Evolution of German

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These are just notes to get my thoughts together for a test; no guarantee is given as to the accuracy of this information and the site license stands.

Evolution

Branching Tree of Germanic Languages

Proto-IE to Proto-Germanic

  • IE ablaut rule:
    • V → V → [e(:), o(:), 0] in a m.c. environment
    • kneigʰ → kniigʰ­­/knīgʰ­­
  • o → a
  • l̥, m̥, n̥, r̥ → ul, um, un, ur
  • "First" umlaut:
    • e → i / _ {C0 i(:), j | [ nasal C]C }
    • i, u → e, o / _ C0 a(:), o(:), e(:) | (C ≠ [ nasal C] C)
  • ē → ā

Verner's Law

Continuant options if after a vowel.

  • / V[-stressed] C0[ sonorant] _ {#,C[ sonorant]}
p t k

β/b d/ð ɣ/ɡ ɣʷ/ɡʷ

The first sound shift

Continuant options if after a vowel

  • voiceless stops → fricatives
p t k s

f θ x/h xʷ/hʷ s
  • voiced stops → unvoiced stops
b d ɡ ɡʷ

p t k
  • voiced aspirated stops → voiced stops
ɡʰ ɡʷʰ

β/b d/ð ɣ/ɡ ɣʷ/ɡʷ

Stress Shift

Germanic to NW Germanic

  • z → r

NW Germanic to West Germanic

  • ð → d

Gemination

  • C → CC / _ C[ son]
    • (i.e.: n, m, l, (r,) w, j }
    • skalj → shell
    • → latter, ladder
    • → button
    • → happen
    • → bubble
    • → bottle
    • sitj(an) → sit(ting)

West Germanic to OHG

Voiceless Stops Fricativise

  • ship → shif

Second Sound Shift

Voiceless Aspirated Stops Fricativise (a.k.a. Affricatisation)

pf ts kx / {#,C} _
ff ss xx / {V} _

Voiced stops devoice

  • d → t (except after a nasal?)
  • g,b → k,p

Other stuff

  • θ → d
  • β → b
  • ɣ → ɡ