Helmut Henne

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Helmut Henne (born April 5, 1936 in Kassel ) is a German German studies scholar and professor emeritus at the Technical University of Braunschweig .


Henne studied German, English and philosophy first at the University of Göttingen and then from 1958 at the University of Marburg . Graduating in 1962 with the First State Examination for Higher teacher training was followed by a position as a research assistant at the Institute " German Linguistic Atlas " and 1964 promotion with a varietätenlinguistisch reasoned study of the vocabulary of the early modern period at Ludwig Erich Schmitt . After completing his habilitation in 1970 on "Semantics and Lexicography: Investigations into the Lexical Codification of the German Language", Henne received a professorship for German linguistics at the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1971 and taught there until his retirement in 2001.

Henne was co-founder and from 1973 to 2001 co-editor of the journal for Germanistic linguistics , co-founder and from 1975 to 2003 co-editor of the Germanistic Linguistics series and from 1986 to 2010 co-editor of the journal Germanistik. International division .

From 1979 to 1991 he was a member of the board of trustees of the Institute for German Language in Mannheim, and from 1989 to 1991 chairman of the local commission for language development issues. In 1996 Henne was awarded the Konrad Duden Prize . Since 1999 he has been a full member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen . There he is on the management committee of the project “Place names between the Rhine and Elbe - Onomastics in Europe”. From 2005 to 2012 he was chairman of the management committee. At the same time he is a member of the management committee of the German dictionary project (Göttingen office).

Research priorities

His research areas are lexical semantics and lexicography , contemporary German and New High German language history, (historical) student, pupil and youth language ( group languages , standard language ) and the literary language of modern times, conversation analysis .


As an academic teacher, Helmut Henne has supervised around 20 dissertations and four post-doctoral theses. His students include Armin Burkhardt , Hiltraud Casper-Hehne , Dieter Cherubim , Heidrun Kämper , Jörg Kilian, Georg Objartel and Hiroyuki Takada.

Helmut Henne can be described as one of the founding fathers of modern linguistics in Germany. By receiving and conveying first the structuralist, then the pragmatic paradigm, he significantly advanced the development of German linguistics . The Lexicon of German Linguistics, which he published in 1973 together with his former Marburg colleagues Hans Peter Althaus and Herbert Ernst Wiegand , which had a second edition in 1980, attests to this. Through his scientific contributions and his work in important institutions and committees, he played a major role in the development of German linguistics into a basic science of ancient German studies, literary history, philosophy and other disciplines and since then has been one of the core areas of German institutes.

Henne's scientific interest has always been the research of group languages, behavior in conversation, linguistic-historical processes as well as linguistic reflection and analysis of literary texts and developments. In addition, Henne's scientific work was and is primarily devoted to the problem of meaning and the implementation of semantic theory in lexicographical practice.

Already in his habilitation thesis "Semantics and Lexicography" (1972) he built a bridge from (structural) semantics to lexicography. Not only did he follow up on these topics later in many smaller studies on the lexicography of German and some of them in the chapter "Word and Vocabulary" in a helpful further development and overview, but as one of the few theorists of semantics, he also took the step into the practical Lexicography dared.

Since 1986, under his direction, the historical German dictionary has been thoroughly revised by Hermann Paul and the result presented to the public in 1992. This project was funded by the German Research Foundation. The aim of the revision was to update the dictionary, which first appeared in 1897 and has so far been available in eight mostly revised editions. H. bring both the keyword inventory and the descriptions of meanings and assignments in the individual articles up to date and the current state of research. In addition, a particular advantage of the "new Paul", which the project team members Georg Objartel and Heidrun Kämper and some other contributors played their part, is that it uses modern techniques of semantic paraphrase systematically, takes into account recent lexicological research, including particles and important ones Borrowings are thoroughly described and cited sources - including other or earlier dictionaries - are given without gaps. In the 1990s, the dictionary was revised again under the direction of Hennes. The tenth and so far last edition appeared in 2002.

Hennes late work is primarily devoted to the study of language in literature. The turn to literary texts once again articulates his defining self-image as a scientist: that German linguistics must maintain a philological claim in its various sub-disciplines and research areas - true to the words of Jacob Grimm : "What do we have in common but our language and literature?" Areas of research opened up for German linguistics in Hennes' late work: based on the history of meaning approach of dictionary work, Henne outlined the contours of literary semantics , especially in the interpretation of Christian Morgenstern's poems ; the examination of the thematization of language in literature and the philosophy of language around 1900 takes a closer look at the area of language criticism , with the works of Fritz Mauthner in particular being subjected to critical appraisal in this context ; the title of the essay published in 1993 “Literati as chroniclers of language. Using the example of Arno Schmidt and Botho Strauss, “Hennes' work finally formulates the overall guiding insight that the deciphering of literary texts serves to reconstruct and illustrate the history of language.

Publications (selection)

  • High-level language and dialect in the Silesian Baroque. Studies of literary vocabulary in the first half of the 17th century. Cologne / Graz 1966 (Central German Research. 44) [Dissertation].
  • Semantics and lexicography. Studies on the lexical codification of the German language. (Habilitation thesis; Studia Linguistica Germanica 7). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1972, ISBN 3-11-003528-6 .
  • Hans Peter Althaus, Helmut Henne, Herbert Ernst Wiegand (ed.): Lexicon of German Linguistics. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 1973, ISBN 3-484-10186-5 .
  • Language pragmatics. Postscript of a lecture. (German Linguistics series 3rd college book). Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 1975, ISBN 3-484-10241-1 .
  • with Helmut Rehbock : Introduction to conversation analysis. (Göschen Collection 2212). 4th, revised and bibliographically supplemented edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2001, ISBN 3-11-017217-8 .
  • with Heidrun Kämper-Jensen and Georg Objartel: Historical German language for students and pupils. Introduction, bibliography and word index. (Library for the historical German student and school language. Volume 1). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1984, ISBN 3-11-009992-6 .
  • Hermann Paul: German Dictionary. 10th, revised and expanded edition. by Helmut Henne, Heidrun Kämper and Georg Objartel. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-484-73057-9 .
  • Youth and their language. Presentation, materials, criticism. 2nd Edition. Georg Olms, Hildesheim / Zurich / New York 2009, ISBN 978-3-487-13989-0 .
  • Word and vocabulary. In: Günther Drosdowski et al. (Ed.): Duden. Grammar of contemporary German. Volume 4. 5., completely revised. u. exp. Edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim et al. 1995, ISBN 3-411-04045-9 .
  • Linguistic exploration of modernity. Mannheim 1996, ISBN 3-411-05631-2 .
  • Jörg Kilian, Iris Forster (ed.): Richness of language. Studies in German and linguistics. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 2006, ISBN 3-484-73065-X .
  • Linguistic trace of modernity in poems around 1900: Nietzsche, Holz, George, Rilke, Morgenstern. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-023000-0 .


  • Armin Burkhardt, Dieter Cherubim (Hrsg.): Language in the life of time. Contributions to the theory, analysis and criticism of the German language in the past and present; Helmut Henne on his 65th birthday. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-484-73030-7 , pp. IX-XV, pp. 493-508.
  • Yearbook of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen for the year 2000. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-85157-X , pp. 167-173.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. tu-braunschweig.de. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 25, 2016 ; accessed on March 27, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.tu-braunschweig.de
  2. ^ Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. Retrieved March 27, 2013 .
  3. Yearbook of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen for the year 2000. Göttingen 2001, pp. 167–173.
  4. Language in the Life of Time. Helmut Henne on his 65th birthday. Tübingen 2001, pp. XI-XV, 493-508.
  5. Helmut Henne (Ed.): Practice of Lexicography: Reports from the workshop. Tübingen 1979 (= German Linguistics , 22).
  6. Duden. Grammar of contemporary German. 6., rework. Edition. Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 1998, pp. 557–608.
  7. Jacob Grimm. (Preface). In: German dictionary by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Volume 1: A - beer whey. Munich 1984, p. III. (Fotomechan. Reprint. First edition. 1854)
  8. Helmut Henne: Literary Language in Motion. Month names à la Morgenstern. In: Angelika Linke, Hanspeter Ortner, Paul R. Portmann-Tselikas (eds.): Language and more. Views of a linguistics of linguistic practice. Tübingen 2003, pp. 275-283.
  9. Helmut Henne: Learning from language criticism. Speech on the Fritz Mauthner Day 1997. In: Mother tongue. 108, 1998, pp. 289-297.
  10. Helmut Henne, Christine Kaiser (ed.): Fritz Mauthner - language, literature, criticism. Ceremony and symposium for his 150th birthday. Tübingen 2000.
  11. Hans Jürgen Heringer, Georg Stötzel (ed.): History of language and language criticism. Festschrift for Peter von Polenz on his 65th birthday. Berlin / New York 1993, pp. 100-110.
  12. Helmut Henne: Problems of a historical conversation analysis. For the reconstruction of spoken language in the 18th century. In: Horst Sitta (Ed.): Approaches to a pragmatic history of language. Zurich Colloquium 1978. Tübingen 1980, pp. 89-102.