Challenge - no German language

With a PoD around 1400, would it have been possible for the various German dialects to evolve into distinct Germanic languages, like Bavarian, Saxon, etc.? Perhaps if the king of France was elected Holy Roman Emperor?
 
With a PoD around 1400, would it have been possible for the various German dialects to evolve into distinct Germanic languages, like Bavarian, Saxon, etc.? Perhaps if the king of France was elected Holy Roman Emperor?
Germany does a few different languages within it's borders
 
Linguistically you would have as a language, unless you want to get genocidal. The closet you are going to get is the various german languages to center on more their high/lowness. The best way to do that is to split into a strong catholic south and a strong Protestant north. This is more to allow a national character around the diffrent regions consolidating the various Germans into those two. Even then German would be like Arabic is today. Technically spoken from Morocco to Oman but men from those two areas would still have a lot of trouble talking.

Strangely this might cause Dutch to be considered a German Dialect because it wouldn't be tied into a nationalism aimed at "not being German"
 
Maybe if France gets EXTREMELY lucky very early on and consolidates an empire not only in OTL France but in Germany as well. Then, they might all evolve into one Frank-Germany language with differing dialects.
 
Perfectly possible, the Dutch before the Batavaian Republic considered themselves as Low Germans, and now it is a distinct language.
 
It's totally possible if there's no political unity that makes one variety/language a standard language at court. Or, as mentioned, if the court language is a wholly different foreign one, like French. Same with the religious angle, where Martin Luther's printed bible's effect on standardisation of German shouldn't be underestimated. There's plenty of significant language variety in historically German lands, so it's quite plausible.

I kind-of object to this 'Dutch is just Low German'-idea some people here seem to have. It's a very High-German thing to throw in Dutch with Low Saxon/Low German (seriously, the High German Consonant Shift isn't that important). In a world were High German isn't the default, that sort-of thinking would be the first one to go out. Indeed, High German itself would be way more fractured, with Upper German being considered it's own group of diverse dialects parallel to the Central German group.
 
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A language is a dialect with an army to back up the claim. Which is why when languages like Ukrainian and Belorussian don't have nation-states they were (and by many still are) classified as dialects; but when independence is achieved or widely promoted the "evidence" for language-hood is more convincing. It's often a political game. Chinese "dialects" are by no means dialects nor mutually intelligible and some aren't even conclusively genetically related!, but good luck saying language instead of dialect given the political clout of the PRC (and the RoC isn't going to be on your side in this debate either).

In conclusion- the ONLY way to have them be different languages is to have separate nations. A united Germany will do everything to pressure that they are dialects; with NO change to the dialects simply giving them independent nation-states will suddenly make them separate languages. eg- Austria, Luxembourg (somehow it isn't "German" *eyeroll*).
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
Question for y'all -

Isn't High German the standard German?

But Germany was unified by Prussia, and wasn't the Brandenburgian core pretty far north, and thus part of the Low German continuum?
 
Get them in different polities and you can pull a Dutch-Flemish classification. Avoiding the nationalism and unification movements of OTL and having more foreign encroachment (and the influence that Romance or Slavic languages would add) would also do quite well to prevent standardization and create divergences there.
 
Question for y'all -

Isn't High German the standard German?

But Germany was unified by Prussia, and wasn't the Brandenburgian core pretty far north, and thus part of the Low German continuum?

"High German" has two separate meanings. One refers to the southern dialects (in the geographical highlands) and another to Standard German (which is "high" in terms of prestige).

The Luther Bible really began the emergence of a Standard German form. This was a couple of centuries before the rise of Prussia.
 
A language is a dialect with an army to back up the claim. Which is why when languages like Ukrainian and Belorussian don't have nation-states they were (and by many still are) classified as dialects; but when independence is achieved or widely promoted the "evidence" for language-hood is more convincing. It's often a political game. Chinese "dialects" are by no means dialects nor mutually intelligible and some aren't even conclusively genetically related!, but good luck saying language instead of dialect given the political clout of the PRC (and the RoC isn't going to be on your side in this debate either).

In conclusion- the ONLY way to have them be different languages is to have separate nations. A united Germany will do everything to pressure that they are dialects; with NO change to the dialects simply giving them independent nation-states will suddenly make them separate languages. eg- Austria, Luxembourg (somehow it isn't "German" *eyeroll*).
A couple of corrections or points; I'm not sure to what Chinese dialects you are referring to when you say some aren't conclusively gfenetically related, that's not really the case, at least at a family-level, we know for sure than they are Sino-Tibetan and it appaears that virtually all can be traced to Old Chinese at its earliest, with most being from Middle Chinese.

Austria doesn't have its own language, just its own pronunciation and spelling standard, not to far from American vs British English.
 
"High German" has two separate meanings. One refers to the southern dialects (in the geographical highlands) and another to Standard German (which is "high" in terms of prestige).

The Luther Bible really began the emergence of a Standard German form. This was a couple of centuries before the rise of Prussia.
Question for y'all -

Isn't High German the standard German?

But Germany was unified by Prussia, and wasn't the Brandenburgian core pretty far north, and thus part of the Low German continuum?
Well Prussian land were mostly Low German, but ultimately the standard language was more close to Middle German varities and one can see the effect of its usage in the modern dialectal border even that regard traditional Berlin dialect as middle German:

Continental_West_Germanic_languages.png
 
Austria doesn't have its own language, just its own pronunciation and spelling standard, not to far from American vs British English.

That's true for standard/Viennese Austrian German, but don't rural Austrians speak Bavarian? (i.e. the same language is spoken across both regions)
 
That's true for standard/Viennese Austrian German, but don't rural Austrians speak Bavarian? (i.e. the same language is spoken across both regions)
In theory every German region has its own dialects; so Austria, Alsace, Switzerland and Luxemburg are not special in that regard, the difference in how they are considered is literally 100% caused by politics.
 
As there already is Luxembourg, the netherlands and Belgian Flanders as well as switzerland, i suppose the challenge is to have none of them call itself "deutsch"? Or be called "German" in english?

For the latter, I propose the English simply continue saying "Dutch" when they mean any German variety.

The former is nigh-impossible, I'd say. The term was entrenched by 1400.
 
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