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Old High German

Old High German is the earliest form of the modern German language, and was spoken from from the middle of the 9th to the end of the 11th century. Old High German was influenced strongly by Latin in vocabulary. English and other West Germanic languages differ from Modern Standard German partly because High German has undergone a second or High German Sound Shift.

The literature of this period is represented by the Hildebrandslied, passages from two Gospel harmonies, the Heliand (an epic poem whose theme is the life of Christ and which is the oldest complete work of German literature), the Evangelienbuch of Otfried von Weißenburg, and the Ludwigslied.