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CHAPTER VII

Special West Germanic Modifications of the General Germanic Consonant-system. The High German Sound-shifting, &C.

 

79. Prim. Germanic z, which arose from s ( 72), became r medially, and was dropped finally, as OE. mSra, OS. OHG. mero, Goth. m&iza, greater; OE. OS. hord, OHG. hort, Goth. huzd, treasure, pp. OE. ooren, OS. OHG. gitoran, beside inf. OE. oeosan, OS. OHG. kiosan, to choose; OE. daag, OS. dag, OHG. tag, Goth. dags, from *dagaz, day; OE. OS. OHG. sunu, Goth. sunus, from *sunuz, son; OS. OHG. gast, Goth. gasts, from *ʓastiz, guest, stranger.

 

80. In West Germanic all single consonants, except r, were doubled after a short vowel before a following j. This j was mostly retained in OS., but was generally dropped in OE. and OHG., as OS. sellian, OE. sellan, OHG. sellen, Goth. saljan, to give up; OS. fremmian, OE. fremman, OHG. fremmen, Goth. *framjan, O.Icel. fremja, to perform; gen. sg. OS. kunnies, OHG. kunnes, Goth. kunjis, of a race; OHG. frauwa, frouwa, from *frawjō-, woman ( 90).

ƀj, đj, and ʓj became bb, dd, and gg, as OS. sibbia, Goth. sibja (ƀ), relationship; OS. biddian, OE. biddan, Goth. bidjan (đ), to request, pray; OS. huggian, Goth. hugjan (ʓ), to think.

OS. skeppian, OE. scieppan, Goth. skapjan, to create; OS. settian, OE. settan, Goth. satjan, to set; OS. rekkian, OE. recc(e)an, to relate, Goth. uf-rakjan, to stretch forth.

For the OHG. treatment of West Germanic bb, dd, gg; pp, tt, and kk, see 84, 85.

 

81. p, t, and k were also doubled in West Germanic before a following r, as OHG. kupfar, copper, from Lat. cuprum; OS. OHG. snottar, OE. snottor, Goth. snutrs, wise; OS. OHG. bittar, OE. bittor, O.Icel. bitr, bitter ; OE. wc-cer, OHG. wackar, O.Icel. vakr, watchful. These consonants were also sometimes doubled before 1, as OE. ppel, OHG. aphul, O.Icel. epli, apple; OS. luttil, OHG. lutzil, little.

 

The High German Sound-shifting

 

82. The most striking feature in which High German differs from the other West Germanic languages is the general shifting which certain consonants underwent. This process had its beginning before the period of the oldest HG. monuments, and was practically completed by the end of the eighth century. The prim. HG. language had the following explosives and spirants:

 

 

 

Labial

Inter-dental

Dental

Palatal and Guttural

Explosives

Voiceless

p

 

t

k

Voiced

b

 

d

g

Spirants

Voiceless

f

s

χ (h)

Voiced

ƀ

đ

 

ʓ

 

Note.b occurred initially, medially after m, and in the combination bb ( 70, 80). d occurred in all positions, g occurred medially after ŋ, as also in the combination gg, and probably also already initially.

 

83. The only consonants, which were shifted throughout the whole of the HG. dialects, were the voiceless explosives p, t, k. The shifting of the voiced spirants and explosives did not extend over all the HG. dialects. The shifting of to d through the intermediate stage đ took place in historic times; beginning first in Upper German about 750 a.d., it had gradually extended over all the HG. dialects by the end of the eleventh century.

 

84. The voiceless explosives p, t, k underwent a twofold treatment according to their position in the word: (1) medially or finally after vowels; (2) initially, as also medially after consonants (1, r, m, n) and when doubled.

1. Prim. HG. single p, t, k were shifted in OHG. to the voiceless double spirants ff, (see 7 under z), hh (also written ch, h).

p > ff. OE. slāēpan, OHG. slāffan, to sleep; OE. open, OHG. offan, open; OE. scip, OHG. skif, ship.

t > . OE. hātan, OHG. heian, to call; OE. etan, OHG. 랞an, to eat; OE. hwt, OHG, hwa, what?

k > hh. OE. tācen, OHG. zeihhan, sign, token; OE. macian, OHG. mahhōn, to make, Goth. OS. ik, OE. ic, OHG. ih, I.

The double consonants were simplified according to 11, 89.

Note.p, t, k remained unshifted in the combinations sp, at, sk, as also t in the combinations tr, ht, ft. Cp. 66, notes.

2. p, t, k, initially, as also medially after consonants (1, r, m, n) and when doubled, became shifted to the affricatae.

pf (ph), tz (generally written zz and z), and kh (ch), see 9. Here a distinction must be made between the various dialects.

p became pf in Upper German and East Franconian, but remained unshifted in Rhenish Franconian, except after 1 and r.

t became z in all HG. dialects.

k became kh (ch) in Upper German only, in the other dialects it remained unshifted.

p > pf. OS. plegan, UG. and E.Fr. pflgan, beside R.Fr. plgan, to care for; OE. helpan, UG. E.Fr. R.Fr. hlphan, to help; OE. orp, UG. E.Fr. R.Fr.' thorph, village; Goth. skapjan, OE. scieppan, UG. E.Fr. skephen (skepphen), beside R.Fr. skeppen, to create.

Note.pf became f after 1 and r during the ninth century, as hlfan, to kelp; wrfan, to throw.

t > z. OE. tīen, OHG. zhan, ten; OE. heorte, OHG. hrza; Goth. satjan, OE. settan, OHG. setzen (sezzen), to set; OS. sittian, OE. sittan, OHG. sitzen, to sit.

k > kh. OE. corn, UG. khom (chorn), beside Franconian korn, corn; OE. weorc, UG. wrch, beside Franconian wrk, work; OS. weckian, OE. weccan, UG. wechan (wecchan), beside Franconian wecken, to awake.

 

85. The voiced explosives and voiced spirants did not undergo the same universal shifting as the voiceless explosives. The following are the chief points to be noticed here concerning these consonants:

1. Upper Franconian retained b, bb, whereas Upper German shifted them to p, pp, as U.Fr. bran, to bear, sibba, peace, beside UG, pran, sippa.

Upper Franconian and Alemanic shifted ƀ to b, whereas in Bavarian it appears as p, e.g. U.Fr. and Alemanic sibun, Goth. sibun (read siƀun), seven; ubil, Goth. ubils (read uƀils), evil, but Bavarian sipun, upil.

2. All HG. dialects shifted dd to tt, as Goth. bidjan, OE. biddan, OHG. bitten, to request; Goth. midjis, OE. midd, OHG. mitti, middle.

Upper German and East Franconian shifted single d to t, whereas Rhenish Franconian retained d initially, but frequently shifted it to t in other positions, thus OE. dohtor, daughter, bindan, to bind, bēodan, to offer, appear in UG. and E.Fr. as tohter, bintan, biotan, and in R.Fr. as dohter, bindan, biodan, beside bintan, biotan.

3. gg remained in Franconian, but was shifted to kk In Upper German, as OS. liggian, Franconian liggen, io lie down; OS. hruggi, Franconian ruggi, back, beside UG. likken, rucki. Single g remained in Franconian, but in UG. it was mostly shifted to k (also written c before guttural vowels and finally), initially and finally, thus Franconian gast, guest, tag, day, appear in UG. as kast, tac.

gh became g in Franconian and generally also in UG., in the latter dialects rarely k, thus Goth. steigan (read steighan), to ascend; ugō (read ughō), eye, appear in Franconian and UG, as stīgan, ouga, more rarely in UG. stīcan, ouca.

 

86. The table below gives a summary of the HG. sound-shifting. The shifted sounds are printed in italics.

 

Prim. Germ.

p

t

k

Goth.

p

t

k

OE.

p

t

c

R. Franc.

p (pf) ff

z

k hh

E. Franc.

pf ff

z

k hh

U. German

pf ff

z

ch hh

Prim. Germ.

b

d

gh

Goth.

b, b (f)

d, d ()

gh, g

OE.

b, b (f)

d, d

gh, g

R. Franc.

b b

d (/)

g

E. Franc.

b b

/

g

UG.

p (b) b p

/

k g g (k)

 

note.The East Franconian consonants are usually taken as the normal in this book, because they mostly agree with those of Middle and New High German. In the paradigms d has been substituted for Franconian th.

 

87. Few OHG. forms were given in the paragraph relating to Verner's law ( 72) in order that they might be left until after the discussion of the HG. sound-shifting. From what has been said in 82-85 it will be seen that the interchanging pairs of consonants in OHG. are :

fb (UG. also p); d (older th, dh)t;

h (=prim. Germ. x)g (UG. also k, c);

n (=prim. Germ. xw)w (prim. Germ. gw);

h (prim. Germ. d\)ng;

sr.

fb. heffen, Goth. hafjan, to raise, pret. pi. huobun, pp. gihaban; urhab, reason.

dt. lidan, to go, pret. pi. litun, pp. gilitan, causative verb leiten, to lead, from *laidjan; sind, way, sindōn, to travel, beside senten, to send=Goth,. sandjan.

hg. ziohan, to draw, pret. pl. zugun, pp. gizogan; zhan, ten, beside -zug, decade.

hw. līhan, Goth. leihran, to lend, pret. pl. liwun, pp. giliwan, from * -li(gh)wans; aha, Goth. ahra, Lat. aqua, water, beside ouwa from *a(gh)wj, marshy land.

hng. fahan ( 36), to seize, pret. pl. fiangun, pp. gifangan.

sr. kiosan, to choose, beside pret. pl. kurun, pp. gikoran; ginēsan, to be saved, pret. pl. ginārun, pp. ginran, beside the causative verb nerien from *nazjan.

 

note.In OHG., and still more in MHG., this law was frequently disturbed through the effect of analogy and levelling, thus e. g. farlihan beside farliwan with h from the present forms and the pret. sg., so also in fluhun, giflohan, pret. pi. and pp. of fliohan, to flee; gisēhan beside regular giswan, pp. of sēhan, to see; slahan, to slay, pret. sg. sluog, beside the rare regular form sluoh, with g from the pret. pl., and in like manner huob instead of huof, with b from the pret. pl., inf. heffen, to raise; Tatian and Otfrid wrban instead of wrfan, to turn, with b from the forms where b was regular (S 72) ; &c.

 

[ Contents ] [ Intro ] [ Glossary ]
Chapters
[ I ] [ II ] [ III ] [ IV ] [ V ] [ VI ] [ VII ] [ VIII ] [ IX ] [ X ] [ XI ] [ XII ] [ XIII ]