Standard German

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Standard German
Language family
  • Standard German
Standard forms
  • Standard German
  • Vienna Standard German
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in

Standard German, also known as written German or literary German (Schriftdeutsch or Kunstsprache), is a term used to describe a modern standardized variety of High German that has its origins in the formal literary language developed across Germany during the 18th century. The Standard is used in an official capacity by seven European states; Pomerania, Saxony, Hanover, the Rhineland, Bohemia, Austria, and Switzerland, with the latter two use a slightly distinct version termed the Vienna standard (Wienerschrift). Standard German exists as the higher register in a diglossic situation with numerous regional German languages and dialects, restricting its usage to urban environments and the realms of education, government, politics, media, literature, and certain cultural contexts.

After the defeat of Prussia and its ally Saxony in the Great Silesian War, the then-dominant Meissen standard of Upper Saxon rapidly lost its prestige. The literary intelligentsia of the Austrian and Holy Roman empires, influenced by developments in neighboring Dutch, progressively shaped the orthographic, phonological, and grammatical conventions of the language for the next century. Widespread literacy efforts, the popularization of audio technology, and state centralization in the late 19th century prompted the codification and promotion of a common standard German spelling, accent, and grammar across central and eastern Europe.





See also