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  #1  
Old 03-15-2005, 12:20 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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German language q.: "Heute nacht" means "last night", or "tonight"?

The German language, which I studied for eight years and thought I knew, continues to befuddle me. I thought heute Nacht was equivalent to tonight, or this evening, but in a particular text I see it used when last night was clearly meant. When does heute Nacht mean last night, and when does it mean tonight?

Is it a mistranslation?

Or is it an obsolete usage? FTR the book I'm reading is the German translation of Lord Of The Rings, and the language is deliberately slightly archaic, just as in the English original.
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:24 PM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is offline
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Just a WAG, as my German is getting rusty from neglect:

Perhaps it means "last night" in the sense that the day begins at sundown. Like Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve are the evenings of Christmas and New Years, but occur the night before.
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:35 PM
ouryL ouryL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
The German language, which I studied for eight years and thought I knew, continues to befuddle me. I thought heute Nacht was equivalent to tonight, or this evening, but in a particular text I see it used when last night was clearly meant. When does heute Nacht mean last night, and when does it mean tonight?

Is it a mistranslation?

Or is it an obsolete usage? FTR the book I'm reading is the German translation of Lord Of The Rings, and the language is deliberately slightly archaic, just as in the English original.
Don't know. I thought gestern Abend or gestern Nacht was for last night. Perhaps heute Nacht can refer to early morning, thus last night, too?
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:07 PM
Tikster Tikster is offline
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heute= today, so I'd go out on a limb and say it means tonight.

-Tikster
  #5  
Old 03-15-2005, 04:07 PM
akennett akennett is offline
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LEO translates "heute Nacht" as tonight.

For "last night," they give "gestern Abend."
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:15 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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I should clarify; I do know what the expression is supposed to mean. For it to mean "last night" in standard everyday German is hard to imagine without its having been explicitly drilled into me by those who taught me the language--and that, of course, didn't happen.

The scene in question is where Frodo, Sam, and Pippin are still travelling through the Shire on their way to Crickhollow. It's the day after they met the Elves in the forest, they're having breakfast, and Pippin is saying that the bread left behind by the Elves tastes almost as good as it did "last night".
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:16 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
The German language, which I studied for eight years and thought I knew, continues to befuddle me. I thought heute Nacht was equivalent to tonight, or this evening, but in a particular text I see it used when last night was clearly meant. When does heute Nacht mean last night, and when does it mean tonight?
Well I'm German, so I think I'm qualified to answer this one:

"Heute" means "today", "Nacht" means "night", but "Heute Nacht" means either "last night" (the night from yesterday to today) or "tonight" (the night from today to tomorrow) depending on context.

Examples:

"Heute Nacht habe ich nicht gut geschlafen." means "I didn't sleep well last night."

"Heute Nacht möchte ich mit dir tanzen gehen." means "Tonight I'd like to go dancing with you."

And to make things even more complicated:

"Gestern Nacht habe ich nicht gut geschlafen." also means "I didn't sleep well last night."


I never thought about this before you asked, I just use the correct words, but to make some rules, I would say:

1. "Heute Nacht" with past tenses means "last night".
2. "Heute Nacht" with future tenses means "tonight".
3. If you want to say something about last night, that happened before midnight you will more likely use "Gestern Nacht" and if it happened after midnight "Heute Nacht", but in either case both are correct.
4. If you want to say something about tonight, you will usually use "Heute Abend" (this evening). Using "Heute Nacht" expresses that it happens either close to midnight (after 10 pm), after midnight or lasts a long period of time in the night, usually including midnight.

If you have more questions unresolved, just ask.

BTW, I speak German my whole life (33 yrs) and it still befuddles me.

cu
  #8  
Old 03-15-2005, 04:18 PM
Wallenstein Wallenstein is offline
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It's literary German and does indeed mean "last night", although I believe it's a fairly old fashioned usage (as you suspected).

For example...

"Ich habe heute nacht von Ihnen geträumt. Sie waren sehr vernünftig." - Geschichten vom Herrn Keuner von Bertolt Brecht.

and...

"Was doch heut Nacht ein Sturm gewesen,
bis erst der Morgen sich geregt!
Wie hat der ungebetne Besen
Kamin und Gassen ausgefegt!"

- Begegnung von Eduard Mörike (1804-1875)

Hope that helps!
  #9  
Old 03-15-2005, 04:53 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-logic
It's literary German and does indeed mean "last night", although I believe it's a fairly old fashioned usage (as you suspected).
No, it is not old-fashioned. But there may be differences between Norddeutsch (Northern German) and Süddeutsch (Southern German). I'm from Süddeutschland (as have been Brecht and Mörike) and here the usage is as described in my other post.

cu
  #10  
Old 03-15-2005, 04:58 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
No, it is not old-fashioned. But there may be differences between Norddeutsch (Northern German) and Süddeutsch (Southern German). I'm from Süddeutschland (as have been Brecht and Mörike) and here the usage is as described in my other post.

cu
I thought the terms for the two main branches of dialects of German were Hochdeutsch ("High German" in English) for the southern dialects and Plattdeutsch ("Low German") for the northern dialects. Are those terms now obsolete?
  #11  
Old 03-15-2005, 05:24 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray
I thought the terms for the two main branches of dialects of German were Hochdeutsch ("High German" in English) for the southern dialects and Plattdeutsch ("Low German") for the northern dialects. Are those terms now obsolete?
Well, this is just wrong and it is actually much more complicated:

"Hochdeutsch" is the formally educated version of German, that is used in Newspapers, TV, Books, and so on. But nobody actually speaks "hochdeutsch", almost everybody speaks in a mix up between their dialect and "hochdeutsch", though depending level of education it's closer to dialect or closer to "hochdeutsch".

"Norddeutsch" is a collective word for many northern dialects, examples: "Schlesisch", "Platt" (plattdeutsch), "Berlinerisch" (so called "Berliner Schnauze"), and many more.

"Süddeutsch" is also a collective word for many southern dialects, examples: "Schwäbisch", "Badisch", "Bayrisch", "Hessisch", "Fränkisch", and again many more. Sometimes also Austrian and Swiss German are counted as southern dialects.

Dialects in Germany can be a very local matter. I grew up at the border between Baden-Württemberg and Bayern and everybody here talks "Schwäbisch" (Swabian), but the dialect in the village where I grew up is different from the dialect used where I went to Gymnasium (sort of high school) and it is different from the dialect at the place where I live now. But these three places build a triangle with sides of about 30 km, so they are very close to each other. There even is a place no more than 20 km from here, where people talk a version of Swabian that is hard to understand for me, if not sometimes impossible.

However, there are lots of things common between the different southern dialects and also there are things common between the different northern dialects. But there are less things common between northern and southern dialects, therefore this high level distinction into two major versions of dialects makes actually sense.

cu
  #12  
Old 03-15-2005, 05:29 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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I forgot to include: Actually Northern German is often closer to "Hochdeutsch" than Southern German. The People of Hamburg (far north in Germany) think of themselves to talk the best German, meaning closest to "hochdeutsch". And I have to admit, there is a grain of truth behind this statement.

cu
  #13  
Old 03-15-2005, 05:35 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
I forgot to include: Actually Northern German is often closer to "Hochdeutsch" than Southern German. The People of Hamburg (far north in Germany) think of themselves to talk the best German, meaning closest to "hochdeutsch". And I have to admit, there is a grain of truth behind this statement.

cu
I always thought it was the people from Hannover.

Welcome to the boards, Eagle! I have a sort of question floating over in Cafe Society that you might be able to help with, if you care to take a look.
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:37 PM
mkl12 mkl12 is offline
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The word "Hochdeutsch" has more than one meaning. It's explained pretty well in this article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_German
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Old 03-15-2005, 06:31 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkl12
The word "Hochdeutsch" has more than one meaning. It's explained pretty well in this article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_German
Well, it's different if you look into the German Wikipedia Hochdeutsch and what is stated there is much more accurate than the information in the English Wikipedia.

Let's just review a few sentences:

High German (in German, Hochdeutsch) is any of several German dialects spoken in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Luxembourg (as well as in neighbouring portions of Belgium, France (Alsace), Italy, Poland, and Romania (Transylvania) and in some areas of former colonial settlement, e.g. in Namibia).

Well, actually "hochdeutsch" is not spoken in these areas, but dialects are. "Hochdeutsch" is an artificially constructed version of standard German in writing and speech. It is recommended to be used in all these areas to prevent babylonic diversion of dialects. "Hochdeutsch" relates to German as a "presciptive English grammar" relates to "English Grammar".

"High" refers to the mountainous areas of southern Germany and the Alps, as opposed to "Low German" spoken along the flat sea coasts of the north.

Well yes, this is correct in some sense, but it is very rarely used in this meaning. However "Niederdeutsch" und "Mitteldeutsch" are often used in this sense to refer to German geography.

The German term Hochdeutsch is also used loosely, but not by linguists, to mean standard written German as opposed to dialect, because the standard language developed out of High rather than Low German.

Well, this is wrong for most parts. "Hochdeutsch" is not used loosely to refer to standard written German, but instead, this will be the only meaning of the word for many Germans. The German word for "standard written language" is "Hochsprache", hence "Hochdeutsch".

However, it is correct that "Hochdeutsch" was developed from southern German, but if you ever heard an southern dialect and compare it to "Hochdeutsch", you would not believe it. Mainly "Hochdeutsch" developed in official writing and art, not in spoken language. It is only now in modern times with radio and TV, that "Hochdeutsch" becomes to a widely used spoken language.

This were only my comments to the first three sentences of the Wikipedia article, I did not read any further.

cu
  #16  
Old 03-15-2005, 07:05 PM
mkl12 mkl12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
Well, it's different if you look into the German Wikipedia Hochdeutsch and what is stated there is much more accurate than the information in the English Wikipedia.
The German wikipedia article also says that one of the meanings of the word "hochdeutsch" is the southern dialects, as opposed to "niederdeutsch".
Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
In der zweiten und ursprünglichen Bedeutung stehen sich "Hochdeutsch" und "Niederdeutsch" als landschaftlich-räumliche Begriffe gegenüber.
Note that this is the original meaning. So acsenray wasn't wrong (well he confused plattdeutsch and niederdeutsch, but you also corrected his usage of hochdeutsch).
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
The German word for "standard written language" is "Hochsprache", hence "Hochdeutsch".
No, it's the other way round. "Hochdeutsch" has become a synonym for "standard German" because standard German dveloped out of "Hochdeutsch. Hence "Hochsprache". (I'm not sure about this last "hence". The "Hochsprache" may have developed independently of the word "Hochdeutsch". But "Hochdeutsch certainly did not develop from "Hochsprache")
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
"Hochdeutsch" is not used loosely to refer to standard written German, but instead, this will be the only meaning of the word for many Germans.
I know that it is the most common meaning, but that does not mean that the other meaning is wrong. In fact, it is the more technical meaning. In linguistics, "Standarddeutsch" is preferred for the fearst meaning.
Cite:
Quote:
Originally Posted by www.schriftdeutsch.de
Hochdeutsch
1. Gegenteil von Niederdeutsch; 2. Standarddeutsch, Schriftdeutsch, dt. Gemeinsprache. In seiner geographischen Bedeutung (1) meint das Hochdeutsche die dt. Dialekte südlich der sog. Benrather Linie, während das Niederdeutsche bzw. Plattdeutsche die Dialekte nördlich dieser Sprachgrenze umfaßt, die die Zweite dt. Lautverschiebung nicht mitgemacht haben und daher dem Niederländischen und Englischen näher stehen als das Hochdeutsche. In seiner soziolektalen Bedeutung (2) wird Hochdeutsch von Laien oft wertend als das 'bessere Deutsch' verwendet. Um sowohl diese wertende wie auch die geographische Bedeutung zu vermeiden, wird hier die Bezeichnung Standarddeutsch bevorzugt.
  #17  
Old 03-15-2005, 07:07 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
No, it is not old-fashioned. But there may be differences between Norddeutsch (Northern German) and Süddeutsch (Southern German). I'm from Süddeutschland (as have been Brecht and Mörike) and here the usage is as described in my other post.

cu
I've heard that Standard German learned by foreigners is pretty much the prevailing dialect around Hannover, and that's Northern, so maybe that explains why I never heard it. I lived around there for a year, too, and still didn't hear it.
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Old 03-15-2005, 07:09 PM
mkl12 mkl12 is offline
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Originally Posted by mkl12
fearst


first!

There are probably tons of other mistakes in my post, but I just couldn't leave this one.
  #19  
Old 03-15-2005, 07:15 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
I always thought it was the people from Hannover.
Truth is: It is an anecdote, that is true for Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, and a few other cities. However, except perhaps for Berlin, Cologne and Munich, almost every large city in Germany has during the last fifty years developed away from dialect towards "Hochdeutsch", so it is true for many cities today. But the people of Hamburg are especially proud of their traditional connectedness to the whole world, they are assumed to be stiff and overly correct, so there is an additional funny sidenote if you tell this anecdote using Hamburg.

cu
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Old 03-15-2005, 07:44 PM
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Well I am not a linguist, and it is quite common, that science uses words differently from normal people. I think less than 1% of Germans are linguists, and what I said is true for the other 99%, and your nitpicking is actually of no interest to me, so I will quit it here, and only comment one of your objections:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkl12
No, it's the other way round. "Hochdeutsch" has become a synonym for "standard German" because standard German dveloped out of "Hochdeutsch. Hence "Hochsprache". (I'm not sure about this last "hence". The "Hochsprache" may have developed independently of the word "Hochdeutsch". But "Hochdeutsch certainly did not develop from "Hochsprache")
Yes, there is the older meaning of "hochdeutsch" refering to geography. From that a standard language developed, and from there (and the different meanings of "hoch") the word "Hochsprache" got its meaning as "Standardsprache".

Then another (newer) meaning for "hochdeutsch" developed, meaning adhering to "deutsche Hochsprache". This is the meaning of this words, as it is commonly used today by almost everyone (except linguists). The older meaning of "hochdeutsch" has been replaced by the word "süddeutsch" regarding Germany.

If you look into the history of the English Wikipedia Article about High German, you will see it was more accurate before Doric Loon made major changes.

cu
  #21  
Old 03-15-2005, 07:50 PM
mkl12 mkl12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
and your nitpicking is actually of no interest to me,
No need to get personal, I thought we were having a friendly discussion here. My main point was that you said acsenray was wrong, while he was in fact right. That is not nitpicking. But let's forget this, it's a hijack of the original thread anyway. No hard feelings.
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:03 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
Well, this is just wrong and it is actually much more complicated:
Let me rephrase this sentence to soften mk12:

Well, this is wrong as it confuses different categories. "Hochdeutsch" (used geographically) is actually a collective word for "Oberdeutsch" and "Mitteldeutsch", where Oberdeutsch is far south and Mitteldeutsch is in the middle between north and south. "Plattdeutsch" is the most famous dialect that is part of the dialects collected beyond the word "Niederdeutsch" (Low German).

Those terms are not obsolete, but have been replaced in common usage by "norddeutsch" and "süddeutsch". Only Linguists still use them in their older meaning. "Mitteldeutsch" und "Niederdeutsch" is still in use, but often to describe locations and rarely to describe dialects (again common usage!).

cu
  #23  
Old 03-15-2005, 08:15 PM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is offline
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My German SO, is from Saxony and Nordrhein Westphalea. She says she has never heard anyone use Heute Nacht to mean last night, regardless of the context of the sentence.

I guess this is more of a souther Germany tradition?
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:26 PM
eagle eagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis
My German SO, is from Saxony and Nordrhein Westphalea. She says she has never heard anyone use Heute Nacht to mean last night, regardless of the context of the sentence.

I guess this is more of a souther Germany tradition?
Yes, this seems to be the case. I found through Google, many references of "Heute Nacht" as "last night", but they were in the minority, and of course I could not find out if they originated from northern or southern Germany.

cu
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:58 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle

Dialects in Germany can be a very local matter. I grew up at the border between Baden-Württemberg and Bayern and everybody here talks "Schwäbisch" (Swabian), but the dialect in the village where I grew up is different from the dialect used where I went to Gymnasium (sort of high school) and it is different from the dialect at the place where I live now. But these three places build a triangle with sides of about 30 km, so they are very close to each other. There even is a place no more than 20 km from here, where people talk a version of Swabian that is hard to understand for me, if not sometimes impossible.
I know as a nongerman speaking [more or less] american, when I visited someone in Gaertringen last year, I could hear the difference between him dialectically speaking to his Munich born and dwelling father, his normal german [as opposed to speaking bavarian dialect] and the schwaebisch of the people in the store down the road, and his neighbors. I have to say I actually like the Munich accent in regular german. Bavarian is just very baffling to me, it is very fast and slangy=\
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Old 03-16-2005, 04:19 AM
Wallenstein Wallenstein is offline
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I learnt my German in Hanover, so don't really know much about regional differences in the south.

I never heard people use "heute nacht" to mean "last night" which is why I assumed it was literary / archaic.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:07 AM
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When I learnt the language in India (Goethe Institute), we were informed right at the start that we would be taught Hochdeutsch. They also told us that the dialect spoken in the Hannover/Hamburg region is closest to it.

I lived in Germany for about a year, in Hamburg and in Munich, and I never once heard "heute Nacht" being used in the past tense, and it would never have occured to me to use it as such either.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:45 AM
Mycroft Holmes Mycroft Holmes is offline
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Well, I'm originally from Germany (grew up in Südhessen to be exact), and to me "Heute Nacht" always means last night.

This example from eagle:

"Heute Nacht möchte ich mit dir tanzen gehen." means "Tonight I'd like to go dancing with you."

Would sound better to me as "Heute Abend möchte ich mit dir tanzen gehen.". To me "Nacht" is only the nighttime when you are sleeping, and "Abend" is used for the evening or night if you go out.

Oh and eagle, where in "Schwaben" are you from? From your description it could almost be Ellwangen, where my grandmother is from. So, "grüass Gott" from someone who is three-quarters a "Sauschwob".

Oh, and also "Ade" to finish my post. It's a little early for "guat's Nächtle"
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:52 AM
Mops Mops is offline
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North German exiled to South West Germany here.

I'd use "heute nacht" as "last night" only in the morning, or when it's clear from context that I refer to the preceding night:
"Heute nacht war eine laute Party beim Nachbarn" = "Last night my neighbour had a loud party"
"Heute nacht wird mein Nachbar eine laute Party haben" = "Tonight my neighbour will have a loud party"

BTW "tonight" does not translate well into German because usually if it is before midnight (or even a bit after midnight) and you are still vertical it's "Abend" (evening) rather than "Nacht" (night). When I learned English I and I read of people going to the theatre or to restaurants "tonight" I first wondered: when do these people sleep? If you express your intention to spend time with a German "heute nacht" you might stray dangerously close to double entendre (or even single entendre) territory.
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:52 AM
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@Mycroft Holmes:

"Guada Morga" (well, actually, it's a bittle late for good morning),

Yes, "Heute Abend" would be used more likely, and I said so in post #7. The rules when to use "Heute Nacht" in its different are made by me as a draft, and subject to debate. As native speaker I don't think about it much, I just use the words.

I live in Dillingen, grew up in Bergenweiler and went to Gymnasium in Heidenheim. Don't know exactly, but it is less than 100km south from Ellwangen. The hard to understand Swabian dialect is the dialect used on the Härtsfeld, tradtionally the villages on the Härtsfeld have been quite isolated, so their dialect developed differently, but still is a Swabian dialect. (BTW: NASA astronauts did some of their training for the moon explorations in the Härtsfeld, to be exact in the crater of Nördlingen.)

@Spectre et. al:

There actually is a well documented historical use of "Heute Nacht" meaning "last night: On September 1st, 1939, Adolf Hitler said at 10 am in front of the Reichstag (and broadcasted on the radio): "Polen hat heute nacht zum erstenmal auf unserem eigenen Territorium auch bereits durch reguläre Soldaten geschossen. Seit 5.45 Uhr wird jetzt zurückgeschossen! Und von jetzt ab wird Bombe mit Bombe vergolten!" I'm still not sure about the debate if it's only a southern usage or not, but it may be. However, I think everybody in Germany will understand it correctly, even if not everybody will use it in this way.

@mk12:

I'm a insecure person suffering from SAD, so if someone criticizes me in public for something, that I am sure is correct, then this troubles me. So I spent some time last night, to evaluate the meaning and etymology of "Hochdeutsch". My findings and conclusions:

1. The one and only meaning of "Hochdeutsch (n.)" is "standard written German". Source: Brockhaus Enzyklopädie in 30 Bänden (The Brockhaus is for Germany what the Encyclopedia Britannica is for UK, it is the authority on common knowledge for Germany.)

2. Linguists actually do not use "hochdeutsch (adj.)" at all, but instead use "althochdeutsch", "mittelhochdeutsch", "frühneuhochdeutsch" and "neuhochdeutsch". All these adjectives have been introduced as an afterthought, when linguistic studies tried to classifiy the development of the different dialects spoken and written in Germany for the last 1600 years. It is a fiction, created to complement the already existing use of "niederdeutsch". Dialects southern from the so called Benrathen line are either "-oberdeutsch" or "-mitteldeutsch" and when referred to together, then "-hochdeutsch" is used. (Source: Duden Herkunftswörterbuch. Duden publishes the standard references for the German language, that is Dictionaries, Grammars, Etymologies, etc.)

3. The development of a modern standard German actually began when Luther translated the New Testament from Latin into German and this translation was widely spread in Germany through progress in printing technology. Luther actually used for his translation an "ostmitteldeutschen" dialect. This dialect became so much a standard for German, that it caused many replacements of words in "oberdeutschen" and "niederdeutschen" dialects. One Example: "Bühl" meant hill in Swabian before Luthers Bible, and was replaced with "Hügel" after it. The word "Bühl" is still present in geographical names like "Dinkelsbühl", "Sonnenbühl", but it's meaning has been lost. (Source: Duden Herkunftswörterbuch. see above)

4. I was not able to confirm the development of the word "Hochsprache", but after what I read last night, I actually doubt, that it's meaning comes from "-hochdeutsch". Instead it's more likely a composition of the adjective "hoch" and the noun "Sprache" and therefore it's literal meaning would be "Hohe Sprache", which is best translated as "high level language" and has absolutely nothing to do with any geographical references. This leads to the conclusion, that the meaning of "Hochdeutsch" (see 1.) is actually also not geographically derived, and so it's not surprising, that it's only common meaning is "standard written German". However, Linguists developed a taxonomy for the dialects using "-hochdeutsch" in a different sense, and therefore to prevent ambiguousness they had to introduce "Standarddeutsch" for the original meaning of "Hochdeutsch". It is however only used in this sense by linguists. If you were to say to a Swabian speaker "Du sprichst einen hochdeutschen Dialekt" (You speak a High German dialect.) then he would most probably think you are crazy, because for him "hochdeutsch" and "Dialekt" are incompatible words, as are "angular" and "wheel".

Finally a few corrections:

"Schlesisch" is a southern German dialect.

"Badisch" is correctly called "Alemannisch".

"Bayrisch" is actually typed "Bairisch".

So almost everything I wrote yesterday was indeed correct, and contained only minor errors, that are now corrected with this post.

Yet I'm still interested in the resolution of the southern/northern aspect of the usage of "Heute Nacht" as "last night"/"tonight".

cu
  #31  
Old 03-16-2005, 08:28 AM
Mycroft Holmes Mycroft Holmes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
The hard to understand Swabian dialect is the dialect used on the Härtsfeld, tradtionally the villages on the Härtsfeld have been quite isolated, so their dialect developed differently, but still is a Swabian dialect.
My greatgrandmother was from a simple farm on the Härtsfeld (talk about a hard life. It seems the fields on the Härtsfeld contain more boulders than top soil) and when she told me about her life (fascinating stories) I had trouble understanding her sometimes. She might as well have been speaking Chinese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle
(BTW: NASA astronauts did some of their training for the moon explorations in the Härtsfeld, to be exact in the crater of Nördlingen.)
The Nördlinger Ries is incredibly interesting. It is a large (diameter of about 25km) impact crater that was formed 15 million years ago. Because some of the unique rocks formed (Suevit for example) are very similiar to moon rocks, the NASA astronauts actually spent some time there for training.

I must agree with you on the use of "Hochdeutsch" to mean only the "standard written German". I have only ever heard Germans use "Mitteldeutsch" or "Oberdeutsch" for the southern dialects. In fact, the dialects are so localized that most of the time they differ between neighboring villages and are named after the villages. Example: just north of Ellwangen there is a little town called Jagstzell where they speak a Swabian dialect, while three kilometers away in Stimpfach they speak Fränkisch.
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