A Grammar of Proto-Germanic

All non-caption written material, except where noted was created & authored by Winfred P. Lehmann, PhD

Jonathan Slocum, ed.

Copyright © 2005-2007 by the Linguistics Research Center,
University of Texas at Austin


5.1. Structure of the Sentence as SOV
Determining the structure of the sentence in Proto-Germanic presents problems, because most of the early texts are either poetic or translations. The Runic texts are exceptions, but they have requirements of style and arrangement on stones so that not all of them are without problems, and many are very short. Nonetheless, as a result of their antiquity and native tradition, in determining the basic structure of the sentence we rely heavily on them as texts that appear to be least modified by literary conventions or introduction of non-native patterns through translation. Evidence based on them, as well as on early texts that are not translations, leads to the conclusion that the order was subject-object-verb (SOV, simply represented as OV).

5.1.1. Evidence for OV Order in Simple Clauses
It is generally agreed that the Gallehus Runic inscription provides a typical pattern of the Proto-Germanic sentence structure. Dated to the fifth century A.D., it is a straightforward statement framed as an alliterative poetic line.
            ek hlewagastiz holtijaz   horna tawido.
            I   Hlewagastiz  of Holt  horn  I-made
            'I, Hlewagastir of Holt, made the horn.'
The subject ek is followed by two appositional nominals; these in turn are followed by the object, which occupies the most important place in the alliterative poetic line, and finally by the verb. This inscription and others provide strong support for the conclusion that the structure of the sentence in Proto-Germanic was SOV. Moreover, its intonation pattern may be assumed to have the principal stress on the major alliterating syllable, which is generally the first accented syllable in the second half-line. The alliterating syllables of the first half-line would have had less stress, and the final stress would have been weak, as indicated by its lack of alliteration. It would have been accompanied by weakening and downward pitch, indicated here by #. The pattern is represented as 2 – 3 – 1#, usually given as 231#.
A longer Runic inscription on the Tune stone supports this conclusion even though it is not in accordance with poetic requirements, although the first half-line is somewhat comparable to a line of alliterative poetry. Making considerable use of apposition, the two sentences are verb-final.


ek wiwaz after woduride witadahalaiban worahto
I    Wiwar after Woduridar   Breadward   produced [this]
[meR]   woduride   staina  þrijoz dohtriz dalidun
(for) me Woduridar stone three daughters arranged
                                    arbijarjostez    arbijano
                                    chief-inheritors of-heirs
I, Wiwar, produced this for Woduridar, the Breadward.
For me, Woduridar, [my] three daughters arranged the stone,
                                    the chief inheritors among the heirs.
Many additional examples of SOV order could be supplied from the earliest literary texts, such as the first three lines of the Old English Beowulf. Moreover, for other syntactic constructs than word order these are more useful than the runes, which as in the examples cited above are generally short and straightforward with few modifiers.
Hwæt, wē Gār-dena    in gēardagum
þēodcyninga    þrym gefrūnon,
hū ðā æþelingas    ellen fremedon.
Listen, we have heard of the glory of the Spear-danes,
of the kings of the people, in days of old,
how the heroes performed deeds of valor.
The two verbs stand at the ends of their clauses, as well as of the poetic lines. In the second and third lines the objects þrym and ellen occupy the major alliterative position. The two genitives precede the noun they modify. These lines and many others that might be cited from the early poetry provide strong support for the conclusion on OV order, and on the intonation of simple clauses, also evident in the Runic examples.

5.1.2. Order in Comparative Constructions

 Among other patterns characteristic of OV sentence structure are comparative constructions attested in the early texts. Like clauses with objects of verbs, they are based on transitivity. In OV comparative constructions, the noun being compared, as the "standard" in the construction, precedes the adjective, much as objects precede verbs; it is usually in the dative case, but occasionally in the genitive. Numerous examples are attested, such as these in Old Norse and Old English:
sal sér hon standa,     sólo fegra,              (Vǫluspá 64.1-2)
hall sees he stand    from-sun fairer
'He sees a hall standing (there), fairer than the sun.'
Among examples in Beowulf is line 1850:
þæt þē Sǣ-Gēatas      sēlran næbben
that than-you the Sea-Geats     better-one not-have
that the Sea Geats do not have a better one than you
Among examples in later verse are the following from the Old English poem Elene:
Hēo wǣron stearce,      stāne heardran
They were strong      harder than stone        (Elene 505) and
sunnan lēohtra     brighter than the sun (Elene 565)
Examples are also found in prose texts, but for the most part these no longer have OV order. Moreover, the use of the dative preceding the standard was gradually lost. Small (1929:83) concluded that it was no longer used after the second half of the tenth century, citing the translation of Latin fortior nobis in Exodus as strengre þonne we.

5.1.3. The Use of Postpositions
Another OV pattern in the early texts is the use of postpositions rather than prepositions. Examples may be cited from verse, such as:
Nástrǫndo á,    norðr horfa dyrr;
at Nastrond,    the door facing north; (Vǫluspá 38.3)
Scyldes eafore       Scedelandum in
Scyld's offspring   in the Scandinavian lands (Beowulf 19)
frēawine folca      Frēslondum on
lord of the people   in Friesland (Beowulf 2357)
eorlas on elne;     ic him æfter sceal.
the warriors to courage;     I shall follow them. (Beowulf 2816)
Instances of the use of postpositions with nouns may be considered residues, for even in Beowulf prepositions are the most common adpositions, as in the first half-line of Beowulf line 2816. They are standard in Old English prose texts, such as The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan,
Hē cwæð þæt hē būde on þǣm londe norþweardum wiþ þā Westsǣ.
He said that he lived on the land to the north facing the West Sea.
And the comparative construction found in this text is comparable to that in use today, for example:
Sēo is brādre þonne ǣnig man ofer sēon mæge.
'It is broader than any can see across.'

5.1.4. Placement of Titles after Proper Names
A further OV pattern places titles after the name, as in Beowulf 2430:
Hēold mec ond hæfde    Hrēðel cyning,
King Hrethel protected and kept me,
Similarly, in the 'Wars of Alfred the Great' he is referred to as Ǽlfrēd cyning.
Among Old Norse examples is the following from the Hrolf saga:
Kømr nú þessi fregn fyrir Hrólf konung...
This information comes now to King Hrolf...
This use also with titles is clear from the position of 'priest' in the first sentence of Ari's Libellus Islandorum:
Íslendingabók gørða ek first biskupum várum Þorláki ok Katli,
ok sýnda ek bæði þeim ok Sæmundi presti
I first prepared the Iceland book for our bishops Thorlak and Ketill,
and I showed it both to them and to the priest Saemund.
The order may be the basis of the use of characteristic designations with notables, as in Ari's statement on the year 870 A.D.:
Ísland bygðisk fyrst ór Norvegi á dǫgum Haralds ins Hárfagra,
Hálfdanarsonar ins Svarta...

Iceland was first colonized from Norway in the days of Harold the Fair-haired,
the son of Halfdan the Black.

5.1.5. Word Order in Equational Sentences
Equational sentences, in which the verb is the copula, also had final order of the verb in Proto-Germanic, as in an inscription on the Kragehul lance shaft:
ek erilaz asugisalas em
I   erilaz of-Ansugisalaz I-am
I am the erilaz of Ansugisalaz.
But this position for the copula may not have been maintained for long in Proto-Germanic; as in other early documents, the copula in Beowulf is positioned like other verbs.

5.1.6. Evidence in Modifying Constructions
There is less evidence for retention of OV structure in the basic modifying patterns — relative clauses, adjectives, and genitives. In OV languages these precede the noun modified. Even in Beowulf and the other early texts, however, relative clauses consistently follow the noun they modify. But the use of participles in clauses preceding the noun modified suggests that such clauses may have continued the use of OV relative clauses in Proto-Germanic. Examples are given in section 5.3.1 below.

5.1.6a. Relative Clauses Indicated by Particles
Moreover, particles, with or without a demonstrative pronoun that is in accordance with the noun in gender and number and with the other members of the clause in case, may have been a further development to the construction that was later introduced by a relative pronoun. These differ among the dialects, providing a further indication that the postposed pattern of relative clauses was a late development, e.g. Gothic ei, Old English þē/þe, Old Norse er and es.
The following Gothic passage illustrates the use of ei as a relative marker, as a conjunction, and as a relative marker with a demonstrative pronoun:
... und þana dag ei waírþái þata, duþē ei ni galáubidēs waúrdam meináim, þōei usfulljanda in mēla seinamma. (Luke 1:20)
... until the day that these things shall be fulfilled, because thou believest not my words which shall be fulfilled in their season.
The Old Norse particles es, later er, and then sem fulfill similar functions, as indicated in the following passages from Ari's Libellus Islandorum:
Eiríkr inn Rauði hét maðr Breiðfirzkr, er fór út heðan  þangat ok nam þar land er síðan er kallaðr Eíríksfjǫrðr.
Eric the Red was the name of a man in Broadfirth, who went out from here to there (Greenland) and took up land there that has since been called Eric's Inlet.
In Old English the particle þe, þē, also spelled ðe, was widely used for all relative clause patterns, among them supplementing demonstratives, and also conjunction, as in the following examples from Beowulf:
worolde wilna,   þē ic geweald hæbbe.   (950)
of joys in the world    over which I have control.
sē þe ēow wēlhwylcra     wilna dohte. (1344)
(he) who provided for you   all favors.

5.1.6b. Demonstrative Pronouns Used to Introduce Relative Clauses
In Gothic the demonstrative pronouns sa, sō, þata plus the particle ei were the basis of the relative pronouns saei, sōei, þatei with reference to third person nouns, presumably to provide a more specific reference than that of the simple particle. The ei particle was also used with first and second person pronouns e.g. ikei '(I) who', þūei '(thou) who', as in 1 Corinthians 15.9:
ik áuk im sa smalista apaústaúle ikei ni im waírþs ...
I actually am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy...
In Old Norse the particle was not combined with the pronoun, as in the following example from Ari's Libellus Islandorum:
Þá váru hér menn Kristnir þeir er Norðmenn kalla papa.
Then there were Christian men here whom the Norwegians call papa.
The particle then came to be omitted. Already in Beowulf forms of the demonstrative pronoun , sēo, þæt were used without a particle to introduce relative clauses, as in line 453:
beaduscrūda betst,    þæt mīne brēost wereð,
the best of military garments,    that protects my breast,
The development is the same in Old High German, as illustrated by Hildebrandslied 15b:
(liuti)   dea erhina warun
people   who were earlier

5.1.7. The Use of Limiting Adjectives in Weak Inflection
Direct evidence of the earlier OV pattern is also given by limiting adjectives with weak inflection that precede nouns without definite articles. Seventy-five are found in Beowulf, e.g. gomela Scylding 'the old Scylding' [= 'Swede'] (2487; cf. Klaeber 1950:xcii). Weak adjectives are n-stems; these indicated a specific person or entity in Proto-Indo-European, as also in Latin where they gave rise to proper names, e.g. Varrō 'Varro', in contrast with the descriptive adjective o-stem vārus 'knock-kneed'. Line 1859 of Beowulf illustrates their use to indicate a specific entity: þendan ic wealde wīdan rīces 'as long as I rule over this wide kingdom'. They were not maintained in English, but they have made up a separate declension in German, where they alone no longer provide their original meaning but follow elements that do, such as definite articles.

5.1.8. OV Order for Adjectives and Genitives
Other adjectives, as well, precede nouns in Old English, as they do in Modern English, in contrast with a stricter VO language like French with regularly postposed adjectives:
Þæt wæs gōd cyning!   He was a good king. (Beowulf 11)
Similarly in Old High German, as in the Hildebrandslied:
fohem wortum     in few words (10)
friuntlaos man     friendless man (24)
Many genitives also precede nouns in Old English and Old High German in accordance with OV patterning, such as:
þēodcyninga þrym      the glory of the kings of people   Beowulf 2
wuldres Wealdend      the Lord of glory    Beowulf 17
Scyldes eafera          a descendant of Scyld   Beowulf 19
Comparable examples are attested in the early texts of the other dialects, such as the Old High German Hildebrandslied:
Heribrantes sunu           the son of Heribrant    7
Otachres nid                 the hatred of Otacher   18
degano filu                    a large number of warriors    19
And similarly in Old Norse, as in the Vǫluspá (40:7-8)
tungls tiúgari   í trollz hami
of-sun destroyer in troll's appearance
destroyer of the sun   in the appearance of a troll.
The Runic inscriptions provide few examples for the OV patterning of nominal modifier constructions, in part because of their conventions as in the use of apposition, in part because of their brevity, which among other features leave little possibility for relative clauses. The late Eggja inscription, cir. 700 A.D., includes a descriptive adjective before a noun in the phrase viltiz mænnz 'wild men'. And the Stentoften and Björketorp inscriptions, cir. 675 A.D., end with a verb-final clause saR þat barutR 'who breaks this'. Accordingly, the modifying constructions as well as the order of objects with regard to verbs indicate that the Proto-Germanic sentence structure was verb-final.

5.1.9. Word Order in Marked Constructions
On the other hand, the basic structure of sentences may be modified to emphasize elements, especially in poetry, as in the following examples where æfter as well as mit geru and man are placed for the purpose of emphasis.
Ðǣm eafera wæs     æfter cenned    Beowulf 12
To-them son was     after born
A son was then born to them.
mit geru scal man     geba infahan    Hildebrandslied 37
with spear should one gift receive
One should receive a gift with the spear.
The Old Icelandic example in section 5.1.6b provides another example, with verb and adverb preceding the subject. And Ari begins his work with the statement:
Íslendingabók gørða ek fyrst biskupum várum Þorláki ok Katli...
The Iceland Book I prepared first under our bishops Thorlak and Ketill...
Imperatives may be considered marked patterns, and typically they have the verb in first place, as in modern English, e.g.
Gesaga him ēac wordum,      þæt hīe sint wilcuman    (Beowulf 388)
Tell them also in words    that they are welcome.
Forgip mir in dino ganada rehta galaupa.    (OHG Wessobrunner Gebet)
Give me in your grace   correct belief!
Like marked constructions in general, these do not confute the conclusion on the basic OV order, but they may be expected for highlighting relevant passages.

5.2. The Word Order of Questions

Questions without interrogative marker have the verb in first position, as in the Old High German baptismal vows:
Forsahhistu unholdun?
Do you forsake the devil?
Questions of this order may include the enclitic -u, as in Gothic:
Maguts-u drigkan stikl...?  Can you drink the cup...?   John 19:39
When questions include an interrogative pronoun or adverb, it is initial, both in direct and indirect questions, as in the following examples:
Hvat's þat drauma?       What sort among dreams is that?   Eiríksmál 1
Hwanon ferigeað gē     fǣtte scyldas    Beowulf 333
Whence do you bear     ornamented shields?
her fragen gistuont    He began to ask
fohem wortun,    hwer sîn fater wari    in few words    who his father was,
fireo in folche    among the people of men       Hildebrandslied 8b-12a
We assume that these patterns had been maintained from Proto-Germanic. Except for the absence of enclitic particles like -u, they were also continued in the later dialects.

5.3. Subordinate Clauses and Compound Sentences

Subordinate clauses may be distinguished as those that modify nouns, i.e. relative clauses, and those that complement verbs, either as objects or as adverbial clauses. Both reflect the OV structure of the earlier language, so that they may be reconstructed in Proto-Germanic. They also illustrate the various types of compound sentences in the language.

5.3.1. Relative Clauses
In an extensive article, Windisch (1869) concluded that, in Proto-Indo-European, relative clauses were introduced by the particle yo. His conclusion was widely disputed in view of the various means for introducing relative clauses in the dialects and also in lack of treatment of Proto-Indo-European as an OV language. But when Hittite was read, the form of relative clauses or, more precisely, their earlier form, became clear. They arose from a sequence of clauses in which the noun or pronoun modified was indicated by a marker in an initial clause; this clause was followed by the principal clause that often included an anaphoric pronoun referring to the item modified. The Old Latin inscriptions provide examples, such as:
Quei ager commutatus est, de eo agro siremps lex esto
some field changed     is   from that field exempt law is-to-be
The law will not apply to a field that has been changed.
The Old High German sequence in Otfrid 2.13.9 provides an example for Germanic:
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ther brut habet, ther scal ther brutigomo sin
that-one bride has, that-one shall the bridegroom be
Who has the bride will be the bridegroom.
When the VO pattern became dominant, the principal clause occupied first position, and the earlier preposed element was placed after its antecedent, as in:
That one shall be the bridegroom who has the bride.
The modification of relative clause structure took place in the different Indo-European dialects or dialect groups, as indicated by the different relative particles among them. Some of these were adapted from forms of *yo-, such as Sanskrit yá- and Greek , others from interrogative markers, such as Latin quis, quid, and still others from demonstrative markers, such as Old English sē, sēo, þæt, e.g. Beowulf 1267b with referring to Grendel:
heorowearh hetelīc,      sē æt Heorote fand
a hateful outcast          who found at Heorot...


6.1. The Culture of the Speakers of Proto-Germanic

The semantic system of a language is closely connected with the culture of its speakers. Segments of the language, like words for the manner of living and for the kinship system, correspond to their way of life. We then are fortunate if we have accounts of the culture of speakers of proto-languages, even though the semantic system must be determined on the basis of the language.
Julius Caesar has included such an account of the Germans around 55 B.C. in Book 6 of his Gallic War. Tacitus presents much the same information in his Germania of a century and a half later. From Caesar's account we can conclude that the Germani, as he calls them, were still largely hunter-gatherers in the first century before our era. Their chief activities were hunting expeditions and military pursuits. When they were at peace they had no overall ruler, but only chiefs of smaller entities that carried out justice. Like many simple societies they welcomed guests, sharing their food and housing with them.

6.1.1. Religion
Our knowledge of their religion or religions is based most directly on information gleaned from the accounts of Caesar and Tacitus. According to Tacitus in his brief section 9, they worshipped especially Mercury, his Latin for Wodan/Odin, Hercules for Thor, and Mars for Tiu. But they did not believe it worthy to enclose them in temples or to fashion images of them like men; rather, they dedicated woods and clearings to them. Caesar had stated that there were no priests, but the statement is assumed to result from his observation that there was no such official rank, because Tacitus refers to priests who functioned in several activities. In section 40 he states that a priest alone may touch the sacred wagon that transports Nerthus, i.e. mother earth, among the Lombards and various other tribes. In section 43 he states that a priest in women's clothing is in charge of a wood that is an ancient shrine. And in section 45 he remarks that the tribe of Aestii venerate the mother of the gods — matrem deum venerantur - and also display the sign of their cult with images of boars; these are to protect them from all dangers.
The equations with Roman gods are maintained in our names of the days of the week: Tuesday honoring Tiu, Wednesday Wodan, Thursday Thor, and Friday, with the goddess Freyja representing Venus. No divine figure is represented in Sunday and Monday, and no one replacing Saturn in Saturday. It has been proposed that these continue beliefs of the Indo-European period, with Odin and Tiu representing sovereignty, Thor representing physical strength, and Freyja substituting for Nerthus representing fertility (Polomé 1989:73-82). Further inferences have been based on Scandinavian rock carvings from the Bronze Age, which imply reverence for the sun, or even a sky-god like Zeus or Jupiter, cf. the Trundholm depiction of a chariot drawing the sun, or other depictions along with ships and human figures.
Unfortunately, there is no description of religious practices in the literary remains of Gothic or the West Germanic languages, and those in the North Germanic languages are late. References in the Eddic poems and other texts may provide only partial retentions from the Proto-Germanic period, and our knowledge of religion and religious practices among Germanic peoples is accordingly scanty.

6.1.2. Economic and Personal Practices
According to Caesar the Germans observed strict social rules. They did not have intercourse before their twentieth year. Many of them regarded sexual abstinence as contributing to stature and strength. Yet their clothing did not cover them well and they associated freely, as in bathing together in the rivers, so that sexual activities might have readily been encouraged. Tacitus is somewhat more specific on their clothing in Germania 17, describing the general costume as a cloak held together with a clasp or even a thorn; the cloak might consist of the skins of animals. Only the richest had underclothing, and this was tightly bound so that it revealed every member. Women were similarly clothed, often however with a linen cloak decorated with purple stripes. Their garments had no sleeves, so that their arms and the neighboring parts of their breasts were exposed.
They did not stress horticulture. The bulk of their food consisted of milk, cheese and meat; Tacitus included apples. Individuals did not own property. Land was assigned every year by magistrates and chiefs when the gentes (tribes) and cognationes (clans) assembled; it then was passed on to others in the next year so that the plebes (common people) would be equal in wealth. Caesar gives further reasons for the practice, including the aim of avoiding encouragement of a preference among the people for agriculture rather than for warfare.
Their settlements were on the edge of the Hercynian forest, which extended far to the east; Caesar states that they had found no German who had gone to the end of it; moreover, he assumed that the end could not be reached in sixty days. He went on to describe three animals that inhabited the area and differed from animals known elsewhere. One, an ox shaped like a stag, is assumed to be the reindeer; two others he called alces, presumably elk, and uri, aurochs. The Germans hunted these for food. They also collected the horns of the aurochs and encased the edges with silver to produce elegant drinking vessels.
For reconstructing the culture of the Proto-Germanic speakers we then must recognize that, even before the time of the first written materials in the Germanic languages, the culture and accordingly the semantic system had undergone changes by influence from other cultures, first Celtic, then Latin, and to some extent Greek through missionaries. Evidence for such a cultural change that may be determined from borrowing is the word for iron, which has various representatives in the Germanic dialects: Go. eisarn, ON járn, ísarn, OE īsern, īren, OHG isarn, īsan, īser. Because of the various forms it is assumed that these were taken from Celtic, as in the Gaulish name Isarno-duru, at various times in the first millennium B.C. Among early borrowings from Latin is the term for donkey, Go. asilus, OE esol, OHG esil, probably from asellus, the diminutive of asinus. Some religious terms may have been introduced before the time of writing and then maintained in the later texts. They often differ from dialect to dialect, so we assume that most of the religious terms and also borrowings from Greek and Latin were introduced into the individual dialects rather than into Proto-Germanic.

6.2. The Kinship System and Family Structure

The kinship terminology that was inherited from Proto-Indo-European indicates that the family was patrilineate, that is, the system was of the Omaha type. The terms for the nuclear family are well attested, as illustrated here with representatives from Gothic, Old Norse and Old English. They indicate that the family system reflected in the terms of the parent language was maintained through the Germanic period to the early dialects. But additional terms, especially in Gothic, suggest that modifications were being introduced in the system.
As demonstrated by Go. heiwa-frauja 'master of the family', the father was head of the family: Go. fadar, ON faðir, OE fæder, cf. Skt pitár-. The reflex of the Indo-European term for the mother is not attested in Gothic, though it is the term in the other dialects: ON mōðr, OE mōdor, cf. Skt mātār-. The term for son is well attested in all the dialects: Go. sunus, ON sunr, OE sunu, cf. Skt sūnú-; and similarly the term for daughter: Go. dauhtar, ON dōttir, OE dohtor, cf. Skt duhitár-, as well as the term for brother, except in Gothic: ON brōðir, OE brōðor, cf. Skt bhrāta-, and for sister: Go. swistar, ON syster, OE sweostor, cf. Skt svasar-.
Terms for father's brother, comparable to the term for 'father', are attested in West Germanic dialects: OE fædera, OHG fatureo, cf. Skt pítṛvyas 'uncle' and OE faðu 'aunt'. The terms for nephew and niece, though not attested in Gothic, are well attested in the other dialects: ON nefe, OE nefa, OHG nevo, cf. Skt nápāt 'nephew' and ON nipt, OE nift, OHG nift, cf. Skt naptī 'niece'. Terms have also been maintained for father-in-law: OSwed. svēr, OE swehor, OHG swehur, cf. Skt Śvaśuras, and for mother-in-law: Go. swaihra, ON sværa, OE sweger, OHG svigur, cf. Skt śvaśruṣ. Reflexes of the Proto-Indo-European term *awos for grandfather are attested, though as in Lat. avus 'grandfather, uncle' also with other meanings, as in ON afi 'grandfather', OE ēam, OHG ōheim < WGmc awa-haima- 'uncle'; cf. also Gothic dative singular awon 'grandmother'.
In addition to these terms, a number of parallel terms are attested that have raised questions regarding their origin and also possible modifications in the family structure during the Germanic period. Among these is the word for mother that replaced the Indo-European term in Gothic: aiþei, attested also in ON eiða, MHG eide. It may well be related to the word for oath, Go. aiþs, ON eiðr, OE āþ 'oath', which has been assumed to be borrowed from Celtic, as in OIr. ōeth. Among assumed reasons for the new word for mother is the introduction of a legal view of the relationship in marriage, possibly through Celtic influence.
While such an explanation is theoretical, terms for master and mistress of the household were introduced beside the relationship terms, as in Go. gardawaldands 'master over the household', heiwa-frauja 'master of the family', in addition to the simple terms: OHG hī(w)o 'husband', hī(w)a 'spouse'; ON hȳski, OHG hīwiski 'household, family'. Among other terms based on PGmc hīwa- 'member of a family', are OE hī-red, MHG hī-rat, NHG Heirat 'marriage'. Unlike the kinship terms, which refer to lineal relationships, these terms have a legal basis, from which we may conclude that marriage had become formalized in Germanic society.
Terms associated with aiþei with an implied relationship through marriage include Go. megs 'son-in-law' and, in the other dialects, a male related through marriage: ON māgr, OHG māg. The implication has increased interest because, when Mary addressed her son Jesus in Luke 2:48, rather than sunus she used the term magus, the term also used for a servant, as in ON mǫgr, OE mago, OS magu, OHG maga-. The cognates for girl have a similar connotation, as in Go. mawi, ON mær, OE meowle. The terms have derivatives, such as Go. magula 'little son', Go. mawilo 'little/dear girl', and also a compound in the Beowulf 2931 gomela iōmēowlan 'aged woman'. It is assumed that these terms were introduced into Germanic from Celtic with the aim of distinguishing the sons and daughters of the immediate family from those of servants. They have no ready Indo-European etymology. Among suggestions on their origin is an unidentified matriarchal society because of the implications noted for the first terms exemplified in this paragraph.
Whatever the source of the additional terms, we can conclude that the family rather than a larger political unit was the basic social group. The basic ties of an individual were to his family, in which he was completely acceptable: Go. frijonds, ON frændr, OE frēond, OHG friunt. A member who had not transgressed against the rules of the household was in good standing: ON hýrr, OE hēore, MHG gehiure, Go. *-hiuri 'friendly'. And transgressors owed some form of recompense: ON bōt, OE bōt, OHG buoz 'compensation'. If the transgressor failed to provide recompense, a sanction was imposed on him, the most serious of which was expulsion from the family. The expelled member was regarded as an outlaw or a wolf: ON vargr, cf. OE wearh, OHG warg 'villain', and he might be freely killed.

6.3. The Household

Tacitus in chapter 16 of his Germania informs us that the Germans did not form villages but rather lived in isolated homesteads. The terminology for dwellings bears this out. The general term ON heimr, OE hām, OHG heim means house or home. It is found only in the accusative plural in Gothic, where haimos in Matthew 9:35 translates the Greek word for village, and in Mark 5:14 the word for country; its two compounds in Gothic, both also in the plural, are translated home: afhaimjai 'away from home' and anahaimjaim 'at home'. Derived from the same root PIE key- 'lie', as is also Go. heiwa- cited above, it has no direct etymon in the parent language, but it is related to OIr. cōim 'dear', Latvian sàime 'family'. Similarly Go. þaurp 'land, lived-on property' is the translation for Gk agrós 'land', much like ON þorp 'farm, estate'; only in the later West Germanic texts does its cognate mean 'village' as in OE þorp, OHG dorf. Go. weihs 'village' similarly translates agrós. To translate the Gk pólis 'city' a word of uncertain origin is used, Go. baurgs; it is also used to translate Gk báris 'tower', comparable in this use to ON borg 'height, wall, castle, city', and OE, OHG burg 'fortified place, castle, city'.
Tacitus' account of isolated houses rather than villages is also supported by the term ON tūn, OE tūn 'farmstead' that in OHG zūn has maintained the earlier meaning 'fence, hedge'. Similarly, Go. gards 'house' with the related verb *bi-gaírdan 'gird' apparently refers to a building on fenced property, as supported by ON garðr 'hedge, garden, court' and OE geard, OS gard 'enclosure'. A new formation in Old Norse, Old English and Old High German, hūs, cf. Go. gud-hūsa 'temple', is obscure in origin, but if derived from PIE kewH-, kū- 'cover' it also indicates a humble building. This statement is supported by the meanings of ON salr 'house, room', but 'ground, soil' in the Vǫluspá; cf. also OE sæl, OHG sal 'dwelling, room'. Other terms support Tacitus' report on underground quarters covered with dung for refuge in the winter as well as for a storehouse: ON kofi, OE cofa 'hollow in a rock, room', MHG kobe 'stall', which are cognate with Gk gúpē 'cave, hut'. The relatively large number of terms seems to suggest that new designations were introduced as the type of dwelling was modified from the early one-room house, probably wattled, lacking windows and furniture. When references were made to villages, a term borrowed from Lat. vīcus was introduced, Go. weihs, OE wīc, OHG wīch. Similarly, as noted above, a designation for city was adapted from a term meaning 'tower'.

Anglo-Saxon Armor & Weapons

6.4. Construction

The indication of simple structures is paralleled by the terms for building. Some of these are based on the word for timber: PGmc tem(b)ra-, ON timbra, OE timber, OHG zimber 'building, material', which in turn is based on the Indo-European root *dem- 'join, construct'. Denominative verbs are attested in Go. timbrjan 'build, strengthen', OE timbrian, OHG zimbaren. But the terms for the builder vary, as in Go. timrja, ON trēsmiðr, OE trēowyrhta, OHG zimbarman, suggesting that the process of more complex building developed independently in each of the dialects. Moreover, the absence of a reflex of the Indo-European word for 'carpenter' and 'artisan', as in Skt takṣan, Gk téktōn, we may assume that there was no technical specialist for building but that every householder built his own structures.
Terms for components of buildings also suggest simple construction. The term for wall, Go. -waddjus, ON veggr is based on the reflex of PIE wey- 'turn, bend as in wattling'; from it we may assume that woven reeds were at one time used to produce walls. The term for roof, ON þak, OE þæc, OHG dah suggests a thatch covering. And the door may have been made of wickerwork, as indicated by Go. haurds, ON hurð 'lattice (door)', cf. OHG hurt 'wickerwork'. Although reflexes of the Indo-European word for door, *dhwer-, are found in OE duru and OHG turi, other terms indicate that the door was primitive, such as OE geat 'gate', cf. ON gat 'hole' and ON hlið 'gate', OE hlid, OHG hlit 'cover'. Terms for lock and key vary in the dialects, so that we assume they were introduced only late, like the terms for window: Go. augadauro, ON vindauga, OE eagduru, OHG augtora. Similarly, the words for devices to eliminate smoke vary, as in ON ljōri 'opening in the roof (for light)', later reykberi, ME chimney, OHG scorenstein. A word for 'hearth, fireplace' is not attested in Gothic, but the Old Norse term arinn is cognate with Lat. āra 'altar'; OE heorþ and OHG herd are cognate with Go. haúrja 'burning coals', ON hyrr 'fire'. These support the Roman writers who described the houses of the Germans as simple rectangular, box-like structures, made of wood rather than bricks or stone. There were apparently several such structures on a homestead, as stated above, and it may have been enclosed with a hedge, making it distinct from other homesteads.
The simple dwellings probably had few furnishings, among them seats and tables, for as Tacitus reports in Germania 22: "each has a separate seat and his own table," cf. Go. sitls, OE setl, OHG sedhal 'seat' and Go. stōls, ON stōll, OE stōl, OHG stool 'chair'. The early word for table: Go. biuþs, ON bjōð 'table, bowl', OE bēod, OHG piot, was later replaced to some extent by ON diskr, OE disc, OHG tisc, from Lat. discus. The various terms for bed, as well as their origins, suggest little more than a dug-out place: Go. ligrs, OE leger, OHG legar 'couch, grave', cf. Gk lékhos, and badi, OE bedd, OHG betti and also ON rekkja, sæing.

6.5. Occupations

As we have noted above concerning the words for 'builder', terms for specialized occupations are late, developed in the dialects rather than in Proto-Germanic. At one time a man might be referred to as a worker in the fields, Go. waúrstwja, ON akrmaðr, OE æcerman, OHG accharman. In another reference he might be referred to as a settled landowner: ON bōndi, OE gebūr, OHG gibūro.
The progression to specialization may be illustrated with the word 'smith'; created in Germanic, possibly from reflexes of the Indo-European root smey- 'work with tools', its basic meaning may have been 'producer' — cf. the Gothic verb *ga-smiþon 'produce': Go. -smiþa, ON smiðr, OE smið, OHG smid. It is attested in Gothic only in the word áiza-smiþa 'coppersmith'. As a simplex in Old Norse it means 'worker in wood or metal', but it is also an element of the compound ljōðasmiðr 'song-smith', as of compounds in OE wīgsmið 'battle-smith' and OHG urteilsmid 'judgment-smith'. Such terms were apparently created to suit a given context but may not have survived to later stages of the language.
Terms for tradesman are late. The general term for 'merchant' postdates contacts with Latin: ON kaupmaðr, OE cēapman, OHG koufman. The term for 'shoemaker' is similarly late: ON skōari, OE skohere; the Old High German term sūtāri is based on Lat. sūtor 'shoemaker'. Other terms are based on Celtic, such as those for 'physician': Go. lēkeis, OE læce, OHG lāchi and the refashioned ON læknare, cf. OIr. liaig 'physician'. Celtic was the source for terms referring to wider authority than that of the father, such as Go. reiki, ON rīke, OE rīce, OHG rīhhi for a man in authority, and similarly for his sphere of influence, as in Gothic dative singular reikistin, ON rīke, OE rīce, OHG rīhhe, cf. OIr. rī, rīg 'king'. Similarly, the terms for servant, Go. ambahti, OE ambeht, OHG ambaht, ON ambātt 'maid', cf. Gaul. ambactus 'servant'. We may also assume that legal arrangements for inheritance were late; the term for it, as well as those for 'heir', is apparently based on Celtic, cf. OIr. orbe: Go. arbi 'inheritance', ON Runic arbija, OE ierfe, OHG arbi; ON arfr, OE eafora, OHG erpo 'heir'. As noted before, the Germans were influenced by the Celts as early as 800 B.C.; if Proto-Germanic terms had existed previously for occupations and situations treated here, we have no direct evidence.

6.6. The Economy

6.6.1. The Numerals


The numerals that can be reconstructed for Proto-Germanic provide some insight into the economy of the period. As the lists below indicate, the cardinal numerals from one to ten can readily be reconstructed. Those for eleven and twelve, as illustrated by the Gothic forms ainlif and twalif, are comparable to those in Lithuanian: venúolika and dvýlika, literally 'one/two left over'; they are clearly innovations in these two dialects. The remainder of the teen numerals as well as those to sixty may well only be innovations in Germanic, e.g. Gothic fimftaíhun 'fifteen' and fimf tigjus 'fifty'. This pattern for the decades was continued in Old Norse, e.g. ellefo tiger 'one hundred and ten'. But for one hundred and twenty, Old Norse has the form hundraþ, making use of hund, which is the basis of the numerals in the other dialects, e.g. Go. taíhuntēhund, OE hund tēontig, OHG zehanzo 'one hundred and twenty'. We may conclude that the Germanic speakers maintained the simple economy of the Indo-European culture for some time, but gradually expanded it, leading also to expansion of the numeral system.
To illustrate the conservatism of the lower numerals, forms from other dialects are given, as for 'four' and 'five', to provide evidence on the position of the accent, which enabled application of Verner's Law. For Germanic, only forms of the masculine are given for the numerals 'two' and 'three'. Details on the development of the individual forms are left to the grammar of the dialects.

PIE  Lat/Gk/Skt  PGmc  Go.  ON  OE  OHG
1oinosLat. ūnusainsainseinnānein
2dwo-Gk δύotwa-twaitveirtwēgenzwēne
3treiesSkt tráyasþreisþreisþrírþrīdrī
4kwetwōrLat. quattuorfidwōrfidwōrfiōrerfēowerfior
5penkweGk πέντεfimffimffimmfīffimf
6seksLat. sexsehssaíhssexsiexsehs
7septmLat. septemsibunsibunsiauseofonsibun
8oktōLat. octōahtoahtáuāttaeahtaahto
9newnLat. novemniunniunníonigonniun
10dékmLat. decemtehantaíhuntíotīenzehan

The ordinal numerals are for the most part based on the cardinals, and consequently provide no additional information on Germanic culture.

6.6.2. The Way of Life of the Germanic Peoples
In keeping with the statements of Roman overseers about the life of the Germans, they had terms for the common animals that were continued from Proto-Indo-European, as representative terms in the dialects and their Indo-European etymon indicate, e.g.:
  • ON kȳr, OE , cf. cow, OHG kuo, PIE gwōus 'cow';
  • ON ær, OE ēowu, cf. ewe, OHG ou(wi), PIE owys 'sheep';
  • ON sȳr, OE , cf. sow, OHG , PIE sūs 'pig';
  • Go. swein, ON svīn, OE swīn, cf. swine, OHG swīn, PIE swīnos 'pig', cf. sūs;
  • Go. aihʷa-, ON jór, OE eoh, OHG ehu-, PIE ékwos 'horse';
  • Go. gaits, ON geit, OE gāt, cf. goat, OHG geiz, PIE ghaydos 'goat';
    Reconstructed Ancient Village of Hedeby
  • Go. hunds, ON hundr, OE hund, cf. hound, OHG hunt, PIE kwōn 'dog'.
But the presence of these names may not indicate that herds or flocks were kept, even though the word for property was maintained: Go. faíhu, ON , OE feoh, cf. fee, OHG fihu. Evidence to the contrary may be preserved in the different forms for a herd of sheep that are attested in the various dialects, for these suggest independent developments in the several dialects: Go. awēþi, OE ēowde, OHG owiti, ewit. It is also curious that these words and others have a final dental, which may have a collective meaning; among the others is the word for dog, and also those for deer: ON hiǫrtr, OE heorot, OHG hiruz and for horned animal: OE hrīðer, OHG hrind.
Among the most interesting of the words with such a dental suffix is that for salt: Go. salt, ON salt, OE sealt, the suffix is lacking in other dialects, cf. Gk háls, halós, Lat. sal, Toch. A sāle, OCS sol. A cognate is lacking in Indo-Iranian, suggesting that the term was taken into these languages after the speakers of Indo-Iranian had separated from them. Archeologists have determined that the last millennium before our era was a time of economic expansion centering on development of metals such as iron and on the use of salt. The source of the dental suffix has not been identified, though it has been tentatively ascribed to Illyrian on the basis of the tribal name Soudinoi, which is connected with *sūs 'pig'. But little is known of this group other than its location in the Soúdēta, that is the Harz mountains of southern Germany and the neighboring area.
Southern Sweden, Scania
As metals came to be used, so apparently was the lost wax process of casting, in which a wax model is melted out from a mould to be replaced by bronze. Terms for bees, wax, and honey that have no secure Indo-European etymon were added to the Germanic vocabulary at this time. These include the word for bee: ON , OE bēo, OHG bīo; the word for swarm of bees: OE ymbe, OHG imbi; the word for wax: ON vax, OE weax, OHG wahs; the word for honey: ON hunang, OE hunigk OHG hona(n)g. Gothic has a word for honey, miliþ, that has been derived from Indo-European, although the original word was apparently *medhu, as in Skt mádhu 'honey' and Gk méthu 'wine' (Lehmann 1986:255-256); the Gothic word has parallels in Gk méli and Lat. mel as well as adjectival reflexes in the other Germanic dialects, so that the modified form has been assumed to have been introduced into the western dialects. Efforts have been made to determine Indo-European sources for these, such as Pokorny's relation of the word for wax to the Indo-European root *weg- 'weave'; but it is the only derivation from the root with an -s- formant, and the meaning is difficult to justify with regard to that of the root. Whether or not such efforts to determine their sources are accepted, the Germanic words were most likely added in the first millennium before our era. They then reflect the gradual shift from an economy based on a hunting-gathering culture to one of increasing settlements with domestic animals and more complex technology.

6.7. The Plant World

Haithabu Scenery
In view of the close association of the Germans with nature, a large set of names for plants and their products may be expected. Among the several names for tree is ON tré, OE trēo(w), and OS treo; the Gothic cognate is attested in weina-triu 'vine' and suggests that the word may have implied a smaller tree, or even a branch of wood as by its cognate Gk dóru. The Gothic word for tree, bagms, has varied cognates in the other dialects, such as ON baðmr, OE bēam, OHG boum; these have been accounted for in various ways, such as modification of the -g- to ð in Old Norse and its loss in the other dialects. A further word, ON viðr, OE widu, wudu, OHG witu has been explained as indicating trees that provide a boundary, supported by assumption of its derivation from PIE widh- 'separate'.
The word for root is well attested, as by Go. waurts, ON ort, OE wyrt, OHG wurz. The Gothic word for branch asts has cognates only in OS and OHG ast. The Old Norse word for straw, halmr, has cognates in OE healm and in OHG halm.
In view of this relatively large set of words referring to trees, and of their attestation in many dialects, we assume that earlier forms of their names existed already in Proto-Germanic and that its speakers were closely involved with trees and their products. The trees in the areas inhabited by Germanic speakers as well as those of Proto-Indo-European have been admirably documented by Friedrich (1970). The names will be briefly noted here.
Among the earliest to become widespread after the recession of the glaciers is the birch: ON bjǫrk, OE beorc, OHG birka. The name is also attested in other dialects, as in Skt bhūrja-, and in Lithuanian terms such as bìrštva 'birch forest'.
Gallehus-Horns with Runes
Another early tree is the pine, to which a number of names were given, probably for different varieties. A term that is well attested is ON fura, fūra, OE furhwudu, OS furia, OHG fur(a)ha, so that an etymon is assumed for Proto-Germanic. If the first syllable of Go. faírguni 'mountain' is related, as by some scholars, the term also has a representative in Gothic, but the source of faír- is among the most disputed in the older language (cf. Lehmann 1986:104-105 and Friedrich 1970:133-140). A cognate is assumed in the first syllable of OHG fereh-eih, the word for a specific kind of oak tree. Other cognates are assumed in the Latin word for oak: quercus and in the first syllable of the Celtic name of the Hercynian forest, which then may have been an oak forest.
A general Germanic word for the oak tree is attested in ON eik, OE āk, OHG eih(ha); it is assumed to have been applied to a variety of the oak tree in the mountains but then generalized.
One term for the maple is based on the root *kel-; it has various suffixes, such as -n- in OHG līn-boum, ON hlynr and OE hlyn. A different term is found in Danish ær corresponding to Lat. acer, and to an adjectival formation in OHG ahorn.
The word for aspen is attested in OE æspe, OHG aspa, which is assumed to be metathesized from the Indo-European form that has reflexes in OPruss. abse and Lett. apse.
One term for elm is OE wīce, cf. NLG wīke; it is also attested in western Indo-European dialects and has an -n- infix in Lith. vìnkšna. A second term is attested in Italic and Celtic, e.g. OIr. lem, as well as in Germanic, where it has a variety of vowels, as in ON almr, OE ulmtrēow, and MHG ilm.
Several names were given to the willow, one based on its sheen: ON selja, OE sealh, OHG salaha and its adjectival cognate salo 'gray'. The OHG falawa is related to OHG falo 'fallow'. ON vīðir, OE wīþig, OHG wīda on the other hand are based on the root *wey- 'weave', reflecting one of the uses of its branches.
These are the names for the earliest trees that in Specht's view came to be introduced after the receding of the glaciers, so that there are terms for them in representative Indo-European dialects. To them he adds terms for the apple and nut trees. Those for apple are attested in Crimean Gothic apel, ON epli, OE æppel, OHG apful, cf. OIr. aball; the more specific terms for the apple tree are attested in ON apuldr, OE apuldr, OHG apholtra. The apple has further interest because Tacitus in his Germania stated that the food of the Germans consisted primarily of wild apples — agrestia poma — fresh venison, and curdled milk.
The terms for nut and the tree: ON hnot, OE hnute, OHG hnuz have been the subject of dispute: a likely cognate, though with a different suffix, is found in Lat. nux. Citing Middle Irish cnú, Specht assumed that Latin and Germanic have the same root with different suffixes. In any event, etyma for the terms cannot be found in Proto-Indo-European.
Two other trees, the beech and the yew, as well as their names are clearly later, as indicated by their forms as well as by archeological evidence. The names for the beech belong to the -o/ā- stems, Go. bōka, ON bōk, OE bōc, OHG buocha; often considered to provide evidence that the home of the Indo-Europeans was in North Europe, because of its distribution west of a line extending from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, it no longer is credited for such an argument because cognates refer to different trees, e.g. Gk phēgós 'oak'. The names for the yew are reflexes of PGmc īwa-: ON ȳr, OE īw, OHG ēow. Cognates in other dialects refer to different trees, e.g. Russian iva 'willow', so that the name cannot go back to Proto-Indo-European for the yew; it is assumed that the basis may have been a color term because it is the term for alders in Lithuanian.

While cognates of terms for trees can at least be noted in adjacent dialects, those for the cultivated plants have characteristic forms in Germanic. Oats is generally assumed to be the earliest cultivated grain. The term in Old High German and Old Saxon, gersta, differs in vocalism from Lat. hordeum and even more so from Gk krī́thē; it also refers to barley. We may conclude that there was no continuity among the Germanic speakers from the period of Proto-Indo-European in sowing and reaping the grain. The current German word, Hafer, is a recent borrowing from Low German; it contrasts with OHG habaro. The Old English word barley, OFris. ber, is cognate with ON barr 'grain' and also with the Go. adjective bareinans ('prepared of barley';; the Latin cognate far refers to spelt, Russian bor to millet. The word for wheat is attested in all the Germanic dialects: Go. hʷaiteis, ON hveiti, OE hwǣte, OHG (h)weizi; it was apparently coined in Proto-Germanic to distinguish the whitish grain from the others. In noting the variations in the references of the names of grains, we may assume that they existed in late Proto-Germanic, and that the speakers were acquainted with the plants at the time, but as Caesar and Tacitus imply they did not cultivate them.
Words for flower (Go. blōma, ON blōmi, OHG bluoma, but not attested in Old English), seed (OHG sāmo), and bud (OHG kīmo) were apparently coined in late Proto-Germanic or even in the early dialects from verbs, cf. OE blōwan, OE sāen, Gothic keinan. Another word for seed, ON sāð, OE sǣd, OHG sāt, is found also in Go. manna-seþs 'mankind'. Earlier forms of bud, and cognates, are attested only in the medieval period. Like the words for grains, they seem to have been coined either in late Proto-Germanic or the dialects.
Similarly, words for small plants are unclear in etymology, such as Gothic gras, Old Norse gras, Old English græs, Old High German gras. The same is true of the words for moss, Old Norse mōsi, Old English mos; cf. also Old High German mīos, Old English mēos. Similarly the etymology of the word for reed is unclear: Gothic ráus, Old English reyrr, also hrēod, Old High German rōr.
The variations among these words and difficulties with their etymologies support the characterization of Caesar and Tacitus that agriculture was not practiced by the Germanic speakers even after the beginning of our era. Only when a characteristic word like that for wheat, or when specific trees were identified for definite uses, do we have reliable evidence that the term in question may be credited to Proto-Germanic.

6.8. Nature

Rural Jutland
The terms for the prominent items of nature directly reflect those of Proto-Indo-European, although like the word for sun they may have undergone various changes; these may be examined in etymological dictionaries. The word for the sun is represented by Go. sauil, ON sōl, OE sygil, Runic sugil, which have cognates in many dialects, e.g. Lat. sōl. An alternate form, Go. sunno, ON sunna, OE sunne, OHG sunna is assumed to reflect an earlier l/n stem.
The Gothic word for moon, mēna, is comparable to Gk mḗnē, but that in the other dialects varies in form: ON māni, OE mōna, OHG māno. A derivative in Proto-Indo-European from the root *mē- 'measure', it was also used in the early languages as the basis of the word for month; but in Germanic an extended form took over this meaning, e.g. Go. mēnōþs, ON mānaðr, OE mōnaþ, OHG mānōd. The word for star also continues the Indo-European base, but with an added suffix, as in Go. stairno, ON stjarna, OE steorra, OHG stern, sterr, cf. Avestan star-; the -rr- forms are accounted for by assimilation.
The word for light is based on PIE *leuk-, but differs in suffixation in the Germanic dialects as also elsewhere, as in the forms: Go. liuhaþ, ON ljōs, OE leoht, OHG lioht, but also ON ljōmi, OE lēoma. There is one word for day throughout Germanic: Go. dags, ON dagr, OE dæg, OHG tag; it then can be reconstructed for Proto-Germanic as daga-, but has no cognates elsewhere. It is probably a development from PIE dhegʷh- 'burn'.
The word for darkness, Go. riqiz, ON røkkr has cognates in other Indo-European dialects, e.g. Skt rájas 'dust', but not in the West Germanic dialects, which have words of uncertain origin like OE deorc and OHG tunkal. The word for night is found in all the Germanic dialects: Go. nahts, ON nátt, OE niht, OHG naht, as well as widely elsewhere, usually without the t-suffix in the nominative, e.g. Skt nak, Lat. nox.
Scanian Woods
The word for year is found in all the Germanic dialects: Go. jēr, ON ār, OE gēar, OHG jār, as well as in other dialects, but with ō-grade, as in Gk hôros. But the words for the seasons are less general. That for winter is newly introduced in Germanic from a root indicating the wet season: Go. wintrus, ON vetr, OE winter, OHG wintar. The word for summer is attested in ON sumar, OE summer, and OHG sumar; it has a cognate in Armenian amar̃n. But words for the other seasons are not general. For example, OE hærfest and OHG herbist are based on a root indicating 'reap', while NE fall refers to another aspect of the season. By contrast the English word spring indicates the emerging of plants, while NHG Frühling (early season) has much the same connotation.
Two words for 'water' are found in the Indo-European dialects: Hittite watar, an r/n stem with variant nominative forms, e.g. Go. watō, ON vatn, OE wæter, OHG wazzar; and Latin aqua with cognates elsewhere. The words for fire are highly interesting, as noted in section 3.A.1, because two are attested in the dialects: one originally indicating active fire, as in Lat. ignis, Skt Agnís '(god of) fire'; and the other a neuter indicating fire as a state, as in Hittite pahhur, Gk pũr, and Go. fon, ON funi, OE fỹr, OHG fiur. As contrasting terms, they are residues of the time when Indo-European was an Active/Stative language. The word for snow is also general, although strongly modified in Greek, accusative singular nípha, Lat. nix from the reconstructed PIE snoigʷhos: Go. snáiws, ON snær, OE snāw, OHG snēo.
Still other words for natural objects might be cited, like those for stone and sand, but those noted here provide excellent examples of names that have survived from Proto-Indo-European, though often with modifications in the forms generalized in the various dialects. Nonetheless the variation in inflection among them is obvious. These have led to the view that the Indo-Europeans viewed themselves as the center of all objects in space (Specht, 1947:10, 334 ff.). Such a position is unusual for a linguist, if of interest. We would be more inclined to the view that these words are maintained from the time when there was no inflection so that they consisted of roots or bases. Then suffixes may have been added in accordance with classes, such as -r to indicate non-humans. And in time inflections were introduced to mark syntactic relationships, as in Proto-Indo-European.

6.9. Words for Transportation

Proto-Germanic Homeland, Scania

The words for transportation have been of great interest for their implications on the spread of the Indo-Europeans. They center about the wagon and the horse. Because extended travel was difficult without wagons with wheels, the terms for wheel have been thoroughly examined for possible indications of the time of the spread. One of these is the PIE kʷekʷlós as in Gk kúklos, Skt cakrás, ON hvēl, OE hwēol, hweowol, based on PIE kʷel- 'drive'. Another is Lat. rota, Ir. roth, ON rath, OHG rad, based on PIE ret(h)- 'roll', from which Skt rátha- 'wagon' is also derived. While these are based on roots, as illustrated, they inflect according to the thematic declension, and accordingly it is difficult to state that they are early.
The same is true of the words for wagon, ON vagn, OE wægn, OHG wagan, and Skt vahana 'vehicle, which are based on the root PIE wegh- 'move' and of the words for yoke, Go. juk, ON ok, OE geoc, OHG joh, cf. Skt yugá-, Lat. jugum, which are based on PIE yeug-. Other words for parts of the wagon have been transferred from items or processes, such as the nave of a wheel from navel and the axle, originally the designation of the shoulder. The terminology for the primary means of transportation then reflects a late Indo-European period. In his massive study of the names of wheeled vehicles and of the horse, Ivanov places it at the beginning of the third millennium B.C. (1999:167-236).
Misty Scanian Road
The name of the horse he associates with its domestication. It was long hunted for food, but on the basis of archeological finds it is assumed that domestication should not be dated before the early third millennium. The widespread term in the Indo-European dialects, as in Gk híppos, Lat. equus, is attested in ON iōr, OE eoh, and in the name of a thistle in Go. aihʷa-tundi. Names like horse or NHG Pferd that were later introduced do not concern us here. The presence of reflexes of the standard Indo-European name, however, indicates that it was taken into Proto-Germanic at an early stage, at a time when its speakers were still located in the assumed center in southern Russia and the Ukraine.
With their implications concerning the settlement of the Germanic peoples in northern Europe, the names for transportation and its means accordingly have special importance in providing clues on Germanic culture and its development.

6.10. Conclusions on the Bearing of the Semantic Structure of PGmc
for Evidence on the Culture of the Speakers

From the semantic system that we can reconstruct for Proto-Germanic, we assume that the speakers maintained an advanced form of a culture stressing the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The terminology for the household suggests simple wooden dwellings. These consisted of a habitation for humans as well as sites for storage; any structure for cattle may have been incorporated in the human household. They may well have been surrounded by some sort of fences or hedges.
Typical Rural Scanian Landscape
The households were apparently inhabited by individual families, with alignment in clans and tribes but without any more general political units. The terms for occupations indicate prevalence for hunting. But the homesteads also kept domesticated animals, certainly cattle and sheep, and possibly also pigs. Horses were probably also included, though transportation with wagons may have relied heavily on oxen. Among plants and trees, oats may have been cultivated, but the people relied on wild apples for fruit, as Tacitus reports, and other foods such as nuts may also have been gathered.
As the speakers came in contact with other cultures they adopted advanced forms of weapons and, later, modifications in their religion. The adoption of iron as they came in contact with Celtic speakers must have provided greatly improved weapons and tools. The identification of their native gods with those of the Romans, as still apparent in names of the week like Wednesday corresponding to Mercury's day, implies modifications in worship. By the time of the translation of the Bible into Gothic, their culture and the lexicon to represent it no longer reflected the culture and lexicon that we reconstruct for the Proto-Germanic period.


7.1. Gothic

Germanic Homeland, Scania
The oldest Germanic text, except for a few runes some of which have been included in the body of this grammar, is Wulfila's translation of the Bible into Gothic. Little is known about him; his tentative dates are 311-383. When he was about twenty-one he went to Constantinople to study, and at the age of thirty was consecrated first bishop of the Goths north of the Danube. During his work in what is now Bulgaria, in the fourth century A.D., he carried out the translation, presumably with the help of others. The chief parts of the text that have survived were written in northern Italy in the early sixth century on purple parchment with silver ink. The manuscript, now in the University of Uppsala library, is referred to as the Codex Argenteus.
The selection presented here is Luke 2:1-7, chosen because it is a narrative and also because there are analogues in the other dialects. It is taken from the standard edition of Die gotische Bibel (Streitberg, 1971). The text is so similar to the King James version that analysis of each word seems unnecessary. Only less identifiable words are glossed, as also in the other texts included. To illustrate the closeness to the original, the first verse of the Greek text is given here; as chief difference, there are no articles in the Gothic text.
Heart of the Proto-Germanic Homelands
Egéneto dè en taîs hēmérais ekeínais eksêlthen dógma parà kaísaros Augoústou apográphesthai pâsan tḕn oikouménēn.
1. Warþ þan in dagans jainans, urrann gagrefts from kaisara Agustau, gameljan allana midjungard. 2. soh þan gilstrameleins frumista warþ at [wisandin kindina Swriais] raginondin Saurim Kwreinaiau. 3. jah iddjedun allai, ei melidai weseina, hʷarjizuh in seinai baurg. 4. Urrann þan jah Iosef us Galeilaia, us baurg Nazaraiþ, in Iudaian, in baurg Daweidis sei haitada Beþla<i>haim, duþe ei was us garda fadreinais Daweidis, 5. anameljan miþ Mariin sei in fragiftim was imma qeins, wisandein inkilþon. 6. warþ þan, miþþanei þo wesun jainar, usfullnodedun dagos du bairan izai. 7. Jah gabar sunu seinana þana frumabaur jah biwand ina jah galagida ina in uzetin, unte ni was im rumis in stada þamma.
Glosses: 1. gagrefts 'decree', gameljan 'write down, enroll', midjungards 'middle-house/family, world'; 2. gilstrameleins 'enrollment', kindina 'governor', raginon 'govern'; 3. iddja, pret. of gangan 'go', hwarjizuh 'everyone', baurg 'city, town'; 4. haitan 'call, be called', duþe 'because', fadrein 'descent, race'; 5. fragifts 'gift, betrothal', qeins 'woman', inkilþo 'pregnant'; 6. miþþanei 'while, as', jainar 'there', usfulljan 'fulfill', bairan 'bear, give birth'; 7. frumabaur 'first born', biwindan 'wrapped', uzeta 'manger', staþs 'place'.

7.2. Old English

The Old English translation was produced several centuries later by unknown scholars. The text here is based on Liuzza (1994, pp. 101-102).
1. Sōþlīce on þām dagum wæs geworden gebod fram þām Cāsere Augusto, þæt eall ymbehwyrft wǣre tōmearcod; 2. þēos tōmeardones wæs ǣrest geworden from þām dēman Syrige Cirino, 3. and ealle hig ēodon and syndrie ferdon en hyre ceastre. 4. Ðā ferde Iosep fram Galilea of þǣre ceastre Nazareth on Iudēisce ceastre Davides, sēo is genemned Bethleem forþam þe he wæs of Dauides hūse and hirede. 5. þæt he ferde mid Marian þē him bewedded wæs and wæs geēacnod. 6. Sōðlīce wæs geworden þā hī þar wǣron hire dagas wǣron gefyllede þæt hēo cende. 7. and hēo cende hyre frumcennedan sunu and hine mid cildeclāþun bewand and hine on binne alede forþam þe hig nǣfdon rūm on cumena hūse.
Glosses: 1. sōþlīce 'truly, verily' (the adverb commonly used to correspond to introductory phrases in the Greek, such as egéneto dè 'it happened'; here the King James version used 'and it came to pass'; in verse 6 it used 'and so it was'; in verse 16 the pattern of 1 was used again), gebod 'command', ymbehwyrft 'about + circuit, world', tōmearcian 'mark out, count'. 2. dēma 'judge'; 3. ēodon, cf. Gothic iddja; past of gān 'go', syndrie 'individuals'; feran 'go, travel', ceaster 'fort, town, city'. 4. nemnan 'name', forþam þe 'because', hired 'family, household'. 5. ēacnian 'increase, be pregnant'. 6. ge-fyllan 'fill, fulfil', cennan 'bring forth, give birth'. 7. frumcenned 'first born', cildclāþ 'child-clothing', bewindan 'surround, wrap', binn 'manger', nǣfdon (negative ne- + habban) 'not have', rūm 'space, room', cumen 'traveler'.

7.3. Old Saxon

Frankish Warrior
Rather than a translation of Luke 2:1-7, the corresponding part of a long poem, the Heliand, is given here. The author is unknown. The poem is assumed to have been written between 814 and 840 by a poet who knew the Old English Bible translations. As is readily evident, the alliterative verse is loose, though observed in its essentials. In view of the expansive presentation, selected lines of the poem rather than a continuous passage are included here.
339-42Thô warð fon Rûmuburg     rîkes mannes
obar alla thesa irminthiod     Octauiânas
ban endi bodskepi      obar thea is brêdon giuuald
cumin fon themu kêsure     cuningo gihuilicun,
hêmsitteandiun,     sô uuîdo sô is heritogon
obar al that landskepi     liudio giuueldun,
345Hiet man that alla thes elilendiun man    iro ôðil sôhton,
356b-61a                            Thô giuuêt im ôc mid is hîuuisca
Ioseph the gôdo,      sô it god mahtig,
uualdand uuelda;     sôhta im thiu uuânamon hêm,
thea burg an Bethleem,    thar iro beiðero uuas,
thes heliðes handmahal     endi ôc thea hêlagun thiornun,
Marian thera gôðun.           ...
369-70that iru an them sîða   sunu ōðan warð,
giboran an Bethleem    barno strangost,
378b-82a                                Thô ina thiu môðar nam,
biuuand ina mid uuâdiu     uuîbo scôniost,
fagaron fratahun,     endi ina mid iro folmon tuêem
legda lioflîco    luttilna man,
that kind an êna cribbiun.

Glosses: 339 rîki 'mighty'; 340 irmin-thiod 'human-folk, people'; 341 ban 'command', bodskepi 'message', giuuald '(power), empire'; 342 gihuilik '(to) each'; 343 hêm-sittiand 'prince', heritogo 'ruler'; 344 landskepi 'empire', giuualdan 'rule'; 345 hêtan 'command', elilendi 'foreign, away from home', ôðil 'homeland', sôkian 'seek'; 356 gi-wîtan 'set out', hîwiski 'family'; 358 willian 'wish'; sôkian 'seek', wânam 'beautiful', hêm 'homeland'; 359 bêðie 'both'; 360 helið 'man, hero', hand-mahal 'homeland', thiorna 'virgin, maiden'; 369 sîð 'journey', ôðan 'granted, bestowed'; 370 strang 'powerful, mighty'; 378 niman 'take, accept'; 379 bi-windan 'wrap', wâd 'clothes', wîf 'woman, wife', skôni 'beautiful'; 380 fagar 'beautiful, charming', frataha 'adornment, attire', folmos 'arms', twêne 'two'; 381 leggian 'lay', lioflîco 'lovely'; 382 ên 'a', kribbia 'crib'.

7.4. Old High German

Runestone from Gotland
The Old High German passage is from a gospel harmony ascribed to Tatian, a Syrian scholar of the second century A.D. The Latin was found and revised by Bishop Victor of Capua in the sixth century. The German translator is unknown. There are several manuscripts, the most reliable of which is dated to the second half of the ninth century and is in the library at St. Gall. The second chapter of Luke is located after the first chapter of Matthew, and followed in turn by the second chapter of Matthew.
To illustrate the closeness of the Old High German text to the original, the first three verses of the Latin text are given here. The Latin uses the phrase factum est for introducing episodes, as the Old English does sôþlîce and the Greek egéneto, often followed by . The King James translators reproduced the Greek with 'and it came to pass' or with an expression more like the Latin 'and so it was'.
Factum est autem in diebus illis, exit edictum a Cesare Augusto, ut decriberetur universus orbis. Hæc descriptio prima facta est a praeside Syriæ Cyrino, et ibant omnes ut profiterentur singuli in suam civitatem.
1. Uuard thô gitân in then tagun, framquam gibot fon ðemo aluualten keisure, thaz gibrieuit vvurdi al these umbiuuerft. 2. Thaz giscrib zi êristen uuard gitan in Syriu fon ðemo grauen Cyrine, 3. inti fuorun alle, thaz biiâhin thionost iogiuuelih in sinero burgi. 4. Fuor thô Ioseph fon Galileu fon thero burgi thiu hiez Nazareth in Iudeno lant inti in Dauides burg, thiu uuas ginemnit Bethleem, bithiu uuanta her uuas fon huse inti fon hiuuiske Dauides, 5. thaz her giiahi saman mit Mariun imo gimahaltero gimahhun sô scaffaneru. 6. Thô sie thar uuarun, vvurðun taga gifulte, thaz siu bari, 7. enti gibar ira sun êrist-giboranon inti biuuant inan mit tuochum inti gilegita inan in crippea, bithiu uuanta im ni uuas ander stat in themu gasthuse.
Glosses: 1. tuon 'do' (it was done/carried out), fram-queman 'come from', gibot 'command', aluualtan 'govern all', gebrieven 'record', umbiuuerft 'orb, world'; 2. giscrib 'recording'; 3. bi-jehan 'state, assert', thionost 'service'; 4. faran 'travel, go', hîuuiski 'family'; 5. gi-jehan 'profess', gi-mahalen 'espouse', gimahha 'spouse', scephen 'create, pregnant'; 6. beran 'bear, give birth'; 7. tuoh 'cloth', bithiu uuanta 'because', stat 'place'.
Luther's translation
Norwegian Stave-church
1. Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit, daβ ein Gebot von Kaiser Augustus ausging, daβ alle Welt geschätzt würde. 2. Und diese Schatzung war die allererste und geschah zu der Zeit, da Cyrenius Landpfleger in Syrien war. 3. Und jedermann ging, daβ er sich schätzen lieβe, ein jeglicher in seine Stadt. 4. Da machte sich auch auf Joseph aus Galiläa, aus der Stadt Nazareth, in das jüdische Land, zur Stadt Davids, die da heiβt Bethlehem, darum, daβ er von dem Hause und Geschlechte Davids war. 5. Auf daβ er sich schätzen lieβe mit Maria, seinem vertrauten Weibe, die war schwanger. 6. Und als sie daselbst waren, kam die Zeit daβ sie gebären sollte. 7. Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn und wickelte ihn in Windeln und legte ihn in eine Krippe; denn sie hatten sonst keinen Raum in der Herberge.

7.5. Old Norse / Icelandic

Ari's little work on the settlement of Iceland, Libellus Islandorum, is among the earliest prose documents in Old Norse; it was written between 1120 and 1133.
Ingólf hét maðr Norrœnn, er sannliga er sagt at fœri first þaðan til İslands, þá er Haraldr inn Hárfagri var xvj vetra gamall, en í annat sinn fám vetrum síðar. Hann bygði suðr í Reykjarvík. Þar er Ingólfhǫfði kallaðr, fyr austan Minþakseyri, sem hann kom first á land; en þar Ingólfsfell fyr vestan Ǫlfossá, er hann lagði sína eigu á síðan. İ þann tíð var İsland viði vaxit í miðli fjalls ok fjǫru.
Winter in Jutland
Þá váru hér menn Kristnir þeir er Norðmenn kalla papa. En þeir fóru síðan á braut, af því at þeir vildu eigi vera hér við heiðna menn, ok létu eptir bœkr İrskar ok bjǫllur ok bagla; af því mátti skilja at þeir váru menn İrskar.
Glosses: heita 'be named', maðr 'man', sannliga 'truly', fara 'go, travel', þaðan 'from there', þá er 'when', Hárfagri 'Fair-haired', vetr 'winter, year', gamall 'old', annar 'another, second', sinn 'time, occasion', fám 'five', byggja 'settle, build', suðr 'south', kalla 'call, name', fyr austan 'east of', sem 'where, as, while', leggja eigu á 'take possession of', síðan 'later', tíð 'time', viðr 'forest, wood', vaxa 'grow', í miðli 'between', fjall 'mountain', fjara 'beach', á braut 'away', af því at 'because', eigi 'not', heiðinn 'heathen', láta eptir 'leave behind', bók 'book', bjalla 'bell', bagall 'crozier', skilja 'determine', İrskr 'Irish'.
Old Icelandic poems provide an indication of Germanic poetry and may have been sung on festive occasions, for which we have an example in Egils saga, when Egil recites a poem honoring his captor, who then releases him. Sections in two stanza types are given here, representing two types of poetry.
The first verse form, the fornyrðislag, is made up of lines comparable to those in epic poems, like Beowulf, but in stanzas consisting of four lines. One of the most prominent poems in this form is the Vǫluspá or Song of the Prophetess on cosmogony, represented here with stanzas 1 and 3:
Hljóðs biðk allar     helgar kinder,          I ask for attention of all  hallowed children,
meiri ok minni   mögu Heimdallar;          the high and the low  Heimdall's children;
vildu at, Valföðr,     vel fyr teljak           you, Valfather,  want that I relate
forn spjöll fira,  þaus fremst of man.       the fates of mankind,   that best I recall.
Ár vas alda     þars Ymir byggði,           It was an ancient time    when Ymir lived,
vasa sandr né sær   né svalar unnir;        there was no land nor sea   nor cool waves,
jörð fansk æva    né upphiminn;             no earth to be found,    nor heaven above;
gap vas Ginnunga, en gras hvergi           it was a formless void,  no grass anywhere.
The second form is the ljóðaháttr, in which the alternate lines contain only three lifts. It is used especially in didactic verse, such as the Hávamál, or sayings of the High One, Odin. Its most frequently cited stanzas may be verses 76 and 77:
Deyr fé,       deyja frændr,        Kine dies,   kinfolk die,
deyr sjalfr hit sama;                 dies just so the soul;
en orðstirr     deyr aldrigi           but glory    never dies
hveims sér góðan getr.              for him who gets good account.
Deyr fé,    deyja frændr,            Kine dies,   kinfolk die,
deyr sjalfr hit sama;                 dies just so the soul;
ek veit einn   at aldri deyr:         I know something   that never dies,
dómr of dauðan hvern.              the judgment on all who are dead.


(Editor's Note: The author's original, unedited bibliography contained errors and was very much incomplete, especially with respect to the sources of [mostly Germanic] texts quoted or referred to in the book. This editor is in the process of reconstructing the bibliography, attempting to (a) correct the existing entries, (b) supply missing entries and, separately, (c) identify the sources for texts. This page includes such reconstructed citations as are currently available; it will be updated, pending future developments. Text sources are cited in a separate appendix [B] as they are identified. The author's introduction, and his bibliography as amended & extended, follows.)
As might be expected of attention to Germanic in the country central to Indo-European linguistics in the 19th and 20th centuries, the German bibliography is enormous; it can be accessed through bibliographical journals like those of the Indogermanische Gesellschaft or the Modern Language Association, as well as in the International Linguistic Bibliography. Early linguistic attention was devoted to phonology and morphology, to the exclusion of most other aspects. Of the four prominent works on Proto-Germanic itself, namely those by Hirt, Kluge, Prokosch, and Streitberg, only Hirt deals with syntax. In addition to these we list, here, only major or distinctive works on the grammar in addition to source cited in the text.

Antonsen, Elmer H. 1975. A Concise Grammar of the Older Runic Inscriptions. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
- - - 2002. Runes and Germanic Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. With copious bibliography.
Austin, William M. 1946. "A Corollary to the Germanic Verschärfung." Language 22:109-111.

Behaghel, Otto, and Burkhard Taeger, eds. 1984. Heliand und Genesis, 9th ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Benediktsson, Jakob. 1968. Íslendingabók. Landnámabók. Reykjavík: Íslenzka Fornritafélag.
Benveniste, Emile. 1935. Origines de la formation des noms en Indo-Européen. Paris: Adrian-Maisonneuve.
Braune, Wilhelm, and Ernst E. Ebbinghaus. 1981. Gotische Grammatik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Braune, Wilhelm, and Hans Eggers. 1987. Althochdeutsche Grammatik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Brugmann, Karl. 1897-1916, 2nd ed. Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen. Vergleichende Laut-, Stammbildungs- und Flexionslehre. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Brunner, Karl. 1965. Altenglische Grammatik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Buck, Carl D. 1949. A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Caesar, Julius. The Gallic War. Trans. by H.J. Edwards. 1917. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Carr, Charles T. 1939. Nominal Compounds in Germanic. London: Oxford University Press.

Delbrück, Berthold. 1897. Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen, Vol. 4 (with Karl Brugmann). Strassburg: Trübner.
Demuth, Katherine et al. 1986. "Niger-Congo Noun Class and Agreement Systems," in Language Acquisition and Historical Change; pp. 453-481 in Noun Classes and Categorization, ed. Colette Craig. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ancient Germanic Goldwork
Demuth, Katherine. 2000. ???

Erdmann, Oskar, and Ludwig Wolff, eds. 1957. Otfrids Evangelienbuch, 3rd ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Friedrich, Paul. 1970. Proto-Indo-European Trees. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gordon, Eric V. 1971. An Introduction to Old Norse, 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon.
Gradon, P. O. E., ed. 1977. Cynewulf's Elene. Exeter: University Press.
Grassmann, Hermann. 1863. Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete des Deutschen, Griechischen und Lateinischen. ???
Grimm, Jacob. 1878-1898 (repr.). Deutsche Grammatik I-IV. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann.

Haugen, Einar. 1950. First Grammatical Treatise. Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America. 2nd revised ed. 1972. London: Longman.
Herodotus. I-IV. 1920. Trans. by A.D. Godley. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Heusler, Andreas. 1920. Altisländisches Elementarbuch, 4th ed. Heidelberg: Winter.
Hirt, Hermann. 1931-34. Handbuch des Urgermanischen, vols. I-III. Heidelberg: Winter.
- - - 1921-1937. Indogermanische Grammatik, vols. I-VII. Heidelberg: Winter.

Ivanov, Vyacheslav. 1999. "Names for 'horse' in Hurrian, Northern Caucasian and Indo-European." UCLA Indo-European Studies I:167-214.

Jóhannsson, Jón. 1956. Íslendingasaga. Reykjavík: Almenna Bókafélagið.

Klaeber, Friedrich. 1950. Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, 3rd ed. Boston: Heath.
Klimov, Georgij A. 1983. "On Contentive Typology." Lingua e Stile 18:327-341.
Kluge, Friedrich. 1913. Urgermanisch. Vorgeschichte der altgermanischen Dialekte, 3rd ed. Strassburg: Trübner.
- - - 1926. Nominale Stammbildungslehre der altgermanischen Dialekte, 3rd ed. Halle: Niemeyer.
Krause, Wolfgang. 1966. Die Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark, 1-2. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Kurylowicz, Jerzy. 1927. ???

Artist's Rendition of Anglo-Saxon Village
Lehmann, Ruth P.M. 1988. Beowulf: an Imitative Translation. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Lehmann, Winfred P. 1943. "The Indo-European dh-Determinative as Germanic Preterite Formant." Language 19:19-26.
- - - 1952. Proto-Indo-Phonology. Austin: University of Texas Press.
- - - 1953. "The Conservatism of Germanic Phonology." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 51:140-152.
- - - 1961. "A Definition of Proto-Germanic: A Study in the Chronological Delimitation of Languages." Language 27:67-74.
- - - 1968. "The Proto-Germanic Words inherited from Proto-Indo-European which Reflect the Social and Economic Status of the Speakers." Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung 35:1-25.
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As here, the relative clause follows its antecedent in the later dialects, and its verb typically stands in final position. The comparable relative pronoun is also so used in Old High German, as in the Hildebrandslied 16 with reference to the plural liuti 'people':
alte enti frote,     dea erhina warun
old and wise,   who were earlier.
In Gothic the relative clause was generally introduced by the particle ei, as in Luke 1:20:
und þana dag ei wairþai þata
until that day that this will come to pass
The source of ei has been disputed. One origin that has been proposed is as a reflex of a form of PIE yo, like Slavic ijo, cf. 4.7; it then would be a direct continuation of the yo marker proposed by Windisch. Its variant þei is used as relative marker after indefinite pronouns, as in Mark 6:22:
bidei mik þishʷizuh þei wileis
ask me whatever (that) you wish
In Old Norse the particle es, later er and sem, had a similar function, as in the sentence from Leif's Voyage:
Hann mælti þá á Norrœnu, er stund leið...
He said then in Norse, (which) as the time passed...
Note also som in the following sentence from Hrafnkels saga:
sá maðr, som fyrir gekk, heilsar þeim fyrri ok spyrr, hverir þeir væri.
The man who went ahead greets them first and asks who they might be.
The different particles provide evidence that relative clauses and other subordinate clauses as well had only a general marker in Proto-Germanic, as noted in section 5.1.6a above. In view of the differences it is difficult to decide on the most likely element, but because of the Indo-European use of *yo, an earlier form of Gothic ei is most likely.

5.3.2. Participial Constructions Comparable to Relative Clauses
Although these examples illustrate the various structures of relative clauses in the later languages, reflexes of an alternative pattern that may have existed earlier are attested in Beowulf as well as in the Gothic translation of the Bible:
Hwīlum flītende        fealwe strǣte
at-times contending on-yellow street
mēarum mǣton.
with horses  traversed.   Beowulf 916-917a
They, who competed from time to time, proceeded
down the sandy road with their horses.
The same pattern is found in Gothic, with a participle corresponding to the finite verb in Greek, as in Luke 7:44:
eisêlthón sou eis tḕn oikían
I entered into your house...
Atgaggandin in gard þeinana wato mis ana fotuns meinans ni gaft
To me entering into your house you did not give water for my feet.
Many other such preposed participles are found in the Gothic text; although they often correspond to the same construction in the original Greek, nevertheless they provide evidence that the construction was not entirely alien to Proto-Germanic.

5.3.3. Object and Adverbial Clauses
The Gothic particle ei is used not only for introducing relative clauses but also for object clauses and adverbial clauses, as in Matthew 5:17 where the clause is object of hugjáiþ:
Ni hugjáiþ ei qēmjáu gataíran witōþ...
Do not think that I have come to destroy the law...
In Luke 2:3 it introduces a result clause:
Jah iddjēdun allái, ei melidái wēseina
And they all went, so that they might be registered.
It is also used to introduce conditional clauses, as in Mark 9:42 where it corresponds to the Greek conditional conjunction ei:
Gōþ ist imma máis ei galaígjáidáu asiluqaírnus ana halsaggan is
It is better for him if a millstone were laid on his neck.
These and other instances indicate that in Gothic and possibly in other dialects, a general particle was used for introducing subordinate clauses.
The Old Norse particle es, with voiced corresponding form er, had similarly wide uses, as in the following sentence re: the introduction of Christianity into Iceland.
Hann sende hingat til lands prest, þann es hét Þangbrandr ok hér kende
mǫnnom kristne ok skírþe þá alla, es viþ trú toko
He sent here to the country a priest, whose name was Thangbrand, and he taught
the people Christianity and baptized all of them who accepted the faith.
In time modifications were introduced to provide conjunctions that indicated more specifically the relationships between the principal clause and the modifying clause. The most frequent such compound conjunction in Gothic was þatei after verbs indicating thought, belief and the like, as in John 11:13, although the simple ei was also used after such verbs:
Iþ jáinái hugidēdun þatei is bi slēp qēþi.
But they thought that he had spoken about sleep.
Similarly, Matthew 9:28:
Ga-u-láubjats þatei magjáu þata táujan?
Do you believe that I can do that?
Other such conjunctions in Gothic are based on prepositions and adverbs, for example fáurþizei 'before', miþþanei 'while, as', sunsei 'as soon as', swāei 'so that', þadei 'whereto', þandei 'because', þanei 'that', þarei 'where', þaþrōei 'from where', þēei 'through that'. As the meanings of the compound conjunctions indicate, the conjunctions and adverbs were added to ei for greater precision.
As a further development, the ei component may have seemed unnecessary. It was often omitted in Gothic, as were similar particles in the later dialects.
jah warþ, þan  ustáuh Iesus þō waúrda
and became when finished Jesus these words
And the effect was, when Jesus finished these words... Matthew 7:28
Such adverbial clauses in the later language often include subjunctive forms of the verb as well as the introductory conjunction, as in Beowulf 452:
Onsend Higelāce,      gif mec hild nime...
Send off to Higelac,   if the battle should take me...
The development of adverbial clauses in the Germanic languages, then, is clear. In early Proto-Germanic there was no subordination. Later, particles like Gothic ei were added to indicate relationships between clauses; such particles were then combined with adverbs and prepositions that made the relationship more specific. Later yet, the appended particle was omitted and the conjunction consisted entirely of the element that indicated the specific relationship of the subordinate clause to the principal clause, which might be further specified by use of the subjunctive mood.

5.4. Expression of Negation

Negation is expressed by means of the particle ne, as also in Proto-Indo-European and some of the other dialects. It may be found in its full form with reference to an entire clause where ne is commonly placed before the verb, as in:
Hē bēot ne ālēh,   He didn't fail to perform the promise, Beowulf 80
When used with nominal and adverbial elements it is prefixed and generally unaccented, accordingly in its zero grade form, PGmc un-, as in the adjective Go. unkunþs, ON ūkūðr, OE uncūþ, NE uncouth, and similarly in nouns, Go. unkunþi 'lack of knowledge', Go. unhráinei 'uncleanliness' and numerous others throughout the dialects; cf. also Gothic ni hwas and ni áins 'no one'. From the second of these combinations, English none and German nein developed. Under primary stress un- maintained this form in the West Germanic languages, but in Icelandic it became ó- as in ó-vitr 'ignorant'; cf. ON ólīkr, NE unlike, and many other such forms.
When negating verbs or clauses, it has not survived in the modern dialects. As is widely found with negatives, words were often added to strengthen the negation; the strengthening element is commonly a noun, as in Old English and Old High German wiht 'being, thing', but a form of the negative itself may also be added:
Nē hīe hūru winedrihten   wiht  ne lōgon,      Beowulf 862
They did not blame their lord a whit,
The cognate of wiht is also used in this way with the negative, in other dialects, e.g. Go. ni waíht, OHG niwiht, OE nā-with, as in the Gothic clause from Matthew 10:26:
Ni waíht áuk ist gahuliþ...
For not a thing is hidden...
The two words have been conflated in OHG niht, NHG nicht, NE naught, not. In Old Norse, on the other hand, the noun by itself has come to mean 'nothing', as in:
át vætr Freyja     átta nóttum     Þrimskviða 108
Freyja ate nothing   for eight nights
Because the combination or its result in Old Norse is found in all the dialects, it and other such combinations, as illustrated below, may have been used already in Proto-Germanic.
Another such strengthening element is Gothic áiw 'length of time', as in:
ni áiw swā unkunþ was in Israela.    Matthew 9:33
(at) no time  so unknown was in Israel
Never had such a thing been seen in Israel.
The corresponding combination in German has given rise to nie 'never'. Cf. also Old English nealles, as in:
Nealles mid gewealdum    wyrmhord ābræc        Beowulf 2221
Not at all of his own accord     did he break into the dragon's hoard.
A postposed enclitic used to support negation is also attested in several Germanic dialects, e.g. Gothic -hun:
jah ni fralaílōt áinōhun izē miþ sis afargaggan.   Mark 5:37
and not he-let  any-one of-them with himself follow
and he did not let any of those with him follow him
The form was voiced in accordance with Verner's law in Old Norse -gi, and in Old English -gen, Old High German -gin, as in Old Norse hvergi, Old English hvergen, Old High German hwergin 'nowhere, not at all'. Still other clausal and verbal negatives are used in the early texts, but they must be left to the grammars of the dialects.

5.5. Expression of Voice: Middle and Passive Constructions

Forms of the Indo-European middle inflections survived in Gothic in the present indicative and subjunctive, but with passive meaning, as in:
Aþþan atgaggand dagōs þan afnimada af im sa brūþfaþs.   Mark 2:20
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken from them.
Jah jabái gards wiþra sik gadáiljada...    Mark 3:25
And if a house is divided against itself...
jah þu, barnilō, praúfētus háuhistins háitaza...    Luke 1:76
and you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Highest...
uha haite   (Old Norse, Kragehul spearshaft)
I am called Ūha — My name is Ūha
Oddly, the active forms of ON heita have taken on the middle meaning in the other dialects, but the middle form in Old English hǽtte has not been maintained.
Ingolfr hét maðr nórœnn.     Íslendingasaga 1
Ingolf was the name of a northern man.
Similarly in Modern German, for example: Er heisst Wilhelm 'His name is William' from 'He is called William'. We therefore assume the form for Proto-Germanic and also conclude that the middle survived into Proto-Germanic.
The shift in use of the middle to the passive, and the increased use of the passive in the Germanic dialects as well as in the other Indo-European dialects, is in accordance with the shift of late Proto-Indo-European as well as the dialects from active structure to transitive structure. Some residues of the earlier structure are maintained in Gothic, as in the intransitive use of transitive verbs like dáupjan 'baptize, wash' and bimáitan 'circumcise'. Streitberg (1920:191-192) cites examples of such use in translations of Greek middle forms, e.g. Mark 7:4 niba daupjand for the Greek middle form baptísōntai 'unless they wash [themselves]', an alternate form in the passage for hrantísōntai 'they sprinkle themselves'.
Another residue of the earlier contrast is the distinction in Gothic between perfective forms with ga-prefix in contrast with the imperfective use of the simple verb as treated by Streitberg (1920:196-198), where he cites among examples the passage on the death of Lazarus in John 11:11: Lazarus ...gasaízlēp 'Lazarus has fallen asleep / is sleeping' for the Greek with its middle form: Lázarus ...kekoímētai.
Instead of the forms with ga-prefix, the other dialects make use of reflexive pronouns, as in the following Old High German clause:
gurtun sih iro suert ana   Hildebrandslied 5
they girded (for themselves) their swords on
In Old Norse the combination of reflexive pronoun and verb has given rise to a new inflection, with -mk suffixed in the first person singular and -sk in all the other persons. The forms have various uses, from reflexive and reciprocal to middle and passive, as in the following examples:
  • Reflexive: þeir setiask niþr    they set themselves down
  • Reciprocal: spyriask þeir tíþenda    they asked one another the news
  • Middle: hann sagþesk ekke hafa    he said he had nothing
  • Passive: skip búask     the ships were prepared
Often the forms in -sk correspond to simple verbs in English, for example:
Þá sættusk þeir á þat...   İslendingabók 1
Then they agreed on that...
ok hafði allt farizk vel at...    İslendigabók 5
and everything had fared well...
Passive meaning was expressed chiefly by compound forms consisting of auxiliaries accompanying the past participle. The auxiliaries vary. In Old Norse the auxiliary was vera, as in the following sentence from the section in Libellus Islandorum on the introduction of Christianity:
Þá var þat mælt...  Then it was announced...
And a few lines later in the present tense:
es kallaþr es Vellankatla    which is called Vellankatla
Passive forms with the auxiliary werden that is currently used in German to form the passive are attested in the early Old High German works like Muspilli, as in the subjunctive form in line 12:
ze uuederemo herie     si gihalot werde
to which group it (the soul) will be taken
Also in the corresponding indicative present form in line 39 with future meaning:
denne uuirdit untar in uuic arhapan.
then a battle will be raised among them
The corresponding auxiliary is also used in Old English to make the passive with transitive verbs, as in Beowulf 6-7:
egsode eorl[as]         syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden
he terrified warriors    since he first was
found wretched;
But a few lines later in line 12 the auxiliary wesan was used, as in later English. It is used with both intransitive and transitive verbs:
Ðǣm eafera wæs       æfter cenned
To them an heir was     later born
In view of the several auxiliaries in the dialects, we may assume that the compound passive forms were developed after Proto-Germanic. In the proto-language both passive and middle meanings were expressed by reflexes of Proto-Indo-European middle forms. But the forms were maintained only in Gothic, and as shown in section 3.8, they were replaced by compound forms in the other dialects.

5.6. Expression of Tense and Aspect

The two Proto-Germanic indicative tenses, present and preterite, primarily expressed present and past time, as in citations provided earlier such as Vǫluspá 64: Sal ser hon... 'He sees a hall'; and the Gallehus inscription ...tawido '(I) made'. When subjunctive forms are used in accordance with clause structure of subordinate clauses, they may also express present and past action, as in Beowulf 452 cited above: gif mec hild nime 'if the battle should take me' as a general statement rather than expression of a future action, and in the Gothic Mark 5:17 with its expression of past time: Ni hugjeiþ ei qemjau gataíran witōþ... 'Do not think that I came to destroy the law...'
The present tense is also used to express future time, as in Gothic, Mark 2:20: aþþan atgaggand dagōs... 'but the days will come...'
While tense is the primary meaning expressed by inflections of verbs, residues of aspect are also attested, though chiefly with verb forms prefixed with ga-. For example, the form of feallan in Beowulf 2100 clearly indicates completed action of the wounded Grendel:
mōdes geōmor     meregrund gefēoll
sorrowful in mind     he fell to the bottom of the sea
By contrast, the unprefixed forms in line 772 express continued action:
Þā wæs wundor micel,    þæt se wīnsele
wiðhæfde heaþodēorum,     þæt hē on hrūsan ne fēol
That was a great wonder,     that the winehall
withstood the brave battlers,     that it was not falling to the ground,
The contrast is evident in other verbs as well, such as bīdan 'wait, stay, remain' versus ge-bīdan 'live to see, experience'.
The contrast is also attested in Gothic, but less frequently; cf. háusjan 'hear', gaháusjan 'perceive'; saíhʷan 'see', gasaíhʷan 'catch sight of', as in Matthew 11:4:
Gaggandans, gateiheiþ Iohannē þatei gaháuseiþ jah gasáihʷiþ.
Going, tell John what you perceive and notice.
In High German the use of the prefix leads to more extensive contrasts, as in Middle High German bern 'carry', gebern 'give birth', and also further in present-day German bieten 'offer', gebieten 'command', fallen 'fall', gefallen 'fall to someone's share, please'. While past participles indicate completed action in Old Norse, they are not prefixed by an equivalent to ga-, nor is the prefix used before other forms of verbs.
We may conclude that the distinction between imperfective and perfective aspect was maintained into Proto-Germanic, and was expressed by means of the ga- prefix, but that it was primarily expressed in the past participle, also when this was not prefixed as in Old Norse.

5.7. Expression of Uncertainty and Modality

Uncertainty was expressed in the early dialects by verb forms in the subjunctive, and modality by some of the modal auxiliaries, which however are wider in scope, as shown below.
As noted above, the Germanic subjunctive is formally a reflex of the Indo-European optative; reflexes of the Indo-European subjunctive forms are not attested. A typical means of expressing uncertainty is found in indirect questions, with the subjunctive form wāri in the Hildebrandslied 8b, also cited in section 5.2.
Her fragen gistuont
fōhem wortum,     hwer sin fater wāri

He began to ask
with few words,     who his father might be
The subjunctive is also widely used in other subordinate clauses when indication of greater uncertainty is intended, as Heusler (1920:131) points out for Old Norse in the contrast between the indicative vill finna hann 'wants to speak with him' and the subjunctive vile finna hann 'would like to speak with him'.
Conjunctions introducing subordinate clauses developed independently in the different dialects, as their forms indicate; jabai 'if' introduces conditional clauses in Gothic, ef in Old Norse, gif in Old English, wenn in Old and New High German. We may then further assume that, in Proto-Germanic itself, the conditional clause did not need an initial conjunction, as is still possible in the current languages, e.g. 'Should your right eye offend you...' Its initial position may be supported by examples in Gothic, e.g. Matthew 5:29:
Jabai augo þein þata taihswo marzjai þuk, ustagg ita
If your eye, the right one, offends you, pluck it out.
But in later prose texts the conditional clause frequently follows the main clause, as in this sentence from Ari's Libellus Islandorum:
Sagði at honum þótti þá komit hag manna í ónýtt efni, ef menn skyldi eigi
hafa allir lǫg ein á landi hér
He said that it seemed to him that the affairs of men would come to an evil plight,
if all men would not have one law in the country here.
Shorter expressions may also be inserted in the middle of sentences, such as the formula used twice in Beowulf:
gif mec hild nime      452, 1481
if the battle should take me
Constructions in which uncertainly is expressed by subjunctive forms include that-clauses, for which different conjunctions are found in the various dialects. In Ari the missionary's account, Thangbrand uses the preterite subjunctive of the auxiliary mono 'become' in his report to Olaf Tryggvason concerning the possibility of success in introducing Christianity to Iceland:
lét ørvǽnt, at hér myndi Kristni enn takask.
left it hopeless that Christianity might ever be accepted here.
Modal auxiliaries, like the form of mono used here, are reflexes of roots that are treated as full verbs in other Indo-European dialects; cf. Go. wiljan 'want, will', with cognates in the other Germanic dialects, based on the Indo-European root *wel-, from which regular verbs are formed in other dialects, such as Skt vṛnīté 'chooses', Lat. velle 'wish'. They filled the role of the Indo-European subjunctive, which did not survive in Germanic. It is difficult to account for the process of replacement, given the absence of continuous texts. We can simply state that they were treated like auxiliaries, as exemplified in the sections below.
Various uses of modal auxiliaries are cited below, with their meanings.

5.7.1. Expression of Possibility
Among the modalities, possibility is expressed by the auxiliaries magan and kunnan, as in Bede's account of the poet Caedmon's response to the man who appeared to him in a dream and asked him to sing something:
Ne con ic nōht singan.  I can't sing anything.
But the man replies:
Hwæðre þū meaht mē singan.  But you may sing to me.
A comparable use in the preterite indicative may be cited from The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan, where Ohthere tells King Alfred:
Þā fōr hē þā gīet norþrihte swā feor swā hē meahte...
Then he traveled further northward as far as he might...
A use of the preterite subjunctive of Old Norse mono was cited above; another occurs somewhat later in the account, when Gizarr contradicts Thangbrand about the possibilities for Christianity in Iceland, saying that there is no other expectation...
an  þar myndi hlýða.
than that it would succeed there.

5.7.2. Voluntative Expressions
Forms of willan are used to express wishes or desires, as in the Hildebrandslied 40b:
wili mih mit dinu speru werpan
you want to strike me with your spear.
And similarly in the often quoted couplet from the Old Icelandic account of the introduction of Christianity:
vilk at goð geyia,               I don't want to bark at a god,
grey þykkjumk Freyia.      (but) Freyja seems to me to be a bitch.
The preterite has the same meaning, as in an example from The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan:
Hē sæde þæt hē æt sumum cirre wolde fandian...
He said that at some time he wanted to try to find out...

5.7.3. Expression of Obligation or Necessity
Obligation or the somewhat stronger notion of necessity is expressed by the auxiliary skulan, as in the question of Caedmon:
Hwæt sceal ic singan?  What should I sing?
Numerous examples are found in the account of Christianity coming to Iceland, such as
aller menn skylde kristner vesa
all men should be Christians
Similarly, in the Hildebrandslied 27, Hadubrand says:
mit geru scal man     geba infahan
With a spear one should    receive gifts

5.7.4. Expression of Causation
Causation is expressed by the use of lātan as auxiliary, as in this sentence from the Heimskringla dealing with Haakon the Good:
Aþalstein konungr lét skíra Hókon ok kenna rétta trū ...
King Adalstein had Haakon baptized and taught the correct faith...
The same pattern with an infinitive is found in the Hildebrandslied 63:
do lettun se ærist     asckim scritan
then they first caused their lances to glide  forth

5.7.5. Expressions of Command
The imperative generally indicates commands, as in the account of the poet Caedmon:
Berað mē hūsl tō.     Bring me communion.
Similarly, in the Old High German Wessobrunner Gebet:
Forgip mir in dino ganada rehta galaupa     Give me in your grace correct belief
And in the Old Norse story of Auþun and his polar bear:
kom þā til mīn    come then to me
Other modal auxiliaries have been listed in section 3.8 among the preterite-presents. Syntactically their uses are comparable to those of the modals exemplified here.

5.8. Sentence Adverbials

Adverbs are very prominent in the early texts. Examples from poetry illustrate that prominence. They often fill the third accent in the poetic line, as in Beowulf 31:
lēof landfruma     lange āhte.
The beloved king      had long ruled.
Formed with various suffixes, they referred to time, place and manner. Those with a nasal suffix indicated action away from a point, as in Beowulf 91:
Sægde sē þe cūþe
frumsceaft fīra     feorran reccan
He said, he who could
tell the origin of men     from far in the past,
Those with an -r- suffix often indicated action to a point, as in Beowulf 370:
sē þǣm heaðorincum     hider wīsade.
who those warriors     directed hither.
Adverbs of manner were based on various suffixes, some with u-stems, as is still clear in OE gearwe, as in Beowulf 265:
gamol of geardum;        hine gearwe geman
old in years               him readly recalls
Klaeber pointed to a notable feature in the use of adverbs of place (1950: xciii). They often provide "instructive instances of the characteristic fact that in the old Germanic languages the vivid idea of 'motion' was predominant in many verbs which are now more commonly felt to be verbs of 'rest'." One of the passages he cites is Beowulf 1805b and 1806:
                    wolde feor þanon
                     he wished  far   from there
cuma colenferhð           cēoles nēosan.
visitor  bold                  ship     seek
the bold visitor
wished to fare afar        in his faithful ship,  (R.P.M. Lehmann, Beowulf 1988:69).
In other passages, nēosan simply means seek. Here the adverb þanon clearly prompts an interpretation of activity. Another example involves the verb 'to shine', indicating the sun's activity in directing its rays from the south rather than in the south.
sunne sweglwered                     sūþan scīneðBeowulf 606
the sun, clothed in radiance,      shines from the south!
Examples from Old Norse illustrate similar prominence, though those given here from Ari's Libellus Islandorum accompany verbs indicating activity.
Ingólfr hét maðr Norrœnn, er sannliga er sagt at fœri first þaðan til Íslands...
Ingolf was the name of the Norwegian man, who accurately is said to have traveled first from there to Iceland...
Eiríkr ... hét maðr, er fór út heðan þangat...
Eric was the name of a man who traveled out from here to there...
En svá er sagt, at þat bæri frá, hvé vel þeir mæltu.
And thus it is said, that that was wondrous, how well they spoke.
The various adverbs need little comment, but it is clear that they are introduced to make statements more explicit, such as sannliga in the first example above, and even more so svá in the last. Similarly the adverbs indicating movement! And the adverb meaning 'from, concerning' with the verb bera 'to bear' has led to an idiom. It is also clear that adverbs like út and frá may be comparable to particles.
We may ascribe both the prominence of adverbs and their promotion of activity with verbs indicating place to their position at the Active-Stative stage of the proto-language. During that stage they were particles, or like OE súþan they consisted of suffixed nominals that qualified verbs. Relationships in the sentence were determined by agreement rather than transitivity so that relationship of nominals as well as particles to verbs resulted from semantic correspondence. As Proto-Germanic became an accusative language, the nominals either were interpreted as nouns with inflections or as adverbs. In the course of time the adverbs became less prominent and the basic elements of the predicate were nouns in various roles.

5.9. The Germanic Sentence Structure and its Development

The early texts, such as the runes, indicate clearly that the order of Proto-Germanic sentences was OV, as also in Proto-Indo-European. Moreover it was highly paratactic, as the first two lines of the Eggja stone illustrate; the stone is dated around 700 A.D., indicating that parataxis was long in force. It is given here in conventional Old Norse notation, with a gap indicated in parentheses. The two last lines have gaps so that they consist of phrases rather than sentences; the forms are modified in accordance with standard Old Norse (Krause 1966:227-235):
Ni's sólo sótt ok ni saxe stæin skorenn; ni (læggi) manna nækðan, niþ rinnR ni viltiz mænnz læggi a[b].
It is not struck by the sun nor is the stone scored with a knife. No one should lay it out uncovered, when the moon wanders (over the sky) nor should wild men lay [it aside].
Other early texts, as late as Ari's Libellus Islandorum of approximately 1120-1133 A.D., are also largely paratactic.
But modifications were introduced, as by relative clauses. In the Tune stone of around 500 A.D., apposition was used to qualify a noun as in many later Germanic texts; the text is given in Old Norse as by Krause (1966:162-167):
þrijoz ðohtriz ðalidun arbija   arjostez arbijano
Three daughters shared the inheritance,     the closest relatives of the heir
It would then have been a small matter to modify the apposition to a relative construction, such as those in Beowulf where the relative clauses follow their referent, an assumption supported by introductory particles (e.g. OE , Go. ei, ON es) that were associated with demonstrative pronouns as in Ari's sentence on the discovery of Greenland:
Land þat er kallat er Grœnland fannsk ok bygðisk af Íslandi.
The land that is called Greenland was found and colonized from Iceland.
Subsequently, specific relative pronouns were introduced, as were conjunctions. Auxiliaries became common, as in this quotation, also for expressing the passive and modalities. Such innovations are in keeping with the gradual shift from OV to VO structure. The dialects, therefore, came to differ considerably from Proto-Germanic in their sentence structure.

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