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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

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Academic Paper

Title: The Evolution of the Definite Article in Old High German
Author: Andrew Kraiss
Institution: Hendrix College
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: German, Old High
Abstract: This paper is an investigation of the early use of the Old High German demonstrative as a definite article. Previous work has often failed to take into account the many ways that the definite article can be employed or the fact that new grammatical structures sometimes evolve over great lengths of time. This paper discusses the evolutionary process and stages of article use in three individual OHG documents, the Isidor translation, the Tatian translation, and Otfrid's Evangelien-buch, the three longest OHG documents in Franconian dialects. It proposes that a definite article did exist from the earliest recorded examples of OHG although with differing uses at different times (and places).


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 26, Issue 2.

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