The study examines the influence of 17th century grammarians on the standardisation of the German written language. It is based on a corpus of handwritten records and on the theoretical writings of leading grammarians. Traditionally, it has been assumed that the grammarians were the dominant factor in the formation of the German written language, but this is called into doubt by the comparison of theory and practice.
Using the Hamburg merchant class, the analysis of the textual records themselves provides a graphic example of how applied scriptorality can be deployed as an instrument of power and illuminates the working conditions for city chancery clerks.
Maria B. Lange, University of Bristol, England.
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