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Grimms Law Ryan Cotterell & James Brenner Structure of English.

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Presentation on theme: "Grimms Law Ryan Cotterell & James Brenner Structure of English."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grimms Law Ryan Cotterell & James Brenner Structure of English

2 Proto Indo-European (PIE) PIE is the commonly accepted umbrella ancestor to the Indo-European languages. Its origins are debated as no substantial record of its history exists. Most reputable theories date its main existence somewhere between the 7 th and 4th millenniums B.C. Its regions of origin are generally placed in far Eastern Europe around Ukraine, the Balkans, and other Black Sea Regions. By the 3 rd millennium it had probably split into mostly non-mutually intelligible daughter dialects.

3 Proto – Germanic (PGmc) Refers to the general ancestor language of all Germanic languages (English, Dutch, German, Swedish, etc.) Generally accepted that it was not identifiable as a distinct dialect before 500 B.C. By 200 A.D., the Germanic dialect was classified as Late – Proto… or Late – Common…

4 Historical Context of PIE and PGmc PIE was spoken in a basically pure form until at least the 4 th millenium B.C. No exact date can be given to specifically separate Proto-Germanic from its earlier roots However it is clear that PGmc was was not classifiable as a distinct dialect before about 500 B.C. (about 2,500 years ago) Thus, that leaves at least 3,000 years (roughly 4,000 B.C. to 500 B.C.) that sound changes could have occurred from PIE to PGmc The most specific and identifiable of which probably occurred within the 1 st millennium B.C.

5 Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) Life + Background A German lawyer, writer, and linguist. He is most popularly remembered for his fairy tales, recorded with his brother Wilhelm. However his most influential work was actually in linguistics with his compilation of the German Dictionary and his identification of the sound shift now named after him.

6 Grimms Work and Career Education He completed under studies at public schools in Kassel Went to the University of Marburg where he studied law Upon attending the lectures of Savigny, Grimm was introduced to the literary sources and historical texts of the lectures. It was here that Grimms interest in the history of languages began Career Worked at several libraries (Kassel, Gottingen) Held positions of Professor and member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin Was almost always accompanied by his brother Essentially, his jobs gave him continual access to resources to further his work in linguistics and its history

7 Karl Verner (1846-1896) Life and Background Danish Linguist Conducted research in many languages including Slavic and Semitic languages. His work in Germanic linguistics was actually limited compared to some of his other studies. However his recognition of the pattern to one of the exceptions of Grimms law, dubbed Verners Law, remains his most famous work.


9 Modern Indo-European Languages Englishmonth Welshmis Gaelicmí Frenchmois Spanishmes Portuguesemês Italianmese GermanMonat Dutchmaand Swedishmånad Polishmiesiac Russianmyesyats Greekminas Albanianmuaj Lithuanianmenuo Farsimâh Hindimahina Arabicshahr Finnishkuukausi Basquehilabethe Turkishay Chinese yue

10 Phonology of PIE

11 Centum-Satem isogloss Satem languages delabialized the labiovelars, merging the labiovelars with the pure velars Satem languages also assibilated the palatals Centum languages depalatalized the palatals, merging them with the pure velars

12 Grimms Law The major sound change discovered in linguistics Instrumental to the creation of the Comparative Method Established a regular set of correspondences between the Germanic language and the rest of the Centum Isogloss Divided into three parts

13 Part One The voiceless stops change into voiceless fricatives * p f *t þ *k x h *k w xw hw

14 Examples Portuguesepé Greekpūs Portuguesetrês Greektria Portuguese cão Greekkyon Portugueseque Icelandichvað Englishfoot Icelandicfótur Englishthree Icelandicþrír Englishhound Icelandichundur Englishwhat

15 Part Two Voiced stops change into voiceless stops * b p *d t *g k *g w kw

16 Examples Latinberber Latindecem Latin gelu English warp Swedishvärpa Englishten Swedishtio English cold Swedish kall

17 Part Three Voiced aspirated stops loose aspiration *b h b *d h d *g h g *g wh gw

18 Doublets in English foot mother eight fire three heart knee five kin hemp pedal maternal octagon pyromania triple cardiac genuflect pentagon genus cannabis hostel

19 Verners Law Grimms law contained exceptions Verner found a pattern among the exceptions Verners Law additionally accounted for the occasional mutation of *s z in the Germanic Languages. The ordering of Verners Law and Grimms Law is unclear

20 Verners Law 1. Grimms law only applies to initial consonants and consonants following a stressed syllable 2. In all other circumstances voiceless obstruents become voiced *p b *t d *k g *k w gw *s z

21 Evidence of Verners Law in English PIE root *duk (to lead) – inflection stressed ducere (Latin) tug (English) Grimms law predicts /tux/ Verners law explains the final /g/

22 Works Consulted Ashliman, D.L.. "Grimm Brothers' Home Page". October 22, 2008. "Grimm's Law and Verner's Law". Concordi College. October 22, 2008. "Grimm's Law". Univeristy of North Carolina. October 22, 2008. "Proto Indo European". UTSA. October 22, 2008. Ringe, Donald. From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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