Middle High German Language

Middle High German covers the period from around 1050 to 1350. It can be divided into Early Middle High German (around 1050 to around 1180), Classical Middle High German (around 1180 to around 1250) and Late Middle High German (around 1250 to around 1350). This epoch is characterized by the development of a courtly and thus secular culture based on the Romanesque (especially French-Provencal) model, supported by the knighthood and the nobility as the political and economic leadership. While in Old High German times the learned clergy played the major part in shaping the German language, the real centers of intellectual life were now the courts of the princes. Hartmann von Aue,Wolfram von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Straßburg, in the poetry by Walther von der Vogelweide). A supraregional literary language developed, which deliberately avoided coarse dialect traits and impolite expressions and certainly contained approaches to a common language; However, it was a poetic language that v. a. in literary works, very occasionally written in documents, which, however, were not spoken and, moreover, were given up again in the 14th century at the latest, so that they are not in direct precedence to the New High German written language. The adoption of court culture from the Romance-speaking area resulted in an abundance of loanwords and loan coins. For example, tjost (“knightly duel”) in old French jouste, būhurt (“knight game”) in French bouhourt, aventiure (“[knightly] venture”) adopted from French aventure (compare adventure) and lance from French lance, turnei (“tournament”) from French t (o) urnei, dance formed from French dance. Adoptions from the language of Flemish chivalry include: wapen (“coat of arms”), dorpære (“non-nobleman”, “uneducated”, from which “booby” developed) and ritter (from the Middle Dutch riddere) meaning “knight” (as a status) and not, as was possible before 1170, meaning “rider”. The infinitive formations on -ieren (after the French infinitive endings on -er) belong to the loan coinage according to the French pattern, e.g. B. Parieren, and the suffixes ending in -ie (based on the French model of the same name), e.g. B. Partie (“department”, “party”, after old French partie). Furthermore, hereditary words could acquire a new meaning under the influence of the knightly culture, e.g. B. Middle High German scarce, previously synonymous with Middle High German boy, has been narrowed to “young nobleman in the service of a knight” (corresponding to French garçon). With the disintegration of the central imperial power around 1250, the old political and social order collapsed; chivalry lost its importance. During the period of upheaval and spiritual disorientation after 1250, attempts by various religious movements to bring about a spiritual awakening took place. In this context, German mysticism in particular had a lasting influence on the enrichment and differentiation of the (philosophical and theological) vocabulary. Those terms occupy a special position, which describe the specifically mystical experience of man becoming one with God, e.g. B. īnbilden (»imagined«, actually »into the soul«), abegescheidenheit (»seclusion«) as the ideal attitude of detachment from the things of this world and laziness for the mental readiness of the person to do so, imprint (»impression«), whereby the process of sealing stands as an image for the Unio mystica. Often with these new coins an abstract meaning is developed from a sensual meaning. In addition, a large number of abstracts have been developed (with the suffixes: -nis, -heit, -keit, -ung (e), e.g. understanding, rationality, wisdom, spirituality, anuwunge), which are specifically the starting point for the Development of scientific terminology in German. Meister EckhartJ. Tauler and H. Seuse).

A written language standardization did not exist – apart from certain tendencies like the avoidance of rough dialectal forms – even in Middle High German times; however, certain writing conventions developed within individual linguistic areas, which were continued in the emerging document language. In terms of phonetics, Middle High German is clearly separated from Old High German: The weakening of the unstressed vowels that began in the late Old High German period now generally leads to the unstressed e as an adjacent syllable vowel; the umlaut vowels (originally with i, ī, j of the following syllable), which were created in Old High German times, now appear independently of the phonetic environment thanks to analog compensation. In the graphic realization, however, only the umlaut from a to e is consistently represented by e; For the other umlauts, you can sometimes help yourself with an overwritten e or i to denote the umlaut. In the consonant system, in early Middle High German, the new phoneme sch (e.g. Old High German skōni, Middle High German schœne) arises in front of the consonant. The hardening of the final sound is of particular importance: Voiced plosives become voiceless in the final sound in Middle High German (e.g. nominative tac [»day«], genitive day; infinitive see, 1st person singular of the past tense sach). In morphemics, the consistent weakening of the unstressed vowels has the effect that more and more forms coincide in declination and conjugation, which were originally characterized by different vowel qualities, both within a certain paradigm and in the comparison of different declension or conjugation classes. This resulted in syntactic changes, especially the increasing use of formal words (articles and pronouns) to express cases and persons. In general – much more so than in Old High German – an increase in the analytical language structure is noticeable, which is also expressed in the expansion of the passive forms and the compound tense forms. Nevertheless, a regular, uniform six-tense system in Middle High German is not yet recognizable; such a thing only emerged (based on the Latin model) in the early New High German period. especially the increasing use of formal words (articles and pronouns) to express cases and persons. In general – much more so than in Old High German – an increase in the analytical language structure is noticeable, which is also expressed in the expansion of the passive forms and the compound tense forms. Nevertheless, a regular, uniform six-tense system in Middle High German is not yet recognizable; such a thing only emerged (based on the Latin model) in the early New High German period. especially the increasing use of formal words (articles and pronouns) to express cases and persons. In general – much more so than in Old High German – an increase in the analytical language structure is noticeable, which is also expressed in the expansion of the passive forms and the compound tense forms. Nevertheless, a regular, uniform six-tense system in Middle High German is not yet recognizable; such a thing only emerged (based on the Latin model) in the early New High German period. uniform six-tense system in Middle High German not yet recognizable; such a thing only emerged (based on the Latin model) in the early New High German period. uniform six-tense system in Middle High German not yet recognizable; such a thing only emerged (based on the Latin model) in the early New High German period.

Middle High German Language