Prescriptive norms and norms of usage in nineteenth-century German

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The nineteenth century has attracted considerable interest in German historical (socio)linguistics over the last twenty-five years, as it is considered to be the century in which the ‘roots’ of present-day German can be found. A great deal of the research literature has been devoted to the rise of standard German. Little attention has been paid to the relationship between norms and usage. In order to gain an understanding of their complex relationship, this chapter will first look at socio-historical developments and language ideologies which can be seen as crucial for the external language history of nineteenth-century German. It will then discuss different models of standardization, shaped by different ideologies and notions of ‘standard language’. Next, an overview will be given of the main prescriptive works and the most important text sources and corpora for research on the language use of this period. This relationship will be illustrated with a few examples from grammar, followed by the conclusions.


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