Reichmann 194)Assuming, however, that the verticalisation of the spectrum of variations which marks the transition to the New High German period led to the selection of one single variation accepted as norm as opposed to the negatively labelled competitors, from now on referred to as "incorrect", it is essential to be able to prove two theses:1.

that all other variations which did not assert themselves were just as functional and not at all "diffuse", which implies that there are no functional reasons for the acceptance of the New High German variation as norm, and2.

Besides self-representation in art, literature and religion, the educated citizenry's aspiration to compensate for their social inferiority led also to the use of language becoming a means of indicating social status and thus an instrument for social discrimination.

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Es erhöht demgegenüber das Gewicht von Regeln, von Analogien, von wortbildungsmorphologischer Durchsichtigkeit.

Seine vornehmste Realisationsform ist der schriftliche Text, der von Rezipienten gelesen (nicht nur vorgelesen) wird, auf keinen Fall die Mündlichkeit im üblichen, die Einmaligkeit der Einzelsituation betonenden Sinne." (cf.

knoop 1987 also points out:"Mit der Kodifikation der Norm werden zum erstenmal alle von ihr nun abweichenden Rede- und auch Schreibweisen diskriminierbar in des Wortes zweifacher Bedeutung: man kann sie unterscheiden, abtrennen und man kann sie (dann) ablehnen.

Dialekte und andere Sprechweisen werden so zum erstenmal in ihrer Gänze überhaupt greifbar.

in the grammar of Early New High German published by Moser, Stopp and Besch or in the second volume of von Polenz's history of the German Language.

I would like to take adjective declension in the first half of the 18th century as an example in order to demonstrate that the transition from the Early New High German to the New High German periods involved processes of substitution and reduction which are in no way motivated on the description-functional level.that there has to be a hierarchical evaluation of the variations in contemporary linguistic-theoretical writings and grammars which refer to several variations, i.e.at least a negative labelling of the variations not accepted as norm as diatopically or diastratically labelled units.Traditional history of language more or less explicitly adopts the point of view that language developed as a continuum with its origins in the east-central High German variety as embellished and consolidated by the Reformation, the spread of book printing, officialese and the influence of belles lettres as well as grammatical description.Even if in the last 20 years traditions pertaining to standard language and particular types of text, the role of the various literary landscapes as well as socio-pragmatic factors have been focused upon, the traditional assumption of a development, profilation or functionalisation of linguistic means based on the idea of progress still continues unabated.I start from the hypothesis that it is not possible to assume an "older more diffuse state", as von Polenz (199) puts it, for the Early New High German period but rather a tolerance of variations which is characterised by a co-existence of various possibilities for inflection, indication and determination.