Images of Language
Six essays on German attitudes to European languages from 1500 to 1800
This volume consists of six essays on interrelated themes, focusing on key aspects of language reflection during the period 1500-1800, with particular emphasis on the seventeenth century. German speakers are seen attempting to discover and define the nature of adjacent languages, whilst also shaping and demarcating the identity and image of their native tongue.<br />The first essay outlines and illustrates what European linguists believed, in an age before the advent of comparative philology, about the historical-genetic position of German within the circle of Classical and modern European languages.<br />Three further essays explore the surprisingly rich diversity of approach and method in earlier foreign-word purism, the puristic use of lexis and metaphor (with special reference to gender-specific imagery), and prominent reaction to the intrusive foreign word in German military usage.<br />The last two essays span a wide range of attitudes and reaction to the French language among German speakers, and early German perceptions of that marginal (and in the popular view excessively contaminated) language, English. The work makes frequent reference to contemporary views of other languages, including Hebrew, Greek Latin, Italian and Spanish.<br />Documented with much new material from about 300 original sources, these essays bring to light the ideas aired by many hitherto neglected personalities, whilst also deepening our understanding of better-known figures and their work.