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January 13, 2005

Comments

dof

I guess the meaning here is "Slut" as in "over and out" in radio comms.

English went with the latin-derived "close" (from claudere), so it lacks cognates. Dutch has the verb "sluiten" (to close) and the noun "sleutel" (key). In German, the "t" got consonant-shifted to ss (Schlussel).

Abiola Lapite

"In German, the "t" got consonant-shifted to ss (Schlussel)."

Actually, the Swedish and German words are pretty much the same except for their endings; "schluss" carries the very same meaning as "slut" (which is actually pronounced "sloot").

Mrs Tilton

The Dutch version is even closer to the Scando, lacking as it does the High German aspirated 's' at the beginning. Dutch is basically a form of German (sensu lato; modern High German is another form of German). It is Low arther than High German, though, coming down on the same side of Grimm's Law as English. Northern German dialects are also Low and do many things in a Dutchoid sort of way (water instead of Wasser, peper instead of Pfeffer, Stelle pronounced without the 'sh' sound, ik instead of ich), but lacking an army and navy of their own, they're only dialects.

Dutch (and the north German dialects) also failed to adopt some of the vowel-shifts of High German, though Dutch has done some vowel-shifting of its own since then. Interestingly, as you reach the extreme southern edges of the Germanic family, you find that these places also failed to adopt the usual vowel shifts. So you'll find 'Hus' instead of 'Haus' both at the top and the bottom of the region.

It is an paradox that the northern Germans are generally 'better' at High German than southerners, even though HG is more southern than northern in its origins.* (Even down here in Hessia, the local dialect didn't take the 2. Lautverschiebung 100% on board, and the various elements of that Lautverschiebung disappear gradually as one traces one's way farther north.)

* One often hears that Hanover German is the closest of all local dialects to standard High German. That may be true today, but it also may mean merely that the Hanoverians have internalised the rules of standard HG better than anybody else. To judge by some of the dialect works of Wilhelm Busch, who I believe came from somewhere nearby, the authentic old Hanoverian may have been more an eastern Platt (cf. Busch's 'Krischjan mit der Piepe' [i.e., 'Pfeife']) than a proto-Hochdeutsch.

Abiola Lapite

"It is an paradox that the northern Germans are generally 'better' at High German than southerners, even though HG is more southern than northern in its origins."

Perhaps they feel that their dialects are so close to the standard anyway that learning the formal rules of HG isn't actually necessary on their part?

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