The German Language: Constructing a Community through German Dialects


Languages and dialects played—and still play—an important role in the construction of communities. The German language and German dialects were also used in the Early Modern period to thematize and construct a sense of regional and German belonging. In this context, the German language could be used as a marker for German identity and Germanness. Language is one of the few areas in the pre-modern era where “German” and “Germanness” were explicitly thematized. Moreover, the Early Modern period also saw the emergence of a scientific or scholarly interest in the German language, as evidenced, for example, by the founding of language societies or the creation of encyclopedias and dictionaries.


  1. < Do Clothes Make Germans? Class, Gender, and National Belonging
  2. Identifying as European – Crossing “German” Borders >