16 October 2013


Published, edited, formatted & commentary (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig


Germanic became different from the other Indo-European language groups in seven main ways:
The Indo-European verbal system was simplified. Indo-European distinctions of tense and aspect (indicates whether an action or state is viewed with regard to beginning, duration, in-completion, etc.) were lost except for the
present (non-past [tense] is a better term than present as the Gmc "present" does double-duty, future & present) and preterite (past) tenses. 

These two tenses are still the only ones indicated by inflection in Modern English; future and perfect tenses are expressed in phrases--e.g., I will have gone, etc.
Germanic developed a preterite-tense (called weak or regular) with a dental suffix, -d or -t (e.g. fish, fished, etc.). Germanic languages thus have two types of verbs, weak (regular) and strong (irregular). 
("irregular" is not a proper appellation for Suebo-Gothonic strong verbs. They are mostly, or were regular within their archaic Proto-Germanic [APGmc] paradigm. 
They are actually descended from the PIE, "Proto-Indo-European" present-perfect tenses. A few preterite-personal conjugations in West-Germanic, "WGmc" & the Peninsular-Germanic, "PnGmc", also known as Ingvaeonic or North-Sea Germanic, including Anglo-Frisian. 
The Ingvaeonic subgroup has been traditionally considered, by most scholars, to be an outlying, peculiar linguistic-group, odd in morphology, phonology, religion & certain customs. 
They were/are an enigma, atypical {for Indo-Europeans} Scando-Teutons who had strongly patriarchal, martial society & hero-worship ethos; with a strong proclivity to having, serving & worshiping, especially female deities, including; demigods, shades, daemons, gods that were "goddesses". 
Primary reverence & worship was for gods of celestial bodies, of the sky, weather, thunder & war. 
Goddesses were revered to a lesser extent than to any male-deity & it was extremely rare that goddess were would be chief-deity. 
Gods & goddesses of airy, brightly illuminated, high places, connected to some form of violence, be it natural phenomena, lightning, thunder, storms, volcanoes, fire or anthropogenic phenomena, hunting, fishing, horsemanship, metal-smithing, weapons-smithing, thievery, sacrifice, execution & war, etc. 
Especially loathsome to the mainstream Indo-European Suebo-Gothonic peoples were the following types of deities or worship;  Mother Earth, anything underground/underwater & having a female deity as their godfamily's ruler, e.g., caves, holes fertility-, harvest-, poetry-deities, etc. 
Strong verbs indicate tense by an internal vowel change (e.g. swim, swam, swum). The weak form is the living method of inflection, and many originally strong verbs have become weak. 
3. Germanic developed weak and strong adjectives. The weak declension was used when the modified noun was preceded by another word which indicated case, number, and gender. 
The strong declension was used in other situations. 
These declensions are no longer found in modern English, but compare these examples from Old English: þa geongan ceorlas 'the young fellows' and geonge ceorlas 'young fellows.' (The weak adjective ends in -an while the strong adjective ends in -e.) 
4. The Indo-European free accentual system allowed any syllable to be stressed. In Germanic the accent (or stress) is mainly on the root of the word, usually the first syllable. 
5.Several Indo-European vowels were modified in the Germanic languages. For example, Indo-European /a:/ became /o:/. Compare Latin mater and Old-English modor. 
6. Two consonant-shifts occurred in Germanic. In the first soundshift (commonly known as Grimm's Law) the Indo-European stops bh, dh, gh, p, b, t, d, k, and g underwent a series of shifts. 
The second soundshift (also known as the High-German soundshift) affected the high but not the low Germanic languages, so English was not affected. 
7. Germanic has a number of unique vocabulary items, words which have no known cognates in other Indo-European languages. 
These words may have been lost in the other Indo-European languages, borrowed from non-Indo-European languages, or perhaps coined in Germanic. Among these words are Modern English rain, drink, drive, broad, hold, wife, meat, fowl. 
(I don't agree that the aforementioned words are of disputable IE origin. Rain [in OE, regn, rign is cognate to the -rig- in Lat. irrigate. Fowl, OE fugl or fugl is a different ablaut-grade of the verb [to] fly, OE fléogan and is probably cognate to Span. pollo). 
 (the following from: wiktionary.org)
From Middle-English holden, from Old-English healdan, from Proto-Germanic *haldaną ‘to tend, herd’, from Proto-Indo-European *kel- ‘to drive’ (compare Latin celer (“quick”), Tocharian B kälts (“to goad, drive”), Ancient Greek κέλλω (kellō, “to drive”), Sanskrit kaláyati (“he impels”)). Cognate to West-Frisian hâlde, Low-German holden, holen, Dutch houden, German halten, Danish holde, Swedish hålla. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Good folks who follow this blog