Wiktionary:About Old High German

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Old High German is an extinct Germanic language, formerly spoken in Europe. This page has the aim of informing Wiktionary editors about how Old High German words are formatted.


For a term to qualify as an Old High German entry, it must be attested in an Old High German text between 500 - 1050 AD. Anything after 1050 is considered to be Middle High German.



Old High German texts, grammars and dictionaries, like in other old Germanic languages, often use normalised spelling. This means that variations in spelling and representation are 'evened out' to produce a common standard spelling. There is no single normalised spelling for Old High German, however; different sources may apply different rules and schemes, which mostly differ in how many normalisations they apply. The following scheme is suggested for Old High German terms on Wiktionary:

Original Normalised
b, p (when from Germanic *b) b
c, k (when from Germanic *k) k
c, k (when from Germanic *g in upper German) g
ch, hh (in the middle of a word) hh
ch (word-initially, when from Germanic *k in upper German) k
d, đ, ð, dh, th (when from Germanic *þ) d
d, t (when from Germanic *d) t
f, u, v f
initial h- before a consonant dropped
i, j (when pronounced /j/ and word-initial) j
pf, ph pf
qu, kw qu
t, z, ʒ (when from Germanic *t) z
u, uu, w (when pronounced /w/) w

Preferably, the lemma or 'main' entry should be at the normalised spelling. Any other attested spellings may be listed under an ===Alternative forms=== heading at the beginning of the entry. Such entries may be created if they are attested, but to avoid duplication of information, they should link back to the normalised spelling using the {{alternative spelling of}} template (if the difference is only a matter of spelling) or {{alternative form of}} (if the pronunciation was also different, i.e. th vs d, or b vs p in upper German).

Vowel length[edit]

As in many other old European languages whose early orthography was based on that of Latin, vowel length was not indicated in Old High German texts. As a result, it is not indicated in Wiktionary entry names either. However, whenever a vowel is known to be long, a macron sign is placed above that vowel, like in Latin and many other languages. This macron is to be used only for display, not in entry names. For example:


All of these variations display brōt, but in case of a link, they link to brot#Old High German without the macron.


Headword-line templates[edit]