GRIMM'S LAW & VERNER'S LAW



  1. Major Changes from I-E to Germanic


    1. Large number of words without known IE cognates.
    2. Some NE forms include broad, drink, drive, fowl, hold, meat, rain, and wife.

    3. Only two tenses: present and preterit (past)
    4. Preterit tense formed with dental suffix (d or t)
      1. "Strong" verbs change their tense by internal changes
        1. e.g., rise-rose, sing-sang
      2. "Weak" verbs change tense by adding the dental suffix (-ed)
    5. Weak & strong declensions of adjectives
        • lost in Modern English
    6. Regular stress of the first syllable
        • compare Latin Viri' - viro'rum or ha'beo - habe'mus
    7. I-E vowels underwent Germanic modification
    8. I-E stops underwent the "First Sound Shift" explained by Grimm's Law




  2. Grimm's Law
    1. Jacob Grimm, 1827
        1. German linguist attempted to explain why many Germanic words differed so systematically from their I-E cognates. His formulation (later refined) is called Grimm's Law or the First Sound Shift. High German underwent a Second Sound Shift, but that won't concern our study of English language history.
    2. I-E stops gradually assumed new sounds


    bh --> b

    dhh --> d

    ghh --> g

    ph --> f

    th --> (theta)

    kh --> h

    bh --> p

    dh --> t

    gh --> k

  3. Verner's Law
    1. Karl Verner, 1875
    2. Intermediate step in Stage 1 shift:
    1. All voiceless stops changed once:
    2. ph --> f

      th --> theta

      kh --> h

      sh --> s z

    3. If the sound was in an initial position or immediately after a stressed verb, it changed no further.
    4. Those in other positions changed to voiced spirants (b, d, g)