Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Notations on ENHG Translations

I have next to no linguistic ability[1], but I do have a logical frame of mind when it comes to taking something apart, which I hope will come in handy as I attempt to translate recipes from Das Kochbuoch Gehört der Funckfraw Maria Stenglerin Zu (1554)[2] published in an 1886 reprint entitled Augsburg Kochbuock, userinnen entkalten furtreffliche Kezeple fur[3].

What I've discovered so far:

Prior to what we consider Modern German there were many dialects across the great expanse of the Holy Roman Empire.  So many, in fact, that there was a decided lack of overall standard of speech and written word.  At the turn of the last century (1890s-1910s), many scholars referred to Early New High German (today's common designation for the 1350-1650 time frame) as Middle High German (1100-1500).

Take my book example -- today the term 'cookbook' in German is 'kochbuch', whereas in this book it's kochbuoch.  Is that an Augsburg dialect or how it was spelled in ENHG?  Considering that both the title of the 1886 book and the title of the 1554 book use the same spelling, it's difficult to determine whether the convention in the book was the original ENHG or the convention of the 1886 printer.  This being the case, translating it will be challenging, for it may end up being a mix of the original (ENHG) and the dialect (MG) of 1886, which, as much as today's authors would claim German became more standard after 1650, sadly, trying to translate this book in an online translator leaves much to be desired.

I've acquired a few Middle High German primers and grammars in the hope that they will help me wade through this book.  I've also acquired early German-English dictionaries (more books from the turn of the last century) that might be able to shed light on them as well.

OH, and how in heaven's name does anyone read the Germanic fonts without a decoder ring? :D

1. I've attempted many odds-and-ends languages including: German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Gaelic, Latin and Greek.  I actually remember the Greek alphabet and I can pick out various words in many of these other languages, but that's about it.  I've never stuck with a language enough to *know* it.

2. I hope that's right, but if it's not, maybe my exposure to this book will make the Germanic fonts more readible.

3. I really hope this title is right also. :D

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