Besides numerous linguistic changes, the emergence of linking elements in n+n-compounds is one decisive characteristic of Early Modern German. The syntactic postposition of the attributively used genitive and the concomitant reanalysis of the nominal phrase as a nominal compound lead to the reinterpretation of the inflectional element as a linking element.
By means of the analysis of an Early Modern German dictionary, this contribution extensively tries to present the stock and distribution of linking elements of this epoch for the first time. A comparison with Modern German researches shall finally give a glimpse at interepochal changes.
The paper examines the semantic change, i.e. subjectification of place deictic elements in German dialects. Starting from a description of (dialectal) language change, the theory of area progression is applied to two case-studies of subjectification: on the one hand, it is to be demonstrated that speakers tend to neutralize the (dynamic) perspectives ‹turned towards the speaker› and ‹turned away from the speaker› by generalizing formations with her- (and thus abolishing formations with hin-) in the northern (and increasingly in the southern) part of the research area.
On the other hand, the static dimensions of distance hier vs. da/dort are increasingly neutralized in favour of dort/da in a large area of the respective western German dialects. Both processes will be subsequently explained with the speaker's striving for subjectification which, in the first case, manifests itself directly in the greater emphasis on the speaker's origo, whereas objects being in the speaker's field of vision constitute the basis for the direction of the neutrallization in the latter case. The origo is thus emphasized indirectly.
Finally, the data will be taken to develop a theory of dialectal language change based on distributional generalizations.