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Encyclopedia > Grimm's law

Grimm's law (also known as the First Germanic Sound Shift) is a set of statements describing the inherited Proto-Indo-European (PIE) stops as they developed in Proto-Germanic (PGmc, the common ancestor of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family) in the 1st millennium BC. It establishes a set of regular correspondences between early Germanic stops and fricatives and the stop consonants of certain other Indo-European languages (Grimm used mostly Latin and Greek for illustration). As it is presently formulated, Grimm's Law consists of three parts, which must be thought of as three consecutive phases in the sense of a chain shift[1]: In the study of phonetic changes, a chain shift is a type of sound shift in which a group of sounds all change at about the same time, with some sounds taking the place of others. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of successive empires. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... In the study of phonetic changes, a chain shift is a type of sound shift in which a group of sounds all change at about the same time, with some sounds taking the place of others. ...

  1. Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops change into voiceless fricatives.
  2. Proto-Indo-European voiced stops become voiceless stops.
  3. Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops become voiced fricatives; ultimately, in most Germanic languages these voiced fricatives become voiced stops.

The voiced aspirated stops may have first become voiced fricatives before hardening to the voiced unaspirated stops "b", "d", and "g" under certain conditions, however some linguists dispute this. See Proto-Germanic phonology. A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Grimm's law was the first non-trivial systematic sound change to be discovered in linguistics; its formulation was a turning point in the development of linguistics, enabling the introduction of a rigorous methodology to historical linguistic research. The "law" was discovered by Friedrich von Schlegel in 1806 and Rasmus Christian Rask in 1818, and later elaborated (i.e. extended to include standard German) in 1822 by Jacob Grimm, the elder of the Brothers Grimm, in his book Deutsche Grammatik. Some scholars use the term Rask's-Grimm's rule. Sound change or phonetic change is a historical process of language change consisting in the replacement of one speech sound or, more generally, one phonetic feature by another in a given phonological environment. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel (March 10, 1772 - January 11, 1829), German poet, critic and scholar, was the younger brother of August Wilhelm von Schlegel. ... 1806 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Rasmus Christian Rask Rasmus Christian Rask (November 22, 1787 - November 14, 1832), Danish scholar and philologist, was born at Brandekilde in the island of Funen or Fyn in Denmark. ... Year 1818 (MDCCCXVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Standard German is the prescriptive norm variant of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas. ... The Brothers Grimm on a 1000DM banknote. ... For information about the other uses of the name, see Brothers Grimm (disambiguation). ...

Contents

In detail

Further changes following Grimm's Law, as well as sound changes in other Indo-European languages, can sometimes obscure its effects. The most illustrative examples are used here.

Change Germanic (shifted) examples Non-Germanic (unshifted) cognates
*p→f English: foot, Dutch: voet, German: Fuß, Gothic: fōtus, Icelandic, Faroese: fótur, Danish: fod, Norwegian, Swedish: fot Ancient Greek: πούς (pūs), Latin: pēs, pedis, Sanskrit: pāda, Russian: под (pod), Lithuanian: pėda,
*t→þ English: third, Old High German: thritto, Gothic: þridja, Faroese: triðji, Icelandic: þriðji Ancient Greek: τρίτος (tritos), Latin: tertius, Gaelic treas, Sanskrit: treta, Russian: третий (tretij), Lithuanian: trečias
*k→x (x later became h) English: hound, Dutch: hond, German: Hund, Gothic: hunds, Icelandic, Faroese: hundur, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish: hund Ancient Greek: κύων (kýōn), Latin: canis, Gaelic cú'
*→hw English: what, Dutch: wat, German: was, Gothic: ƕa ("hwa"), Danish hvad, Icelandic: hvað, Faroese hvat, Norwegian: hva Latin: quod, Gaelic ciod, Sanskrit ka-, kiṃ, Russian: ко- (ko-), Lithuanian: ką'
*b→p English: warp; Swedish: värpa; Dutch: werpen; Icelandic, Faroese: varpa Latin: verber
*d→t English: ten, Dutch: tien, Gothic: taíhun, Icelandic: tíu, Faroese: tíggju, Danish, Norwegian: ti, Swedish: tio Latin: decem, Greek: δέκα (déka), Gaelic deich, Sanskrit: daśan, Russian: десять (des'at), Lithuanian: dešimt,
*g→k English: cold, Dutch: koud, German: kalt, Icelandic, Faroese: kaldur, Danish: kold, Norwegian: kald, Swedish: kall, Latin: gelū
*→kw English: quick, Frisian: quick, queck Dutch: kwiek, German: keck, Gothic: qius, Old Norse: kvikr, Icelandic, Faroese: kvikur, Swedish: kvick, Norwegian kvikk Lithuanian: gyvas
*→b English: brother, Dutch: broeder, German: Bruder, Gothic: broþar, Icelandic, Faroese: bróðir, Danish, Swedish: broder, Norwegian bror Sanskrit: (bhrātā), Russian: брат (brat), Lithuanian: brolis, Old Church Slavonic bratru
*→d English: door, Frisian: doar, Dutch: deur, German: Tür, Gothic: daúr, Icelandic, Faroese: dyr, Danish, Norwegian: dør, Swedish: dörr Sanskrit: dwār, Russian: дверь (dver'), Lithuanian: durys
*→g English: goose, Frisian: goes, Dutch: gans, German: Gans, Icelandic: gæs, Faroese: gás, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish: gås Russian: гусь (gus)
*gʷʰ→gw English: wife, Proto-Germanic: wiban (from former gwiban), Old Saxon, Old Frisian: wif, Dutch: wijf, Old High German: wib, German: Weib, Old Norse: vif, Icelandic: víf, Faroese: vív, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian: viv Tocharian A: kip, B: kwípe (vulva)
  • Note: Some linguists dispute the origin of the word "wife". The current assumed root word is Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰíbʰ-.

This is strikingly regular. Each phase involves one single change which applies equally to the labials (p, b, bʰ, f) and their equivalent dentals (t, d, dʰ, þ), velars (k, g, gʰ, h) and rounded velars (kʷ, gʷ, gʷʰ, hw). The first phase left the phoneme repertoire of the language without voiceless stops, the second phase filled this gap but created a new one, and so on until the chain had run its course. Tocharian is one of the most obscure branches of the group of Indo-European languages. ... The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (plural vulvae or vulvas)[1]. In common speech, the term vagina is often used improperly to refer to the vulva or female genitals generally, even though, strictly speaking, the vagina is a specific internal structure, whereas the... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ...


Exceptions

The voiceless stops did not become fricatives if they were preceded by *s (itself a fricative).

Change Germanic examples Non-Germanic examples
*sp English: spew, Gothic: speiwan, Dutch: spuien, German: speien, Norwegian, Swedish: spy, Icelandic: spýja, Faroese: spýggja Latin: spuere
*st English: stand, Dutch: staan, German: stehen, Icelandic, Faroese: standa, Norwegian, Swedish: stå Latin: stāre, Sanskrit: sta, Russian: стать (stat), Lithuanian: stoti
*sk English: short, Old Norse and Icelandic: skorta, Old High German: scurz Sanskrit: krdhuh, Latin: curtus, Lithuanian: skurdus
*skʷ English: scold, Old Norse: skäld, Icelandic: skáld, Dutch: schelden Proto-Indo-European: *skwetlo
  • Note: Some linguists dispute the origin of the word "scold" but *skwetlo is the current assumed root.

Furthermore, the voiceless stop *t also did not become a fricative if preceded by *p, *k, or *kʷ (themselves voiceless stops). The voiceless stop it was preceded by did fricativize, however. (In other words, at the time in history when voiceless stops fricativized in Proto-Germanic, that fricativization only affected leading voiceless stops when paired with the voiceless stop *t.) This is sometimes treated separately under the heading Germanic spirant law: In linguistics, the Germanic spirant law, sometimes referred to by the German term Primärberührung, is a specific historical instance of assimilation which occurred at an early stage in the history of the Germanic languages and is regarded by some as being early enough to fall into the same...

Change Germanic examples Non-Germanic examples
*pt→ft Gothic: hliftus "thief" Ancient Greek: κλέπτης (kleptēs)
*kt→ht English: eight, Dutch: acht, Frisian: acht, German: acht, Gothic: ahtáu Icelandic: átta (pronounced [auhta]) Ancient Greek: οκτώ (oktō), Latin: octō
*kʷt→h(w)t English: night, Old High German: naht, Old Frisian, Dutch, German: nacht, Gothic: nahts Icelandic: nótt (pronounced [nouht]) Greek: nuks, nukt-, Latin: nox, noct-, Sanskrit: naktam, Russian: ночь (noch), Lithuanian: naktis

The most recalcitrant set of apparent exceptions to Grimm's Law, which defied linguists for a few decades, eventually received explanation from the Danish linguist Karl Verner (see the article on Verner's law for details). Karl Adolf Verner (* 7. ... It has been suggested that Grammatischer Wechsel be merged into this article or section. ...


Correspondences to PIE

The Germanic "sound laws", combined with regular changes reconstructed for other Indo-European languages, allow one to define the expected sound correspondences between different branches of the family. For example, Germanic (word-initial) *b- corresponds regularly to Latin *f-, Greek pʰ-, Sanskrit bʰ-, Slavic, Baltic or Celtic b-, etc., while Germanic *f- corresponds to Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Slavic and Baltic p- and to zero (no initial consonant) in Celtic. The former set goes back to PIE *bʰ- (faithfully reflected in Sanskrit and modified in various ways elsewhere), and the latter set to PIE *p- (shifted in Germanic, lost in Celtic, but preserved in the other groups mentioned here). Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup... The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. ... The Celtic languages are the languages descended from Proto-Celtic, or Common Celtic, a branch of the greater Indo-European language family. ...


See also

It has been suggested that Grammatischer Wechsel be merged into this article or section. ... High German subdivides into Upper German (green) and Central German (blue), and is distinguished from Low German (yellow). ... According to the glottalic theory, Indo-European had ejective plosives instead of voiced ones. ...

References

  1. ^ Campbell, Lyle (2004). Historical linguistics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: MIT Press, 49. ISBN 0262532670. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Grimm's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (697 words)
Grimm's law (also known as the First Germanic Sound Shift) is a set of statements describing the inherited Proto-Indo-European (PIE) stops as they developed in Proto-Germanic (PGmc, the common ancestor of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family) sometime in the 1st millennium BC.
Grimm's law was the first non-trivial systematic sound change to be discovered in linguistics; its formulation was a turning point in the development of linguistics, enabling the introduction of a rigorous methodology to historical linguistic research.
The "law" was discovered by Friedrich von Schlegel in 1806 and Rasmus Christian Rask in 1818, and later elaborated (i.e.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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