The Roman Occupation Up To

The vocabulary of Modern Standard German naturally shares most of its structural characteristics with the vocabularies of the neighbouring languages like French, Dutch, Polish, Danish or English. Since there is no developed methodology for comparing the overall vocabularies of closely related languages, I would like to mention very briefly two points with respect to which German might be different at least from some of its neighbours.

The first point concerns the distinction of a native and a non-native part of the vocabulary. With this distinction one normally refers to structural properties of words, rather than to etymological ones. It is widely agreed that one should make this distinction with respect to phonology as well as morphology. We will illustrate what is meant here by a few examples.

In segmental phonology, the [3] is often regarded as being restricted to non-native words. First, it appears in non-native suffixes like [a:39] (Blamage, Garage, Massage), and second, it appears in phonotactically marked combinations as in [d$] (Dschungel 'jungle', Dschunke 'junk'). There are no combinations of voiced stop + fricative in the onset of syllables in native words. On the other hand, [3] very easily finds its place in the system of consonants since it has a voiceless counterpart [J]. Without [3], there would be a gap in the system.

One of the main areas of non-native structural properties is found in the prosodic and syllabic structure of words and morphemes. Thus suffixes without influence on the accentuation of the stem are regarded as native, whereas stressed suffixes count as non-native. Oddly enough, the latter class seems to be even bigger than the former. It comprises suffixes like -ieren (kurieren 'to cure' garantieren 'to guarantee'), -eur (Ingenieur, 'engineer', Dompteur 'farmer'), -ion (Revolutiön, Inspektion), -ist (,Sozialist, Romanist) and many others. With regard to the stem it is often held that the simple native stem is monosyllabic whereas polysyllabic stems are non-native. This criterion plays an important role in discussions of the peculiarities of non-native words in word formation. First, it is often very difficult to decide whether a stem is a simplex or not. There are for instance many words with stem final [o:] like Manko 'deficiency', Lasso 'lasso', Photo, Ghetto, Porto 'postage'. They have certain properties in common which show that they are marked (e.g. they take [s] as die plural morpheme). Moreover, [o:] cannot be separated by the stems in most cases, but these words do have more internal structure than say monosyllabic native ones like Baum or Stuhl. It is equally difficult to distinguish the basic types of word formation in the non-native part of the vocabulary. There are of course some native semi-affixes like -los (friedlos 'peaceless'), -mäßig (schulmäßig 'orthodox'), and -frei (schulfrei 'free from school/no school'). But such elements have a much wider range in non-native words. Morphemes like poly-, mini-, makro-, bio-, zero-, mono-, extra- semi-, inter-, deko-, contra-, auto-, retro- are clearly neither real prefixes nor first components of compounds in the relevant words.

German has been influenced by other languages in a very specific way. The influence may be thought of as coming in waves, first from Latin (from the Roman occupation up to the Renaissance), then from French (from the Middle Ages up to the French Revolution), and then from English. It could well be that this kind of steady and strong influence from different but relatively few sources has had its specific consequences.

As a second point I would like to call attention to the notion of univerbation, which is a key notion in most textbooks on German word formation. On the basis of its 'normal' word-formation regularities, German forms new words either by combining stems and affixes (approximately 250 affixes and 3,000 to 4,000 simplex stems) or by composition. The extensive use of compounds, especially of compound nouns, is often seen as one of the most characteristic features of the vocabulary. The latest edition of the orthographic dictionary of the former German Democratic Republic comprised about 75,000 entries (Duden 1985), the one of the Federal Republic of Germany about 110,000 (Duden 1986). The vast majority of the difference consists of compound nouns, showing how difficult it is to decide what has to be considered as being lexicalized.

One source of the numerous patterns of composition is univerbation. Syntactic phrases or parts of them are put together into one word. Some randomly selected examples are given in Figure 11.8. All of these examples

Figure 11.8

Mutters Sprache 'mother tongue' > Muttersprache noun+noun noun kleines Kind 'litle child' > Kleinkind adjective+noun noun auf dem Grund 'on the basis' > aufgrund preposition+noun preposition legen auf 'to put on' > auflegen verb+preposition participle verb fahre Auto 'drive a car' > autofahren verb+noun particle verb

Durst stillend 'thirst quenching' > durststillend noun+partic.adjective partic.adjective manifest possible transitions from syntactic units to morphological units. Some of them have led to productive composition patterns which have become independent of their respective syntactic sources, yet there remains a close relation between the structure of complex morphological and syntactic units. A close relation of this kind seems to be typical of a major part of the complex words of German.

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