The Theory of German Word Order from the Renaissance to the Present was first published in 1981. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The uniquely systematic character of German word order and sentence structure has long been recognized as an important feature of the language and of its literary uses. This book is the first comprehensive survey of the way theorists and stylists have interpreted these features through the centuries. Aldo Scaglione contends that the story of this theoretical awareness is part of the emerging cultural and literary consciousness of the German nation, as well as a testing ground for contemporary linguistic typology.
German speculation on the nature of a national language is, to Scaglione, best understood as a dialogue with the prevailing models of Latin, Italian, French, and English. His account of the debates over German word order is thus grounded in the complex historical circumstances from which they emerge: Renaissance grammarians took stock of German divergencies from the Latin cultural model, and those in the seventeenth century faced the challenges of French rationalism, nineteenth-century Romanticism and the many linguistic movements of the twentieth century have all cast new light upon the peculiarities of German sentence structure. Readers interested in historical syntax, rhetorical traditions, and the history of the German language will value both Scaglione's wide-ranging knowledge and his lively style.