Respelling Names. The long vowels /i, u, ü/ and the New High German Diphthongisation in Swiss names

Kistler, Simon (2020). Respelling Names. The long vowels /i, u, ü/ and the New High German Diphthongisation in Swiss names. In: Löfdahl, Maria; Waldispühl, Michelle; Wenner, Lena (eds.) Namn i skrift. Names in Writing. Handlingar från NORNAs 48:e symposium i Göteborg den 29–30 november 2018. Meijerbergs arkiv för Svensk ordforskning: Vol. 44 (pp. 177-194). Göteborg: Meijerbergs institut för svensk etymologisk forskning Göteborgs universitet

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Starting from the family of the Swiss Indo-European linguist Eduard Schwyzer (1874–1943) that changed their name from Schweizer to Schwyzer in 1899, the aim of this contribution is to illustrate the history of a spelling problem.1 The Middle High German sounds ī, ū and ǖ, which in great parts of the German-speaking area were affected by the New High German Diphthongisation (ī <i/y> > ai <ei> etc.), remained unchanged in the Swiss German dialects. Adopting diphthongised Standard German as the written language in Switzerland thus lead to a manifest discrepancy between the spoken and the written form.
Based on data from the onomastic research unit (‘Forschungsstelle für Namenkunde’) at the University of Bern and focussing on the frequent place-name element Wil, I will offer a historical overview of the graphematics of the respective sounds as they appear in names and contrast the findings to the developments in the appellative sphere.
I will describe the emergence of <y> spellings in the 15th and 16th centuries and the subsequent adoption of digraphic <ei> from the 17th century on, which are changes that affected names and common words alike. It was not until around the year 1800 that onymic spelling obtained its own orthographic status, which maintained a closer connection to the dialectal pronunciation, unlike the spelling of the general vocabulary, which follows the international standard.
The paper concludes with a discussion of possible motifs for the Schwyzer family’s name change in its historical context and a general survey of the developments that have taken place since the year 1900.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Germanic Languages
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Germanic Languages > German Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Kistler, Simon Peter

Subjects:

400 Language > 430 German & related languages
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 830 German & related literatures
400 Language > 410 Linguistics

ISSN:

0346-6728

ISBN:

978-91-7276-098-1

Series:

Meijerbergs arkiv för Svensk ordforskning

Publisher:

Meijerbergs institut för svensk etymologisk forskning Göteborgs universitet

Language:

English

Submitter:

Simon Peter Kistler

Date Deposited:

08 Mar 2021 09:42

Last Modified:

08 Mar 2021 09:50

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/153049

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/153049

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