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Dissertation

Innovation in tradition

This dissertation explores the history of the language of a manuscript known as Tönnies Fonne's Russian-German Phrasebook (Pskov 1607).

Author
Pepijn Hendriks
Date
07 September 2011
Links
Full text in Leiden University Repository

The study explores the history of the language of a manuscript known as Tönnies Fonne's Russian-German Phrasebook (Pskov 1607). The phrasebook is not, as many scholars have assumed, the result of the efforts of a 19-year-old German merchant, who came to Russia to learn the language and who recorded the everyday vernacular in the town of Pskov from the mouths of his informants. Nor is it, as others claim, a mere compilation by him of existing material. 

Instead, the phrasebook must be regarded as the product of a copying, innovative, meticulous, German-speaking, professional scribe who was acutely aware of regional, stylistic and other differences and nuances in the Russian language around him, and who wanted to deliver an up-to-date phrasebook firmly rooted in an established tradition.

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