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The loss of so is also fastest in Fiction.

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This clearly indicates the status of so as a written, formal variant, which was preferred in more formal registers. The development of d - and welch - shows some remarkable differences especially between Fiction and the remaining subcorpora, but also between Newspapers and the rest. D - is initially clearly preferred in Functional Texts and peaks remarkably around in Functional Texts and Academic Writing, with Newspapers showing a much less pronounced and somewhat delayed peak around The final decision for d - as the uncontested default variant happens shortly after and most quickly in the Newspapers subcorpus.

In contrast to previous accounts, we see a lively development in all subcorpora apart from Fiction, and there is no indication that welch - had almost ousted d - in the nineteenth century, as previously claimed, in any of the four domains: only in Academic Writing there is a very short period where welch - is slightly more frequent than d -. It is tempting to look for explanations for these movements in prescriptive comments.

The decrease of so , however, started much earlier Brooks : , so Gottsched might at best have contributed to it. This trend was, however, reversed after , leading to a new rise of welch -, which peaked c. The first school grammars that listed d - before welch - appear to be from the s e. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, welch - became a controversial subject of language criticism von Polenz : Schroeder ; Wustmann , 25 which makes it more likely that they picked up on—and probably boosted—a new trend that was already underway rather than causing it.


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This can be seen as an example for the tendency of European standard languages to favour relative pronouns over relative particles in order to increase syntactic transparency, which is a candidate for a standard universal, at least in the European context. With Kanzleisprache being avoided for attitudinal reasons Brooks ; Schwitalla , an entire stylistic complex of variation is implicitly but effectively de-selected. For the de-selection of so , several intricately interwoven factors seem to have been at play: there was a prescriptivist negative attitude towards so , based largely on aesthetic judgements, which was partly reflected, partly fuelled by the grammarians; connected with this attitude was a structural factor, put forward in the grammars, which concerned the functional overload of homonymous forms; a further structural factor, apparently not reflected by the grammarians, made so functionally ill-suited as a syntactically transparent and versatile relativiser in a written norm; and finally, the stylistic distribution of so condemned it to go down with the ship as the attitudes toward the stylistic variety it was associated with changed and it was de-selected.

Like so , welch - is a polarised variant Pickl forthcoming a associated with writing with little foothold in spoken language. It lacked, however, the stylistic stigma of Kanzleisprache and was a structurally fit candidate in the ongoing selection.

The idea that welch - was a more proper relative pronoun than d -, however, expressed by Gottsched and Adelung, is a structurally conditioned attitude which may have led to its rise in subsequent years. This demonstrates the relevance of the stylistic evaluation of the forms in question: d - was clearly perceived as an aesthetically agreeable variant, while the increasing avoidance of welch - in Fiction shows how it became more and more marked. Which variants or varieties are selected in standardisation is not a question of identifying a single cause, but a trade-off between several factors.

These factors can be universal across standardisation histories or historically contingent, and they can stand in relation either to the linguistic form or distribution of the candidates in question. Also, attitudes based on either form or distribution have an often decisive effect on which candidate prevails.


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  4. Register variation plays a crucial role in selection alongside geographical and social variation, especially in terms of written and formal language. Future studies may attempt to establish relative weights of importance between these types of factors. One of these features, at least in the European context, is the existence of relative pronouns instead of or in addition to relative particles. This can be traced to a universal factor of grammatical explicitness and unambiguity.

    The case study focused on the standardisation of relativisers in German, which is an ideal example for the application of several of the concepts laid out in the first half of the paper. Its outcome was the result of a combination of several factors concerning the linguistic structure, the distribution across registers, and the evaluation of the three selection candidates by the speech community and agents of codification.

    Because so and welch - were de-selected as parts of larger stylistic complexes, this example also shows that register variation beyond the categories of formal and written has to be taken into account alongside social and geographical variation. At the same time, it exemplifies how universal factors of selection can lead to similar structures in several standard languages.

    Jones : , uses the concepts of standardisation from below and from above. See Langer : 44—45 for English periphrases. They concern the effect of the size of the area in which a variant is used, the relative frequency with which a variant is used, and the social stratum in which the variant is used on the likelihood of being selected.

    It should be noted here that in a standardisation context, attitudes can be self-reinforcing: linguistic forms which are selected to become part of the standard because of their positive evaluation will be assessed even more positively as a result. The same goes, mutatis mutandis , for negatively evaluated forms. Milroy and Milroy : 6 argue that reduced optional variability is at least one linguistic characteristic of standard languages, but they concede that there may be more. This case study was conducted at the same time as a related study by Luise Kempf submitted , which was completed after this article was accepted.

    I would like to thank her for an inspiring discussion and for sharing a pre-print version of her paper. I use the terms relative pronoun and relative particle to distinguish between inflected and uninflected relativisers. Ebert : — and Dal : — provide a more comprehensive overview of historical German relativisers.

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    I will therefore only refer to the more recent work. It has been shown that writers did use alternating relativisers to avoid repetition, among them Luther e. Ebert : ; Brooks : It is interesting to see that so continued to appear in grammars well into the nineteenth century e. Heyse : even though it had been obsolete for almost a century; it was, however, flagged as dated. A check of randomly chosen hits showed that the hits include almost exclusively relative cases of so , and the fact that after so becomes obsolete the numbers are close to zero further attest that the search query is sufficiently specific.

    See Schieb : — for a discussion of the debate around d- and welch- in the late nineteenth century. Even though d- seems to have emerged naturally and has always been a spoken variant, as a relative pronoun it is typologically marked, and many German dialects prefer relative particles instead Fleischer , I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editors of the special issue. I am indebted to Luise Kempf Mainz for a stimulating and inspiring exchange regarding many aspects of the case study. Skip to main content Skip to sections.

    Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Language Policy pp 1—24 Cite as. Factors of selection, standard universals, and the standardisation of German relativisers. Open Access. First Online: 16 July Between micro-selection and macro-selection Any standardisation history can be characterised in terms of whether the standard is a result of micro- or macro-variation. Factors of selection In contrast to selection criteria, which are largely restricted to codification contexts and may or may not reflect the actual motives for selection, factors of selection help us describe the mechanisms of selection from a linguistic viewpoint irrespective of whether selection took place implicitly from below or explicitly from above.

    The notion of Standard Average European SAE , coined by Whorf and itself a fuzzy category, is intended to describe the finding that several linguistic features—among them definite and indefinite articles, relative clauses with relative pronouns, have -perfect, etc. This circumstance has been interpreted as a sprachbund by Haspelmath , who discusses a number of—typologically marked Haspelmath : —features which are shared by several European languages.

    More recently, however, it has been pointed out that the term Standard Average European acquires a new meaning when viewed in the light of standardisation: The findings are usually explained as the result of structural convergence due to geographical adjacency: Standard Average European forms a sprachbund , thus it is an areal phenomenon. The only variant whose relative usage is described explicitly is welch - : — , but relative usage of d - and so is clearly implied : — Even though Schottelius does not make any statements about which variant he thinks is preferable, he mentions welch - and so as alternatives for d - where it would stand next to a homonymous form of the definite article in order to avoid repetition : — Open image in new window.

    Adelung, J.

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    Ein Narr Des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts / Die Walpurgisnacht - ligntkonexbrotin.gq

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