The tag has been used for questions relating to periods as late as the 1920s to 1940s.

However, there are several stages in the history of the German language that have more specific names, e.g.:

The tag currently has no description. What periods do we want it to cover?

  • 1
    From the questions that use it, it is pretty much a scope catastrophe …
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:45
  • 1
    @Jan Yes, it makes a linguist shudder. I'm in favour of creating tags for the periods that linguists actually use, and then retagging the existing questions.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


From just seeing the name, I would have understood to mean the following:

languages spoken as part of the German dialect continuum that are no longer proto-Germanic and not yet modern German.

That would put the end date of somewhere between Luther and Goethe or at the end of Early High German. Luther still had a somewhat weird way to express things from our modern point of view, but Goethe seems to have written as we would today with very minor exceptions.

Tagging questions about late 19th century handwriting with that tag is not a good idea, and the 1920’s/1940’s question should get the tag removed (if it weren’t closed). A to-be-written tag wiki should also note that an tag exists and may be much more relevant to a question.

  • You write old-german, but do you actually mean old-high-german? If yes, I would align the definition/periodisation that linguists use.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:33
  • @ChristopheStrobbe I used a non-linguist feeling-definition of what I would assume when I read an old-German tag. I actually feel Takkat’s answer to be the better one ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 8:59

From it's only 18 times usage on a wide variety of questions I believe that this tag is not really helpful. It is not a fixed term we could easily define for any specific usage or subscriptions.

Instead much better tags we have or may have to create, such as


or any other, that fits to the question should be used.

I removed from all questions and replaced it when needed.

  • old-high-german and [middle-high-german] don’t exist as of now; otherwise, I wholeheartedly agree.
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 0:21
  • 1
    @Jan: yeah - in case they apply we should create them.
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 6:42
  • @Jan middle-high-german would apply to the questions about the Carmina Burana, the Middle High German “uñ” and possibly Ursprung der stimmhaften Aussprache von <s>.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 11:31
  • and made a notice to the tag to guide people to not use it in the future – That’s futile as any unused tag gets deleted after a day. We could theoretically have the tag blacklisted, but I do not think it’s worth the effort as it’s unlikely t obe created again.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 10:04
  • @Wrzlprmft: great! That's a new thing ... it used to be months until any unused tag got finally deleted from the system.
    – Takkat
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 10:15

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