[sword-devel] Luther1545

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Wed Jun 18 19:57:15 MST 2008

Peter von Kaehne wrote:
>> It appears there's no ISO 639-3 code for Fnhd. I'll draw up a change 
>> request to see if we can get a new code. If not, we should add a subtag 
>> to the language of GerLut1545 to separate it from the real Nhd. material.
> Not sure whether I like this. Luther and his German is so much part of
> our culture, to separate him out as somehow unreadable, only for
> scholars, feels totally wrong. Giving the date of the translation is IMO
> enough to keep it apart.
> The orthographical changes are actually rather few, fairly systematic
> and easy to get used to. It is not that his language is hugely different
> - e.g. if he would walk into a room today and start speaking any modern
> German should understand him without much problem - unlike e.g. Chaucer
> and modern English.

There are two issues here. One is whether ISO 639-3 should have a new 
code for Fnhd. to distinguish it from Nhd. It really should because 
639-3 is nearly exhaustive, but fails to meet the needs of a particular 
user community. Since I'm a member of that community, I care and will 
petition the 639-3 registrar for a new code. Most modern linguists 
working on Germanic or Indo-European recognize Early New High German as 
being a separate stage, on par with New, Middle, and Old High (as well 
as New and Middle Low) German.

Separate is the issue of how CrossWire should employ such a separate 
code for Fnhd. I would argue that we have two Luther translations from 
1545. One is in the original form, which should be tagged as Fnhd. The 
other has modernized orthography, which should be tagged as Nhd. The 
average user who just wants to read and understand what Luther actually 
wrote is more likely to want the modernized text, so I don't see a 
problem with separating the Fnhd. version. I think Manfred's messages 
illustrates the kind of responses that we should expect from users who 
see the Fnhd. text mixed in with all of the Nhd. texts: They will assume 
it has spelling or OCR errors or believe that the text is actually 
intended for linguists or other scholars rather than casual Bible study.

There's no reason not to locate Fnhd. modules near Nhd. modules. 
Expanding the code to English, we would probably use "German, Early New 
High". In German it could be "Deutsch (Frühneuhochdeutsch)".


More information about the sword-devel mailing list