Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Middle High German on the Internet

Just like all youngsters in my generation, I had to learn a tiny bit of Middle High German when I went to school. But unlike most of my classmates, that old German language somehow fascinated me immensely, and I really enjoyed learning the old-style words of that little poem we had to know by heart (and then recite).

I don't really remember when I immersed myself deeper into that old language, but I picked up enough of it during my time at the Uni to be able to read most texts fluently (with occasional help of a dictionary) and translate the texts into modern German. And that is an immense help, of course, when hunting for garment descriptions and clothes in context, a part of research that I also like very much. Those texts, with their garment descriptions and focus on beauty and fashion in some of them are really invaluable to get an idea of how clothes were supposed to look and what was important for them to fit correctly and give the right picture to the contemporaries; and when I'm looking for text passages about special items, I always turn to the MHDBDB. In case that doesn't ring a bell for you (yet): That's the Middle High German Conceptual Database where you can search for a term and get it with a bit of context from a large number of texts.

And sometimes I want to read a bit more of that text, to see if I have the context correctly or to know a bit more about the scene including my term-in-context, and for that, there's an internet solution as well: Middle High German texts on the Net. So in case you feel a need to read some of them, here's my link list:

Digitales Mittelhochdeutsches Textarchiv
Anthology of Medieval German Literature
Biblioteca Augustana
Erlanger Liste (scroll way down)

Enjoy! (There's a bit of English info in the Anthology, plus translations into modern German, if that is of help for you.)

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