1230, seen left) and Süßkind von Trimberg (the first Jewish
German language poet, ca. 1230–1300, seen right, wearing the then
mandatory Jew’s hat).

Language information: German is the official language of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. In Luxembourg it is official alongside French and Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch), in Switzerland alongside French, Italian and Rhaeto-Roman (Rumansch). German is an official minority language in Denmark, Belgium and Italy. Furthermore, there are sizeable German minority language communities in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and throughout the Americas. German is the traditional lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe but as such is now being replaced by English in those regions.
    Nowadays, German is the only national language whose orthography requires that nouns be capitalized (if we consider Luxembourgish a dialect of German despite its official). In other words, the initial letter of a noun must be a capital letter. Under German influence most writers of Sater Frisian and Low Saxon of Germany still follow this rule too, despite there being no official orthography for them. All geographically neighboring languages that used to have noun capitalization, such as Danish and Sorbian, have abandoned this rule. In the early part of the 20th century, abandonment of German noun ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!capitalization was well underway, but it came to be fully reintroduced during following nationalistic era, and consequent attempts have been unsuccessful.
    During much of the 18th and 19th centuries and until about the middle of the nationalistic era of the 20th century, German was predominantly written with a specific subset of the Latin alphabet, called Fraktur with reference to the printed version and called deutsche Schreibschrift (“German Handwriting”), deutsche Kurrantschrift (“German Cursive Writing”) or Sütterlinschrift (“Suetterlin Writing”) with reference to the handwritten version. These scripts came to be outlawed when German occupation forces found that they constituted a barrier for the occupied populations. In Western Germany, these scripts were taught for secondary use for some time after World War II, mostly for the sake of generating reading comprehension of older text. Most Germans, Austrians and Swiss educated since that time connot read such texts or can do so only with difficulties. Fraktur type used to be used for Low Saxon and Sorbian and for neighboring languages such as Danish, Kashubian, Czech and Estonian.

Old (High) German is the ancestor of today’s German dialects. It flourished approximately between 500 and 1050 CE, to be followed by Middle (High) German (ca. 1050–1350~1500 CE). Old German has no standard variety but has several dialects whose features are clearly noticeable in the extant literature. Most striking among these are those of Upper Old German, especially of what are now Bavaria, Austria, Northern Switzerland and parts of Alpine Italy. There were no indigenous Old German dialects in what are now Northern Germany and the Eastern Netherlands. People in these areas spoke Old Saxon, though there appear to have been German-speaking minorities there with the beginning of Frankish overlordship and Christianization, and most of these probably spoke Rhenish dialects.
     The Old Map of Franconian (Frankish) Dialect GroupsGerman translation presented here, though probably dialectologically somewhat mixed, is meant to demonstrate some important features of Old German (OG) in comparison with those of Lowlands varieties of roughly the same time. Note that for instance OG t corresponds to d, OG d to th and ð, OG z (with two kinds of pronunciation) to t, and -h to -k.

Frankish German consists of Central and Upper German dialects that belong to the Frankish continuum. Represented among these in this project so far are Ripuarian as well as Saarland and Lorraine Frankish.

Bavarian German, here represented by a Lower Bavarian version so far, comprises most dialects of Austria, Southern Bavaria and German-speaking Northern Italy. They belong to the Bayuvarian (“German-Austrian”) dialect group.

Yiddish began as a Middle German Jewish jargon in the Middle and Upper Rhine areas. Strongly influenced by Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages, it developed into a language in its own right and tends to be written with Hebrew script. Especially Eastern Yiddish, the only surviving Yiddish dialect group, diverged strongly from German proper in that it has been developing mostly in Eastern Europe and has been influenced by Slavic languages as well. [Click here for more.]

Genealogy: Indo-European > Germanic > West (South?) > High

Historical Lowlands language contacts: Low Saxon, Low Franconian

    Click to open the translation: [Modern Standard German] [Northern German] [Old (High) German]Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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