German ligatures (was: logos, symbols, and ligatures)

From: Andr Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2007 - 02:51:30 CST

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    There is anecdotical evidence on how important ligating/nonligating across morpheme boundaries in German is:

    I consider myself a native-equivalent speaker of German (having moved to Austria at a very young age and having lived there 17 years since).
    At an instance "Auflage" [ˈaʊf.ˌlaːɡə] (which has a multitude of meanings) consisting of the morphemes "auf" and "Lage" /stem: "leg(en)"/ -- such it should not be ligated -- _was_ ligated in a document: it was typeset (I guess due to automatic ligation of a non-German software: "Auflage". I read [ɔˈflaːʒ] and wondered what unknown French word I have encountered because the ligature guided my eye to believe fl would belong to one syllable and the -age is a common French word ending.
    (Considere additionally, that there are a lot of French loan-words in German, even more so in Austrian German where they are more often pronounced true to their original pronunciation: e.g. Bon-Bon is pronounced not with a velar nasal consonant [ŋ] at the end of each syllable but with a nasalised o [ɔ̃]) but compare also Austrian words (unknown in Germany) Trottoir (Gehsteig/Bürgersteig in Germany).

    Only when reading the sentence the second or third time did I realise that it was actually auf-lage :-)


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