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Peter Hess, Chair 2505 University Avenue, Burdine Hall 336, Mailcode C3300, Austin TX 78712-1802 • 512-471-4123

Spring 2010

GER 369.4 • The German Language: Historical Perspectives-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38090 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
BUR 337

Course Description

This class provides an overview of language, language evolution, and sociolinguistics, within the particular context of the history of German. The goal is to enlarge participants' understanding and appreciation of German, its historical and dialectal development, and the rich ways speakers of German express meaning. The course will begin with a discussion of German’s Indo-European origins, and progress from there through Germanic, West Germanic, Old, Middle, and Early New High German to the modern language. The class will also examine examples from a broad range of Germanic languages, social and regional dialects, and pidgins and creoles, with an eye to developing a better understanding of the characteristics, origins and development of language and communication systems. Other topics discussed in class will include the social roles of dialect as a divider and a unifier, Gastarbeiterdeutsch, the effects of TV and other forms of mass media on language, language acquisition, and language contact.

No prior training in linguistics is required. The course will be conducted in English.

Grading Policy

Essays: 25%. Written exercises: 25%. Final paper: 25%. Participation: 25%.


A course packet will be made available, containing excerpts from the following sources (among others): Fortson, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, Robinson, Old English and its Closest Relatives, the OSU Language Files, Stevenson, The German-Speaking World, and Clyne, The German Language in a Changing Europe.


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