A fourteenth-century version of Notker’s translation of the psalms with commentary yields 58 alliterating Middle High German word-pairs. These are compared with Notker’s original Old High German text, whereby phonological, morphological, semantic and syntactic changes are noted. In studying the transmission of the Biblical text, both continuity and change become evident.
The purpose of this study was to discover the language preferences of a letter writer for Wilhelm von Berg (1401–1428) in 15th century Westphalia. Various written languages such as Ripuarian, Westphalian and Eastphalian were already established in the region and it is known that writers sometimes mixed one language variation with the other. The study also considers other questions: i) Did writers maintain their prior-developed writing habits? ii) Did they learn the written language practiced at a new location when changing their place of work? The research uses a collection of correspondences between Wilhelm and his siblings, most of which are published here for the first time. They cover his frequent moves from within North-Western Germany when he either wrote letters himself or had them written for him. The study starts with distinguishing the handwritings of his letters, and then moves to an analysis of language variations used through a comparison of specific words. Results show that changing location for one writer (probably Wilhelm himself) did not greatly influence his language use, but that he took on new variants of certain words in his letters.
The etymology of the name of the river Dommel in the Netherlands causes some serious difficulties. In fact it has up to now been seen as an unsolved problem. A new close examination of the oldest attestations, like Dudmala (AD 704), has resulted in a new analysis, viz. *dūd-mal-a in which dūd- means ‘folk’, mal- means ‘dingplaats’ and -a is the appellative for ‘water’ < *aχwa-: ‘running water near to a dingplaats’. The two first elements find their parallel in the German place name Detmold, traditionally considered as going back to Germanic *Þeud-maχla – 1263 detmalle, 783 theodmalli.
This paper investigates formulaic syntax in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (German: Livländische Reimchronik), a Middle High German (MHG) verse history composed around 1290. A common syntactical formula is a unit formed with the adjective vrô (‘glad’, ‘happy’, ‘joyful’) or its negative variant unvrô, together with the verbs sîn (‘be’) or werden (‘become’), with a genitive object: NP-Nom + SÎN/ WERDEN + NP-Gen + (un)vrô (e.g. der meister was der rede vrô). In almost every case the adjective (un)vrô occurs in end position, so that it can be rhymed with another common word, e.g. dô (‘then’) or sô (‘thus’). An important variation is introduced with the demonstrative pronoun des: Pro-Dem-Gen + SÎN/WERDEN + NP-Nom + (un)vrô. This construction has the metrical function of filling a complete line, but it also functions as a discourse marker: it comments positively or negatively on an episode it follows or introduces. The high frequency of this construction in this text compared to its occurrence in other genres written in rhyming couplets suggests that the author was more conservative and less inventive than his contemporaries. In addition he also drew more frequently on the vocabulary and conventions of heroic poetry in which formulaic language was very common. It is argued that the employment of formulaic phrasing and syntax are connected with the sociolinguistic circumstances of the recitation of the chronicle.
Old Dutch place names from the period 700–1100 are here used for the reconstruction of the morphology of Old Dutch nouns. The genitive singular and plural of the strong masculine and neuter are here scrutinized, as well as the dative plural of all nouns. In the course of the paper the meaning of some place names is revised as well.