The Avesta is the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the otherwise unrecorded Avestan language. The Avesta texts fall into several different categories, arranged either by usage; the principal text in the liturgical group is the Yasna, which takes its name from the Yasna ceremony, Zoroastrianism's primary act of worship, at which the Yasna text is recited. The most important portion of the Yasna texts are the five Gathas, consisting of seventeen hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself; these hymns, together with five other short Old Avestan texts that are part of the Yasna, are in the Old Avestan language. The remainder of the Yasna's texts are in Younger Avestan, not only from a stage of the language, but from a different geographic region. Extensions to the Yasna ceremony include the texts of the Visperad; the Visperad extensions consist of additional invocations of the divinities, while the Vendidad is a mixed collection of prose texts dealing with purity laws.
Today, the Vendidad is the only liturgical text, not recited from memory. Some of the materials of the extended Yasna are from the Yashts, which are hymns to the individual yazatas. Unlike the Yasna and Vendidad, the Yashts and the other lesser texts of the Avesta are no longer used liturgically in high rituals. Aside from the Yashts, these other lesser texts include the Nyayesh texts, the Gah texts, the Siroza, various other fragments. Together, these lesser texts are conventionally called "Little Avesta" texts; when the first Khordeh Avesta editions were printed in the 19th century, these texts became a book of common prayer for lay people. The term Avesta is from the 9th/10th-century works of Zoroastrian tradition in which the word appears as Zoroastrian Middle Persian abestāg, Book Pahlavi ʾpstʾkʼ. In that context, abestāg texts are portrayed as received knowledge, are distinguished from the exegetical commentaries thereof; the literal meaning of the word abestāg is uncertain. The repeated derivation from *upa-stavaka is from Christian Bartholomae, who interpreted abestāg as a contraction of a hypothetical reconstructed Old Iranian word for "praise-song".
The surviving texts of the Avesta, as they exist today, derive from a single master copy produced by collation and recension in the Sasanian Empire. That master copy, now lost, is known as the'Sassanian archetype'; the oldest surviving manuscript of an Avestan language text is dated 1323 CE. Summaries of the various Avesta texts found in the 9th/10th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition suggest that a significant portion of the literature in the Avestan language has been lost. Only about one-quarter of the Avestan sentences or verses referred to by the 9th/10th century commentators can be found in the surviving texts; this suggests that three-quarters of Avestan material, including an indeterminable number of juridical and legendary texts, have been lost since then. On the other hand, it appears that the most valuable portions of the canon, including all of the oldest texts, have survived; the reason for this is that the surviving materials represent those portions of the Avesta that were in regular liturgical use, therefore known by heart by the priests and not dependent for their preservation on the survival of particular manuscripts.
A pre-Sasanian history of the Avesta, if it had one, is in the realm of myth. The oldest surviving versions of these tales are found in the ninth to 11th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition; the legends run as follows: The twenty-one nasks of the Avesta were created by Ahura Mazda and brought by Zoroaster to his patron Vishtaspa. Vishtaspa or another Kayanian, Daray had two copies made, one of, stored in the treasury, the other in the royal archives. Following Alexander's conquest, the Avesta was supposedly destroyed or dispersed by the Greeks after they translated the scientific passages that they could make use of. Several centuries one of the Parthian emperors named Valaksh then had the fragments collected, not only of those, written down, but of those that had only been orally transmitted; the Denkard transmits another legend related to the transmission of the Avesta. In that story, credit for collation and recension is given to the early Sasanian-era priest Tansar, who had the scattered works collected, of which he approved only a part as authoritative.
Tansar's work was supposedly completed by Adurbad Mahraspandan who made a general revision of the canon and continued to ensure its orthodoxy. A final revision was undertaken in the 6th century under Khosrow I. In the early 20th century, the legend of the Parthian-era collation engendered a search for a'Parthian archetype' of the Avesta. In the theory of Friedrich Carl Andreas, the archaic nature of the Avestan texts was assumed to be due to preservation via written transmission, unusual or unexpected spellings in the surviving texts were assumed to be reflections of errors introduced by Sasanian-era transcription from the
Portuguese people are a Romance ethnic group indigenous to Portugal that share a common Portuguese culture and speak Portuguese. Their predominant religion is Christianity Roman Catholicism, though vast segments of the population the younger generations, have no religious affiliation; the Portuguese people's heritage includes the pre-Celts and Celts. A number of Portuguese descend from converted Jewish and North Africans as a result of the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula; the Romans, Scandinavians, migratory Germanic tribes like the Suebi, Vandals and Buri who settled in what is today's Portugal The Roman Republic conquered the Iberian Peninsula during the 2nd and 1st centuries B. C. from the extensive maritime empire of Carthage during the series of Punic Wars. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages stem from the Vulgar Latin. Due to the large historical extent from the 16th century of the Portuguese Empire and the subsequent colonization of territories in Asia and the Americas, as well as historical and recent emigration, Portuguese communities can be found in many diverse regions around the globe, a large Portuguese diaspora exists.
Portuguese people began and led the Age of Exploration which started in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta and culminated in an empire with territories that are now part of over 50 countries. The Portuguese Empire lasted nearly 600 years, seeing its end when Macau was returned to China in 1999; the discovery of several lands unknown to the Europeans in the Americas, Africa and Oceania, helped pave the way for modern globalization and domination of Western civilization. The Portuguese are a Southwestern European population, with origins predominantly from Southern and Western Europe; the earliest modern humans inhabiting Portugal are believed to have been Paleolithic peoples that may have arrived in the Iberian Peninsula as early as 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. Current interpretation of Y-chromosome and mtDNA data suggests that modern-day Portuguese trace a significant amount of these lineages to the paleolithic peoples who began settling the European continent between the end of the last glaciation around 45,000 years ago.
Northern Iberia is believed to have been a major Ice-age refuge from which Paleolithic humans colonized Europe. Migrations from what is now Northern Iberia during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic, links modern Iberians to the populations of much of Western Europe and the British Isles and Atlantic Europe. Recent books published by geneticists Bryan Sykes, Stephen Oppenheimer and Spencer Wells have emphasized the large Paleolithic and Mesolithic Iberian influence in the modern day Irish and Scottish gene-pool as well as parts of the English. Indeed, Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b is the most common haplogroup in all of the Iberian peninsula and western Europe. Within the R1b haplogroup there are modal haplotypes. One of the best-characterized of these haplotypes is the Atlantic Modal Haplotype; this haplotype reaches the highest frequencies in the British Isles. In Portugal it reckons 65% in the South summing 87% northwards, in some regions 96%; the Neolithic colonization of Europe from Western Asia and the Middle East beginning around 10,000 years ago reached Iberia, as most of the rest of the continent although, according to the demic diffusion model, its impact was most in the southern and eastern regions of the European continent.
Starting in the 3rd millennium BC as well as in the Bronze Age, the first wave of migrations into Iberia of speakers of Indo-European languages occurred. These were followed by others that can be identified as Celts. Urban cultures developed in southeastern Iberia, such as Tartessos, influenced by the Phoenician colonization of coastal Mediterranean Iberia, which shifted to Greek colonization. There is little or no evidence of settlements in Portugal by either Greeks or Phoenicians despite some statements to the contrary; these two processes defined Iberia's, Portugal's, cultural landscape—Continental in the northwest and Mediterranean towards the southeast, as historian José Mattoso describes it. Given the origins from Paleolithic and Neolithic settlers as well as Indo-European migrations, one can say that the Portuguese ethnic origin is a mixture of pre-Roman, pre-Indo-Europeans, pre-Celtics or para-Celts such as the Lusitanians of Lusitania, Celtic peoples such as Calaicians or Gallaeci of Gallaecia, the Celtici and the Cynetes of the Alentejo and the Algarve.
The Romans were an important influence on Portuguese culture. Other minor influences included the Phoenicians/Carthaginians, the Vandals and the Sarmatian Alans, the Visigoths and Suebi; the ruled from 711 until the Reconquista of the Algarve in 1249. In the 9th and 10th centuries small Viking settlements were established in the North coastal regions of Douro and Minho. For the Y-chromosome and MtDNA lineages of the Portuguese and other peoples see this map and this one. Portuguese have maintained a certain degree of ethnic and cultural specific characteristics-ratio with the Basques, since ancient times; the results of the present HLA stu
Syntactic movement is the means by which some theories of syntax address discontinuities. Movement was first postulated by structuralist linguists who expressed it in terms of discontinuous constituents or displacement. Certain constituents appear to have been displaced from the position where they receive important features of interpretation; the concept of movement is controversial. Representational theories, in contrast, reject the notion of movement addressing discontinuities in terms of feature passing or persistent structural identities instead. Movement is the traditional "transformational" means of overcoming the discontinuities associated with wh-fronting, extraposition, scrambling and shifting, e.g. a. John has told Peter. B. Which story has John told Peter that Mary likes ___? - Wh-frontinga. We want to hear that one story again. B; that one story we want to hear ___ again. - Topicalizationa. Something that we weren't expecting occurred. B. Something ___ occurred. - Extrapositiona. You will understand.
B. Will you ___ understand? - Inversiona. She took off her hat. B, she took her hat off ___. - ShiftingThe a-sentences show canonical word order, the b-sentences illustrate the result of movement. Bold script marks the expression, moved, the blanks mark the positions out of which movement is assumed to have occurred; each time, movement takes place in order to emphasize the expression in bold. For instance, the constituent which story in the first b-sentence is the object of the transitive verb likes, the canonical position of an object being to the right of the verb. By fronting the object as a wh-expression, it becomes the focus of communication; the examples above use a blank to mark the position out of which movement is assumed to have occurred. Blanks are just one means of indicating movement, however. Two other means are copies. In transformational grammar, movement has been signaled by a trace t since at least the 1970s proposal by Noam Chomsky, e.g. b. Which story1 has John told Peter that Mary likes t1?
- Movement indicated using a traceSubscripts help indicate the constituent, assumed to have left a trace in its former position, the position marked by t. The other means of indicating movement is in terms of copies. Movement is taken to be a process of copying the same constituent in different positions, deleting the phonological features in all but one case. Italics are used in the following example to indicate a copy that lacks phonological representation: b. Which story has John told Peter that Mary likes which story? - Copy indicated using italicsWhile there are various nuances associated with each of these means of indicating movement, for the most part, each convention has the same goal, to indicate the presence of a discontinuity. Within generative grammar, various types of movement have been discerned. Two important distinctions are A-movement vs. A-bar phrasal vs. head movement. Argument movement displaces a phrase into a position where a fixed grammatical function is assigned, such as in movement of the object to the subject position in passives: a.
Fred read the book. B; the book was read ___. - A-movementNon-argument movement, in contrast, displaces a phrase into a position where a fixed grammatical function is not assigned, such as movement of a subject or object NP to a pre-verbal position in interrogatives: a. You think. B. Who do you think ___ loves Mary? - A-bar movementa. You think. B. Who do you think Fred loves ___? - A-bar movementThe A- vs. A-bar distinction is a reference to the theoretical status of syntax with respect to the lexicon; the distinction elevates the role of syntax, locating the theory of voice entirely in syntax. A theory of syntax that locates the active-passive distinction in the lexicon – i.e. the passive is not derived via transformations from the active – will reject the distinction entirely. A different partition among types of movement is phrasal vs. head movement. Phrasal movement occurs when the head of a phrase moves together with all its dependents in such a manner that the entire phrase moves. Most of the examples above involve phrasal movement.
Head movement, in contrast, occurs when just the head of a phrase moves, whereby this head leaves behind its dependents. Subject-auxiliary inversion is a canonical instance of head movement, e.g. a. Someone has read the article. B. Has someone ___ read the article? - Head movement of the auxiliary verb hasa. She will read the second article. B. Will she ___ read the second article? - Head movement of the auxiliary verb willOn the assumption that the auxiliaries has and will are the heads of phrases – of IPs, for instance – the b-sentences are the result of head movement, whereby the auxiliary verbs has and will move leftward without taking with them the rest of the phrase that they head. The distinction between phrasal movement and head movement relies crucially on the assumption that movement is occurring leftward. An analysis of subject-auxiliary inversion that acknowledges rightward movement can dispense with head movement e.g. a. Someone has read the article. B. ___ Has someone read the article?
- Phrasal movement of the subject pronoun someonea. She will read the second article. B. ___ Will she read the
Greeting is an act of communication in which human beings intentionally make their presence known to each other, to show attention to, to suggest a type of relationship or social status between individuals or groups of people coming in contact with each other. Greetings are sometimes used just prior to a conversation or to greet in passing, such as on a sidewalk or trail. While greeting customs are culture- and situation-specific and may change within a culture depending on social status and relationship, they exist in all known human cultures. Greetings can be expressed both audibly and physically, involve a combination of the two; this topic includes rituals other than gestures. A greeting, or salutation, can be expressed in written communications, such as letters and emails; some epochs and cultures have had elaborate greeting rituals, e.g. greeting a sovereign. Conversely, secret societies have furtive or arcane greeting gestures and rituals, such as a secret handshake, which allow members to recognize each other.
In some languages and cultures, the same word or gesture is used as both farewell. Examples are "Good day" in English, "Sat Shri Akaal" in Punjabi, "As-Salamualaikum" in Arabic, "Aloha" in Hawaiian, "Shalom" in Hebrew, "Namaste" in Hindi and "Ciao" in Italian; the bow and handshake are used for both greeting and leave taking. A greeting can consist of an exchange of formal expression, handshakes and various gestures; the form of greeting is determined by social etiquette, as well as by the relationship of the people. Beyond the formal greeting, which may involve a verbal acknowledgment and sometimes a hand shake, facial expression, body language and eye contact can all signal what type of greeting is expected. Gestures are the most obvious signal, for instance greeting someone with open arms is a sign that a hug is expected. However, crossing arms can be interpreted as a sign of hostility. Facial expression, body language and eye contact reflect emotions and interest level. A frown and lowered eye contact suggests disinterest, while smiling and an exuberant attitude is a sign of welcome.
Many different gestures are used throughout the world as simple greetings. In Western cultures the handshake is common, though it has numerous subtle variations in the strength of grip, the vigour of the shake, the dominant position of one hand over the other, whether or not the left hand is used; when men wore hats out of doors, male greetings to people they knew, sometimes those they did not, involved touching, raising or removing their hat in a variety of gestures. This basic gesture remained normal in many situations from the Middle Ages until men ceased wearing hats in the mid-20th century. Hat-raising began with an element of recognition of superiority, where only the inferior party might perform it, but lost this element; however the gesture was never used by women, for whom their head-covering included considerations of modesty. When a man was not wearing a hat he might touch his hair to the side of the front of his head to replicate a hat tipping gesture; this was performed by lower class men to social superiors, such as peasants to the land-owner, is known as "tugging the forelock", which still sometimes occurs as a metaphor for submissive behaviour.
The Arabic term salaam, refers to the practice of placing the right palm on the heart and after a handshake. In Moroccan society, same-sex people don't greet each other the same as do opposite sex. While same sex people will shake hands, kiss on the cheek and hug multiple times, a man and woman greeting each other in public won't go further than a handshake. Which is due to the Moroccan culture, quite conservative. Verbal greetings in Morocco can go from a basic salaam, to asking about life details to make sure the other person is doing good. A Chinese greeting features the right fist placed in the palm of the left hand and both shaken back and forth two or three times, it may be accompanied by a head nod or bow; the gesture may be used on meeting and parting, when offering thanks or apologies. In India, it is common to see the Namaste greeting where the palms of the hands are pressed together and held near the heart with the head bowed. Adab, meaning respect and politeness, is a hand gesture used as a Muslim greeting of south Asian Muslims of Urdu-speaking communities of Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabadi Muslims, Bengali Muslims and Muhajir people of Pakistan.
The gesture involves raising the right hand towards the face with palm inwards such that it is in front of the eyes and the finger tips are touching the forehead, as the upper torso is bent forward. It is typical for the person to say "adab arz hai", or just "adab", it is answered with the same or the word "Tasleem" is said as an answer or sometimes it is answered with a facial gesture of acceptance. In Indonesia, a nation with a huge variety of cultures and religions, many greetings are expressed, from the formalized greeting of the stratified and hierarchical Javanese to the more egalitarian and practical greetings of outer islands. Javanese and other ethnicities or involved in the armed forces will salute a Government-employed superior, follow with a deep bow from the waist or short nod of the head and a passing, loose handshake. Hand position is important.
Northern Germany is the region in the northern part of Germany which exact area is not or defined. It varies depending on whether one has a linguistic, socio-cultural or historic standpoint; the five coastal states are referred to as Northern Germany. Though geographically in the northern half of Germany, Westphalia and the northern parts of Saxony-Anhalt are referred to as Northern Germany and instead are always associated with Western Germany and the historic East Germany respectively. Northern Germany refers to the Sprachraum area north of the Uerdingen and Benrath line isoglosses, where Low German dialects are spoken; these comprise the Low Saxon dialects in the west, the East Low German region along the Baltic coast with Western Pomerania, the Altmark and northern Brandenburg, as well as the North Low German dialects. Although from the 19th century onwards the use of Standard German was promoted by the Prussian administration, Low German dialects are still present in rural areas, with an estimated number of five to eight million active speakers.
However, since World War II and the immigration of expellees from the former eastern territories of Germany, its prevalence has reduced. Besides which, Frisian is spoken in North Frisia, as well as Danish in parts of Schleswig. From a linguistic and cultural perspective, Northern Germany is linked to the Netherlands and England. For example, the German word for butcher is Fleischer or Metzger in the middle, east or south of Germany but is called a Schlachter in Northern Germany, resembling the Scandinavian terms for butcher, slagter/slakter. Other examples are the word for potato, Erdapfel in much of Southern Germany and Switzerland, but Kartoffel in Northern Germany and in Danish. Additionally, Jansen/Janssen and Petersen are the most common surnames in the far north of Germany, which are some of the most common surnames in Denmark. Hansen is the single most common surname in Norway, the third most common surname in Denmark, the third and fifth most common surname in the North German federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, respectively.
The key terrain feature of Northern Germany is the North German Plain including the marshes along the coastline of the North and Baltic Seas, as well as the geest and heaths inland. Prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, glacial valleys and Luch; these features were formed during the Weichselian glaciation and contrast topographically with the adjacent Central Uplands of Germany to the south, such as the Harz and Teutoburg Forest, which are counted as part of Northern Germany. Northern Germany has traditionally been a Protestant-majority region Lutheranism, with the two northernmost provinces of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony having the largest percentage of self-reported Lutherans in Germany. Exceptions are the Catholic districts Emsland and Vechta in the west, traditionally linked to the Catholic region of Westphalia in the south, the southernmost part of Lower Saxony,around the city Duderstadt, traditionally being part of the Catholic enclave region Eichsfeld.
Culturally and Northern Germany is characterized by higher levels of income equality and gender equality than southern and south-western Germany. While the national federal Gini coefficient for Germany stands at around 30, the southern states have a Gini coefficient of 30.6 whereas for the Northern states the Gini coefficient stands at 27.5, closer to the Scandinavian average of 25. Traditional society in the western part of Northern Germany until the early 20th century was based on well-off and landowning yeoman farmers owning large pieces of land, making a living growing grain crops and raising dairy cattle and pigs, a large and educated middle class in the towns and cities working in the civil service, or as businessmen, blue-collar workers and skilled workers. Thus, the proportion of serfs, landless labourers, semi-skilled industrial workers and large landlords was smaller, making for a more stable society than elsewhere in Germany like the Rhineland region and the region east of the Oder river.
Additionally, Northern cities like Hamburg and Rostock have always been economic powerhouses of trade and commerce and have had a long tradition of innovation and creativity in business and industry. The traditional Northern German daily diet is centered around boiled potatoes, rye bread, dairy products, cucumbers, jams and pork and beef. A breakfast specialty is the Crispbread or Knäcke, eaten with a variety of toppings such as ham, cheese and butter. Lentil stews and soups are popular as a working lunch. Regional specialties in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony include Blutwurst or Blood sausage and a variety of Blood puddings eaten for brunch. Another Northern German regional specialty are Hackbraten, meatloaves
The Andalusian varieties of Spanish are spoken in Andalusia, Ceuta and Gibraltar. They include the most distinct of the southern variants of peninsular Spanish, differing in many respects from northern varieties, from Standard Spanish. Due to the large population of Andalusia, the Andalusian dialects are among the ones with more speakers in Spain. Within Spain, other southern dialects of Spanish share some core elements of Andalusian in terms of phonetics – notably Canarian Spanish, Extremaduran Spanish and Murcian Spanish as well as, to a lesser degree, Manchegan Spanish. Due to massive emigration from Andalusia to the Spanish colonies in the Americas and elsewhere, most Latin American Spanish dialects share some fundamental characteristics with Western Andalusian Spanish, such as the use of ustedes instead of vosotros for the second person plural, seseo. Many varieties of Spanish, such as Canarian Spanish, Caribbean Spanish and other Latin American Spanish dialects, including their standard dialects, are considered by most to be based on Andalusian Spanish.
Andalusian has a number of distinguishing phonological, morphological and lexical features. However, not all of these are unique to Andalusian, nor are all of these features found in all areas where Andalusian is spoken, but in any one area, most of these features will be present. Most Spanish dialects in Spain differentiate between the sounds represented in traditional spelling by ⟨z⟩ and ⟨c⟩, pronounced /θ/, that of ⟨s⟩, pronounced /s/. However, in many Andalusian-speaking areas, the two phonemes are not distinguished and /s/ is used for both, known as seseo /seˈseo/. In other areas, the sound manifests as, known as ceceo. In still other areas, the distinction is retained. Ceceo predominates in more southerly parts of Andalusia, including the provinces of Cádiz, southern Huelva, most of Málaga and Seville and south-western Granada. A common stereotype about ceceo is that it is found in backward rural areas, but the predominance of ceceo in major cities such as Málaga and Granada is enough proof to refute this.
Seseo predominates in western Huelva. The cities of Seville and Cádiz are seseante, but surrounded by ceceo areas. Distinción is found in the provinces of Almería, eastern Granada, Jaén, the northern parts of Córdoba and Huelva. See map above for a detailed description of these zones. Outside Andalusia, seseo existed in parts of Extremadura and Murcia up to at least 1940; the standard distinction which predominates in Eastern Andalusia is now to be heard in many cultivated speakers of the West among younger speakers in urban areas or in monitored speech. The influence of media and school is now strong in Andalusia and this is eroding traditional seseo and ceceo. Yeísmo, the merging of /ʎ/ into /ʝ/, is general in most of Andalusia. In Western Andalusian, /ʝ/ is an affricate in all instances, whereas in standard Spanish this realisation only occurs after a nasal or pause. Intervocalic / d / is elided for example * pesao for pesado, * a menúo for a menudo; this is common in the past participle. For the -ado suffix, this feature is common to all peninsular variants of Spanish, while in other positions it is widespread throughout most of the southern half of Spain.
This is the continuation of the tendency of lenition in Vulgar Latin which developed into the Romance languages. Compare Latin vīta, Italian vita, Brazilian Portuguese vida with a occlusive, European Portuguese vida, Castilian Spanish vida with an interdental, vivaro-alpine Occitan viá and French vie, where the /d/ is elided as in Andalusian. Intervocalic /ɾ/ is elided, although this tends to occur only in certain environments. For example, parece becomes *paece, quieres becomes *quies and padre and madre may sometimes become *pae and *mae; this feature can be heard in many other parts of Spain, too. Obstruents and sonorants assimilate the place of articulation of the following consonant producing gemination. In Andalusian and Murcian Spanish syllable-final /s/ is unstable. Utterance-final /s/, /x/ and /θ/ are aspirated or deleted. In Eastern Andalusian dialects, including Murcian Spanish, the previous vowel is lowered. Thus, in these varieties one distinguishes la casa and las casas by a final deleted or aspirated /s/ and front vowels, whereas northern Spani
Saxony the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, its largest city is Leipzig. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres, the sixth most populous, with 4 million people; the history of the state of Saxony spans more than a millennium. It has been a medieval duchy, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom, twice a republic; the area of the modern state of Saxony should not be confused with Old Saxony, the area inhabited by Saxons. Old Saxony corresponds to the modern German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia. Saxony is divided into 10 districts: 1. Bautzen 2. Erzgebirgskreis 3. Görlitz 4. Leipzig 5. Meißen 6. Mittelsachsen 7. Nordsachsen 8. Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge 9. Vogtlandkreis 10. Zwickau In addition, three cities have the status of an urban district: Chemnitz Dresden Leipzig Between 1990 and 2008, Saxony was divided into the three regions of Chemnitz and Leipzig.
After a reform in 2008, these regions - with some alterations of their respective areas - were called Direktionsbezirke. In 2012, the authorities of these regions were merged into one central authority, the Landesdirektion Sachsen; the Erzgebirgskreis district includes the Ore Mountains, the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district includes Saxon Switzerland and the Eastern Ore Mountains. There are numerous rivers in Saxony; the Elbe is the most dominant one. Oder and Neiße define the border between Poland. Other rivers include the Weiße Elster; the largest cities in Saxony according to the 31 December 2015 estimate are listed below. To this can be added that Leipzig forms a metropolitan-like region with Halle, known as Ballungsraum Leipzig/Halle; the latter city is located just across the border of Saxony-Anhalt. Leipzig shares, for an S-train system and an airport with Halle. Saxony has, after the most vibrant economy of the states of the former East Germany, its economy grew by 1.9% in 2010. Nonetheless, unemployment remains above the German average.
The eastern part of Germany, excluding Berlin, qualifies as an "Objective 1" development-region within the European Union, was eligible to receive investment subsidies up to 30% until 2013. FutureSAX, a business plan competition and entrepreneurial support organisation, has been in operation since 2002. Microchip-makers near Dresden have given the region the nickname "Silicon Saxony"; the publishing and porcelain industries of the region are well known, although their contributions to the regional economy are no longer significant. Today, the automobile industry, machinery production, services contribute to the economic development of the region. Saxony is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Germany - the cities of Leipzig and Dresden and their surroundings. New tourist destinations are developing, notably in the lake district of Lausitz. Saxony reported an average unemployment of 6.2% in 2017. By comparison, the average in the former GDR was 6.8% and 5.5% for Germany overall. The unemployment rate stood at 5.5% in October 2018.
The Leipzig area, which until was among the regions with the highest unemployment rate, could benefit from investments by Porsche and BMW. With the VW Phaeton factory in Dresden, many parts suppliers, the automobile industry has again become one of the pillars of Saxon industry, as it was in the early 20th century. Zwickau is another major Volkswagen location. Freiberg, a former mining town, has emerged as a foremost location for solar technology. Dresden and some other regions of Saxony play a leading role in some areas of international biotechnology, such as electronic bioengineering. While these high-technology sectors do not yet offer a large number of jobs, they have stopped or reversed the brain drain, occurring until the early 2000s in many parts of Saxony. Regional universities have strengthened their positions by partnering with local industries. Unlike smaller towns and Leipzig in the past experienced significant population growth; the population of Saxony began declining around the middle of the 20th century, a process which accelerated after German reunification in 1990.
The second decade of the 21st century has seen demographic decline stabilize through immigration. In recent years the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, some towns in their hinterlands, have had population increases; the following table illustrates the population of Saxony since 1905: The average number of children per woman in Saxony was 1.49 in 2010, the highest of all German states. In 2016, the value reached 1.59. Within Saxony, the highest is the Bautzen district with 1.77, while Leipzig is the lowest with 1.49. Dresden's birth rate of 1.58 is the highest of all German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants. Births from January–September 2016 = 28,714 Births from January–September 2017 = 28,129 Deaths from January–September 2016 = 39,386 Deaths from January–September 2017 = 41,284 Natural growth from January–September 2016 = -10,672 Natural growth from January–September 2017 = -13,155 Saxony has a long history as a duchy, an electorate of the Holy