chapter  5
Medieval German and the development of the standard language
Pages 14

The history of a language is the history of continuous and gradual change, with no sudden breaks which might mark the clear beginning of a new period. Nevertheless, for practical purposes it has been customary to divide the twelve hundred years of the history of the German language into four periods: Old High German (c. 770c. 1050), Middle High German (c. 1050-c. 1350), Early New High German (c. 1350-c. 1650), New High German (c. 1650-the present day). Despite all criticisms these divisions are still useful ones and we shall adhere to them in the following chapters.