The language of the time after the end of World War II differs in many ways from New High German, which in the second half of the 19th century at the latest had developed a uniform written language standard that v. a. became more and more a spoken language in the elitist, educated middle-class circles. The influence of the spoken through the written language gradually reversed in the decades after 1950, especially since the early 1970s. Literature – and individual writers – hardly influence the development of the German language any more. In contrast, the influence of technical languages from science, technology and business is becoming increasingly effective (e.g. in words such as data, check, countdown, blackout, fading in and out, whiz, fast, computer, Economy, inflation); but also have other areas such. B. traffic, sport, advertising, leisure and tourism, share of expansion and differentiation of the German vocabulary (e.g. stop-and-go traffic, spurt, easy-care, animator). Newspapers, magazines, films, radio and television are used to rapidly spread new words. Another striking feature of contemporary German is the adoption of foreign language terms, especially from American and English, as foreign or loan words (e.g. start, team), loan translations (e.g. outsider from English outsider, “once more”) from English »once more«, »make sense« from English »to make sense«). This is related to the increasing internationalization of modern life. With the common use of technical terms and foreign language expressions, specialized language special spellings (e.g. oxide instead of oxide) and foreign language sounds are also adopted. Another important lexical characteristic of the German language in the 20th century is the increasing penetration of colloquial and everyday expressions as well as words and expressions from special languages such as youth language (e.g. frustrated, stressful) into the standard language. In addition, buzz words (e.g. real, great) and – due to the ability of the German language to form compounds – spontaneous word formation (e.g. test behavior, economic summit) play a role. The increasing use of short forms (e.g. PC for personal computer, CD for compact disc) is typical of contemporary German.
The deliberations on a spelling reform were completed in early 1996. On July 1, 1996, in Vienna, representatives of the German-speaking countries and countries with a German minority signed the “Joint Declaration of Intent on the New Regulation of German Spelling”. The reform came into force on August 1, 1998, and July 31, 2005 was set as the end of the transition period. The changes affect the sound-letter assignment (including foreign and ß-spelling), hyphenation and compounding, hyphenated spelling, upper and lower case, punctuation and word separation at the end of a line. The new spelling allows two different variants in certain cases (e.g. dolphin / dolphin, wallet / wallet). The publicly controversial introduction of the new set of rules contributes to the uncertainty,
The nominal style, which is characterized by the predominance of nouns over verbs (e.g. “bring about a decision” instead of “decide”), is a stylistic feature of contemporary German, especially in science and administration; Originally intended to convey differentiated information, in the official language it is often frozen into empty formulas (e.g. “come to an end”). The increasing decline of the case forms is characteristic of the morphology: The non-marking of genitive, dative and sometimes even accusative is spreading more and more (e.g. “at the beginning of September” instead of “at the beginning of September”; “in the forest”) instead of “in the forest”; “the bear” instead of “the bear”); the case marking is ensured by prepositional additions and inflected article and adjective forms (e.g. »At the request of several people« instead of »at the request of several people«). On the other hand, the clearly marked singular and plural forms are increasing (the plural can be identified by articles, endings and umlaut, e.g. “die Läger” technical plural for “Lager”). The possibility of forming noun compounds and nominal combinations in general is used to simplify the syntactic structure (e.g. »control function« or »trial and error«, instead of a respective paraphrase using subordinate clauses). The penetration of weak forms is typical of the verb (e.g. “used” instead of “related”, “minded” instead of “minded”, recently also “swore” instead of “swore”, “fechtete” instead of “focht”, etc.); new verbs are only formed weakly (ie without ablaut and with a dental suffix) (e.g. “stressed”). The use of the synthetic subjunctive forms is declining; They are increasingly being replaced by analytical forms with would (e.g. “he would think” instead of “he think” or “he would think”) or with modal verbs (e.g. “he would like to come” instead of “he would like to come”) «). The subjunctive II is increasingly used instead of the subjunctive I (“he said he would come” instead of “… he would come”).
Another characteristic feature (especially in the official language and in technical languages) is the use of the functional verbs (e.g. “to be performed” instead of “to be performed”). As with the noun, the tendency towards the analytical construction of language is also evident in the verb, for example in the use of circumscribing progressive forms with a substantiated infinitive (e.g. “he is working” instead of “he is currently working”).
The sound stock is the least changed compared to early New High German, even if the orthographic rendition of the sounds and phonemes was subject to change. In the spoken form of the German standard language, a move away from the norms set by Siebs (e.g. in the pronunciation of the r as a fricative and not as a tongue-r) and generally a greater opening to colloquial forms can be observed (e.g. in the pronunciation of the final -er as a weakened a), not least due to the influence of the media.