The style and structure of Minnesang.

Thumbnail Image

Persistent link to this item

View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The style and structure of Minnesang.

Published Date




Thesis or Dissertation


The Style and Structure of Minnesang approaches a broad corpus of the medieval German love lyric from the perspective of historical phraseology and formulaicity. Overturning previous concerns of prosodic restriction in verse and the misapplication of contemporary notions of fixity, the dissertation provides an overview of the types of phraseological units in Middle High German verse literature while distinguishing norms and deviations within the context of compositional strategies, poetic ideolects, semantics, and syntax. Alongside chapters on historical phraseology and its application in Middle High German are a comparison of the German lyric to the Old Occitan and Latin traditions as well as phraseological studies of proverbial syntactic frames and non-verbal phrasemes expressing emotion (kinnegrams). Turning to literature, in particular verse, has both countered a trend in previous scholarship by opening a new area of research and provided evidence for the different uses of phrasemes in literary contexts. The wider importance of phraseological research in Middle High German literature lies in three facets of the studies presented in this dissertation: 1) the lexical inventory and compositional strategies of Middle High German verse are inextricably tied to the phraseological elements of general formulaicity, rhetoric, and poetics, even if they are not always reflective of speech; 2) insofar as one can identify and answer questions of socio-pragmatic, non-verbal, and contextual meaning in dead languages, corpus-based phraseological analysis provides greater supporting evidence for interpretive positions than analyzing individual passages; and 3) the availability of large parsed and unparsed corpora, in conjunction with advanced search functions, provides not only frequency data and the range of variations for any given phraseme but also a more nuanced picture of the thematic and intertextual connections between genres and individual texts.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2012. Major: Germanic Studies. Advisor: Professor Anatoly Liberman. 1 computer file (PDF); xvii, 227 pages.

Related to




Series/Report Number

Funding information

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Oberlin, Adam. (2012). The style and structure of Minnesang.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.