[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Some comments on early 20th C German

Foote, Daniel dfoote at okstate.edu
Sat Jun 22 19:30:33 PDT 2013

After getting some suggestions on translating a letter, I received
these comments, which I thought might be relevant or at least
interesting to members of this list:

Contributor now living in Australia:
Note that the writer is using an old form. A stroke above an "m"
indicated that an "mm" was intended. Therefore "bekomen" and "imer"
really were "bekommen" and "immer". An archaism, not a fundamental
I wonder at what period that form was officially discontinued.
PS: I see that the letter was written from America. This reflects a
problem that occurs in virtually all emigrant communities that try to
maintain their national languages over several generations. It becomes
progressively more outdated and incomprehensible to persons still
living in their home country.
We had this problem with students at public examinations. There were
students who thought they should do well in Russian, because they had
always spoken it, so they did not obtain tuition, then wrote their
whole exam paper in 19th century Ukrainian, and bad Ukrainian at that.
Or, substitute Italian/Sicilian.
Ca 1916, the Lutheran schools in South Australia, which carried out
all their basic teaching in German, with a bit of English as an
afterthought, were closed. This has been attacked as wartime
xenophobia, but in fact the teachers in many schools were largely
unqualified; the pay was so low that good staff could not be engaged;
what they taught was a south-east regional dialect; the students they
produced were often functionally illiterate in both German and
English. Even before 1914, the German Consulate-General and visiting
academics despaired of the prospects for the schools.
It reads as though that letter was written by somebody who had been
through this sort of "education".

Contributor living in Germany:
Die Generation meiner Mutter - so ab ca. 1920 geboren - hat schon noch
so geschrieben.
Auch ich, wenn ich es "eilig habe" (wahrscheinlich irgendwie von ihr
übernommen). Bewußt war mir diese Angewohnheit eigentlich nie bis zu
jenem Tage als ...
Während eines Vortrags habe ich "ruckzuck, quicky-quicky" etwas auf
die Flipchart geschrieben.  Es gab schließlich ein Rumoren, das ich
nicht deuten konnte. Grund: Es war die Schrift, die für etliche
Jüngere (nicht nur deutsche Teilnehmer, sondern auch meine
ausländischen Kollegen nicht so leicht zu lesen war (oft schreibe ich
auch das Z, G und h in deutscher Schrift).

Nur nebenbei hier - aber das hast Du eigentlich schon gesagt:
In deutschen Texten bis ins frühe 20. Jahrhundert, insbesondere wenn
diese in einer Kurrentschrift geschrieben waren, wurde es auch als
Abkürzung einer Konsonantenverdoppelung eingesetzt. Insbesondere bei n
und m, da dies gerade bei Kurrentschriften die Lesbarkeit erheblich

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