The role of the German language societies of the 17th century in the formation of "Neuhochdeutsch"
Luft, Rolf David
Schubert, Manfred E.
Master of Arts
Ia this thesis an attempt is made to delineate the influence of the 17th century German language societies on the formation of New High German. The language societies were analyzed from historical, linguistic, and cultural-sociological points of view. Great emphasis was placed on the developments occurring in the German book trade of the 17th century. With the aid of statistics relating to the hook trade, it was shown that the importance of Latin as a literary language diminished, which was one of the societies' goals. Although the members of the societies produced many neologisms, their real contribution lay in demonstrating that German was at least as good a vehicle for literary expression as the then more prestigious Latin, French, and Italian. It was further demonstrated that the discontinuity between the written and spoken German of the period resulted not from the work of the societies but rather from the linguistic policies pursued by the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches.