New In Paperback
Thousands of years ago, seafront clans in Denmark began speaking the
earliest form of Germanic language--the first of six "signal events" that Ruth
Sanders highlights in this marvelous history of the German language.
Blending linguistic, anthropological, and historical research, Sanders presents
a brilliant biography of the language as it evolved across the millennia. She
sheds light on the influence of such events as the bloody three-day Battle of
Kalkriese, which permanently halted the incursion of both the Romans and
the Latin language into northern Europe, and the publication of Martin Luther's
German Bible translation, a "People's" Bible which in effect forged from a
dozen spoken dialects a single German language. The narrative ranges
through the turbulent Middle Ages, the spread of the printing press, the
formation of the nineteenth-century German Empire which united the German-
speaking territories north of the Alps, and Germany's twentieth-century
military and cultural horrors. The book also covers topics such as the Gothic
language (now extinct), the vast expansion of Germanic tribes during the
Roman era, the role of the Vikings in spreading the Norse language, the
branching off of Yiddish, the lasting impact of the Thirty Years War on the
German psyche, the revolution of 1848, and much more.
Ranging from prehistoric times to modern, post-war Germany, this engaging
volume offers a fascinating account of the evolution of a major European
language as well as a unique look at the history of the German people. It will
appeal to everyone interested in German language, culture, or history.