Gothic is an extinct East Germanic language, spoken by the Goths. It is known from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, is the only East Germanic language with a sizable text corpus. All others, including Burgundian and Vandalic, are known, if at all, only from proper names that survived in historical accounts, from loanwords in other languages such as Portuguese and French; as a Germanic language, Gothic is a part of the Indo-European language family. It is the earliest Germanic language, attested in any sizable texts, but it lacks any modern descendants; the oldest documents in Gothic date back to the fourth century. The language was in decline by the mid-sixth century because of the military defeat of the Goths at the hands of the Franks, the elimination of the Goths in Italy, geographic isolation; the language survived as a domestic language in the Iberian peninsula as late as the eighth century. Gothic-seeming terms are found in manuscripts subsequent to this date, but these may or may not belong to the same language.
In particular, a language known as Crimean Gothic survived in the lower Danube area and in isolated mountain regions in Crimea. Lacking certain sound changes characteristic of Gothic, Crimean Gothic cannot be a lineal descendant of Bible Gothic; the existence of such early attested texts makes it a language of considerable interest in comparative linguistics. Only a few documents in Gothic survive, not enough for reconstructing the language. Most Gothic-language sources are translations or glosses of other languages, so foreign linguistic elements most influenced the texts; these are the primary sources: The largest body of surviving documentation consists of various codices from the sixth century, copying the Bible translation, commissioned by the Arian bishop Ulfilas, the leader of a community of Visigothic Christians in the Roman province of Moesia. He commissioned a translation of the Greek Bible into the Gothic language, of which three-quarters of the New Testament and some fragments of the Old Testament have survived.
The translations, performed by several scholars, are collected in the following codices:Codex Argenteus, including the Speyer fragment: 188 leavesThe best-preserved Gothic manuscript and dating from the sixth century, it was preserved and transmitted by northern Ostrogoths in modern Italy. It contains a large part of the four Gospels. Since it is a translation from Greek, the language of the Codex Argenteus is replete with borrowed Greek words and Greek usages; the syntax in particular is copied directly from the Greek. Codex Ambrosianus and the Codex Taurinensis: Five parts, totaling 193 leavesIt contains scattered passages from the New Testament, of the Old Testament, some commentaries known as Skeireins; the text had been somewhat modified by copyists. Codex Gissensis: One leaf with fragments of Luke 23–24 was found in an excavation in Arsinoë in Egypt in 1907 and was destroyed by water damage in 1945, after copies had been made by researchers. Codex Carolinus: Four leaves, fragments of Romans 11–15.
Codex Vaticanus Latinus 5750: Three leaves, pages 57–58, 59–60, 61–62 of the Skeireins. This is a fragment of Codex Ambrosianus E. Gothica Bononiensia, a discovered palimpsest fragment of two folios with what appears to be a sermon, containing besides non-biblical text a number of direct Bible quotes and allusions, both from attested parts of the Gothic Bible and unattested ones. Fragmenta Pannonica, which consist of fragments of a 1 mm thick lead plate with remnants of verses from the Gospels. A scattering of old documents: two deeds, alphabets, a calendar, glosses found in a number of manuscripts and a few runic inscriptions that are known or suspected to be Gothic: some scholars believe that these inscriptions are not at all Gothic. Several names in an Indian inscription were thought to be Gothic by Krause. Furthermore, late ninth-century Christian inscriptions have been found at Mangup in Crimea. A small dictionary of more than 80 words and a song without translation, compiled by the Fleming Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, the Habsburg ambassador to the court of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul from 1555 to 1562, curious to find out about the language and by arrangement met two speakers of Crimean Gothic and listed the terms in his compilation Turkish Letters: These terms date from nearly a millennium than Ulfilas, so are not representative of his language.
Busbecq's material contains many puzzles and enigmas and is difficult to interpret in the light of comparative Germanic linguistics. Reports of the discovery of other parts of Ulfilas' Bible have not been substantiated. Heinrich May in 1968 claimed to have found in England 12 leaves of a palimpsest containing parts of the Gospel of Matthew. Only fragments of the Gothic translation of the Bible have been prese
Middle Low German
Middle Low German or Middle Saxon is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle Ages and has been documented in writing since about 1225/34. During the Hanseatic period, Middle Low German was the leading written language in the north of Central Europe and served as a lingua franca in the northern half of Europe, it was used parallel to medieval Latin for purposes of diplomacy and for deeds. While Middle Low German is a scholarly term developed in hindsight, speakers in their time referred to the language as sassisch or de sassische sprâke; this terminology was still known in Luther's time in the adjacent Central German-speaking areas. Its Latin equivalent saxonicus was used as meaning'Low German'; some languages whose first contacts with Germany were via Low German-speaking'Saxons', took their name as meaning'German' in general, e.g. Finnish saksa'German'. In contrast to Latin as the primary written language, speakers referred to discourse in Saxon as speaking/writing to dǖde, i.e.'clearly, intelligibly'.
This contains the same root as dǖdisch'German' which could be used for Low German if the context was clear. Compare the modern colloquial term Platt denoting Low German dialects in contrast to the written standard. Another medieval term is ôstersch, at first applied to the Hanseatic cities of the Baltic Sea, their territory being called Ôsterlant, their inhabitants - Ôsterlinge; this appellation was expanded to other German Hanseatic cities and it was a general name for Hanseatic merchants in the Netherlands, e.g. in Bruges where they had their komptôr. In the 16th century, the term nedderlendisch gained ground, contrasting Saxon with the German dialects in the uplands to the south, it became dominant in the High German dialects, while sassisch remained the most widespread term within MLG. The equivalent of'Low German' seems to have been introduced on by High German speakers and at first applied to Netherlanders. Middle Low German is a modern term used with varying degrees of inclusivity, it is distinguished from Middle High German, spoken to the south, replaced by Early New High German.
Though Middle Dutch is today excluded from MLG, it is sometimes, esp. in older literature, included in MLG, which encompasses the dialect continuum of all high-medieval Continental Germanic dialects outside MHG, from Flanders in the West to the eastern Baltic. Middle Low German covered a wider area than the Old Saxon language of the preceding period, due to expansion to the East and, to a lesser degree, to the North. In the East, the MLG-speaking area expanded as part of the Ostsiedlung in the 12th to 14th century and came to include Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Prussia, which were hitherto dominated by Slavic and Baltic tribes; some pockets of these native peoples persisted for quite some time, e.g. the Wends along the lower Elbe until about 1700 or the Kashubians of Eastern Pomerania up to modern times. In the North, the Frisian-speaking areas along the North Sea diminished in favour of Saxon, esp. in East Frisia which switched to MLG since the mid-14th century. North of the Elbe, MLG advanced into Sleswick, against Danish and North Frisian, although the whole region was ruled by Denmark.
MLG exerted a huge influence upon Scandinavia, although native speakers of Low German were confined to the cities where they formed colonies of merchants and craftsmen. It was an official language of Old Livonia, whose population consisted of Baltic and Finnic tribes. In the West, at the Zuiderzee, the forests of the Veluwe and close to the Lower Rhine, MLG bordered on closely-related Low Franconian dialects whose written language was Middle Dutch. In earlier times, these were sometimes included in the modern definition of MLG. In the South, MLG bordered on High German dialects along the northern borders of Hesse and Thuringia; the language border ran eastwards across the plain of the middle Elbe until it met the Sorb-speaking area along the upper Spree that separated it from High German. The border was never a sharp one, rather a continuum; the modern convention is to use the pronunciation of northern maken vs. southern machen for determining an exact border. Along the middle Elbe and lower Saale rivers, Low German began to retreat in favour of High German dialects during Late Medieval times.
Sub-periods of Middle Low German are: Early Middle Low German: 1200–1350, or 1200–1370 Classical Middle Low German: 1350–1500, or 1370–1530 Late Middle Low German: 1500–1600, or 1530–1650Middle Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League, spoken all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It used to be thought that the language of Lübeck was dominant enough to become a normative standard for an emergent spoken and written standard, but more recent work has e
West Germanic languages
The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic family of languages. The three most prevalent West Germanic languages are English and Dutch; the family includes other High and Low German languages including Afrikaans and Yiddish, in addition to other Franconian languages, like Luxembourgish, Ingvaeonic languages next to English, such as the Frisian languages and Scots. Additionally, several creoles and pidgins are based on Dutch and English as they were languages of colonial empires; the West Germanic languages share many lexemes not existing in North Germanic and/or East Germanic—archaisms as well as common neologisms. Most scholars doubt that there was a Proto-West-Germanic proto-language common to the West Germanic languages and no others, though a few maintain that Proto-West-Germanic existed. Most agree that after East Germanic broke off, the remaining Germanic languages, the Northwest Germanic languages, divided into four main dialects: North Germanic, the three groups conventionally called "West Germanic", namely North Sea Germanic, ancestral to Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon Weser-Rhine Germanic, ancestral to Low Franconian and the Central German dialects of Old High German) Elbe Germanic, ancestral to the Upper German dialects of Old High German and the extinct Langobardic language.
Although there is quite a bit of knowledge about North Sea Germanic or Anglo-Frisian, linguists know nothing about "Weser-Rhine Germanic" and "Elbe Germanic". In fact, these two terms were coined in the 1940s to refer to groups of archaeological findings rather than linguistic features. Only were these terms applied to hypothetical dialectal differences within both regions. Today, the small number of Migration Period runic inscriptions from this area—many of them illegible, unclear or consisting only of one word a name—is insufficient to identify linguistic features specific to the two supposed dialect groups. Evidence that East Germanic split off before the split between North and West Germanic comes from a number of linguistic innovations common to North and West Germanic, including: The lowering of Proto-Germanic ē to ā; the development of umlaut. The rhotacism of /z/ to /r/; the development of the demonstrative pronoun ancestral to English this. Under this view, the properties that the West Germanic languages have in common separate from the North Germanic languages are not inherited from a "Proto-West-Germanic" language, but may have spread by language contact among the Germanic languages spoken in central Europe, not reaching those spoken in Scandinavia or reaching them much later.
Rhotacism, for example, was complete in West Germanic at a time when North Germanic runic inscriptions still distinguished the two phonemes. There is evidence that the lowering of ē to ā occurred first in West Germanic and spread to North Germanic since word-final ē was lowered before it was shortened in West Germanic, whereas in North Germanic the shortening occurred first, resulting in e that merged with i. However, there are a number of common archaisms in West Germanic shared by neither Old Norse nor Gothic; some authors who support the concept of a West Germanic proto-language claim that not only shared innovations can require the existence of a linguistic clade but that there can be archaisms that cannot be explained as retentions lost in the North and/or East because this assumption can produce contradictions with attested features of these other branches. The debate on the existence of a Proto-West-Germanic clade was summarized: That North Germanic is.. A unitary subgroup is obvious, as all of its dialects shared a long series of innovations, some of them striking.
That the same is true of West Germanic has been denied, but I will argue in vol. ii that all the West Germanic languages share several unusual innovations that force us to posit a West Germanic clade. On the other hand, the internal subgrouping of both North Germanic and West Germanic is messy, it seems clear that each of those subfamilies diversified into a network of dialects that remained in contact for a considerable period of time. Several scholars have published reconstructions of Proto-West-Germanic morphological paradigms and many authors have reconstructed individual Proto-West-Germanic morphological forms or lexemes; the first comprehensive reconstruction of the Proto-West-Germanic language was published in 2013 by Wolfram Euler. If indeed Proto-West-Germanic existed, it must have been between the 4th centuries; until the late 2nd century AD, the language of runic inscriptions found in Scandinavia and in Northern Germany were so similar that Proto-North-Germanic and the Western dialects in the south were still part of one language.
After that, the split into West and North Germanic occurred. By the 4th and 5th centuries the great migration set in which help diversify the West Germanic family more, it has been argued that, judging by their nearly identical syntax, the West Germanic dialects were enough related to have been mutually intelligible up to the 7th century. Over the course of this period, the dialects diverged successively; the High German consonant shift that occurred during the 7th century AD in what is now southern Germany and Switzerland can be
Old Swedish is the name for two distinct stages of the Swedish language that were spoken in the Middle Ages: Early Old Swedish, spoken from around 1225 until 1375, Late Old Swedish, spoken from 1375 until 1526. Old Swedish developed from the eastern dialect of Old Norse; the earliest forms of the Swedish and Danish languages, spoken between the years 800 and 1100, were dialects of Old East Norse and are referred to as Runic Swedish and Runic Danish because at the time all texts were written in the runic alphabet. The differences were only minute and the dialects began to diverge around the 12th century, becoming Old Swedish and Old Danish in the 13th century, it is not known when Old Gutnish and Elfdalian began to diverge from Swedish, but Old Gutnish diverged long before Old Danish did. Early Old Swedish was markedly different from modern Swedish in that it had a more complex case structure and had not yet experienced a reduction of the gender system and thus had three genders. Nouns, adjectives and certain numerals were inflected in four cases: nominative, genitive and accusative.
The writing of the Westrogothic law marked the beginning of Early Old Swedish, which had developed from Old East Norse. It was the first Swedish language document written in the Latin alphabet, its oldest fragments have been dated to around the year 1225. Old Swedish was stable during this period; the phonological and grammatical systems inherited from Old Norse were well preserved and did not experience any major changes. Most of the texts from the Early Old Swedish period were written in Latin, as it was the language of knowledge and the Church. However, Old Swedish was used as a literary language as well, laws were written in it. Much of the knowledge of Old Swedish comes from these law texts. In addition to laws, some religious and poetic texts were written in Old Swedish; the Catholic Church and its various monastic orders introduced many new Greek and Latin loanwords into Old Swedish. Latin had an influence on the written language; the Middle Low German language influenced Old Swedish due to the economic and political power of the Hanseatic League during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Many German speakers worked in trade and administration. Accordingly, loanwords relating to warfare, trade and bureaucracy entered the Swedish language directly from Low German, along with some grammatical suffixes and conjunctions; the prefixes be-, ge- and för- that can be found in the beginning of modern Swedish words came from the Low German be-, ge- and vor-. Some words were replaced with new ones: the native word for window, vindøgha, was replaced with fönster, eldhus was replaced with kök and gælda with betala; some of these words still exist in Modern Swedish but are considered archaic or dialectal. Many words related to seafaring were borrowed from Dutch; the influence of Low German was so strong that the inflectional system of Old Swedish was broken down. In contrast to the stable Early Old Swedish, Late Old Swedish experienced many changes, including a simplification of the grammatical system and a vowel shift, so that in the 16th century the language resembled modern Swedish more than before.
The printing of the New Testament in Swedish in 1526 marked the starting point for modern Swedish. In this period Old Swedish had taken in a large amount of new vocabulary from Latin, Low German and Dutch; when the country became part of the Kalmar Union in 1397, many Danish scribes brought Danicisms into the written language. Old Swedish used some letters that are no longer found in modern Swedish: ⟨æ⟩ and ⟨ø⟩ were used for modern ⟨ä⟩ and ⟨ö⟩ and ⟨þ⟩ could stand for both /ð/ and /θ/. In the latter part of the 14th century ⟨þ⟩ was replaced with ⟨th⟩ and ⟨dh⟩; the grapheme ⟨i⟩ could stand for both the phonemes /i/ and /j/. The graphemes ⟨u⟩, ⟨v⟩, ⟨w⟩ were used interchangeably with the phonemes /v/ and /u/, ⟨w⟩ could sometimes stand for the consonant-vowel combinations /vu/ and /uv/: dwa. Certain abbreviations were used in writing, such as ⟨mꝫ⟩ for meþ; the letter combinations ⟨aa⟩ and ⟨oe⟩ were written so that one of the letters stood above the other as a smaller letter, which led to the development of the modern letters ⟨å⟩, ⟨ä⟩, ⟨ö⟩.
The root syllable length in Old Swedish could be long or overlong. During the Late Old Swedish period the short root syllables were lengthened and the overlong root syllables were shortened, so modern Swedish only has the combinations V:C and VC:. Unlike in modern Swedish, a short vowel in Old Swedish did not entail a long consonant. There were eight vowels in Early Old Swedish: /iː, yː, uː, oː, eː, aː, øː, ɛː/. A vowel shift occurred during the Late Old Swedish period, which had the following effects: became became became The consonant sounds were the same as in modern Swedish, with the notable exceptions of /ð/ and /θ/, which do not exist in modern Swedish; the Modern Swedish tje-sound and sje-sound were and, respectively. A similar change can be seen from Old Spanish and to Modern Spanish
Frans Van Coetsem
Frans Van Coetsem was a Belgian linguist. After an academic career in Flanders and the Netherlands he was appointed professor at Cornell University in 1968, he emigrated to the US, after a few years, he chose to become a naturalized American citizen. Frans Van Coetsem was born on April 14, 1919, in Geraardsbergen, a small town in the southeastern part of the province of East Flanders, on the Franco-Dutch language border, his native language was the dialect of Geraardsbergen. At a early age he lost both his parents, the aunt and uncle who raised him sent him to a French-language boarding school. After finishing high school in 1939, he attended a Nivelles "régendat", yet another French-language school, but he was dissatisfied with the education he was getting and in 1941 he broke it off and switched to the Catholic University of Leuven to study Germanic philology. Before graduating he worked as an interpreter for the British armed forces during the Allieds' invasion of Germany, he graduated in 1946.
Less than a year on April 30, 1947, he married his childhood sweetheart. His Ph. D. thesis, which he defended in 1952, was devoted to the sounds and the morphology of the Geraardsbergen dialect. But before he had obtained his degree he was hired by the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal as a trainee editor; this meant moving to Wassenaar, near his job in Leiden. At the WNT he was coached by K. H. Heeroma, who assisted him in choosing the subject of his "Aggregatie voor het Hoger Onderwijs", which he obtained in 1956, his thesis, published by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in the same year, was a significant breakthrough in the comparative study of the Germanic languages, established his international reputation in the field. In 1957 he was appointed successor to his supervisor L. Grootaers at the Germanic Philology department of the Catholic University of Leuven, he moved back to Belgium, but from 1963 he was Extraordinary Professor of comparative Germanic linguistics at Leiden University.
Cornell University invited him as visiting professor for the academic year 1965–1966. Its research facilities as well as the opportunity to teach graduate students made him decide in 1968 to accept Cornell's offer of tenure. In Cornell he supervised a number of Ph. D. students who all went on to have academic careers. After his retirement in 1989, he remained active, supervising graduate students and continuing his research, it was as an emeritus professor that he wrote his important works about language contact, some of which were unfinished at his death and were published posthumously. Some five years after his wife's death—she died on January 26, 1993—Frans Van Coetsem was diagnosed with cancer, the cause of his death on February 11, 2002. Frans Van Coetsem was able to hold his students' attention, whether they numbered over two hundred, as in his introductory phonetics course at the Catholic University of Leuven, or less than a dozen, seated around the big table in his Cornell office, his lectures were well thought out, he gave them with enthusiasm.
In fact, he could argue a point with real passion, his blackboard was liable to look like an abstract expressionist painting—orthodox didactics was not his thing. Yet his argumentation was always limpid, he never lost the big picture when a student's question sent him off on a tangent; this happened, for he welcomed questions: he took his students seriously. He used these occasions to discuss problems that his research was focusing on and this took his students to the outer edge of modern linguistic research; as a thesis supervisor he was anything but heavy-handed. He respected his students too much to overcorrect what they wrote, he did not mind their taking positions with which he disagreed or their following methods that were not his. On the contrary, if their work was solid, he would help them improve it on their own terms; the variety of Ph. D. theses he supervised is quite remarkable. Frans Van Coetsem considered doing research a true. What he wrote was always the result of thorough study and his worded argumentation was thought through to its furthest consequences.
Two incidents in his life reveal the stringent requirements he thought research imposed, show how demanding he was in his own work. While writing his Ph. D. thesis, he had come to see that the neogrammarian framework in which he was working was out-of-date. He categorically refused to publish his thesis, in spite of its excellence; the 1956 publication of his habilitation specialist though it was, sold out quickly, the KNAW had it reprinted and published in 1964 without Frans Van Coetsem's knowledge. When he found out, he demanded—and obtained—that all copies still unsold be called back and that a notice be inserted to the effect that he would have wanted to modify certain parts in view of recent research, he could get upset at researchers whose work was not up to scratch or who used it as a means of self-promotion. But he appreciated and respected serious researchers, whatever their orientation or philosophy; the history of Toward a Grammar of Proto-German