Author Topic: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?  (Read 8223 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AGRBear

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6611
  • The road to truth is the best one to travel.
    • View Profile
    • Romanov's  Russia
Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« on: January 05, 2006, 12:24:50 PM »
Someone just asked me about the dialect of German which the Royal Hohenzollern's spoke to one another.

My first impluse was to say they spoke the new High German, which was being used in universities,   around the turn of the 1900s.

There were many kinds of dialects spoken throughout Germany [Prussia] and the areas they ruled.  

What did they speak?

What did they speak in court?

Did they speak it among themselves?

What did Tsarina Alexandra speak with her family?

What German did Nicholas II speak?

Did Queen Victoria speak German with her husband?

Anyone know where I should look for some or all of these answers?

Thanks.

AGRBear

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

julia.montague

  • Guest
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2006, 04:35:35 PM »
German was Queen Victoria's mother tongue, so I think she and Albert spoke German.
About the dialect, that's a good question. I have no idea, but I would think that they spoke high German.
Viktoria Luise wrote in her books that the family spoke very much English at home.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by julia.montague »

julia.montague

  • Guest
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 04:40:49 PM »

A letter from Viktoria Luise to her father - In English

Offline bell_the_cat

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1678
  • I am he, who will bell the cat
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2006, 11:26:37 AM »
This is an interesting one. Even today some regional accents are more "hoffähig" - socially acceptable - than others. I would guess that southern german accents were more commonly used at court than in the north.

So the Hapsburgs and the Wittlesbachs had strong regional accents! The King of Saxony spoke sächsisch.

I can't imagine that the Hohenzollerns spoke with a Berlin accent though. My guess is that they spoke Hochdeutsch  - the "best" German which is spoken in the northern German region around Hanover.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Silja

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 600
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2006, 12:54:14 PM »
Quote

I can't imagine that the Hohenzollerns spoke with a Berlin accent though.


Nor can I - haha. KAiser Wilhelm II definitely spoke standard German, at least in public.

Offline HerrKaiser

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1373
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2006, 04:12:24 PM »
Quote

A letter from Viktoria Luise to her father - In English


Who do you suspect is "Auntie" that VL refers too? And who might be Au Wi?

Thanks!
HerrKaiser

Offline bell_the_cat

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1678
  • I am he, who will bell the cat
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 02:08:47 AM »
Quote

Who do you suspect is "Auntie" that VL refers too? And who might be Au Wi?

Thanks!



"Au Wi" is her brother August Wilhelm. As for "Auntie", could be anyone really - I don't think one of the Kaiser's sisters, though. Possibly one of Auguste Viktoria's?
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Barbara of Hohenzollern

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2008, 05:01:46 PM »
I know a story about Emperor William I and his son, Frederick III of prussia. It is told in a book which 'goes' about the berlin speech. The generation of King Frederick William III spoke the Berlin tongue. In the next generation it was put down. William I only used the Berlin speech to start a joke. He said to his son, FrederickIII (I cannot write it in english): 'Ach Fritze, Du kennst mir doch'. as a funny reply. In only one generation the Berlin speech had come down and was no more a normal speech but a thing to laugh about.
So: They did speek high german.

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

  • Guest
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 07:15:42 PM »
Very interesting!

Not a Hohenzollern per se, but Empress Auguste Victoria's artistic sister Feodora apparently used the local East Central German dialect of their native Silesia in dialogues in her peasant novel "Hahn Berta". I  don't know if she used the Low Saxon dialect of Holstein in her second (also folk-themed) novel "Durch den Nebel", which takes places on the Baltic coast of her ancestral Holstein and BTW also deals with the whole Danish-German nationality issue. (Unsurprisingly Feodora is pro-German: Up ewig ungedelt, as the saying goes in Low German!) I haven't read any of the books, but I am quite tempted to.

Ook in Noorwegen hewwen we veele Köninge gehewt de Platt (veel better als Noorwegs!) gesnackt hewwen: Christian I (uut Ollnborg), Hans, Christian II, Frederik I, Christian III, Frederik II en Christian IV. Naa hem hewwen se Hoogdüüts benutten, inallefall wenn se geschrieven hewwen. :-)

=
Also in Norway we have had many Kings who spoke Low German (much better than Norwegian!): Christian I (from Oldenburg), Hans, Christian II, Frederik, Christian III, Frederik II en Christian IV. After him they used High German, at least in writing.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 07:46:51 PM by Fyodor Petrovich »

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

  • Guest
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2010, 07:57:44 PM »
As for "Auntie", could be anyone really - I don't think one of the Kaiser's sisters, though. Possibly one of Auguste Viktoria's?
Speaking of Feodora, that aunt might very well be her, as she lived at the Crown Estate of Bornstedt (where she entertained a lot of fellow artists), just to the north of the Castle of Lindstedt (both on the outskirts of Potsdam) where the letter is dated.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 07:59:52 PM by Fyodor Petrovich »

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

  • Guest
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 10:03:14 PM »
This is an interesting one. Even today some regional accents are more "hoffähig" - socially acceptable - than others. I would guess that southern german accents were more commonly used at court than in the north.

And ironically that too is of course all about perspective:
While the inhabitants of Northern Germany themselves consider Low German (Platt) boorish and have no equivalent of for example Stuttgart's Honoratiorenschwäbisch, it was in Scandinavia since the Late Middle Ages / Reformation (together with High German and in Norway also with Danish) a language of authority, power and status:
- religiously (the Danish Bible translation was full of Low German loan words),
- scholarly (university education was only available in Copenhagen (in the Reformation period also Rostock, Greifswald and Wittenberg))
- politically (for the reason given in Reply #8 above) and
- mercantile (because of the Hanseatic League, many South Jutish immigrants in Norway etc.).

Sometimes Low German and Danish clash with regard to phonology, e.g. with regard to p/b t/d k/g lenisation: Low German hopen, Danish håbe, Norwegian håpe, English "hope", German hoffen. In such cases the Danish form is traditionally given pre-eminence in Norway. (Queen Sonja uses the form Kongen og jeg håber, the King and I hope.) In many other cases Danish and Low German reinforce each other, e.g. with regard to monophtongisation: Low German steen, Danish sten, Norwegian stein, English "stone", German Stein. (Again Queen Sonja here uses the monophtonged form, not the Norwegian diphtonged form.) Newer Low German diphtonged forms like tau, two, thus sound like a contradiction in terms to a Norwegian ear!

And it's more patrician to say jebursdag as in Berlinish than the pedantic, written form geburtsdag or the Norwegian calque fødselsdag!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 10:35:00 PM by Fyodor Petrovich »

Offline Превед

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1075
  • Мой Великий Север
    • View Profile
    • Type Russian Without a Keyboard
Re: Royal Hohenzollern - German Used?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2022, 04:31:41 PM »
I don't know if she used the Low Saxon dialect of Holstein in her second (also folk-themed) novel "Durch den Nebel", which takes places on the Baltic coast of her ancestral Holstein and BTW also deals with the whole Danish-German nationality issue. (Unsurprisingly Feodora is pro-German: Up ewig ungedelt, as the saying goes in Low German!) I haven't read any of the books, but I am quite tempted to.

Having now read most of Durch den Nebel, I can say that it is strongly anti-Danish, in a political sense. The main character, handsome, smart and sympathetic poor fisher boy Lars Asmussen, who grows up speaking Danish on the Baltic coast of Schleswig in the last quarter of the 19th century, is promised a livelihood as a newspaper reporter and activist "for the Danish cause" by his parental relatives (after his alcoholic father has died, leaving the once prosperous farm so debt-ridden it has to be sold), but he rejects it, stating "I am German" and choosing a poorer, but freer life as an independent fisher, like his maternal grandfather, who once was a soldier in the army of Feodora's grandfather during the First War of Schleswig. Once more in life he is tempted by "Danish money", when trying to buy a steamer to transport the fish of the fishing co-operative he founds. Allegedly you could get a loan at a lower interest rate if you were a supporter of the Danish cause. (From Danish metropolitan or South Jutish banks?) But he takes the high, toilsome, German road here too.

It's interesting how Feodora describes anyone with a pro-Danish stance as fat, ugly, unsympathetic, greedy, stingy, clannish, artificial, alcoholic, unreliable, egoistical, exploitative and a corrupting influence. If you switch her "Danes" with Jews these parts would be your typical anti-Semitic babble. She falsely paints the towns of Schleswig as dominated by "Danes" and the countryside by "Germans", when in fact the opposite was the general tendency. What she probably has gotten right and seized upon is that the poorest parts of the population, like the landless fishermen and farm workers, didn't care whether they were Danish or German. They spoke South Jutish or Low German, dialects far removed from official Danish or German. The ones who did care a lot about the nationality question were the prosperous farmers who owned their own farms and whose children were educated to become the new middle class.

Besides that, Durch den Nebel is a rather lyrical, naturalistic and sympathetic portrayal of the Baltic shore of South Jutland and its social conditions in the late 19th century and of a somewhat romantic female imagination's impression of an idealized male hero who struggles with modernity, tradition, loss, love and life as a quite ordinary and toiling member of society. Feodora tries very hard to make her case that you can be both Danish (culturally), Nordic, Schleswig-Holsteinian AND German. (Her unspoken dream, in homage to her father and grandfather, seems to imply that you can be Schleswig-Holsteinian and German without being Prussian. Indeed, the whole imagery of the once prosperous farm that has to be abandoned because of a foolish, but beloved father's bad management is probably (an unconscious?) metaphor for her own family's exile.)

The novel can be read online here.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2022, 04:51:20 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)