Full text: Grenzen und Grenzregionen

individuality of historical forms of borders with the help of a differentiated 
terminology in certain languages. On the other hand, the historian Reinhard 
Schneider (Saarbrücken), in his paper "Linear borders. From the early to the late 
Middle Ages", analysed the origin and early development of a form of political 
border that has become dominant since the beginnings of the absolutistic state in 
the century. What proved significant above all was the fact that linear borders 
existed even in medieval times, both in eastern and western Europe. 
Another three lectures focused on the history of the Franco-German border in the 
Saar-Moselle region from an archeological, linguistic and historical point of view. 
In her contribution, Frauke Stein, the Saarbrücken representative of pre- and early 
history probed the archeological finds of late antiquity and the Merowingian period 
with respect to their ethnic significance. Is it possible to regard the ratio of the 
Romance and Frankish populations (as inferable from the archeological sources) as 
a precondition for the development of the German-French language border? In a 
comparative contribution, Wolfgang Haubrichs examined the question whether 
linear language borders always develop from bilingually mixed areas and disperse 
structures. These three examples of contact zones between the Romance-speaking 
and the German-speaking areas (the region of Salzburg, Switzerland, the Saar- 
Moselle region) seem to suggest that from the very beginning there have been, 
besides disperse structures, also linear borders, which still require a special 
historical explanation. In his contribution "The German-French border between 
1871-1918", the historian François Roth (Nancy) examined the period of the 
"Reichsland" Elsaß-Lothringen between the Franco-Prussian war and the First 
World War. This period is of great significance if one wants to understand the 
complex situation of our own time (divergence of national and linguistic borders) 
and the difficult situation of a bilingual region whose inhabitants had to live with 
the tension caused by two nations turning their respective language into a national 
The subsequent lectures compared the situation in the Saar-Moselle region with 
the situation of borders in other contact or mixed areas in Europe. Volker 
Bierbrauer (Munich) examined, from the perspective of the archeology of 
settlements, the multiple and mutual stratification processes of the Romance and 
the Lombardian population in the border region of the central Alps in the 6^ and 
7^ centuries. Guntram Plangg (Innsbruck) described the gradual and extremely 
complex emergence of the linguistic borders in the Romance-speaking Tyrolean 
Alps (mainly in the contact area of Ladinians, Italians and Bavarians in southern 
Tyrol), a development that lasted many centuries and which even today has not 
come to a standstill, but whose dynamics are still dependent on political factors. 
Ernst Eichler (Leipzig), who during the last few decades has certainly been the 
most eminent scholar in the field of the history of linguistic contacts between 
Germans and Slavs, offered a brilliant overview of the language border(s) between 
Elbe and Oder in central Germany. Research on this language border is 
methodologically very important because the sources are rich in material with 
respect to the origin of its settlements. Numerous sources containing a wealth of 
information also permit documentation of the history of the Northumbrian border 

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