Showing posts with label germanic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label germanic. Show all posts

24 February 2016

Grammatical tense: (certain verbal characteristics)

Published, edited, formatted & annotated (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
six verbal tense-types
(wesbource: Wikipedia

In grammar, tense is a category that expresses time reference. Tenses are usually manifested by the use of specific forms of verbs, particularly in their conjugation-patterns.

Basic tenses found in many languages include the past, present and future. Some languages have only two distinct tenses, such as past and non-past, or future and nonfuture. 

23 February 2016

Proto-Indo-European nominals (PIE grammar)

map: location of various
Indo-European peoples in
Europe & Anatolia, c.
1000 BC
Published, edited, formatted & annotated (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

map: western Eurasia: Indo-European peoples c. 800 BC

(websource: Wikipedia)

Nominals in the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) include nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Their grammatical forms and meanings have been reconstructed by modern linguists based on similarities found across all Indo-European (IE) languages. This article discusses nouns and adjectives, while Proto-Indo-European pronouns are treated elsewhere.

28 June 2015

Germanic parent-language

Published, edited, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(from Wikipedia)

(at the above-referenced link, you can read the original documents with all its footnotes, citations & references)

18 March 2015

Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain

Anglo-Saxon warhelmet

Published, edited, images added, captions written & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
Map: 6th-century-Britain-
areas colored red, are
(Written by: Encyclopædia Britannica's editorial staff)

Anglo-Saxon, term used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century AD to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066 AD), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales.

11 March 2015

Ancient-Germanic languages documented - a preliminary-sketch

This image depicts an early map of Scandinavia,
the origination place for many invaders of
Rome's former-province of Britannia
(Olaus Magnus (1490-1557)
Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

One of the very few Anglo-Saxon warhelmets
ever found in the British-Isles
Ancient-Germanic languages documented - a preliminary-sketch

by Bertil Haggman

Group I
Gothic (Goths, Ostrogoths, Visigoths)

Through MS such as the Codex Argenteus (Uppsala-University Library) Gothic is reasonably well documented. Also Crimean Gothic is represented with a list of words by diplomat Busbecq in the sixteenth century.

map, showing several major Germanic/Teutonic
kingdoms in the late middle-ages

04 March 2015

Student’s Guide to Indo-European

Indo-European groups, in western Eurasia, in the second millennium BC
Published, edited, images added, captions written & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

(Websource)Written by A. Rytting
Indo-European has always had a special place in the field of Comparative-Historical Linguistics. Indeed, in the early stages of the disciplines, Comparative-Historical and Indo-European studies were practically synonymous, the former merely referring to the preferred method of investigating the latter.

28 February 2015

Grammatical peculiarities of the Germanic languages

Proto-Germanic (discovered in
Sweden) artwork with
religious significance

Published, edited, images added & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(websource: Studiopedia)
Carta Magnae Germaniae (Map: Greater-Germania) in

Old Indo-European languages were synthetic, i.e. they showed grammatical relations by adding inflections rather than by means of function words or word order (which are employed to express grammatical relations in languages with analytical structure).

The Common Germanic and the Old Germanic dialects were also synthetic. In Common Germanic various means of form-building were employed. As shown above, in Common Germanic sound alternation within the root-morpheme (ablaut and umlaut) were extensively used in form-building. Sound alternations were usually combined with other means of form-building.

23 February 2015


Published, edited, images added & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig)
(From Wikipedia)

Coordinates: 67°N 14°E
Hålogaland around 1000 CE

Hålogaland was the northernmost of the Norwegian provinces in the mediaeval-Norse sagas. In the early Viking-Age, before Harald Fairhair, Hålogaland was a petty kingdom extending between the Namdalen valley in Nord-Trøndelag county and the Lyngen fjord in Troms county.

Ancient Norwegians said that Hálogaland was named after a royal named Hölgi. The Norse form of the name was Hálogaland. The first element of the word is the genitive plural of háleygr, a 'person from Hålogaland'. 

The last element is land, as in 'land' or 'region'. The meaning of the demonym háleygr is unknown. Thorstein Vikingson's Saga, 1, describes it as a compound of Hial, "Hel" or "spirit," and "loge", "fire".

The Gothic historian Jordanes in his work De origine actibusque Getarum - a.k.a. Getica -, written in Constantinople in c. 551 AD, mentions a people "Adogit" living in the far North. 

This could be an old form of háleygir and a possible reference to the petty kingdom of Hålogaland, which based on some medieval accounts may have been inhabited by the Kven people during the first millennium, but also perhaps a long before. Jordanes' Vinoviloth is viewed by many historians as a reference to the Kvens of Northern Scandinavia and Fennoscandia:

And there are beyond these the Ostrogothae (Eastern Geats)(The géatas,{in OE, as in virtually all older and modern Gmc languages, languages, nationalities, weekday-names, holidays, months, are NOT capitalized, unless, at beginning of a sentence} Sw. götar [the Old-English, "OE",{West-Saxon}, diphthong /éa/corresponds to Swe., Nor.{bokmål}, Dan., /ö/, i.e., /ø/, western Old-Norse {Old-Icelandic, Old-Norw} /au/  are probably not the same tribe whom we today call Goths, Swedes goter. By comparing regular phonology [vocalism] between ancient & modern Gmc languages, géatas = Sw. goter) Raumarici (Romerike), Aeragnaricii (Ranrike), and the most gentle Finni (referring to either Sami or Finns), milder than all the inhabitants of Scandza (Scandinavia). Like them are the Vinoviloth (Kvens) also.

According to Emeritus Professor Kyösti Julku, in the modern-day Northern Norwegian county of Troms alone there are at least 12 prehistoric Kven place names. During Viking-Age, Troms formed the northernmost part of Hålogaland.

Alex Woolf links the name Hålogaland to the Aurora Borealis - the "Northern Lights" -, saying that Hålogaland meant the "Land of the High Fire", "loga" deriving from 'logi', which refers to fire.

In the medieval accounts of Ynglingatal and Skáldskaparmál, "Logi" is described as the personification of fire, a fire giant, and as a "son of Fornjót". In the medieval Orkneyinga saga and the account of Hversu Noregr byggðist ('How Norway was inhabited'), Fornjót is described as the King of Finland, Kvenland and Gotland. The royal lineages sprung from his children are discussed in these and other medieval accounts.

The beginning of the Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar ('Saga of Thorstein son of Víking') discusses King Logi who ruled the country north of Norway. Because Logi was larger and stronger than any other man in land, his name was lengthened from Logi to Hálogi, meaning 'High-Logi'. 
Derived from that name his country became called Hálogaland, meaning "Hálogi's land". Eventually the spelling of the name shaped to the modern-day Hålogaland.

The Hversu Noregr byggðist is an account of the origin of various legendary Norwegian lineages. It traces the descendants of the primeval Finnish ruler Fornjót (Fornjotr) down to Nór, who is here the eponym and first great king of Norway, who unites the Norwegian lands (petty kingdoms). 

The Hversu account then gives details of the descendants of Nór and of his brother Gór in the following section known as the Ættartölur ('Genealogies', a.k.a. Fundinn Noregr, 'Founding of Norway'). The Hversu account is closely paralleled by the opening of the Orkneyinga saga.

In 873 AD, according to the Egil's saga (written in c. 1240 AD) the Kvens and Norse cooperate in battling against the invading Karelians. The chapter XVII of Egil's saga describes how Thorolf Kveldulfsson (King of Norway's tax chief starting 872 AD) from Namdalen, located in the southernmost tip of the historic Hålogaland, goes to Kvenland again:

"That same winter Thorolf went up on the fell with a hundred men; he passed on at once eastwards to Kvenland and met King Faravid."
Based on medieval documents, the above meeting took place during the winter of 873-874 AD. Hålogaland's rather close vicinity to Kvenland is also demonstrated in c. 1157 AD in the geographical chronicle Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan by the Icelandic Abbot Níkulás Bergsson (Nikolaos), who provides descriptions of lands around Norway:

Closest to Denmark is little Svíþjóð (Sweden), there is Eyland (Öland); then is Gotland (Gotland); then Helsingaland (Hälsingland); then Vermaland (Värmland); then two Kvenlönd (Kvenlands), and they extend to north of Bjarmalandi (Bjarmia).

Modern usage
In modern times, the term Hålogaland is used in a variety of senses. For some purposes, all of Nord-Norge plus Svalbard and Jan Mayen are covered under the term Hålogaland. For other purposes the counties of Nordland and Troms constitute Hålogaland. Hålogaland or even Mid Hålogaland are frequent terms covering the smaller districts of Ofoten, Lofoten and Vesterålen, as well as the municipalities Bjarkøy, Gratangen, Harstad, Ibestad, Kvæfjord and Skånland of Troms county. The term has also been used in this last sense, minus the Lofoten archipelago.

22 February 2015

Óðinn/Odin/*Wóðanaz/*Wóðinaz/*Wódanaz belongs NO MORE to the Norse (North-Teutons) than he does to the West-Teutons & Ingvaeones (Ingvaeones are not WGmc)

Published, edited, images added & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(from Wikipedia)
In Norse mythology, Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn) (PGmc- *Wóðanaz/*Wóðinaz/*Wódanaz, OE & modern-Engl. Wóden, OHG, Wuotan) is a god associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. 
The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old-English as Wóden, in Old-Saxon as Wōden, and in Old-High-German "OHG" as Wuotan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz.

17 February 2015

A brief overview of Germanic morphology

"Teutonic", schematic definition-map, from
Free Visual Dictionary-

Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

Approximate location of various ancient 
Indo-European peoples in western Eurasia, 
in early antiquity
(from: Wikipedia)


The oldest Germanic (Gmc) languages have the typical-complex inflected (i.e., synthetic) morphology similar, due to Germanic's derivation from older Indo-European (IE) languages, with four or five noun cases; verbs marked for person, number, tense and mood; multiple-noun and verb-classes; few or no articles; and rather free word-order.

29 December 2014

The Anglo-Saxon Invasion- Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

Anglo-Saxon helmet
Published, edited, images added & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig


06/16/2011 01:13 PM
The Anglo-Saxon Invasion
Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

12 December 2014

Places named after Wóden/*Wódanaz/Odin

*Wóðanaz (Wóden/Odin/Wotan/Wuotan/Óðinn) sitting on his
horse, with spear & shield in hand, above him fly his
companions, ravens
Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
Öland-foil (late 6th-century Sweden)
(from Wikipedia)
Many toponyms (placenames) contain the name of *Wodanaz (Norse Odin,  West-Germanic Woden)
Map, Denmark, Odense
Odense (Óðinsvé in Icelandic & western Old-Norse, approximation in late Northwest-Germanic, NWPGmc, circa 300AD--*Wóðenswáih) 
Onsholt - "Odin's Holt", located in Viby, Jutland. A marked hill now covered in corn fields that was, up until about the 18th century, covered in wetlands on all sides. 
Covered by a wood (a "holt") during the Viking-Age. Viby may mean "the settlement by the sacred site" and contains traces of sacrifices going back 2,500 years. 
Vojens - from "Odin's Temple".


Island of Osmussaar - "Odensholm" in Swedish, literally "Odin's islet".

Island of Odensö - also known as Udensö, literally "Odin's island". Probably a medieval transformation of an original Finnic name unrelated to Odin.


Óðinsøy ("Odin's island"). 


Odensberg, Schonen (Scania, Sw. Skåne) - "Odin's Berg".
Odensvi - "Odin's Shrine".
Odenplan - "Odin's Square" in Stockholm.
Odengatan - "Odin Street"; running past Odenplan up to Valhallavägen "Valhalla Way" in Stockholm)
Odensåker, Skaraborg. 

Mainland Europe

Northern France around Audresselles (Oderzell) district of Marquise: 
Audinghen - 

Bad Godesberg - originally spelt Wuodenesberg, which is "Wotan's mountain". 
Gudensberg - originally spelt Wodenesberg which means the same as above.
Godensholt - formerly Wodensholt, Wotan's wood.
Odisheim - in Low-German: Godshem (perhaps English: Wotan's home or God's home, respectively)

The Netherlands 


United Kingdom

Odin Mine, Castleton, Derbyshire
Odin Sitch, Castleton, Derbyshire
Wambrook, Somerset - "Woden's Brook".
Wampool, Hampshire - "Woden's Pool".
Wanborough, Wiltshire - from Wôdnes-beorg, "Woden's Barrow".
Wanborough, Surrey. 

Wansdyke - "Woden's dyke, embankment".
Wanstead, Essex - "Woden's Stead".
Wednesbury - "Woden's burgh".
Woden Road in Wednesbury.
Wednesfield - "Woden's field".
Wednesham, Cheshire - "Woden's Ham".
Wensley - "Woden's meadow". 

Wembury, Devon - "Woden's Hill/Barrow" from the Old English "Wódnesbeorh".
Woden's Barrow - also Christianized as Adam's Grave or Walker's Hill, a barrow in Wiltshire. The Old English spelling was "Wodnes-beorh". 

Woden Hill, Hampshire - a hill in Bagshot Heath.
A valley which the West Overton–Alton road runs through was called Wodnes-denu, which means "Woden's Valley".
Wonston, Hampshire - "Woden's Town". 

Woodbridge, Suffolk - Wodenbrycge ("Woden's Bridge").
Woodnesborough- also translates as "Woden's burgh", the center of the town was known as "Woden's hill". 

Woodway House - from the house on Woden's Way.
Wormshill - also derived from "Woden's hill".
Grimsdyke - from "Grim", which means both "hooded" and "fierce", another name used for Woden. 

Grim's Ditch - a 5–6 mile section on the Berkshire Downs, the chalk escarpment above the Oxfordshire villages of Ardington, Hendred and Chilton. 

Grim's Ditch (Harrow) - also known as Grimsdyke. A section of Anglo-Saxon \-era trenches in Harrow. Frederick Goodall's house Grim's Dyke and a local-school are named after the area.
Grim's Ditch (Hampshire) - another set of earthworks.
Grim's Ditch (South Oxfordshire) - iron-age/early roman-era earthworks in Oxfordshire. 

Grimes Graves.Grimsbury, Oxfordshire.
Grimsbury Castle, Berkshire - hillfort occupied at least between the 3rd and 2nd Centuries B.C. Named after Woden by the Saxons.
Grimley, Worcestershire - from the Old-English "Grimanleage", which means "the wood or clearing of Grim (Woden)" 

Grimspound - an Iron-Age settlement on Dartmoor.
Grimscote - a village in Northamptonshire, "Grim's Cott".
Grimsthorpe - a village in Lincolnshire, "Grim's Thorpe"Roseberry Topping - Óðins bjarg ("Odin's rock or crag", plus "topping" added later).

The ford on the River Irwell which Regent's Bridge, Ordsall, now crosses, was traditionally called "Woden's Ford" and a nearby cave (no longer extant) was known as "Woden's Den". Scotland
Edin's Hall Broch, Berwickshire, sometimes Odin's Hall Broch and originally Wooden's (Woden's) Hall 

Grim's Dyke - another term used for the Antonine Wall_
Woden Law - "Woden Hill", an Iron Age hillfort in the Cheviots.

    27 November 2014

    Map: Indo-European languages, IE, c.
    1500 BC
    Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig)

    Old High German (OHG, German: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. Ahd.) is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 500 to 1050 AD. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as "prehistoric" and date the start of Old High German proper to 750 for this reason. There are, however, a number of Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the 6th century (notably the Pforzen buckle), as well as single words and many names found in Latin texts predating the 8th century.


    The main difference between Old High German and the West Germanic dialects from which it developed is that it underwent the Second Sound Shift or High German consonant shift. This is generally dated approximately to the late 5th and early 6th centuries—hence dating its start to around 500 AD.

    The result of this sound change is that the consonantal system of German remains different from all other West Germanic languages, including English and Low German. Grammatically, however, Old High German remained very similar to Old English, Old Dutch, and Old Saxon.

    By the mid 11th century the many different vowels found in unstressed syllables had all been reduced to "e". Since these vowels were part of the grammatical endings in the nouns and verbs, their loss led to radical simplification of the inflectional grammar of German. 
    For these reasons, 1050 is seen as the start of the Middle High German period, though in fact there are almost no texts in German for the next hundred years.

    Examples of vowel reduction in unstressed syllables:
    Old High German Middle High German English
    machôn machen to make, to do
    taga tage days
    demu dem(e) to the
    (The Modern German forms of these words are broadly the same as in Middle High German.)


    There was no standard or supra-regional variety of Old High German—every text is written in a particular dialect, or in some cases a mixture of dialects. 

    Broadly speaking, the main dialect divisions of Old High German seem to have been similar to those of later periods—they are based on established territorial groupings and the effects of the Second Sound Shift, which have remained influential until the present day. 

    But because the direct evidence for Old High German consists solely of manuscripts produced in a few major ecclesiastical centers, there is no isogloss information of the sort on which modern dialect maps are based. For this reason the dialects may be termed monastery dialects.
    The main dialects, with their bishoprics and monasteries:
    • Central German
      • East Franconian: Fulda, Bamberg, Würzburg
      • Middle Franconian: Trier, Echternach, Cologne
      • Rhine Franconian: Lorsch, Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Frankfurt
      • South Rhine Franconian: Weissenburg im Elsaß
      • Thuringian: (no texts)
      • West Franconian: conjectural dialect of the Franks in Northern Gaul
    • Upper German
      • Alemannic: Murbach, Reichenau, Sankt Gallen. Strasbourg
      • Bavarian: Freising, Passau, Regensburg, Augsburg, Ebersberg, Wessobrunn, Benediktbeuern, Tegernsee, Salzburg, Mondsee
      • Langobardic: (fragmentary, classification as OHG uncertain)
    There are some important differences between the geographical spread of the Old High German dialects and that of Modern German:
    • no German dialects were spoken east of the Rivers Elbe and Saale—in the Old High German period this area was occupied by Slavic peoples since the Völkerwanderung and was not settled by German speakers until the late 10th and the early 11th century
    • the Langobardic dialect of the Lombards who invaded Northern Italy in the 6th century is assumed to have been an Upper German dialect, though little evidence of it remains apart from names and individual words in Latin texts, and a few inscriptions
    • the Old Frankish language is a special case among the old West Germanic languages. The Frankish tribes built their empire at the same time as the High German consonant shift took place. This meant that the dialects of Frankish in the north of their empire, the Low Countries, did not shift, while the dialects in the south did. The dialects in the south are part of Old High German; the ones in the north are part of Old Dutch (Low Franconian).


    The charts show the vowel and consonant systems of the East Franconian dialect in the 9th century. This is the dialect of the monastery of Fulda, and specifically of the Old High German Tatian. Dictionaries and grammars of OHG often use the spellings of the Tatian as a substitute for genuine standardised spellings, and these have the advantage of being recognizably close to the Middle High German forms of words, particularly with respect to the consonants.


    Short and long vowels

    Old High German had five phonemic long vowels and six phonemic short vowels. Both occurred in stressed and unstressed syllables.
      front central back
    short long short long short long
    close i î   u û
    mid eë ê   o ô
    open   a â  
    1. All back vowels likely had front-vowel allophones as a result of Umlaut. The front-vowel allophones likely became full phonemes in Middle High German. In the Old High German period, there existed [e] (possibly a mid-close vowel) from the Umlaut of /a/ and /e/ but it probably wasn't phonemicized until the end of the period. Manuscripts occasionally distinguish two /e/ sounds. Generally, modern grammars and dictionaries use ë for the mid vowel and e for the mid-close vowel.
    2. The short high and mid vowels may have been articulated lower than their long counterparts as in Modern German. This cannot be established from written sources.
    3. Short vowels followed later by long vowels tended to be reduced to e in unstressed syllables. The e may have represented [ɛ] or schwa [ə].
    4. Vowel length was indicated in the manuscripts inconsistently (though not in modern handbooks). A macron was generally used to indicate a long vowel.[dubious ]
    Old High German diphthongs are indicated by the digraphs eiieioiuouuo.


      Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal/Velar Glottal
    Plosive p b     t d   c,k /k/ g /ɡ/ 
    Affricate pf /p͡f/     z /t͡s/    
    Nasal m     n   ng /ŋ/  
    Fricative   f, v /f/ /v/ th /θ/ s, ȥ /s̠//s/   h, ch /x/ h
    Approximant w, uu /w/       j, i /j/  
    Liquid       rl    
    1. There is wide variation in the consonant systems of the Old High German dialects arising mainly from the differing extent to which they are affected by the High German Sound Shift. Precise information about the articulation of consonants is impossible to establish.
    2. In the plosive and fricative series, where there are two consonants in a cell, the first is fortis the second lenis. The voicing of lenis consonants varied between dialects.
    3. Old High German distinguished long and short consonants. Double-consonant spellings don't indicate a preceding short vowel as in Modern German but true consonantgemination. Double consonants found in Old High German include pp, bb, tt, dd, ck (for /kk/), gg, ff, ss, hh, zz, mm, nn, ll, rr.
    4. /θ/ changes to /d/ in all dialects during the 9th century. The status in the Old High German Tatian (c. 830), reflected in modern Old High German dictionaries and glossaries, is that th is found in initial position, d in other positions.
    5. It is not clear whether Old High German /x/ had already acquired a palatized allophone /ç/ following front vowels as in Modern German.
    6. A curly-tailed z (ȥ) is sometimes used in modern grammars and dictionaries to indicate the dental fricative which arose from Common Germanic t in the High German consonant shift, to distinguish it from the dental affricate, represented as z. This distinction has no counterpart in the original manuscripts, except in the OHG Isidor, which uses tz for the affricate.
    7. The original Germanic fricative s was in writing usually clearly distinguished from the younger fricative z that evolved from the High German consonant shift - the sounds of these two graphs seem not to have merged before the 13th century. Now seeing that s later came to be pronounced /ʃ/ before other consonants (as in Stein /ʃtaɪn/Speer /ʃpeːɐ/Schmerz /ʃmɛrts/ (original smerz) or the southwestern pronunciation of words like Ast /aʃt/) it seems safe to assume that the actual pronunciation of Germanic s was somewhere between [s] and [ʃ], most likely about [s̠], in all Old High German up to late Middle High German.
    A word like swaz, "whatever", would thus never have been [swas] but rather [s̠was], later (13th century) [ʃwas][ʃvas].

    Phonological processes

    Here are enumerated the sound changes that transformed Common West Germanic into Old High German, not including the Late OHG changes which effected Middle High German
    • /ɣ//β/ > /ɡ//b/ in all positions (/ð/ > /d/ already took place in West Germanic). Most but not all High German areas are subject to this change.
      • PG *sibi "sieve" > OHG sib ( cf. Old English sife), PG *gestra "yesterday" > OHG gestaron (cf. OE geostran, "ge" being fricative /ʝ/ )
    • Clusters /ht/ and /hs/, from PIE velars + */s/ or */t/, are fortified to /kt//ks/ respectively (/xs/,/xt/ after the shift).
      • PG *hlahtraz "laughter" > OHG lahtar > Modern German Gelächter.
    • High German consonant shift: Inherited voiceless plosives are lenited into fricatives and affricates, while voiced fricatives are hardened into plosives and in some cases devoiced.
      • Ungeminated post-vocalic /p//t//k/ spirantize intervocalically to /ff//ȥȥ//xx/ and elsewhere to /f//ȥ//x/. Cluster /tr/ is exempt from this. Compare Old English slǣpan to Old High German slāfan .
      • Word-initially, after a resonant and when geminated, the same consonants affricatized to /pf//tȥ/ and /kx/, OE tam : OHG zam.
        • Spread of /k/ > /kx/ is geographically very limited and is not reflected in Modern Standard German.
      • /b//d/ and /ɡ/ are devoiced.
        • In Standard German, this applies to /d/ in all positions, but to /b/ and /ɡ/ only when geminated. PG *brugjo > *bruggjo >brucca, but *leugan > leggen.
    • /ē²/ and /oː/ are diphthongized into /ie/ and /uo/ respectively.
    • Proto-Germanic /ai/ became /ei/, except before /r//h//w/ and word finally, where it monophthongizes into ê ( which is also the reflex of unstressed /ai/) .
      • Similarly /au/ > /ô/ before /r//h/ and all dentals, otherwise /au/ > /ou/. PG *dauhθaz "death" > OHG tôd, but *haubudam "head" > houbit.
        • It should be noted that /h/ refers here only to inherited glottal /h/ from PIE *k, and not to the result of the consonant shift /x/, which is sometimes written as h.
    • /eu/ merges with /iu/ under i-umlaut and u-umlaut, but elsewhere is /io/ ( earlier /eo/ ). In Upper German dialects it also becomes /iu/ before labials and velars.
    • /θ/ fortifies to /d/ in all German Dialects.
    • Initial wC and hC lose /w/ and /h/.




    The following is a sample paradigm of a strong verb, nëman "to take".
    Indicative Optative Imperative
    Present 1st sing nimu nëme --
    2nd sing nimis (-ist) nëmēs (-ēst) nim
    3rd sing nimit nëme --
    1st plur nëmemēs (-ēn) nëmemēs (-ēn) nëmamēs, -emēs (-ēn)
    2nd plur nëmet nëmēt nëmet
    3rd plur nëmant nëmēn --
    Past 1st sing nam nāmi --
    2nd sing nāmi nāmīs (-īst) --
    3rd sing nam nāmi --
    1st plur nāmumēs (-un) nāmīmēs (-īn) --
    2nd plur nāmut nāmīt --
    3rd plur nāmun nāmīn --
    Infinitive nëman
    Gerund: Genitive nëmannes
    Gerund: Dative nëmanne
    Present Participle nëmanti (-enti)
    Past Participle ginoman


    The Franks conquered Northern Gaul as far south as the Loire; the linguistic boundary later stabiliZed approximately along the course of the Maas and Moselle, with Frankishspeakers further west being romanized.

    With Charlemagne's conquest of the Lombards in 776, nearly all continental Germanic speaking peoples had been incorporated into the Frankish Empire, thus also bringing all continental West Germanic speakers under Frankish rule. However, since the language of both the administration and the Church was Latin, this unification did not lead to any development of a supra-regional variety of Frankish nor a standardized Old High German.

    Old High German literacy is a product of the monasteries, notably at St. Gallen, Reichenau and Fulda. Its origins lie in the establishment of the German church by Boniface in the mid 8th century, and it was further encouraged during the Carolingian Renaissance in the 9th.

    The dedication to the preservation of Old High German epic poetry among the scholars of the Carolingian Renaissance was significantly greater than could be suspected from the meagre survivals we have today (less than 200 lines in total between the Lay of Hildebrand and the Muspilli). Einhard tells how Charlemagne himself ordered that the epic lays should be collected for posterity.

    It was the neglect or religious zeal of later generations that led to the loss of these records. Thus, it was Charlemagne's weak successor, Louis the Pious, who destroyed his father's collection of epic poetry on account of its pagan content.

    Hrabanus Maurus, a student of Alcuin's and abbot at Fulda from 822, was an important advocate of the cultivation of German literacy. Among his students were Walafrid Straboand Otfrid of Weissenburg. Notker Labeo (d. 1022) towards the end of the Old High German period was among the greatest stylists in the language, and developed a systematic orthography.


    The early part of the period saw considerable missionary activity, and by 800 the whole of the Frankish Empire had, in principle, been Christianized. All the manuscripts which contain Old High German texts were written in ecclesiastical scriptoria by scribes whose main task was writing in Latin rather than German. Consequently, the majority of Old High German texts are religious in nature and show strong influence of ecclesiastical Latin on the vocabulary. 

    In fact, most surviving prose texts are translations of Latin originals. Even secular works such as the Hildebrandslied are often preserved only because they were written on spare sheets in religious codices.
    The earliest Old High German text is generally taken to be the Abrogans, a Latin-Old High German glossary variously dated between 750 and 780, probably from Reichenau. The 8th century Merseburg Incantations are the only remnant of pre-Christian German literature. 

    The earliest texts not dependent on Latin originals would seem to be the Hildebrandslied and the Wessobrunn Prayer, both recorded in manuscripts of the early 9th century, though the texts are assumed to derive from earlier copies.

    The Bavarian Muspilli is the sole survivor of what must have been a vast oral tradition. Other important works are the Evangelienbuch (Gospel harmony) of Otfrid von Weissenburg, the short but splendid Ludwigslied and the 9th century Georgslied. The boundary to Early Middle High German (from ca. 1050) is not clear-cut. The most impressive example of EMHG literature is the Annolied.


    The Lord's Prayer is given in four Old High German dialects below. Because these are translations of a liturgical text, they are best not regarded as examples of idiomatic language, but they do show dialect variation very clearly.

    Lord's Prayer
    Alemannic, 8th century
    The St Gall Paternoster
    South Rhine Franconian, 9th century
    Weissenburg Catechism
    East Franconian, c. 830
    Old High German Tatian
    Bavarian, early 9th century
    Freisinger Paternoster
    Fater unseer, thu pist in himile,
    uuihi namun dinan,
    qhueme rihhi diin,
    uuerde uuillo diin,
    so in himile sosa in erdu.
    prooth unseer emezzihic kip uns hiutu,
    oblaz uns sculdi unsero,
    so uuir oblazem uns skuldikem,
    enti ni unsih firleiti in khorunka,
    uzzer losi unsih fona ubile.
    Fater unsēr, thu in himilom bist,
    giuuīhit sī namo thīn.
    quaeme rīchi thīn.
    uuerdhe uuilleo thīn,
    sama sō in himile endi in erthu.
    Brooth unseraz emezzīgaz gib uns hiutu.
    endi farlāz uns sculdhi unsero,
    sama sō uuir farlāzzēm scolōm unserēm.
    endi ni gileidi unsih in costunga.
    auh arlōsi unsih fona ubile.
    Fater unser, thū thār bist in himile,
    sī geheilagōt thīn namo,
    queme thīn rīhhi,
    sī thīn uuillo,
    sō her in himile ist, sō sī her in erdu,
    unsar brōt tagalīhhaz gib uns hiutu,
    inti furlāz uns unsara sculdi
    sō uuir furlāzemēs unsarēn sculdīgōn,
    inti ni gileitēst unsih in costunga,
    ūzouh arlōsi unsih fon ubile.
    Fater unser, du pist in himilum.
    Kauuihit si namo din.
    Piqhueme rihhi din,
    Uuesa din uuillo,
    sama so in himile est, sama in erdu.
    Pilipi unsraz emizzigaz kip uns eogauuanna.
    Enti flaz uns unsro sculdi,
    sama so uuir flazzames unsrem scolom.
    Enti ni princ unsih in chorunka.
    Uzzan kaneri unsih fona allem sunton.

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