Grimm's law


Grimm's law

Grimm's law (also known as the First Germanic Sound Shift or the Rask's-Grimm's rule) named for Jacob Grimm, 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 centum 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 [cite book |last=Campbell |first=Lyle |title=Historical linguistics | edition=2nd ed. |publisher=MIT Press |location=Cambridge |year=2004 |isbn=0262532670 |pages=49] :

#Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops change into voiceless fricatives.
#Proto-Indo-European voiced stops become voiceless stops.
#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.

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".

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.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).

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 "Unicode|pʰ-", Sanskrit "Unicode|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 *Unicode|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).

ee also

* Verner's law
* High German consonant shift
* Glottalic theory
* The Tuscan gorgia, a similar evolution differentiating the Tuscan dialects from Standard Italian.
* The Uralic Hungarian language was also affected by a similar process, leading to a high frequency of "f" and "h", and can be compared to Finnish, which did not change this way.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Grimm's law — Law Law (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l[ o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Grimm's law — n. [after Jakob Grimm (see GRIMM Jakob (Ludwig Karl)) in honor of his formulation (1822) of parallels noted by himself & RASK Rasmus Christian] the statement of a series of systematic prehistoric changes of reconstructed Indo European consonants… …   English World dictionary

  • Grimm's law — Grimm s′ law′ n. ling. a statement of the regular pattern of consonant correspondences presumed to represent changes from Proto Indo European to Germanic, according to which voiced aspirated stops became voiced obstruents, voiced unaspirated… …   From formal English to slang

  • Grimm's law — noun a sound law relating German consonants and consonants in other Indo European languages • Hypernyms: ↑sound law * * * ˈgrimz noun Usage: usually capitalized G & often capitalized L Etymology: after Jacob Grimm died 1863 German philologist 1 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Grimm's law — Ling. the statement of the regular pattern of consonant correspondences presumed to represent changes from Proto Indo European to Germanic, according to which voiced aspirated stops became voiced obstruents, voiced unaspirated stops became… …   Universalium

  • Grimm's law — /ˈgrɪmz lɔ/ (say grimz law) noun an account of the systematic nature of a series of shifts in the consonants of Germanic languages compared with those of other Indo European languages, developed by Jakob Grimm during 1820–22 on the basis of work… …   Australian English dictionary

  • GRIMM'S LAW —    as enunciated by J. L. Grimm, is the law regulating the interchange of mute consonants in languages of Aryan origin, aspirates, flats, and sharps in the classical languages corresponding respectively to flats, sharps, and aspirates in Low… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Grimm's law — noun Etymology: Jacob Grimm Date: 1838 a statement in historical linguistics: Proto Indo European voiceless stops became Proto Germanic voiceless fricatives (as in Greek pyr, treis, kardia compared with English fire, three, heart), Proto Indo… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Grimm's law — noun Linguistics the observation that certain consonants undergo regular changes in the Germanic languages which are not seen in others such as Greek or Latin. Origin from the name of the 19th cent. German philologist and folklorist Jacob Grimm …   English new terms dictionary

  • Law — (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l[ o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See {Lie} to be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.