This book provides a detailed but accessible introduction to the development of the German language from the earliest reconstructable prehistory to the present day. Joe Salmons explores a range of topics in the history of the language, offering answers to questions such as: How did German come to have so many different dialects and close linguistic cousins like Dutch and Plattdeutsch? Why does German have 'umlaut' vowels and why do they play so many different roles
in the grammar? Why are noun plurals so complicated? Are dialects dying out today? Does English, with all the words it loans to German, pose a threat to the language?
This second edition has been extensively expanded and revised to include extended coverage of syntactic and pragmatic change throughout, expanded discussion of sociolinguistic aspects, language variation, and language contact, and more on the position of German in the Germanic family. The book is supported by a companion website and is suitable for language learners and teachers and students of linguistics, from undergraduate level upwards. The new edition also includes more detailed
background information to make it more accessible for beginners.
Joseph Salmons is the Lester W. J. "Smoky" Seifert Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison., where he is also co-founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures. His work focuses on language change in the context of linguistic theory, especially speech sounds. He serves as editor of Diachronica: International Journal for Historical Linguistics and his main publications include The Oxford Handbook of Historical Phonology (co-edited with Patrick Honeybone; OUP, 2015) and Germanic Heritage Languages in North America: Acquisition, Attrition, and Change (co-edited with Janne Bondi Johannessen; Benjamins, 2015).