Tag Archives: Middle High German

“And” as a Relative Particle

Another blog post on Middle High German (I know, right?) … This time with something I’d like to point out to other conlangers to consider for inspiration, because I found it kind of interesting/cool/unexpected. While doing research for my MA thesis, I came across a few cases where unde ‘and’ appears to be used as a general kind of relative particle (emphasis and translations mine):

  1. Augsburg, 1277:
    ſogtan Eigen vnde ich hete
    ‘such property as I had’ (CAO I.316.304.27)

  2. Munich, 1283:
    mit allem dem vnd dar zu gihoͤrit
    ‘with all that which belongs to it’ (CAO II.569.005.04–05)

  3. [Nuremberg], 1288:
    ſit den malen vnd ich zv ir cherte
    ‘since the time when I turned to her’ (CAO II.1044.359.04)

  4. Passau, 1290:
    des gvͦtes vnd ich ze chovfen han gegeben minem herren piſcholf Wernharte
    ‘of the estate which I offered my lord bishop Wernhard for sale’ (CAO V.N446.327.41)

  5. [St. Bernhard near Horn, Lower Austria], 1298:
    mit allem dinſt vnd ich iz gehabt han
    ‘with all the levy with which I owned it’ (CAO IV.2896.202.32)

The big Middle High German dictionary by Benecke/Müller/Zarncke cites further evidence from editions of literary texts in the article on unde (see vol. III, p. 185a, def. III, in German). Now I’m wondering what a grammaticalization path for “and” as a relativizer could look like.

Note, however, that these cases do not constitute a majority, which is why they stood out to me as I came accross them in the first place. From what I can tell, more common ways to introduce relative clauses are ‘so’, ‘when’, or just plainly the definite article (or, if you insist, for historical accuracy, the short demonstrative) like in modern German. For example:

  1. Zurich, 1283:
    mit allem dem rechte ſo ich ez vnz har han gehebt
    ‘with all the rights with which I have owned it up to now’ (CAO II.590.017.21)

  2. Werdenberg, 1294:
    als des tagis do er ſinin æigin herrin schlvͦg
    ‘as on the day when he slayed his own lord’ (CAO III.1873.167.41)

  3. Salzburg, 1294:
    durich der Svone willen / dev […] gemachet ward
    ‘by will of the reconciliation which was made […]’ (CAO III.1967.223.17–18)

  • Added a few more examples to show what more common cases look like and to show that there’s variation.
  • A colleague of mine at university that I mentioned this phenomenon to pointed me to the following article (in German): Ferraresi, Gisella, and Helmut Weiß. “‘Al di wîle und ich lebe’: Und nicht nur koordinierend.” Satzverknüpfungen: Zur Interaktion von Form, Bedeutung und Diskursfunktion. Edited by Eva Breindl, Gisella Ferraresi, and Anna Volodina. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011. Print. Linguistische Arbeiten 534. 79–106.
  • “Unde, und, unt.” Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch. Ed. Wilhelm Müller and Friedrich Zarncke. Vol. 3. Leipzig: Hirzel, 1866. 183–186. Wörterbuchnetz. Trier Center for Digital Humanities, 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. ‹http://woerterbuchnetz.de/BMZ›.
  • Wilhelm, Friedrich et al., eds. Corpus der altdeutschen Originalurkunden bis zum Jahr 1300. 5 vols. Lahr and Berlin: Moritz Schauenburg and Erich Schmidt, 1932–2004. <CORPUS>. Corpus der altdeutschen Originalurkunden bis zum Jahr 1300. Trier U, 2007. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. ‹http://tcdh01.uni-trier.de/cgi-bin/iCorpus/CorpusIndex.tcl›.

Translation Challenge: Fences and Gardens

Excerpt from Heidelberg Univ. Lib., Cod. Pal. germ. 164, fol. 17r (CC BY-SA)
Excerpt from Heidelberg Univ. Lib., Cod. Pal. germ. 164, fol. 17r (CC BY-SA; Source)
I am still busy collecting data for my MA thesis, but what with all the work during the day, I still needed to do something creative at night (and weekends), so I spent the last two-ish weeks working on a translation challenge I gave myself: one of the 13th century deeds I had come across during work that looked rather straightforward.

So if you’re curious about part of my current day job, want to see a first attempt at making up a sentence fragment in ‘Vaporlang’ and also look for some thorough annotation pointing out some Middle High German idioms (English translations provided and everything), you can download my translation here:

Fences and Gardens: An Ayeri Translation of a Medieval Neighborhood Dispute.

  • Demske, Ulrike. Merkmale und Relationen: Diachrone Studien zur Nominalphrase des Deutschen. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001. Print. Studia Linguistica Germanica 56.
  • Eike von Repgow. Sachsenspiegel. Heidelberg Manuscript, Cod. Pal. germ. 164. 17r. Eastern Middle Germany, 14th c. Heidelberger historische Bestände digital. Heidelberg University Library, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. ‹http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg164/0047›. CC BY-SA.
  • “N 163 (381 a).” Corpus der altdeutschen Originalurkunden bis zum Jahr 1300. Ed. Helmut de Boor et al. Vol. 5. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2004. 127. Print.