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« Dictionary Index « Definitions under G


“It is generally admitted, that the ancient Germans had not the use of letters, before their intercourse with the Romans; the testimony of Tacitus is decisive on this subject. 'Literarum secreta viri pariter acfosminee ignorant.'

“Hence we conclude, that the Teutons, who anciently inhabited the neighbouring coast, and islands of the Baltic Sea, had no letters, till their descendants, who settled in Belgic Gaul, obtained them from the Romans. The Teutonic alphabet is evidently deduced from the Roman, and is nothing more than the Roman varied by the Germans, which, having been much deformed, was improved by Charlemagne in the ninth century, and continued till the twelfth, when this kind of writing was succeeded by the modern Gothic, which prevails in Germany, and in several of the northern countries of Europe at this time.” — Astle.

German Alphabet

Character Signification Name
A Fraktur A a Au
B Fraktur B b Bey
C Fraktur C c Tsey
D Fraktur D d Dey
E Fraktur E e Ey
F Fraktur F f Ef
G Fraktur G g Gey, or Gay
H Fraktur H h Hau
I Fraktur I i E
J Fraktur J j Yot
K Fraktur K k Kau
L Fraktur L l El
M Fraktur M m Em
N Fraktur N n En
O Fraktur O o O
P Fraktur P p Pey
Q Fraktur Q q Koo
R Fraktur R r Err
S Fraktur S s Ess
T Fraktur T t Tey
U Fraktur U u Oo
V Fraktur V v Fou
W Fraktur W w Vey
X Fraktur X x Iks
Y Fraktur Y y Ypsilon
Z Fraktur Z z Tset

In addition to the characters of the preceding alphabet, the Germans make use of three, which are vowels: 3{c, 5 or a, expressed by the Roman character a, and having the sound of e in where. £)e, or 6, and in the Roman character o, which has the sound of eu in the French heure. Ue, it, or u, having its representative in the Roman u, and its expression in the thin u of the French in vertu.

The Germans also make use of the following double letters in printing:

  • ch Fraktur ch
  • ck Fraktur ck
  • ff Fraktur ff
  • fi Fraktur fi
  • ffi Fraktur ffi
  • fl Fraktur fl
  • ll Fraktur ll
  • si Fraktur si
  • ss Fraktur ss
  • ssi Fraktur ssi
  • st Fraktur st
  • sz Fraktur sz
  • tz Fraktur tz

“In the printed alphabet some letters are apt to be mistaken and confounded one with another. To facilitate the discrimination the difference is here pointed out.

“B and V. The latter is open in the middle, the former joined across.

“C and E. upper case E Fraktur has a little horizontal stroke in the middle, projecting to the right, which upper case C Fraktur has not.

“G and S. These letters, being both of a round form, are sometimes taken for one another, particularly the upper case G Fraktur for the upper case S Fraktur. But upper case S Fraktur has an opening above, upper case G Fraktur is closed, and has besides a perpendicular stroke within.

“K, N, R. K is rounded at the top, N is open in the middle, R is united about the middle.

“M and W. M is open at the bottom, W is closed.

“b and h. b is perfectly closed below, h is somewhat open, and ends at the bottom, on one side, with a hair stroke.

“f and f. f has a horizontal line above.

“m and w. m is entirely open at the bottom, w is partly closed.

“r and x. x has a little hair stroke below on the left.

“V and y. v is closed, y is somewhat open below, and ends with a hair stroke.” — Noehden's German Grammar, 2d edit. 12mo. Lond. 1807.

German Types in the British Founderies

  • Two-line English. — Thorowgood and Besley.
  • Great Primer. — Thorowgood and Besley.
  • Pica. — Caslon and Livermore.
  • Long Primer. — Caslon and Livermore. Thorowgood and Besley.
  • Brevier. — Caslon and Livermore. Thorowgood and Besley.
  • Brevier on Minion body. — Thorowgood and Besley.
  • Nonpareil. — Thorowgood and Besley.
  • German Text, ornamented. — V. and J. Figgins.
  • Great Primer, Brevier on Minion body, and Nonpareil. These matrices are from the foundery of Brestkopif and Hartel, of Leipsig.

German Upper and Lower Case, Roman Character. They are made in one Case.

German Upper & Lower Cases of Roman Characters
German Upper & Lower Cases of Roman Characters Enlarge

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