A Middle High German Primer - Third Edition
by Joseph Wright
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's Note:

This file is intended for users whose text readers cannot open the "real" (UTF-8, Unicode) version of the file, even after making the character substitutions suggested in that version.

This document can be used as-is, but it will be much more readable if you open it in a word processor or text editor and make as many as possible of the listed changes. The object is to reconstruct the real file in a form that your own computer or text reader can handle. When making changes, be sure to include the period after "Sec." and the brackets surrounding all letters or letter groups.

Sec. section symbol, or use pilcrow (paragraph symbol) Secs. two section symbols

[ae] ae ligature [oe] oe ligature

[a] a with macron (overline, "long" mark) If macron is unavailable, use a-circumflex instead [e] [i] [o] [u] (same for e, i, o, u) a e o u a, e, o, u with umlaut á é a, e with acute accent ẹ e with dot under, used in reading selections If you have nothing suitable, replace with plain e ị same as above; rare

[z] z with hook at end of bottom line [zz] two of these z's (often used in pairs) If this character is unavailable, try z with cedilla. As a last resort, replace with plain "z" after reading Sec. 19 carefully.

[A] [E] [I] [O] [U] U (capital letters as above; rare)

A few additional characters are used mainly in the historical introduction, along with two or three Greek words, here transliterated and shown between marks. They can be disregarded.

ă ĕ ĭ ŏ a, e, i, o with both macron and breve ("long" and "short" mark) [-u:] u-umlaut with macron [-ae] ae ligature with macron [th] thorn [dh] edh [bh] b with line through stem [zh] ezh [ch] Greek letter chi [ng] eng ("n" with curve below line)

Italics are marked with lines. Boldface type is shown with {braces}. Boldface markings have generally been omitted from tables to aid readability.

Punctuation in the Glossary has been silently regularized. Other typographical errors are listed at the end of the text.]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *



with Grammar, Notes, And Glossary

by JOSEPH WRIGHT M.A., Ph.D., D.C.L., LL.D., Litt.D.

Fellow of the British Academy Corpus Christi Professor of Comparative Philology in the University of Oxford

THIRD EDITION Re-Written And Enlarged



London Edinburgh Glasgow New York Toronto Melbourne Bombay

HUMPHREY MILFORD Publisher to the University


The present book has been written in the hope that it will serve as an elementary introduction to the larger German works on the subject from which I have appropriated whatever seemed necessary for the purpose. In the grammar much aid has been derived from Paul's Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik, second edition, Halle, 1884, and Weinhold's Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik, second edition, Paderborn, 1883. The former work, besides containing by far the most complete syntax, is also the only Middle High German Grammar which is based on the present state of German Philology.... I believe that the day is not far distant when English students will take a much more lively interest in the study of their own and the other Germanic languages (especially German and Old Norse) than has hitherto been the case. And if this little book should contribute anything towards furthering the cause, it will have amply fulfilled its purpose.

LONDON: January, 1888.

When I wrote the preface to the first edition of this primer in 1888, I ventured to predict that the interest of English students in the subject would grow and develop as time went on, but I hardly expected that it would grow so much that a second edition of the book would be required within so short a period. It has been revised throughout, and several changes have been made in the phonology, but I have not thought it advisable to alter the general plan and scope of the former edition. After many years of personal experience as a teacher and examiner in the older periods of the German language, I have become firmly convinced that the larger books on the subject contain too many details for beginners. I feel sure that the easiest and best way to acquire a thorough knowledge of Middle High German is to start with an elementary book like the present, and then to learn the details of the grammar, especially the phonology of the various dialects, from a more advanced work.

OXFORD: December, 1898.


In the preparation of the new edition, I have steadily kept in view the class of students for whom the book was originally written. When the first edition appeared twenty-eight years ago, there were very few students in this country who took up the serious study of the older periods of the various Germanic languages at the Universities. In late years, however, the interest in the study of these languages has grown so much that Honour Courses and Examinations in them have been established at all our Universities. The result is that a book even intended for beginners can now reasonably be expected to be of a higher standard than the previous editions of this Primer. The grammatical introduction has accordingly been entirely rewritten and expanded to more than twice its original size. The texts have also been nearly doubled by the addition of eighteen poems from Walther von der Vogelweide, and selections from Reinmar, Ulrich von Lichtenstein, and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The greater part of Middle High German literature is so excellent and interesting that most students, who have mastered the grammatical introduction and read the texts in the Primer, will doubtless desire to continue the subject. Such students should procure a copy of either the Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik by Hermann Paul, eighth edition, Halle, 1911, or the Mittelhochdeutsches Elementarbuch by Victor Michels, second edition, Heidelberg, 1912, where the Grammar, especially the phonology and syntax, can be studied in greater detail. They should also procure a copy of the Mittelhochdeutsches Taschenworterbuch by Matthias Lexer, tenth edition, Leipzig, 1910, and also have access to the two standard Middle High German dictionaries— Mittelhochdeutsches Worterbuch mit Benutzung des Nachlasses von Georg Friedrich Benecke, ausgearbeitet von Wilhelm Muller und Friedrich Zarncke, drei Bande, Leipzig, 1854-61, and Mittelhochdeutsches Worterbuch, von Matthias Lexer, zugleich als Supplement und alphabetischer Index zum Mittelhochdeutschen Worterbuch von Benecke-Muller-Zarncke, drei Bande, Leipzig, 1872-78. An excellent bibliography of the best editions of the Middle High German texts— classified according to the dialects in which they were written— will be found on pp. 20-35 of Michels' Elementarbuch.

May the new edition of the Primer continue to further the study of the subject in the future to the same extent as it has done in the past!


OXFORD, October, 1916.




The classification of the MHG. dialects (Sec. 1).


The Vowels ... 2-22

The MHG. alphabet (Sec. 2). Pronunciation of the MHG. vowels (Sec. 3). Phonetic survey of the MHG. vowel-system (Sec. 4). The OHG. equivalents of the MHG. vowels (Sec. 5). The characteristic differences between OHG. and MHG. (Sec. 6). The weakening of unaccented vowels (Secs. 7-8). The loss of unaccented vowels (Sec. 9). Umlaut (Sec. 10). The MHG. equivalents of the OHG. vowels (Sec. 11). Ablaut (Sec. 12). Other vowel changes (Secs. 13-18).


The Consonants ... 22-35

Pronunciation of the consonants (Secs. 19-20). Phonetic survey of the MHG. consonants (Sec. 21). Characteristic differences between High German and the other West Germanic languages (Sec. 22). The High German sound-shifting (Secs. 23-7). The interchange between {pf, b} and {f}; {k, g} and {h}; {[zz], [z]} and {ss, s} (Sec. 28). The loss of the guttural nasal {[ng]} (Sec. 29). Verner's Law (Sec. 30). The doubling of consonants (Sec. 31). The simplification of double consonants (Sec. 32). The interchange between the lenes and the fortes (Sec. 33). Interchange between medial {h} and final {ch} (Sec. 34). Initial and medial {j} (Sec. 35). Medial and final {w} (Sec. 36). The loss of intervocalic {b, d, g} (Sec. 37). The loss of intervocalic {h} (Sec. 38). The loss of final {r} (Sec. 39). The change of medial {t} to {d} after nasals and {l} (Sec. 40).


Declension of Nouns ... 36-46

Introductory remarks (Sec. 41). A. The vocalic or strong declension:— Masculine nouns (Secs. 42-5); Neuter nouns (Secs. 46-7); Feminine nouns (Secs. 48-9). B. The weak declension (Secs. 50-3). C. Declension of proper names (Sec. 54).


Adjectives ... 46-52

A. The declension of adjectives (Secs. 55-6). B. The comparison of adjectives (Secs. 57-9). C. The formation of adverbs from adjectives (Secs. 60-1). D. Numerals (Secs. 62-4).


Pronouns ... 53-57

Personal (Sec. 65). Reflexive (Sec. 66). Possessive (Sec. 67). Demonstrative (Sec. 68). Relative (Sec. 69). Interrogative (Sec. 70). Indefinite (Sec. 71).


Verbs ... 57-75

Classification of MHG. verbs (Sec. 72). A. Strong verbs:— The conjugation of the model strong verb {nemen} (Secs. 73-4). Class I (Secs. 76-7). Class II (Secs. 78-80). Class III (Sec. 81). Class IV (Sec. 82). Class V (Secs. 83-4). Class VI (Secs. 85-6). Class VII (Sec. 87). B. Weak Verbs:— Classification of MHG. weak verbs (Secs. 88-9). Class I (Sec. 90). Class II (Sec. 92). C. Minor groups.— Preterite-presents (Sec. 93). Anomalous verbs (Secs. 94-8). Contracted verbs (Sec. 99).


Syntax ... 75-78

Cases (Secs. 100-2). Adjectives (Sec. 103). Pronouns (Sec. 104). Verbs (Secs. 105-7). Negation (Sec. 108).


I. Berthold von Regensburg 79-83 II. The Swabian Lantrehtbuoch 83-85 III. Hartman von Ouwe 86-116 IV. Walther von der Vogelweide 116-133 V. Reinmar 133-139 VI. Ulrich von Lichtenstein 140-148 VII. Das Nibelungen-Lied 149-158 VIII. Wolfram von Eschenbach 158-168

NOTES ... 169-171

GLOSSARY ... 172-213


Goth. = Gothic Gr. = Greek HG. = High German Lat. = Latin MHG. = Middle High German NHG. = New High German OE. = Old English OHG. = Old High German OS. = Old Saxon P. Germ. = Primitive Germanic UF. = Upper Franconian UG. = Upper German

The asterisk * prefixed to a word denotes a theoretical form, as MHG. {warmen} from {*warmjan}, to warm.

In representing prehistoric forms the following signs are used:— {[th]} (= {th} in Engl. {thin}), {[dh]} (= {th} in Engl. {then}), {[bh]} (= a bilabial spirant, which may be pronounced like the {v} in Engl. {vine}), {[zh]} (= {g} often heard in German {sagen}), {[ch]} (= NHG. {ch} and the {ch} in Scotch {loch}), {[ng]} (= {n} in Engl. {sunk}).



Sec. 1.


Middle High German (MHG.) embraces the High German language from about the year 1100 to 1500. It is divided into three great dialect-groups: Upper German, Franconian, and East Middle German.

1. Upper German is divided into: (a) Alemanic, embracing High Alemanic (Switzerland), and Low Alemanic (South Baden, Swabia, and Alsace). (b) Bavarian, extending over Bavaria and those parts of Austria where German is spoken.

2. Franconian (West Middle German), which is subdivided into Upper Franconian and Middle Franconian. Upper Franconian consists of East Franconian (the old duchy of Francia Orientalis) and Rhenish Franconian (the old province of Francia Rhinensis), Middle Franconian extending over the district along the banks of the Moselle and of the Rhine from Coblence to Dusseldorf.

3. East Middle German, extending over: Thuringia, Upper Saxony, and Silesia.

Since it is impossible to deal with all these dialects in an elementary book like the present, we shall confine ourselves almost exclusively to Upper German, and shall only deal with that period of Middle High German which extends from about 1200 to 1300.




Sec. 2.

MHG. had the following simple vowels and diphthongs:—

Short vowels a, a, e, e, i, o, u, o, u. Long " [a], [ae], [e], [i], [o], [u], [oe], iu. Diphthongs ei, ie, ou, uo, ou (eu), ue.

NOTE.—{e} represents primitive Germanic {e} (= Gr. epsilon, Lat. {e}, as in Gr. deka, Lat. {decem}, MHG. {zehen}, ten) and is generally written {e} in Old and Middle High German grammars, in order to distinguish it from the OHG. umlaut-{e} (Sec. 10). The former was an open sound like the {e} in English {bed}, whereas the latter was a close sound like the {é} in French {été}. {a} was a very open sound nearly like the {a} in English {hat}, and arose in MHG. from the {i}-umlaut of {a} (Sec. 10). Good MHG. poets do not rhyme Germanic {e} with the umlaut-{e}, and the distinction between the two sounds is still preserved in many NHG. dialects. In like manner the modern Bavarian and Austrian dialects still distinguish between {a} and {e}. In the MHG. period {a, e}, and {e} were kept apart in Bavarian, but in Alemanic and Middle German {a} and {e} seem to have fallen together in {e} or possibly {a}, as the two sounds frequently rhyme with each other in good poets. MHG. texts do not always preserve in writing the distinction between the old umlaut-{e} and the MHG. umlaut-{a}, both being often written {e} in the same text.


Sec. 3.

The approximate pronunciation of the above vowels and diphthongs was as follows:—

a as in NHG. mann man, man. [a] " " Engl. father h[a]t, has. a " " " man mahte, powers. [ae] " " " air l[ae]re, empty. e " " " men helfen, to help. e " " Fr. été geste, guests. [e] " " NHG. reh s[e], sea. i " " Engl. bit biten, to beg. [i] " " " ween w[i]n, wine. o " " " pot golt, gold. [o] " " NHG. tot t[o]t, dead. u " " Engl. put guld[i]n, golden. [u] " " " fool h[u]s, house. o " " NHG. locher locher, holes. [oe] " " " schon sch[oe]ne, beautiful. u " " " fullen vullen, to fill. iu " " " mude hiuser, houses. ei = e + i stein, stone. ie = i + e knie, knee. ou = o + u ouge, eye. ou (eu) = o or e + u drouwen, to threaten. ue = u + e grue[z]en, to greet. uo = u + o bruoder, brother.

To the above list should be added the MHG. {e} in unaccented syllables, which mostly arose from the weakening of the OHG. full vowels, as OHG. {zunga}, tongue, {hirti}, shepherd, {namo}, name, {fridu}, peace = MHG. {zunge}, {hirte}, {name}, {fride}; OHG. {hab[e]n}, to have, {sc[o]n[i]}, beauty, {salb[o]n}, to anoint, {zung[u]n}, tongues = MHG. {haben}, {sch[oe]ne}, {salben}, {zungen}. The {e} in this position was pronounced like the {-e} in NHG. {zunge}, {name}, {friede}, &c.


Sec. 4.

Palatal { Short a, e, e, i, o, u. { Long [ae], [e], [i], [oe], iu (= u).

Guttural { Short a, o, u. { Long [a], [o], [u].


Sec. 5.

The following are the OHG. equivalents of the MHG. short vowels, long vowels and diphthongs of accented syllables:—

1. The short vowels a, e, e, i, o, u = the corresponding OHG. short vowels, as {tac}, day, {gast}, guest, {bant}, he bound, {gap}, he gave = OHG. {tag}, {gast}, {bant}, {gab}.

{wec}, way, {nemen}, to take, {zehen}, ten = OHG. {weg}, {neman}, {zehan}.

{geste}, guests, {lember}, lambs, {vert}, he goes = OHG. {gesti}, {lembir}, {ferit}.

{wi[zz]en}, to know, {hilfe}, I help, {visch}, fish = OHG. {wi[zz]an}, {hilfu}, {fisk}.

{got}, God, {wol}, well, {geholfen}, helped = OHG. {got}, {wola}, {giholfan}.

{sun}, son, {wurm}, worm, {gebunden}, bound = OHG. {sunu}, {wurm}, {gibuntan}.

{a} is the umlaut of {a} before certain consonant combinations which prevented umlaut from taking place in OHG., as {mahte}, powers, {haltet}, he holds, {warmen}, to warm = OHG. {mahti}, {haltit}, {warmen} from {*warmjan} (Sec. 10). It also occurs in derivatives ending in {-l[i]ch} and {-l[i]n}, as {manl[i]ch}, manly, {tagel[i]ch}, daily, {vaterl[i]n}, dim. of {vater}, father; and in words which originally had an {i} in the third syllable, the vowel of the second syllable having become {i} by assimilation, as {magede}, maids, {zaher(e)}, tears = OHG. {magadi}, {zahari}.

{o} is the umlaut of OHG. {o}, as {locher}, holes, {mohte}, I might = OHG. {lohhir}, {mohti}; {gotinne}, goddess, beside {got}, God.

{u} is the umlaut of OHG. {u}, as {dunne}, thin, {sune}, sons, {zuge}, I might draw = OHG. {dunni}, {suni}, {zugi}.

2. The long vowels [a], [e], [i], [o], [u] = the corresponding OHG. long vowels, as {s[a]t}, seed, {sl[a]fen}, to sleep, {n[a]men}, we took, {d[a]hte}, he thought = OHG. {s[a]t}, {sl[a]fan}, {n[a]mum}, {d[a]hta}.

{s[e]le}, soul, {m[e]re}, more, {l[e]ren}, to teach = OHG. {s[e]la}, {m[e]ro}, {l[e]ren}.

{w[i]p}, wife, {s[i]n}, his, {b[i][z]en}, to bite = OHG. {w[i]b}, {s[i]n}, {b[i][z]an}.

{[o]re}, ear, {t[o]t}, death, {k[o]s}, I chose = OHG. {[o]ra}, {t[o]d}, {k[o]s}.

{h[u]s}, house, {t[u]sent}, thousand, {d[u]hte}, it seemed = OHG. {h[u]s}, {d[u]sunt}, {d[u]hta}.

{[ae]} is the umlaut of OHG. {[a]}, as {l[ae]re}, empty, {n[ae]me}, thou tookest = OHG. {l[a]ri}, {n[a]mi}.

{[oe]} is the umlaut of OHG. {[o]}, as {sch[oe]ne}, beautiful, {h[oe]her}, higher, {h[oe]ren}, to hear = OHG. {sc[o]ni}, {h[o]hiro}, {h[o]ren} from {*h[o]rjan} older {*hausjan}.

iu = (1) OHG. {iu} (diphthong), as {liute}, people, {kiuset}, he chooses = OHG. {liuti}, {kiusit}.

= (2) the umlaut of OHG. {[u]}, as {hiuser}, houses, {briute}, brides = OHG. {h[u]sir}, {br[u]ti}.

3. The diphthongs ei, ou, uo = the corresponding OHG. diphthongs, as {bein}, bone, {leiten}, to lead, {schreip}, I wrote = OHG. {bein}, {leiten}, {screib}.

{ouge}, eye, {houbet}, head, {bouc}, I bent = OHG. {ouga}, {houbit}, {boug}.

{bruoder}, brother, {stuont}, I stood, {vuor}, I went = OHG. {bruoder}, {stuont}, {fuor}.

ie = (1) OHG. {ie} (diphthong) older {ia}, {ea, [e]} (Germanic {[e]}), as {hier}, here, {miete}, pay, reward, {gienc}, I went = OHG. {hier}, {mieta}, {gieng}.

= (2) OHG. {io} (Germanic {eu}), as {bieten}, to offer, {liep}, dear = OHG. {biotan}, {liob}.

= (3) the OHG. {io} which occurs in the preterite of the old reduplicated verbs whose presents have {ou}, {[o], uo} (Sec. 87), as inf. {loufen}, to run, {st[o][z]en}, to push, {ruofen}, to call, preterite {lief}, {stie[z]}, {rief} = OHG. {liof}, {stio[z]}, {riof}.

= (4) Upper German {iu} (OHG. {io}) before labials and gutturals, as {liup}, dear, {tiuf}, deep, {siuch}, sick, {liugen}, to tell a lie = {liep}, {tief}, {siech}, {liegen}.

{ou} ({eu}) is the umlaut of OHG. {ou}, as {louber}, leaves, {loufel}, runner = OHG. {loubir}, {loufil}.

{ue} is the umlaut of OHG. {uo}, as {gruene}, green, {guete}, goodness, {vuere}, thou didst go = OHG. {gruoni}, {guot[i]}, {fuori}.


Sec. 6.

The two most characteristic differences between OHG. and MHG. are: (1) the spread of umlaut (Sec. 10); (2) the weakening and partial loss of vowels in unaccented syllables.


Sec. 7.

The short vowels a, i, o, u, and the long vowels [e], [i], [o], [u] were weakened to {e}. This {e} was pronounced like the final {-e} in NHG. {leute}, see Sec. 3. Examples are:—

{geba}, gift, {herza}, heart, {zunga}, tongue, {taga}, days = MHG. {gebe}, {herze}, {zunge}, {tage}; {heilag}, holy, neut. {blinda[z]}, blind, {neman}, to take = MHG. {heilec}, {blinde[z]}, {nemen}.

{kunni}, race, generation, {gesti}, guests = MHG. {kunne}, {geste}; {kuning}, king, {be[zz]isto}, best, dat. pl. {gestim}, to guests, gen. pl. {lembiro}, of lambs, {nimit}, he takes = MHG. {kunec}, {be[zz]est} ({beste}), {gesten}, {lember(e)}, {nimet}.

{haso}, hare, nom. acc. pl. fem. {blinto}, blind, gen. pl. {tago}, of days = MHG. {hase}, {blinde}, {tage}; acc. sing. {hason}, hare = MHG. {hasen}.

{fridu}, peace, dat. sing. {gebu}, to a gift, {nimu}, I take = MHG. {fride}, {gebe}, {nime}; dat. pl. {tagum}, to days, {n[a]mum}, we took = MHG. {tagen}, {n[a]men}.

Nom. sing. masc. {blint[e]r}, blind, {uns[e]r}, our, {hab[e]n}, to have, {nem[e]m}, we may take = MHG. {blinder}, {unser}, {haben}, {nemen}.

{sc[o]n[i]}, beauty = MHG. {sch[oe]ne}; {s[a]l[i]g}, blessed, {n[a]m[i]m}, we might take = MHG. {s[ae]lec}, {n[ae]men}.

{salb[o]n}, to anoint, {suoht[o]s(t)}, thou soughtest, dat. pl. {geb[o]m}, {herz[o]m} = MHG. {salben}, {suohtes(t)}, {geben}, {herzen}.

Gen. dat. acc. sing., nom. acc. pl. {zung[u]n} = MHG. {zungen}.

Sec. 8.

The vowel in suffixal and derivative syllables was generally weakened to {e} just as in the inflexional syllables, but in some suffixal and derivative syllables which had a secondary accent the vowel was not weakened to {e}. This was especially the case with derivatives in {-[ae]re} (denoting nomina agentis), {-inne}, {-inc} ({-ing}), {linc} ({-ling}), diminutives in {-[i]n} and {-l[i]n}, abstract nouns in {-nisse} ({-nusse}, {-nusse}), {-unge}. In others the vowel fluctuated between the full vowel and {e}, as in {-isch} beside {-esch}; {-ic} (= OHG. {-ag}, and {-ĭg}) beside {-ec}; superlative of adjectives {-ist} (= OHG. {-ist}) beside {-est} (= OHG. {-[o]st}); {-sal} beside {-sel}. Beside the full forms {-l[i]ch}, {-r[i]ch} occurred the shortened forms {-lich}, {-rich}.

The OHG. endings of the present participle {-anti}, {-enti}, {-[o]nti}, {[e]nti} regularly became {-ende}, but {-ant} occurs in a few old participles which had become nouns, as {heilant}, Saviour, {w[i]gant}, warrior, {v[i]ant} beside {v[i]ent} ({v[i]nt}), fiend, enemy. Examples are: {garten[ae]re}, gardener, {schepf[ae]re}, creator, {schr[i]b[ae]re}, scribe.

{kuneginne}, queen, {vriundinne}, female friend, {wirtinne}, mistress.

{edelinc}, son of a nobleman, {hendelinc}, glove, {vingerlinc}, ring; {muedinc}, unhappy man.

{maged[i]n}, little girl, {vinger[i]n}, ring; {kindel[i]n}, little child, {vogel[i]n}, little bird.

{hindernisse}, hindrance, {verderbnisse}, destruction, {vinsternisse}, darkness, {vancnusse}, captivity.

{be[zz]erunge}, improvement, {handelunge}, action, {meldunge}, announcement.

{himelisch}, heavenly, {irdisch}, earthly, {kindisch}, childish, beside {-esch}.

{heilic} (OHG. {heilag}), holy, {honic} (OHG. {honag}, {honig}), honey, {kunic} (OHG. {cuning}, {cunig}), king, {manic} (OHG. {manag}), many a, {s[ae]lic} (OHG. {s[a]l[i]g}), blessed, beside {-ec}.

{oberist} beside {oberest}, highest.

{kumbersal}, distress, {truebsal}, gloom, {wehsal} beside {wehsel}, change.

{bitterl[i]ch}, bitterly, {sicherl[i]ch}, surely, {w[i]sl[i]ch}, wisely, beside {-lich}.

{Dietr[i]ch}, {Heinr[i]ch}, beside {-rich}.

The OHG. pronominal ending of the nom. sing. fem. and the nom. acc. pl. neuter remained unweakened, as OHG. {blintiu} = MHG. {blindiu} (Sec. 55).


Sec. 9.

The weakened {e} regularly disappeared:—

1. After {l} and {r} in dissyllables with short stems, as {ar}, older {are} (OHG. {aro}), eagle, acc. gen. dat. {arn}, beside {name}, name, {namen}; {wol}, older {wole} (OHG. {wola}), well; {gar} (OHG. {garo}), ready, {milch} (OHG. {milih}), milk, {zal} (OHG. {zala}), number; {kil}, quill, gen. {kil(e)s}, dat. {kil}, pl. nom. acc. {kil}, dat. {kil(e)n}, beside {tac}, day, gen. {tages}, dat. {tage}, pl. nom. acc. {tage}, dat. {tagen}; {bern}, to bear, {steln}, to steal, {nern}, to rescue, pres. sing. {stil}, {stils(t)}, {stilt}; {ner}, {ners(t)}, {nert}, beside {h[oe]ren}, to hear, pres. sing. {h[oe]re}, {h[oe]res(t)}, {h[oe]ret}.

2. After liquids and nasals in trisyllabic and polysyllabic forms with long stems, as {s[ae]lde} (OHG. {s[a]lida}), blessedness, {h[e]rsen}, {hersen} (OHG. {h[e]ris[o]n}), to rule, {zierde} (OHG. {ziarida}), adornment, {wandelte} (OHG. {wantal[o]ta}), I wandered, {zw[i]feln} (OHG. {zw[i]fal[o]n}), to doubt, {wundern} (OHG. {wuntar[o]n}), to wonder, {sch[oe]nste} (OHG. {sc[o]nisto}), most beautiful, {diente}, {diende} (OHG. {dion[o]ta}), I served; {dienest}, service, gen. {dienstes}; {engel}, angel, gen. {engel(e)s}, dat. {engel(e)}, pl. nom. acc. gen. {engel(e)}, dat. {engel(e)n}, and similarly with words like {acker}, acre, {l[u]ter}, clear, {buosem}, bosom, {heiden}, heathen; {gr[oe][z]er} (OHG. {gr[o][z]iro}), greater, fem. dat. sing. {gr[oe][z]er} (OHG. {gr[o][z]iru}); dat. sing. {blindem(e)}, blind, {guotem(e)}, good = OHG. {blintemu}, {guotemu}; gen. pl. {blinder(e)} = OHG. {blintero}. After the analogy of forms with long stems it was also dropped in forms with short stems, as pl. {nagel}, nails, {vogel}, birds, beside {nagele}, {vogele}; {wider} beside {widere} (OHG. {widaro}), wether, dat. sing. {disem(e)}, this, {vadem(e)}, thread, gen. {vadem(e)s}.

There was however a strong tendency in MHG. for the medial vowel to disappear in trisyllabic forms with long stems irrespectively as to whether they contained a liquid or a nasal, as {market}, market, gen. {marktes}; {r[i]chsen} (OHG. {r[i]chis[o]n}), to rule, {ahte} (OHG. {aht[o]ta}), he observed, {wartte}, {warte} (OHG. {wart[e]ta}), he waited, {vr[a]gte} beside {vr[a]gete} (OHG. {fr[a]g[e]ta}), he asked, {dancte} beside {dankete} (OHG. {dank[o]ta}), he thanked. See Sec. 92.

3. In the medial syllable of trisyllabic forms with long stems having liquids or nasals in successive syllables, as {d[i]me} beside {d[i]neme} (OHG. {d[i]nemu}), dat. of {d[i]n}, thy; {eime} beside {ein(e)me} (OHG. {einemu}), dat. of {ein}, one; {h[e]rre}, {herre} (OHG. {h[e]riro}), master; {minre} beside {minner(e)} (OHG. {minniro}), less; {tiurre} (OHG. {tiuriro}), dearer.

4. Finally after a nasal, and medially after a nasal before a following {t}, in forms with short stems, as {han(e)}, cock, {nam(e)}, name, {sun} (OHG. {sun}, {sunu}), son, {won(e)}, I dwell; {man(e)t}, he admonishes, {won(e)t}, he dwells, {scham(e)t}, he shames, {nim(e)t}, he takes, {nem(e)t}, ye take; pret. {won(e)te}, {scham(e)te}. In these and similar forms the {e} was often restored through the influence of forms which regularly preserved the {e}.

NOTE.—The {e}, when not preceded by a nasal, was sometimes dropped in verbal forms ending in {t}. This was especially the case in {wirst}, {wirt} older {wirdes(t)}, {wirdet}; {siht}, he sees, {seht}, ye see, older {sihet}, {sehet}; and often in forms like {gilt}, {vint}, {spricht}, {sticht} beside {giltet}, {vindet}, {sprichet}, {stichet}.

5. The superlative of adjectives often has double forms, the one with the loss of the medial {e}, and the other with the loss of the final {e}, as {beste}, best, {[e]rste}, first, {gr[oe]ste}, greatest, {leste}, last, {min(ne)ste}, least, {wir(se)ste}, worst, beside {be[zz]est(e)}, {[e]rest(e)}, {gr[oe][z]est(e)}, {le[zz]est(e)}, {minnest(e)}, {wirsest(e)}, OHG. {be[zz]isto}, {[e]risto}, {gr[o][z]isto}, {le[zz]isto}, {minnisto}, {wirsisto}.

6. In the unstressed forms of dissyllables, as adv. {ane}, {abe}, {mite}, {obe} beside the prepositions {an}, on, {ab}, of, {mit}, with, {ob}, over; dat. sing. {deme}, {weme}, {ime}, beside {dem}, {wem}, {im}; {unde}, and, {wande}, for, because, beside {und} ({unt}), {wan(d)}; {herre}, {vrouwe}, beside {her}, {vrou} before proper names and titles.

7. The {e} in the unaccented verbal prefixes {be-}, {ge-} often disappeared before {l, n, r}, as {bl[i]ben}, to remain, {gl[i]ch}, like, {glit}, member, {glouben}, to believe, {gn[a]de}, favour, {gnanne}, namesake, {gnuoge}, many, {grade}, quick, {grech}, straight, beside {bel[i]ben}, {gel[i]ch}, {gelit}, {gelouben}, {gen[a]de}, {genanne}, {genuoge}, {gerade}, {gerech}; it disappeared before vowels during the OHG. period, as {bange}, anxious: {ange}, anxiously, {ge[zz]an} p.p. of {e[zz]an}, to eat, {gunnan}, MHG. {gunnen}, {gunnen}, to grant.


Sec. 10.

By umlaut is meant the modification (palatalization) of an accented vowel through the influence of an {ĭ} or {j} which originally stood in the following syllable. The only vowel which underwent this change in OHG. was {a}, which became close {e} (Sec. 2, note).

The change is first met with in OHG. monuments about the middle of the eighth century. In the ninth century the process was practically complete except when the {a} was followed by certain consonant combinations which prevented umlaut from taking place. These consonant combinations were:—

1. {ht}, {hs}, or consonant + {w}, as {maht}, power, pl. {mahti; wahsit}, he grows, inf. {wahsan}; {bi-scatwen} from {*-scatwjan}, to shade.

2. In Upper German before {l} + consonant, before {hh}, {ch} (= Germanic {k}), and often before {r} + consonant, and before {h} (= Germanic {h}), as Upper German {haltit} beside Upper Franconian {heltit}, he holds, inf. {haltan}; UG. {altiro} beside UF. {eltiro}, older; UG. {sachit} beside UF. {sehhit}, he quarrels, inf. {sachan}, Goth. {sakan}; UG. {warmen} beside {wermen}, Goth. {warmjan}, to warm; UG. {slahit} beside {slehit}, he strikes, inf. OHG. {slahan}, Goth. {slahan}.

3. In words ending in {-nissi}, {-nissa}, or {-l[i]h}, as {firstantnissi}, understanding; {infancnissa}, assumption; {kraftl[i]h}, strong; {tagal[i]h}, daily.

Umlaut must have taken place earlier in the spoken language than it is expressed in late OHG. and early MHG. manuscripts, because the {ĭ} which caused the umlaut was weakened to {e} in MHG. (Sec. 7) and {j} had disappeared except between vowels. The vowels and diphthongs which underwent umlaut in MHG. are a, o, u, [a], [o], [u], ou, uo. The umlaut of all these sounds was completed by about the year 1200.

a > e: {gast}, guest, pl. {geste} (OHG. {gesti}); {lamp}, lamb, pl. {lember} (OHG. {lembir}); inf. {graben}, to dig, pres. second and third pers. sing. {grebes(t)}, {grebet} (OHG. {grebis}, {grebit}); {lanc}, long, beside {lenge} (OHG. {leng[i]}), length; {brennen}, Goth. {brannjan}, to burn; {bette} (OHG. {betti}), bed.

a > a: From the twelfth century onwards the umlaut of {a} also occurs—often beside forms without umlaut—in words containing the consonant combinations which prevented umlaut from taking place in OHG., as pl. {mahte} (OHG. {mahti}), powers; {geslahte} (OHG. {gislahti}), race, generation; {wahset} (OHG. {wahsit}), he grows; {warmen} (OHG. {warmen}, older {*warmjan}), to warm; Upper German {alter} (OHG. {altiro}), older; {kalte} (OHG. {kalt[i]}), coldness; {haltet} (OHG. {haltit}), he holds; {aher} (OHG. {ahir}), ear of corn; {slahet} (OHG. {slahit}), he strikes. It also occurs in derivatives ending in {-l[i]ch}, {-l[i]n}, as {manl[i]ch}, manly, {schamel[i]ch}, shameful, {tagel[i]ch}, daily, {vaterl[i]ch}, fatherly, {vaterl[i]n}, dim. of {vater}, father. It is likewise met with in MHG. words which originally had an {i} in the third syllable, the vowel of the second syllable having become {i} by assimilation, as {fravele} (OHG. {frafali}), bold, pl. {magede} (OHG. {magadi}), maids, pl. {zaher(e)} (OHG. {zahari}), tears. See Sec. 2, Note.

o > o: Although {o}, the umlaut of {o}, is common in MHG. and still commoner in NHG., yet all words containing this umlaut are really new formations due to levelling or analogy, because primitive Germanic {u} (Sec. 15) did not become {o} in OHG. when followed by an {ĭ} or {j} in the next syllable. Examples are: {boc}, he-goat, beside dim. {bockl[i]n} (OHG. {pochil[i]}); {dorf}, village, beside pl. {dorfer}; {got}, God, beside {gotinne}, goddess; {hof}, court, beside {hovesch}, courtly; {loch} (OHG. {loh}), hole, beside pl. {locher} (OHG. {lohhir}); {tohter}, daughter, beside dim. {tohterl[i]n}; pret. subj. {mohte} (OHG. {mohti}), I might; {torste} (OHG. {torsti}), I might dare.

u > u: {dunne} (OHG. {dunni}), thin; {kunne} (OHG. {kunni}), race, generation; pl. {sune} (OHG. {suni}), sons; {tur} (OHG. {turi}), door; pret. subj. {zuge} (OHG. {zugi}), inf. {ziehen}, to draw.

NOTE.—In Upper German certain consonant combinations often prevented umlaut from taking place where it might be expected. Of these the principal are:—

1. Before a liquid + consonant, as {hulde} (OHG. {huld[i]}), favour; {schuldec} (OHG. {sculd[i]g}), guilty; {gedultec} (OHG. {gidult[i]g}), indulgent; {burge} (OHG. {burgi}), dat. of {burc}, city; {sturbe} (OHG. {sturbi}), pret. subj. of {sterben}, to die; {wurfe} (OHG. {wurfi}), pret. subj. of {werfen}, to throw, cp. 2 above.

2. {u} fluctuates with {u} when followed by a nasal + consonant, as {dunken}, to seem, {umbe}, about, {wunne}, joy, beside {dunken}, {umbe} (OHG. {umbi}), {wunne}. This fluctuation is especially common in the pret. subjunctive, as {bunde}, {sunge}, beside {bunde}, {sunge}, inf. {binden}, to bind, {singen}, to sing.

3. {u} fluctuates with {u} when followed by {gg}, {ck}, {pf}, {tz}, {[zz]}, {st}, {ch}, and {g}, as {brugge}, {brugge}, {brucke}, {brucke}, bridge; {mugge}, {mugge}, {mucke}, {mucke}, midge; {drucken}, {drucken}, to press; {hupfen}, {hupfen}, to hop; {schupfen}, {schupfen}, to push; {nutzen}, {nutzen}, to use; pret. subj. {flu[zz]e}, {flu[zz]e}; {schu[zz]e}, {schu[zz]e}, inf. {flie[z]en}, to flow, {schie[z]en}, to shoot; pl. {bruste}, {bruste}, breasts; {kuchen}, {kuchen}, kitchen; pret. subj. {fluge}, {fluge}, inf. {fliegen}, to fly.

[a] > [ae]: {l[ae]re} (OHG. {l[a]ri}), empty; {m[ae]re} (OHG. {m[a]ri}), renowned; {s[ae]jen} (OHG. {s[a]jan}), to sow; pret. subj. {n[ae]me} (OHG. {n[a]mi}), pl. {n[ae]men} (OHG. {n[a]m[i]m}), inf. {nemen}, to take.

[o] > [oe]: {h[oe]her} (OHG. {h[o]hiro}), higher; {h[oe]hest} (OHG. {h[o]histo}), highest; {h[oe]ren} (OHG. {h[o]ren}, from older {*h[o]rjan}), to hear; {sch[oe]ne} (OHG. {sc[o]ni}), beautiful.

[u] > iu: pl. {briute} (OHG. {br[u]ti}), brides; {hiuser} (OHG. {h[u]sir}), houses.

Traces of the umlaut of {[u]}, written {iu} (= {[=u:]}), occur in late OHG. monuments of the tenth century. It is common in the writings of Notker (d. 1022), as {hiute} older {h[u]ti}, skins; {chriuter} older {chr[u]tir}, herbs. In other writings of the tenth to the twelfth century the umlaut of {[u]} is seldom found. Umlaut did not take place in Upper German before a following {m}, as {r[u]men} from {*r[u]mjan}, to make room; {s[u]men} from {*s[u]mjan}, to tarry.

ou > ou, often written {eu}, rarely {oi}, {oi}: {loufel} (OHG. {loufil}), runner; {louber} (OHG. {loubir}), leaves.

Umlaut of {ou} did not take place in the combination {ouw} = OHG. {ouw}, {auw}, West Germanic {aww}, primitive Germanic {awj}, as {frouwe} (OHG. {frouwa}, prim. Germanic {*frawj[o]-}), woman; {ouwe} (OHG. {ouwa}, {auwia}, prim. Germanic {*a([zh])wj[o]-}), meadow; {frouwen} (OHG. {frouwen}, prim. Germanic {*frawjan}), to rejoice, and similarly {douwen}, to digest, {drouwen}, to threaten, {strouwen}, to strew. Forms like {frouwen}, {douwen}, {drouwen}, {strouwen} were analogical formations due to the influence of the pres. second and third pers. singular and the preterite which regularly had umlaut; see the Author's Historical German Grammar, Sec. 232.

Umlaut of {ou} did not take place in Upper German before labials and {g}, as {erlouben}, to allow, {gelouben}, to believe, {houbet}, head, {koufen}, to buy, {troumen}, to dream, {toufen}, to baptize, {bougen}, to bend, {ougen}, to show, beside Middle German {erlouben}, {gelouben}, {houbet}, {koufen}, {troumen}, {toufen}, {bougen}, {ougen}.

uo > ue: {gruene} (OHG. {gruoni}), green; {guete} (OHG. {guot[i]}), goodness; {vue[z]e} (OHG. {fuo[z]i}), feet; pret. pl. subj. {vueren} (OHG. {fuor[i]m}), we might go, inf. {varn}, to fare, go; {buoch}, book, dim. {buechl[i]n}; {muoter}, mother, dim. {mueterl[i]n}.


Sec. 11.

OHG. had the following short vowels, long vowels, and diphthongs:—

Short Vowels a, e, e, i, o, u. Long " [a], [e], [i], [o], [u]. Diphthongs ei, ie (ia, ea), ou (au), uo. io (eo), iu.

The following are the MHG. equivalents of the above simple vowels and diphthongs in accented syllables:—

1. The short vowels: Apart from the changes caused by umlaut, viz. {a} to {a, o} to {o, u} to {u} (Sec. 10), and of {e} to {e} before certain consonants, the OHG. short vowels remained in MHG., as

a = (1) MHG. a, as OHG. {fater}, father, {tag}, day, {faran}, to go = MHG. {vater}, {tac}, {varn}.

= (2) MHG. a, in words containing the consonant combinations which prevented umlaut from taking place in OHG., as OHG. {mahti}, powers, {kalt[i]}, coldness, {ahir}, ear of corn, {warmen}, to warm = MHG. {mahte}, {kalte}, {aher}, {warmen}, see Sec. 10.

e = MHG. e, as OHG. {gesti}, guests, {lembir}, lambs, {brennen}, to burn = MHG. {geste}, {lember}, {brennen}.

e = (1) MHG. e, as OHG. {weg}, way, {helfan}, to help, {stelan}, to steal = MHG. {wec}, {helfen}, {steln}.

= (2) MHG. e, before {st}, {sch}, and palatal {g}, as OHG. {nest}, nest, {swester}, sister = MHG. {nest}, {swester}; and similarly, {gestern}, yesterday, {deste}, all the more, {weste}, I knew, {dreschen}, to thrash, {leschen}, to go out, {degen}, warrior; and also in a few words before a following {l}, as {helm}, helmet, {vels}, rock, {welch}, which, &c.

i = MHG. i, as OHG. {fisk}, fish, {nimu}, I take, {wi[zz]an}, to know = MHG. {visch}, {nime}, {wi[zz]en}.

o = (1) MHG. o, as OHG. {got}, God, p.p. {giholfan}, helped, {tohter}, daughter = MHG. {got}, {geholfen}, {tohter}. = (2) MHG. o, as OHG. {lohhir}, holes, {mohti}, I might = MHG. {locher}, {mohte}.

u = (1) MHG. u, as OHG. {sunu}, {sun}, son, {butum}, we offered, {buntum}, we bound = MHG. {sun}, {buten}, {bunden}. = (2) MHG. u, as OHG. {dunni}, thin, {suni}, sons = MHG. {dunne}, {sune}.

2. The long vowels: Apart from the changes caused by umlaut, viz. {[a]} to {[ae], [o]} to {[oe]}, and {[u]} to {iu} (Sec. 10), the OHG. long vowels remained in MHG., as

[a] = (1) MHG. [a], as OHG. {s[a]t}, seed, {sl[a]fan}, to sleep, {d[a]hta}, I thought = MHG. {s[a]t}, {sl[a]fen}, {d[a]hte}. = (2) MHG. [ae], as OHG {l[a]ri}, empty, {n[a]mi}, I might take = MHG. {l[ae]re}, {n[ae]me}.

[e] = MHG. [e], as OHG. {[e]ra}, honour, {l[e]ren}, to teach, {s[e]la}, soul = MHG. {[e]re}, {l[e]ren}, {s[e]le}.

[i] = MHG. [i], as OHG. {s[i]n}, his, {w[i]b}, woman, {sn[i]dan}, to cut = MHG. {s[i]n}, {w[i]p}, {sn[i]den}.

[o] = (1) MHG. [o], as OHG. {[o]ra}, ear, {t[o]d}, death, {k[o]s}, I chose = MHG. {[o]re}, {t[o]t}, {k[o]s}. = (2) MHG. [oe], as OHG. {h[o]hiro}, higher, {h[o]ren}, to hear, {sc[o]ni}, beautiful = MHG. {h[oe]her}, {h[oe]ren}, {sch[oe]ne}.

[u] = (1) MHG. [u], as OHG. {h[u]s}, house, {r[u]m}, room, {d[u]hta}, it seemed = MHG. {h[u]s}, {r[u]m}, {d[u]hte}.

= (2) MHG. iu, as OHG. {h[u]sir}, houses, {br[u]ti}, brides = MHG. {hiuser}, {briute}.

3. The diphthongs:

ei = MHG. ei, as OHG. {bein}, bone, {leiten}, to lead, {sneid}, I cut = MHG. {bein}, {leiten}, {sneit}.

ie (older ia, ea = Germanic [e]) = MHG. ie, as OHG. {hier}, here, {mieta}, reward, {hielt}, I held, {hie[z]}, I called, {slief}, I slept = MHG. {hier}, {miete}, {hielt}, {hie[z]}, {slief}.

io (eo) = Germanic eu (Sec. 16), and the io (eo) in the preterites of the old reduplicated verbs whose presents have ou, [o], uo (Sec. 87). = MHG. ie, as OHG. {liob}, dear, {biotan}, to offer = MHG. {liep}, {bieten}; OHG. {liof}, I ran, {stio[z]}, I pushed, {riof}, I called = MHG. {lief}, {stie[z]}, {rief}.

iu = MHG. [-u:] written iu, as OHG. {liuti}, people, {kiusit}, he chooses = MHG. {liute}, {kiuset}.

ou (older au) = (1) MHG. ou, as OHG. {ouga}, eye, {boug}, I bent, {loufan}, to run = MHG. {ouge}, {bouc}, {loufen}. = (2) MHG. ou (eu), as OHG. {loubir}, leaves, {loufil}, runner = MHG. {louber}, {loufel}.

uo = (1) MHG. uo, as OHG. {bruoder}, brother, {muoter}, mother, {stuont}, I stood = MHG. {bruoder}, {muoter}, {stuont}. = (2) MHG. ue, as OHG. {gruoni}, green, {fuo[z]i}, feet, = MHG. {gruene}, {vue[z]e}.


Sec. 12.

By ablaut is meant the gradation of vowels both in stem and suffix, which was chiefly caused by the primitive Indo-Germanic system of accentuation. See the Author's Historical German Grammar, Sec. 23.

The vowels vary within certain series of related vowels, called ablaut-series. In MHG. there are six such series, which appear most clearly in the stem-forms of strong verbs. Four stem-forms are to be distinguished in a MHG. strong verb which has vowel gradation as the characteristic mark of its different stems:—(1) the present stem, to which belong all the forms of the present, (2) the stem of the first or third person of the preterite singular, (3) the stem of the preterite plural, to which belong the second person of the preterite singular and the whole of the preterite subjunctive, (4) the stem of the past participle.

By arranging the vowels according to these four stems we arrive at the following system:—

i. ii. iii. iv.

I. [i] ei, [e] i i II. ie ou, [o] u o III. i, e a u u, o IV. e a [a] o V. e a [a] e VI. a uo uo a

NOTE.—1. On the difference between {ei} and {[e]}, see Sec. 17; {ou} and {[o]}, Sec. 18; and in Series III {i} and {e}, Sec. 14; {u} and {o}, Sec. 15.

2. Strong verbs belonging to Series II have {iu} in the indicative pres. singular; and strong verbs belonging to Series III-V with {e} in the infinitive have {i} in the indicative pres. singular (Secs. 14, 16).


I. sn[i]den, to cut sn[i]de sneit sniten gesniten; l[i]hen, to lend l[i]he l[e]ch lihen gelihen. II. biegen, to bend biuge bouc bugen gebogen; sieden, to seethe siude s[o]t suten gesoten. III. binden, to bind binde bant bunden gebunden; helfen, to help hilfe half hulfen geholfen. IV. nemen, to take nime nam n[a]men genomen. V. geben, to give gibe gap g[a]ben gegeben. VI. graben, to dig grabe gruop gruoben gegraben.

For further examples see the various classes of strong verbs Secs. 76-86. Class VII of strong verbs embracing the old reduplicated verbs (Sec. 87) has been omitted from the ablaut-series, because the exact relation in which the vowel of the present stands to that of the preterite has not yet been satisfactorily explained.


Sec. 13.

Most of the following vowel changes took place in prehistoric times; but as they play an important part in the verbs and word-formation, &c., we shall give them here.

Sec. 14.

e (= Indo-Germanic e) became i in the prehistoric period of all the Germanic languages:—

1. Before a nasal + consonant, as OE. {wind}, OHG. MHG. {wint}, Lat. {ventus}, wind; OHG. {fimf}, {finf}, Gr. pente, five. This explains why verbs like MHG. {binden}, to bind, {rinnen}, to run, {singen}, to sing, belong to the same ablaut-series as {helfen}, to help, {werden}, to become.

2. Before other consonants when followed by an {ĭ} or {j} in the next syllable, and further in OHG. when followed by an {u} in the next syllable, as OHG. MHG. {ist}, Gr. esti, is; OHG. {fihu}, Lat. {pecu}, cattle; {erde} (OHG. {erda}), earth, but {ird[i]n}, earthen; {ligen} (OHG. {liggen} from {*ligjan}), to lie down, {sitzen} (OHG. {sitzen} from {*sitjan}), to sit, but p.p. {gelegen} (OHG. {gilegan}), {gese[zz]en} (OHG. {gise[zz]an}). This explains why strong verbs belonging to the fourth (Secs. 12, 82) and fifth (Secs. 12, 83) ablaut-series have {i} throughout the present singular, and similarly in verbs belonging to the third (Secs. 12, 81) series with {e} in the infinitive, as

OHG. neman, to take, three persons sing. nimu, nimis(t), nimit. MHG. nemen, " " " " nime, nimes(t), nimet. OHG. geban, to give, " " " gibu, gibis(t), gibit. MHG. geben, " " " " gibe, gibes(t), gibet. OHG. helfan, to help, " " " hilfu, hilfis(t), hilfit. MHG. helfen, " " " " hilfe, hilfes(t), hilfet.

Sec. 15.

{u}, followed originally by an {ă}, {ŏ}, or {[e]} in the next syllable, became {o} when not protected by a nasal + consonant or an intervening {ĭ} or {j}; hence the interchange between {u} and {o} in the preterite plural and past participle of verbs belonging to the second ablaut-series (Secs. 12, 78), as {bugen} (OHG. {bugum}), we bent, p.p. {gebogen} (OHG. {gibogan}); in the p.p. of verbs belonging to the third ablaut-series (Secs. 12, 81), as {gebunden} (OHG. {gibuntan}), but {geholfen} (OHG. {giholfan}); in weak verbs as {furhten} (OHG. {furhten} from {*furhtjan}), to fear, beside pret. {vorhte} (OHG. {forhta}); {hugen} (OHG. {huggen} from {*hugjan}) beside {hogen} (OHG. {hog[e]n}), to think; in preterite presents like {durfen} (OHG. {durfum}), we dare, beside pret. {dorfte} (OHG. {dorfta}); in many nouns and adjectives, as {wolle} (OHG. {wolla}), wool, beside {wull[i]n}, {wull[i]n}, woollen; {wolf} (stem {*wulfo-}), wolf, beside {wulpinne}, she-wolf; {vol}, full, beside {vulle} (OHG. {full[i]}), fulness; {golt}, gold, beside {guld[i]n}, golden.

Sec. 16.

From primitive Germanic {eu} were developed two different diphthongs in OHG., viz. {eu} became {eo} (cp. Sec. 15), later {io}, when originally followed by an {ă}, {ŏ}, or {[e]} in the next syllable, and this {io} was regularly developed to {ie} in MHG.; whereas {eu} became {iu} in OHG. when originally followed by an {ĭ, j} or {u} in the next syllable, and this {iu} became {[-u:]} (written {iu}) in MHG., even after the {ĭ, j} or {u} had been weakened to {e}. This law explains the difference between the diphthong {ie} in the infinitive and the simple vowel {iu} (= {[-u:]}) in the three persons singular of the present indicative of verbs belonging to the second ablaut-series (Secs. 12, 78), as

OHG. biogan, to bend, pres. sing. biugu, biugis(t), biugit; MHG. biegen, " " " biuge, biuges(t), biuget.

Cp. further {tief} (OHG. {tiof}), deep, beside OHG. {tiuf[i]}, depth; {lieht} (OHG. {lioht}), a light, beside {liuhten} (OHG. {liuhten} from {*liuhtjan}), to light.

NOTE.—The {iu} in the above and similar examples must not be confounded with the {iu} in the OHG. and MHG. combination {iuw} which arose from prim. Germanic {eww} (= {euw}), and {ewj}, as {triuwe} (OHG. {triuwi}, Goth. {triggws}), true; {triuwen}, {tr[u]wen}, to trust, pret. {triuete}, {triute}, {tr[u]te}; {riuwe} (OHG. {riuwa}), regret, {bliuwen} (OHG. {bliuwan}, Goth. {bliggwan}), to strike, and similarly, {briuwen}, to brew, {kiuwen}, to chew, {riuwen}, to regret; {niuwe} (OHG. {niuwi}, Goth. {niujis}, prim. Germanic stem-form {*newja-}), new. This {iu} before {w} never interchanged with MHG. {ie} from prim. Germanic {eu}, and explains why the strong verbs {bliuwen}, &c. have {iu} in all forms of the present.

Sec. 17.

Accented primitive Germanic {ai} (= Goth. {ái}) became {[e]} in OHG. before {r, w}, Germanic {h} (cp. Sec. 23, 1), and finally; in MHG. it appears also as {[e]} before the same consonants and finally, as {m[e]re}, {m[e]r} (OHG. {m[e]ro}, Goth. {máiza}), more, {l[e]ren} (OHG. {l[e]ren}, Goth. {láisjan}), to teach; {s[e]le} (OHG. {s[e]la}, older {s[e]ula}, Goth. {sáiwala}), soul; {sn[e]} (OHG. {sn[e]o}, Goth. {snáiws}), snow, gen. OHG. and MHG. {sn[e]wes}; {sp[i]wen}, to spit, pret. {sp[e]} (OHG. {sp[e]o}, Goth. {spáiw}); {d[i]hen}, to thrive, pret. {d[e]ch} (OHG. {d[e]h}, Goth. {dáih}); {w[e]} (OHG. {w[e]}, Goth. {wái}), woe!; in all other cases {ai} became {ei} in both OHG. and MHG., as {stein} (Goth. {stáins}), stone, {hei[z]en} (OHG. {hei[z]an}, Goth. {háitan}), to call; {sn[i]den}, to cut, pret. {sneit} (OHG. {sneid}, Goth. {snái[th]}). This accounts for the difference between the {ei} and {[e]} in the preterite singular of strong verbs belonging to the first ablaut-series (Secs. 12, 76).

Sec. 18.

Primitive Germanic {au} became {[o]} in OHG. before the consonants {d, t}, {[z], s}, {n, r, l}, and Germanic {h} (cp. 23, 1). Before other consonants and finally {au} became {ou} in the ninth century. Hence the difference between {[o]} and {ou} in the preterite singular of strong verbs belonging to the second ablaut-series (Secs. 12, 78), as:—

Infinitive bieten, to offer, pret. sing. b[o]t " sieden, to seethe, " " s[o]t " kiesen, to choose, " " k[o]s " die[z]en, to roar, " " d[o][z] " vliehen, to flee, " " vl[o]ch (OHG. fl[o]h); but " biegen, to bend, " " bouc " klieben, to cleave " " kloup.




Sec. 19.

The MHG. consonant-system was represented by the following letters: b, c, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, sch, t, v, w, (x), z, [z].

The letters k, l, m, n, p, t, w, (x) had nearly the same sound-values as in English. The remaining letters require special attention.

When the pronunciation of consonants merely differs in the intensity or force with which they are produced, they are called fortes or lenes according as they are produced with more or less intensity or force. In MHG. the consonants {b, d, g} were not voiced explosives like English {b, d, g}, but were voiceless lenes, and only differed from the fortes {p, t, k} in being produced with less intensity or force, see Sec. 33. A similar difference in pronunciation existed between antevocalic and intervocalic {v, s} and final {f, s}, see Sec. 33.

{c} and {k} represented the same sound. The latter was generally used at the beginning, and the former at the end of a syllable, as {kunst}, art; {trinken}, to drink, {senken}, to sink (trans.), pret. {tranc}, {sancte}.

{ch} had the same sound as in NHG. {nacht}, {noch}, as {sprechen}, to speak, pret. {sprach}; {h[o]ch}, high.

{f} had a twofold pronunciation in the oldest HG. It was a labiodental when it arose from Germanic {f} (cp. OHG. {fater}, English {father}), and bilabial when it arose from Germanic {p} (cp. inf. OHG. {sl[a]fan}, English {sleep}), but during the OHG. period the bilabial {f} became labiodental. The two kinds of {f} did not however completely fall together in pronunciation. {f} = Germanic {f} became a lenis initially before and medially between vowels, and was often written {v} in the former and generally {v} in the latter position, but remained a fortis—written {f}—when final. In MHG. it was also often written {f} initially before {l, r, u}, as {fliehen}, to flee, {fride}, peace, {funf}, five, beside {vliehen}, {vride}, {vunf}. On the other hand {f} = Germanic {p} (Sec. 23, 1), which only occurred medially and finally, was a fortis and was always written {f} ({ff}), as {sl[a]fen}, to sleep, pret. {slief}; {tief}, deep, {schif} (gen. {schiffes}), ship, {offen}, open. The two {f} sounds thus fell together when final, but the distinction between the two sounds was still preserved in MHG. in the intervocalic position, as {hof}, court, {schif}, ship, but gen. {hoves}, {schiffes}.

{h} before and after consonants was pronounced like {ch}, as {fuhs}, fox, {naht}, night, {bevelhen}, to confide. In other cases it had the same sound as the {h} in English {hat}.

{j} had nearly the same sound as the {y} in English {yet}, as {j[a]r}, year, {junc}, young; {bluejen}, to blossom.

{q} occurred only in combination with {u} as in English, as {quec}, quick, alive, {queden}, to say.

{r} was a trilled sound in all positions like Scotch {r}, as {r[o]t}, red, {hart}, hard, {bern}, to bear, {vater}, father.

{s} was a lenis medially between vowels and probably also initially before vowels, but a fortis in other positions, as {sun}, son, {wesen}, to be, pret. {was}, {bresten}, to burst. It may be pronounced like the {s} in English {sit}.

{sch} was like the {sh} in English {ship}, as {schif}, ship, {geschehen}, to happen, {visch}, fish.

{v} was a voiceless lenis, and may be pronounced like the {v} in NHG. {voll}. See {f}.

{w} was pronounced like the {w} in English {wet}, as {w[i]n}, wine, {bliuwen}, to strike.

{z} and {[z]} were not distinguished in MHG. manuscripts, both being written {z}. Both {z} and {[z]} (but {[zz]} medially between vowels when the first vowel was short) arose from Germanic {t} (see Sec. 23). {z} had the sound-value of {ts} (= NHG. {z}): (a) always initially, as {z[i]t}, time; (b) medially and finally after consonants ({l, m}, {n, r}), as {holz} (gen. {holzes}), wood, {herze}, heart, {smerze}, pain, {ganz}, whole; (c) finally after vowels (= Germanic {tt}) in those words which change final {z} to {tz} when it becomes medial, as {schaz} (gen. {schatzes}), OE. {sceatt}, money, treasure. MHG. intervocalic {tz} always arose from older {tt}, as {setzen} = OE. {settan}, to set. {[z]} was a kind of lisped {s} and only occurred medially between and finally after vowels, as {b[i][z]en}, to bite, {e[zz]en}, to eat, {ha[z]}, hatred. It should be noted that good MHG. poets never rhymed pairs of words like {was}, was, and {wa[z]}, what; {missen}, to miss, and {wi[zz]en}, to know.

{ph} and {pf} represent the same sound, viz. the {pf} in NHG. {pfund}, pound.

Sec. 20.

MHG. has the following double consonants medially between vowels: {bb, gg}; {p, tt, ck}; {ff, ss, [zz]}; {mm, nn}; {ll, rr}. They were always pronounced long as in Italian and Swedish, as {bit-ter}, bitter, {e[z]-[z]en}, to eat, {kus-sen}, to kiss, {mug-ge}, midge, {rin-nen}, to run. In NHG. double consonants are never long, they merely indicate that the preceding vowel is short.

Sec. 21.

{Phonetic Survey of the MHG. Consonants.}


Voiceless { fortis p, pp t, tt k, ck explosives { lenis b, bb d g, gg

Spirants { fortis f, ff { s, ss, sch, [z], [zz] h (ch) { lenis v { s

Nasals m, mm n, nn n (= [ng])

Liquids l, ll; r, rr

Semi-vowels w, j (palatal)

To the above must be added the aspirate {h} and the affricatae (i.e. an explosive + a homorganic spirant) {z} (i.e. {ts}) and {pf} ({ph}).


Sec. 22.

The most characteristic difference between High German and the other West Germanic languages is the shifting which the consonants {p, t, k, [th]}; {pp, tt, kk, [th][th]}; {b ([bh]), d, g ([zh])}; {bb, dd, gg} underwent partly in the prehistoric and partly in the historic period of Old High German. In the following treatment of what is generally called the High German sound-shifting only such points are considered as are of importance for the purposes of this book. See Old High German Primer, Secs. 82-6.

Sec. 23.

The voiceless explosives p, t, k underwent a two-fold treatment according to their position in the word: (1) Medially or finally after vowels; (2) Initially, medially and finally after consonants (l, m, n, r), and when doubled.

NOTE.—p, t, k remained unshifted in the combinations sp, st, sk as also t in the combinations tr, ht, ft.

1. Single p, t, k were shifted to the voiceless double spirants ff, [zz], hh (also written ch) = MHG. ff (f), [zz] ([z]), ch.

p > ff. OE. {open}, OHG. {offan}, MHG. {offen}, open; OE. {sl[-ae]pan}, OHG. {sl[a]ffan}, MHG. {sl[a]fen}, to sleep; OE. {[u]p}, OHG. MHG. {[u]f}, up.

t > [zz]. OE. {etan}, OHG. {e[zz]an}, MHG. {e[zz]en}, to eat; OE. {h[a]tan}, OHG. {hei[zz]an}, MHG. {hei[z]en}, to call; OE. {hw[ae]t}, OHG. {hwa[z]}, MHG. {wa[z]}, what. In a few cases the {[z], [zz]} became {s} in MHG. before {t} or {st}, as pret. {saste} from {sa[z]te}: {setzen}, to set; {beste}, best, {leste}, last = OHG. {be[zz]isto}, {le[zz]isto}.

k > hh. OE. {ic}, OHG. {ih}, MHG. {ich}, I; OE. {sprecan} ({specan}), OHG. {sprehhan}, MHG. {sprechen}, to speak; OE. {t[a]cen}, OHG. {zeihhan}, MHG. {zeichen}, token. This {ch} must not be confused with the MHG. {h, ch} which corresponded to Indo-Germanic {k} (= Germanic {h}), as {ziehen}, to draw, lead, pret. {z[o]ch}, cp. Lat. {d[u]c[o]}, I lead, see Sec. 34.

The double consonants were simplified in OHG. and MHG. according to Sec. 32.

2. {p}, {t} initially, medially and finally after consonants (l, m, n, r), and when doubled, were shifted to the affricatae {pf} (also written {ph}), {tz} (generally written {zz} and {z}) = MHG. {pf} ({ph}), {tz} ({z}).

p > pf. OE. {pund}, OHG. MHG. {pfunt}, pound; OE. {gelimpan}, OHG. {gilimpfan}, MHG. {gelimpfen}, to be meet; OE. {scieppan}, OHG. {skepfen}, MHG. {schepfen}, to create. The {pf} became {f} after {l} and {r} already in OHG., as {helfan}, MHG. {helfen}, OE. {helpan}, to help; {werfan}, MHG. {werfen}, OE. {weorpan}, to throw.

t > z. OE. {tunge}, OHG. {zunga}, MHG. {zunge}, tongue; OE. {heorte}, OHG. {herza}, MHG. {herze}, heart; OE. {sealt}, OHG. MHG. {salz}, salt; OE. {sittan}, OHG. {sizzen}, {sitzen}, MHG. {sitzen}, to sit; OE. {sceatt}, OHG. {scaz} (gen. {scazzes}, {scatzes}), MHG. {schaz} (gen. {schatzes}), money, treasure.

{k}, {kk} (written {ck}) remained unshifted (except in High Alemanic), as OE. {corn}, OHG. MHG. {korn}, corn; OE. {cn[e]o}, OHG. {kneo}, MHG. {knie}, knee; OE. {sincan}, OHG. {sinkan}, MHG. {sinken}, to sink, pret. {sanc}; OE. {[th]eccan}, OHG. MHG. {decken}, to cover.

Sec. 24.

{[th]} became {d}, and {[th][th]} became {tt}, as OE. {[th]orn}, OHG. MHG. {dorn}, thorn; OE. {br[o][th]or}, OHG. MHG. {bruoder}, brother. OE. {smi[th][th]e}, OHG. {smitta}, MHG. {smitte}, smithy; OE. {mo[th][th]e}, late MHG. {motte}, moth.

Sec. 25.

The voiced explosives {b, d, g}, and the voiced spirants {[bh], [zh]} did not undergo the same universal shifting as the voiceless explosives. {[bh], [zh]} became {b, g}. {b, g} remained, and {d} became {t}, as OE. {br[o][th]or}, OHG. MHG. {bruoder}, brother; OE. {b[e]odan}, OHG. {biotan}, MHG. {bieten}, to offer; Goth. {giban} (= {gi[bh]an}), OHG. {geban}, MHG. {geben}, to give. OE. {dohtor}, OHG. MHG. {tohter}, daughter; OE. {b[e]odan}, OHG. {biotan}, MHG. {bieten}, to offer; OE. {d[e]ad}, OHG. MHG. {t[o]t}, dead. OE. {g[o]d}, OHG. MHG. {guot}, good; OE. {fl[e]ogan}, OHG. {fliogan}, MHG. {fliegen}, to fly.

Sec. 26.

The double consonants {bb, dd, gg} = OHG. {pp (bb), tt, cc (gg)}, and MHG. {pp (b), {tt, ck (gg)}, as OE. {sibb}, OHG. {sippa} ({sibba}), MHG. {sippe} ({sibbe}), relationship; OE. {cribb}, OHG. {krippa} ({kribba}), MHG. {krippe (kribbe)}, crib. OE. {biddan}, OHG. {bitten}, MHG. {bitten}, later {biten}, to request; OE. {[th]ridda}, OHG. {dritto}, MHG. {dritte}, later {drite}, third. OE. {brycg}, OHG. {brucca (brugga)}, MHG. {brucke} ({brugge}), bridge. The fluctuation in the writing of {pp} and {bb}, {ck} and {gg} is merely orthographical, and does not represent a difference in pronunciation. Both pairs were used to express the lenes medially between vowels. For other examples see Sec. 31.

Sec. 27.

The summary of the consonantal changes in Secs. 23-6 may be expressed as follows:—

WEST GERMANIC. MHG. p; t; k; [th] = ff (f), pf; [zz] ([z]), z; ch; d. pp; tt; kk; [th][th] = pf; tz (z); ck; tt. b ([bh]); d; g ([zh]) = b; t; g. bb; dd; gg = pp (bb); tt; ck (gg).

Sec. 28.

The following sound-changes took place in primitive Germanic:—Every labial + {t} became {ft}; every guttural + {t} became {ht}; every dental + {t} became {ss}, which was simplified to {s} after long vowels. This explains the frequent interchange in MHG. between {pf, b} and {f}; between {k, g} and {h}; and between {[zz], [z]} and {ss, s} in forms which are etymologically related.

{pf}, {b}—{f}. {schepfen}, to create: {geschaft}, creature; {geben}, to give: {gift}, gift; {weben}, to weave: English {weft}.

{k}, {g}—{h}. {wurken}, to work: pret. {worhte}; {denken}, to think: pret. {d[a]hte}; {mugen} ({mugen}), to be able: pret. {mohte}; {bringen}, to bring: pret. {br[a]hte}.

{[zz]}, {[z]}—{ss}, {s}. {gie[z]en}, to pour: {gusse}, inundation; {wi[zz]en}, to know: pret. {wisse (wiste): w[i]s}, wise; {muo[z]}, must: pret. {muose} ({muoste}); {e[zz]en}, to eat: {[a]s}, carrion. Preterites like {wiste}, {muoste} were formed after the analogy of preterites like {worhte}, {d[a]hte}, where the {t} was regular.

Sec. 29.

The guttural nasal {[ng]} (written n) only occurred in the combinations {nk} ({nc}) and {ng}. It disappeared before {h} (= prim. Germanic {[ch]}) in primitive Germanic with lengthening of a preceding short vowel, as {v[a]hen} from prim. Germanic {*fa[ng][ch]anan}, to seize, catch, beside p.p. {gevangen}; and similarly {h[a]hen}, to hang, p.p. {gehangen}; pret. {br[a]hte}, {d[a]hte}, {d[u]hte}, beside {bringen}, to bring, {denken}, to think, {dunken}, to seem.

The guttural nasal disappeared in an unstressed syllable when preceded by an {n} in a stressed syllable in the course of the OHG. and MHG. period, as OHG. {honag}, MHG. {honec}, beside OHG. {honang}, honey; OHG. {kunig}, MHG. {kunec}, beside OHG. {kuning}, king; OHG. {pfennig}, MHG. {pfennic}, beside OHG. {pfenning}, MHG. {pfenninc}, penny. And similarly with dental {n}, as {senede} beside {senende}, longing, yearning.

Sec. 30.

Strong verbs, which have a medial {v} ({f}), {d, h, s} in the present, have respectively {b, t, g} ({ng}), {r} in the second person sing. pret. indicative, the preterite plural indicative, the pret. subjunctive and the past participle. This interchange of consonants is called Verner's Law, see OHG. Primer, Secs. 72, 87:—

INF. PRET. PL. P.P. v(f)—b. heven, to raise huoben gehaben. d—t. m[i]den, to avoid miten gemiten. sn[i]den, to cut sniten gesniten. h—g. d[i]hen, to thrive digen gedigen. ziehen, to draw zugen gezogen. slahen, to strike sluogen geslagen. h—ng (Sec. 29). h[a]hen, to hang hiengen gehangen. v[a]hen, to catch viengen gevangen. s—r. r[i]sen, to fall rirn gerirn. kiesen, to choose kurn gekorn.

This law has, however, many exceptions in MHG. owing to levelling having taken place with the infinitive, present indicative and preterite singular, as {risen}, {gerisen} beside {rirn}, {gerirn}.

The same interchange of consonants exists between strong verbs and their corresponding causative weak verbs, as {l[i]den}, to go: {leiten}, to lead; {h[a]hen}, to hang: {hengen}, to hang (trans.); {ge-nesen}, to be saved: {nern}, to save; and in nouns, &c., as {hof} (gen. {hoves}), court: {hubesch}, courtly; {t[o]t} (gen. {t[o]des}), death: {t[o]t} (gen. {t[o]tes}), dead; {sweher}, father-in-law: {swiger}, mother-in-law; {hase}: English {hare}.

Sec. 31.

The doubling of consonants took place under certain well-defined rules partly in prim. Germanic and partly in prim. West Germanic, see the Author's Hist. Germ. Grammar, Secs. 202, 213-14. Examples of words which had double consonants in prim. Germanic are: {kopf}, head; {napf} (OE. {hn[ae]p}, gen. {hn[ae]ppes}), basin; {boc} (OE. {bucca}), buck, gen. {bockes}; {rinnen}, to run; {swimmen}, to swim; {vol} (gen. {volles}), full; {verre}, far; {gewisser}, certain.

The chief cases in which double consonants arose in prim. West Germanic were:—

1. The assimilation of {[bh]n, [zh]n, pn} to {bb, gg, pp} = MHG. {pp, ck (gg), pf}, as {knappe}: {knabe}, boy; {rappe}: {rabe}, raven; {rocke}: {rogge}, rye; {tropfe}, drop: {triefen}, to drip.

2. {p, t, k} were doubled before a following {r} or {l}. The doubling regularly took place in the inflected forms, and was then extended to the uninflected forms by levelling, as {apfel} (OE. {[ae]ppel}), apple; {kupfer} (Lat. {cuprum}), copper; {bitter} (Goth. {báitrs}), bitter, see Sec. 23 note; {lutzel} (OS. {luttil}), little; {acker} (Goth. {akrs}), field; {wacker} (OE. {w[ae]ccer}), watchful. See Sec. 23, 2.

3. All single consonants, except {r}, were doubled after a short vowel when there was originally a {j} in the next syllable. The {bb}, {dd}, {gg}; {pp}, {tt}, {kk}, which thus arose, became {pp} ({bb}), {tt}, {ck} ({gg}); {pf}, {tz}, {ck} in MHG. (Secs. 23,2, 26), as {sippe} ({sibbe}), Goth. {sibja}, relationship; {bitten}, later {biten}, Goth. {bidjan}, to request; {tretten} (wv.): {treten} (sv.), to tread; {brucke} ({brugge}), bridge; {ecke} ({egge}), edge; {mucke} ({mugge}), midge; {rucke} ({rugge}), ridge, back. {schepfen}, Goth. {skapjan}, to create; {hitze}, heat: {hei[z]}, hot; {netzen}, to wet: {na[z]}, wet; {setzen}, Goth. {satjan}, to set; {sitzen}, to sit: pret. {sa[z]}, p.p. {gese[zz]en}; {decken}, to cover: {dach}, cover; {lucke}, gap: {loch}, hole. {zellen}, later {zeln}, to count: {zal}, number. {vremmen}, later {vremen} (OE. {fremman}), to perform. {henne}, hen: {hane}, cock.

In MHG. the double consonants in verbs were often simplified through the levelling out of forms which regularly had a single consonant, e.g. regular forms were: {vremmen}, to perform, sing. {vremme}, {vremes(t), vremet}, pl. {vremmen}, {vremmet}, {vremment}, pret. {vremete}, p.p. {gevremet}, then the stem-form with single {m} was levelled out into all the forms, and similarly with many other verbs, as {denen}, to stretch; {seln}, to hand over; {weln}, to choose; {wenen}, to accustom; {legen} beside {lecken} ({leggen}), to lay; and the strong verbs {biten}, to beg; {ligen} beside {licken (liggen)}, to lie down.

Sec. 32.

Double consonants were simplified:—

1. When they became final, as {boc}, buck, {kus}, kiss, {man}, man, {schif}, ship, {stum}, dumb, {vel}, hide, beside gen. {bockes}, {kusses}, {mannes}, {schiffes}, {stummes}, {velles}; pret. {ma[z]}, {ran}, {traf}, beside {me[zz]en}, to measure, {rinnen}, to run, {treffen}, to hit.

2. Before other consonants, as pret. {dacte (dahte), nante (nande), kuste}, beside {decken}, to cover, {nennen}, to name, {kussen}, to kiss.

3. After consonants, as pret. {sante} ({sande}) from {*santte}, {wante} ({wande}) from {*wantte}, beside {senden}, to send, {wenden}, to turn.

4. After long vowels and diphthongs, as pret. sing. {leite} from {*leitte}, pret. pl. {m[a][z]en}, {tr[a]fen}, {vielen}, beside {leiten}, to lead, {me[zz]en}, to measure, {treffen}, to hit, {vallen}, to fall. This simplification of double consonants took place during the OHG. period, as {sl[a]fan}, to sleep, {hei[z]an}, to call, {loufan}, to run, {zeichan}, token, beside older OHG. {sl[a]ffan}, {hei[zz]an}, {louffan}, {zeihhan}.

Sec. 33.

In MHG. the lenes {b, d, g} became the fortes {p, t, c (k)} when they ended a syllable, that is when they came to stand finally, or medially before a voiceless consonant. Traces of this law existed already in OHG. The interchange between the lenes and fortes includes two independent processes, viz. the change of the medial lenes {b, d, g} to the final fortes {p, t, k}, and the change of the final {f, s} to the medial intervocalic lenes {v} and to what is written {s} (cp. also NHG. {lesen}, {las}). It must be noted that in MHG. the interchanging pairs of consonants were all voiceless and that the difference merely consisted in the intensity or force with which the sounds were produced. This is quite different from NHG. where the interchange is between voiced and voiceless sounds except in the case of {f} which is voiceless in all positions in native words. Examples are: {geben}, to give, {gelouben}, to believe, {werben}, to turn, beside pret. {gap}, {geloupte}, {warp}; gen. {l[i]bes}, {lambes}, beside nom. {l[i]p}, life, {lamp}, lamb. {binden}, to bind, {werden}, to become, beside pret. {bant}, {wart}; gen. {kindes}, {t[o]des}, beside nom. {kint}, child, {t[o]t}, death. {biegen}, to bend, {singen}, to sing, {zeigen}, to show, beside pret. {bouc}, {sanc}, {zeicte}; gen. {tages}, {berges}, beside nom. {tac}, day, {berc}, mountain. {neve}, nephew, beside {niftel}, niece; gen. {hoves}, {brieves}, beside nom. {hof}, court, {brief}, letter. {kiesen}, to choose, {lesen}, to gather, {l[oe]sen}, to loose, beside pret. {k[o]s}, {las}, {l[o]ste}; pl. {hiuser}, beside sing. {h[u]s}, house.

Sec. 34.

Final {ch} after vowels interchanged with medial {h}, as {schuoch}, shoe, gen. {schuohes}; {h[o]ch}, high, gen. {h[o]hes}; {n[a]ch}, near, adv. {n[a]he}; pret. {geschach}, {sach}, beside {geschehen}, to happen, {sehen}, to see.

The medial combinations {lh}, {rh} were written {lch}, {rch} when they came to stand finally, as {bevelhen}, to confide, pret. {bevalch}; gen. {schelhes}, {twerhes}, beside nom. {schelch}, {twerch}, askew, see Sec. 19. {h} (= {ch}) and {ch} often disappeared in unstressed syllables and particles, as {ĕt}, only, {h[i]nte}, {h[i]nt}, to-night, {niet}, not, {dur}, through, beside {eht}, {h[i]naht}, {niht}, {nieht}, {durch}.

Sec. 35.

Initial {j} became or was written {g} before a following {i}, as {gihet}, he assures, beside inf. {jehen}, pret. {jach}, and similarly {jesen}, to ferment, {jeten}, to weed. In the verba pura forms with and without the intervocalic glide {j} existed side by side in OHG. and MHG., as {bluejen} (OHG. {bluojen}) beside {bluen} (OHG. {bluoen}), to bloom; and similarly {dr[ae]jen}, to twist, {muejen}, to trouble, {s[ae]jen}, to sow, beside {dr[ae]n}, {muen}, {s[ae]n}. In a few words forms with and without intervocalic {j (g)} existed side by side, as gen. {bl[i]ges} beside nom. {bl[i]}, lead; {eijer}, {eiger} beside {eier}, eggs; {fr[i]jen}, {fr[i]gen} beside {fr[i]en}, to free; {meige}, {meie}, May; {nerigen}, {nerjen} beside {nern}, to save, rescue; {swerigen}, {swerjen} beside {swern}, to swear; gen. {zw[i]ges}, {zw[i]es}, nom. {zw[i]}, twig; gen. {zweiger}, {zweier}, of two.

Sec. 36.

In OHG. {w} became vocalized to {o} when it came to stand at the end of a word or syllable, and then generally disappeared after long vowels, but the medial {w} regularly remained in OHG. and MHG. when it was at the beginning of a syllable, as {bl[a]} (OHG. {bl[a]o}, {bl[a]}), blue, gen. {bl[a]wes}; {sn[e]} (OHG. {sn[e]o}, {sn[e]}), snow, gen. {sn[e]wes}; {str[o]} (OHG. {strao}, {str[o]} by contraction), straw, gen. {str[o]wes}; {knie} (OHG. {kneo}), knee, gen. {kniewes}, OHG. {knewes}; {schate} (OHG. {scato}), shadow, gen. {schat(e)wes}; pret. {blou}, {hiu}, {kou}, beside {bliuwen}, to strike, {houwen}, to hew, {kiuwen}, to chew; {fal} (OHG. {falo}), fallow, gen. {falwes}; {gar} (OHG. {garo}), ready, gen. {garwes}; {mel} (OHG. {melo}), meal, gen. {melwes}; {smer} (OHG. {smero}), fat; pret. {smirte}, {stroute}, beside {smirwen}, to smear, {strouwen}, to strew. See Sec. 9, r.

The {w} element sometimes disappeared in the initial combinations {qua-}, {qu[a]-}, {que-}, {qui-}, {qu[i]-} partly with and partly without influencing the quality of the following vowel, as pret. sing. {kam}, {kom} beside {quam}, he came, pret. pl. {k[o]men}, {k[a]men} beside {qu[a]men}; {k[a]le} beside {qu[a]le}, torture; {kec} beside {quec}, alive; {korder}, {korder} beside {querder}, bait; {komen}, {komen}, {kumen} beside {quemen}, to come; pres. sing. {kume}, {kum(e)s(t)}, {kum(e)s(t)}, {kum(e)t}, {kum(e)t} = OHG. {quimu}, {quimis}, {quimit}; {kucken} beside {quicken}, to enliven; {k[i]t} beside {qu[i]t} = {quidet}, he says.

Sec. 37.

Medial {-ibe-}, {-ide-}, {-ige-} were sometimes contracted to {[i]}; and medial {-age-}, {-ege-} to {ei}, as {g[i]st}, thou givest, {g[i]t}, he gives, beside {gibes(t)}, {gibet}; {qu[i]st}, thou sayest, {qu[i]t}, he says, beside {quides(t)}, {quidet}; {l[i]st}, thou liest down, {l[i]t}, he lies down, beside {liges(t)}, {liget}. {meit} beside {maget}, maid; {seist}, thou sayest, {seit}, he says, beside {sages(t)}, {saget}; {leist}, thou layest, {leit}, he lays, beside {leges(t)}, {leget}; {eisl[i]ch} beside {egesl[i]ch}, terrible; {gein} beside {gegen}, against.

Sec. 38.

Intervocalic {h} often disappeared when the first vowel was long, and then the two vowels underwent contraction, as {h[a]n}, to hang, {v[a]n}, to catch, {vl[e]n}, to implore, {h[o]} (adv.), high, beside {h[a]hen}, {v[a]hen}, {vl[e]hen}, {h[o]he}. Other contracted forms will be found in the Glossary.

Sec. 39.

The final {r} disappeared after long vowels in monosyllables when the next word began with a consonant, but was often restored analogically, as {d[a]} (OHG. {d[a]r}), there: {d[a]rinne}, therein; {w[a]} (OHG. {w[a]r}), where: {w[a]rinne}, wherein; {hie} (OHG. {hiar}): {hierunder}, hereunder; adv. {m[e]} (OHG. {m[e]r}), more; {[e]} (OHG. {[e]r}), formerly; {s[a]} (OHG. {s[a]r}), at once.

Sec. 40.

Medial {t} (Sec. 25) became {d} after nasals in late OHG. and early MHG., as {senden}, to send, gen. {blindes} (nom. {blint}, blind), pret. {nande}, he named, {r[u]mde}, he left, beside early MHG. {senten}, {blintes}, {nante}, {r[u]mte}. It also occasionally became {d} after {l}, as {halden} beside {halten}, to hold, {solde} beside {solte}, pret. of {suln}, shall.




Sec. 41.

MHG. nouns have two numbers: singular and plural; three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter, as in OHG. and NHG., from which the gender of nouns in MHG. does not materially differ; four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative. Traces of an old locative occur in what is called the uninflected dative singular of {h[u]s}, house, beside {h[u]se}, and in proper names like {Engellant} beside {Engellande}. The vocative is like the nominative.

In MHG., as in the older periods of the other Germanic languages, nouns are divided into two great classes, according as the stem originally ended in a vowel or a consonant, cp. the similar division of nouns in Latin and Greek. Nouns whose stems originally ended in a vowel belong to the vocalic or so-called strong declension. Those whose stems originally ended in {-n} belong to the so-called weak or {n-}declension. All other consonantal stems are generally put together under the general heading, 'Minor Declensions'. In OHG. nouns whose stems originally ended in a vowel are subdivided into the {a-}declension including pure {a-}stems, {ja-}stems, and {wa-}stems; the {[o]-}declension including pure {[o]-}stems, {j[o]-}stems, and {w[o]-}stems; the {ĭ-}declension, and the {u-}declension. All the nouns belonging to the {u-}declension went over into other declensions in MHG. (cp. Secs. 43, 44, 49). But as all final vowels either disappeared (some of them already in OHG.) or were weakened to {e} in MHG. (see Secs. 7, 8), it is no longer practicable to retain the OHG. subdivision fully without entering into the oldest and in many cases into the prehistoric period of the language, which would be quite out of place in a MHG. grammar. The old 'Minor Declensions' had begun to pass over into the vocalic, especially into the {i-} and {a-}, declensions in the oldest OHG. The remnants of the old inflexions preserved in MHG. will be noted in the following paragraphs. The neuter nouns whose stems originally ended in {-os}, {-es} (cp. Sec. 47) are in this Primer included in the strong declension.


1. {Masculine Nouns.}

Sec. 42.

{First declension.}—To this declension belong all masculine nouns which form their plural in {-e} only. It includes: (a) the old masculine {a-}stems; (b) the old masculine {wa-}stems which lost their final {-w} after long vowels in OHG., as {s[e]}, sea, gen. {s[e]wes}, pl. {s[e]we}, and similarly {b[u]}, dwelling, {r[e]} (also neuter), corpse, {sn[e]}, snow, see Sec. 36; and (c) the old masculine {i-}stems which could not have umlaut in the plural (Sec. 44).


Nom. Acc. tac, day kil, quill engel, angel Gen. tages kil(e)s engel(e)s Dat. tage kil(e) engel(e)


Nom. Acc. Gen. tage kil(e) engel(e) Dat. tagen kil(e)n engel(e)n

On the interchange between fortis and lenis, as in {tac}, day, {lop}, praise, {sant}, sand, {hof}, court, gen. {tages}, {lobes}, {sandes}, {hoves}, see Sec. 33.

Like {tac} are also declined the old consonantal stems {v[i]ent}, enemy, and {vriunt}, friend, but pl. {vriunde} beside the old plural {vriunt}.

Like {kil} are declined all monosyllabic masculine nouns having a short stem-vowel and ending in {-l} or {-r} (Sec. 9, 1).

Like {engel} are declined masculine polysyllabic nouns ending in {-el}, {-em}, {-en}, {-er}, when their stem-syllable is long, as {mantel}, mantle, {[a]tem}, breath, {morgen}, morning, {acker}, field. Those in {-em}, {-en} generally retain the {e} in the dative plural. Polysyllabic nouns with short stem-syllables fluctuate between the retention or loss of the {e}, as gen. sing. {vogeles} or {vogels}, dat. sing, and nom. acc. pl. {vogele} or {vogel}, and similarly {vadem}, thread, {regen}, rain, {sumer}, summer, see Sec. 9,2.

Sec. 43.

{Second declension.}—To this declension belong all masculine nouns whose nom. and acc. singular end in {-e}, which is the only difference between this and the first declension. It includes: (a) the old masculine {ja-}stems; (b) many old {u-}stems with short stem-syllable, as {fride} (OHG. {fridu}), peace, {site} (OHG. {situ}), custom, and similarly {huge}, thought, {mete}, mead, {sige} beside {sic}, victory, {wite}, wood (see Sec. 36); (c) the old short {i-}stem {wine}, friend; and (d) the old masculine {wa-}stem {schate} (gen. {schat(e)wes} beside {schates}), shadow.


Nom. Acc. hirte, shepherd hirte Gen. hirtes hirte Dat. hirte hirten

Sec. 44.

{Third declension.}—To this declension belong all masculine nouns which form their plural in {-e} and with umlaut of the stem-vowel. It includes: (a) the old masculine {i-}stems; (b) the old masculine {u-}stem {sun} (OHG. {sunu}, {sun}), son; and (c) the two old consonant stems {fuo[z]}, foot, {zant} (gen. {zandes}), {zan}, tooth.


Nom. Acc. gast gast, guest geste gesti Gen. gastes gastes geste gesteo, -io Dat. gaste gaste gesten gestim

The singular of nouns of this declension was inflected like the {a-}stems (Sec. 42) already in OHG. And owing to the weakening of the case-endings of the plural in passing from OHG. to MHG. (Sec. 7), the only difference in the two declensions is the presence or absence of umlaut in the plural. The old masculine {i-}stems which could not have umlaut in the plural accordingly came to be inflected entirely like the old masculine {a-}stems, as {schrit}, step, {snit}, cut, {bi[z]}, bite, pl. {schrite}, {snite}, {bi[zz]e}. A further consequence of the singular being inflected alike in both declensions is that the old {a-}stems began to have umlaut in the plural after the analogy of the {i-}stems, as {gedenke}, thoughts, {nagele}, nails, {wagene}, wagons, beside {gedanke}, {nagele}, {wagene}.

Nouns ending in the fortis {p, t, c}, or {f} (= Germanic {f}) regularly change the fortis to lenis in the inflected forms, as {korp}, basket, {walt}, wood, {slac}, blow, {brief}, letter, gen. {korbes}, {waldes}, {stages}, {brieves}.

Sec. 45.

The old consonant stems {vater}, father, {bruoder}, brother, often remain uninflected in the singular, as gen. {vater}, {bruoder} beside {vaters}, {bruoders} (cp. Sec. 9, 2). In the plural they take umlaut, as {veter}, {brueder}. The old consonant stem {man}, man, is either declined like {tac} (Sec. 42) or remains uninflected throughout, as


Nom. Acc. man manne, man Gen. mannes, man manne, man Dat. manne, man mannen, man

The nom. plural {man}, now written {mann}, is still preserved in counting, as {hundert mann}, a hundred men.

2. {Neuter Nouns.}

Sec. 46.

{First Declension.}—To this declension belong all neuter nouns which have their nominative case singular and plural alike. It includes three different types of nouns: (a) The old neuter {a-}stems like {wort}, word, {venster}, window. (b) The old neuter {ja-}stems like {kunne}, race, generation, {bette}, bed, {netze}, net. The characteristic of this type of noun is that it has umlaut in all forms of the singular and plural when the stem-vowel is capable of it (cp. Sec. 31, 3). And (c) the old neuter {wa-}stems (cp. Sec. 36) like {knie}, knee, gen. {kniewes}.


Nom. Acc. wort venster kunne knie Gen. wortes vensters kunnes kniewes (knies) Dat. worte venster kunne kniewe (knie)


Nom. Acc. wort venster kunne knie Gen. worte venster kunne kniewe (knie) Dat. worten venstern kunnen kniewen (knien)

(a) On the interchange between the fortes {p, t, c} and the lenes {b, d, g}, as in {grap}, grave, {gelt}, money, {dinc}, thing, gen. {grabes}, {geldes}, {dinges}, see Sec. 33.

Like {venster} are declined the neuter polysyllabic nouns ending in {-el}, {-em}, {-en}, {-er}, as {luoder}, bait, {w[a]fen}, {w[a]pen}, weapon; {schapel}, garland, {gadem}, house, {weter}, weather. On the endings, see Secs. 9, 42.

(b) Like {kunne} is also declined the old neuter {u-}stem {vihe} (OHG. {fihu}), cattle.

(c) Like {knie} are declined {mel}, meal, {r[e]} (also masc.), corpse, {smer}, fat, {str[o]}, straw, {tou}, dew, {w[e]}, woe, gen. {melwes}, {r[e]wes}, {smerwes}, {str[o]wes}, {touwes}, {w[e]wes}, see Sec. 36.

Sec. 47.

{Second declension.}—To this declension belong all neuter nouns which form their plural in {-er} and by umlaut of the stem-vowel when it is capable of it. This class of nouns corresponds to the Latin neuters in {-us}, as {genus}, gen. {generis}, pl. {genera}. The {-er} (OHG. {-ir}) was originally a stem-forming suffix which came to be regarded as a plural ending. In the oldest period of the language only about half-a-dozen nouns belonged to this class, but during the MHG. period nearly twenty neuter {a-}stems passed into this declension, and in NHG. the number has increased to about a hundred.


Nom. Acc. lamp lamb, lamb lember lembir Gen. lambes lambes lember lembiro Dat. lambe lambe lembern lembirum

On the loss of the {e} in the gen. and dat. plural, see Sec. 9, 2.

Other examples are: {ei} (pl. {eiger}, {eijer}, {eier}, Sec. 35), egg, {huon}, hen, {kalp}, calf, {rat}, wheel, {rint}, bullock, {tal}, dale.

3. {Feminine Nouns.}

Sec. 48.

{First declension.}—To this declension belong all feminine nouns having their nominative case singular and plural alike. It includes: (a) the old feminine {[o]-}stems, as {gebe}, gift, {s[e]le}, soul, {zal}, number; (b) the old feminine {j[o]-}stems, as {kuneginne}, {kunegin}, {kuneg[i]n}, queen, and similarly {vriundinne}, friend, {gutinne}, goddess; (c) the old feminine {w[o]-}stems with and without {w}, as {br[a]we}, {br[a]}, brow, pl. {br[a]} beside weak pl. {br[a]wen}; {diuwe}, {diu}, servant; (d) the old feminine abstract nouns in {-[i]}, as {vinster} (OHG. {finstr[i]}), darkness, {sch[oe]ne} (OHG. {sc[o]n[i]}), beauty; and (e) the old consonant stem, {swester}, {swester}, sister.


Nom. Acc. gebe zal vinster Gen. gebe zal vinster Dat. gebe zal vinster


Nom. Acc. gebe zal vinster Gen. geben zaln vinstern Dat. geben zaln vinstern

On the endings in nouns declined like {zal}, number, {dol}, pain, {wal}, choice, {nar}, food, {schar}, flock, and {vinster}, see Sec. 9, 1,2.

The gen. plural had the ending of the weak declension already in the oldest period of the language. Through the nom. singular and the gen. and dat. plural having the same endings as the feminine weak declension (Sec. 53), {[o]-}stems began in OHG. to be inflected after the analogy of the weak declension, especially in the plural. This process spread considerably in MHG. with concrete nouns, but not often with abstract nouns.

Sec. 49.

{Second declension.}—To this declension belong all feminine nouns which form their plural in {-e} and have umlaut in the stem-vowel. It includes: (a) the old feminine {i-}stems; (b) the old {u-}stem {hant}, hand; and (c) several old consonantal stems, see below.


Nom. Acc. anst anst, favour enste ensti Gen. enste or anst ensti enste ensteo, -io Dat. enste or anst ensti ensten enstim

In {jugent} (OHG. {jugund}, pl. {jugundi}), youth, gen. dat. {jugende} beside {jugent}, pl. {jugende}, the original {-i} being in the third syllable did not cause umlaut in the stem-syllable; and similarly {tugent}, valour.

{hant}, hand, originally belonged to the {u-}declension, which explains forms like gen. sing, and plural {hande} beside {hende}, dat. pl. {handen} beside {henden}. The old gen. plural has been preserved in NHG. {allerhand}, and the dat. plural in {abhanden}, {beihanden}, {vorhanden}, {zuhanden}.

Several old consonant stems went over partly or entirely into this declension, viz. {maget}, {meit} (Sec. 37), maid, pl. {magede} or {meide}; {kuo}, cow, pl. {kueje} or {kuewe} (OHG. {kuoi}), {s[u]}, sow, pl. {siuwe} (OHG. {s[u]i}); both these nouns generally remained uninflected in the gen. and dat. singular. {naht}, night, has gen. and dat. singular {naht} beside {nahte}; pl. nom. acc. gen. {naht} beside {nahte}, dat. {nahten} beside {nahten}, cp. also NHG. {weihnachten}, MHG. {zen w[i]hen nahten}. The MHG. adverbial gen. {nahts}, {des nahtes} was formed after the analogy of {des tages}. Like {naht} were also inflected {brust}, breast, and {burc}, citadel.

{muoter}, mother, and {tohter}, daughter, remain uninflected in the singular. In the plural they have umlaut: {mueter}, {tohter}.


Sec. 50.

The weak declension contains a large number of masculine and feminine nouns, but only four neuter nouns, viz. {herze}, heart, {[o]re}, ear, {ouge}, eye, and {wange}, cheek; these nouns, especially {herze}, sometimes form their nom. acc. plural after the analogy of nouns like {kunne} (Sec. 46). The original case endings of the weak declension had disappeared in the oldest period of the language except in the nom. singular (masc. {-o}, fem., and neut. {-a}), the gen. pl. ({[o]no}) and dat. pl. ({-[o]m}). Owing to the weakening of the {-o}, {-a} to {-e} in MHG. the nom. singular became alike in all genders. And similarly the endings {-[o]no}, {-[o]m} and the endings of the other oblique forms were all weakened to {-en} in MHG. (Sec. 7), so that the element which originally formed part of the stem came to be regarded as a case ending.

On the loss of the final and medial {e} in nouns like {ar}, eagle, {bir} (fem.), pear, {gevangen(e)}, prisoner, beside the inflected forms {arn}, {birn}, {gevangen} from {*gevangen-en} through the intermediate stage {*gevangenn}, see Sec. 9, 1,2.

Sec. 51.

1. {Masculine Nouns.}


Nom. bote boto, messenger Acc. boten boton, -un Gen. boten boten, -in Dat. boten boten, -in


Nom. Acc. boten boton, -un Gen. boten bot[o]no Dat. boten bot[o]m

Sec. 52.

2. {Neuter Nouns.}


Nom. Acc. herze herza, heart Gen. herzen herzen, -in Dat. herzen herzen, -in


Nom. Acc. herzen herzun, -on Gen. herzen herz[o]no Dat. herzen herz[o]m

Sec. 53.

3. {Feminine Nouns.}


Nom. zunge zunga, tongue Acc. zungen zung[u]n Gen. zungen zung[u]n Dat. zungen zung[u]n


Nom. Acc. zungen zung[u]n Gen. zungen zung[o]no Dat. zunge zung[o]m


Sec. 54.

Names of persons ending in {e} in the nominative follow the weak declension. Masculine names of persons take {-es} in the genitive, {-e} in the dative, and {-en} in the accusative after the analogy of the strong adjectives. The accusative ending {-en} was sometimes extended to the dative, and the dative ending {-e} to the accusative. And sometimes both these cases were without endings. Names of countries ending in {-lant} often have no ending in the dative, as {Engellant} beside {Engellande}, see Sec. 41. Feminine names of persons ending in a consonant take {-e} in the genitive, dative and accusative, but occasionally remain uninflected throughout.


Nom. S[i]frit Hagene Gen. S[i]frides Hagenen Dat. Acc. S[i]frit, S[i]fride(n) Hagenen


Nom. Kriemhilt Uote Gen. Dat. Acc. Kriemhilde, Kriemhilt Uoten




1. {The Strong Declension.}

Sec. 55.

The MHG. adjectives are declined as strong or weak. They have three genders, and the same cases as nouns. The endings of the strong declension are partly nominal and partly pronominal. The nominal endings are: the accusative feminine singular, as {blinde} like {gebe} (Sec. 48); and the genitive singular masculine and neuter, as {blindes} like {tages}, {wortes} (Secs. 43, 46). All the other endings are pronominal. The so-called uninflected form of adjectives in the nom. singular masculine and feminine and the nom. acc. neuter is a remnant of the time when adjectives and nouns were declined alike, see the Author's Hist. Germ. Grammar, Secs. 399-400. The strong declension includes three different types of adjectives, all of which are declined alike: (a) The old {a-}stems, as {blint}, infl. form {blinter}, blind; {bar}, bare, {guot}, good, {heilec}, holy, {hol}, hollow, {michel}, great, {vinster}, dark, and similarly with a very large number of adjectives, including the past participles of strong and weak verbs. (b) The old {ja-}stems, as {l[ae]re} (OHG. {l[a]ri}), infl. {l[ae]rer}, empty; {dunne}, thin, {enge}, narrow, {gruene}, green, {niuwe}, new, {reine}, pure, {sch[oe]ne}, beautiful, {senfte}, soft, {wilde}, wild, and many others, including the present participles of strong and weak verbs. The {ja-}stems only differ from the {a-}stems in having {-e} in the uninflected form and umlaut in the stem-syllable when it is capable of it. (c) The old {wa-}stems, as {bl[a]} (OHG. {bl[a]o}, {bl[a]}), infl. form {bl[a]wer}, blue; {gar} (OHG. {garo}), infl. form {garwer} (see Secs. 9,1, 36), ready; {gr[a]}, grey, {val}, fallow, {gel}, yellow, {kal}, bald, &c., all of which have {w} in the inflected forms.

The adjectival {i-} and {u-}stems had come to be declined like the {ja-}stems in the prehistoric period of the language, but a few remnants of such adjectives have survived in MHG. in forms without the final {-e} beside those with it, as {bereit}, {bereite}, ready, {dic}, {dicke}, thick, {g[a]ch}, {g[ae]he}, quick, {gr[i]s}, {gr[i]se}, old, grey, {h[e]r}, {h[e]re}, high, noble, {rasch}, {resche}, quick, {r[i]ch}, {r[i]che}, noble, {sw[a]}, {sw[ae]re}, heavy, {was}, {wasse}, sharp.

SING. Masc. Neut. Fem.

Nom. blinder, blind blinde[z] blindiu Acc. blinden blinde[z] blinde Gen. blindes blindes blinder(e) Dat. blindem(e) blindem(e) blinder(e)


Nom. blinde blindiu blinde Acc. blinde blindiu blinde Gen. blinder(e) blinder(e) blinder(e) Dat. blinden blinden blinden

On the loss of the {-e} in {blindem(e), blinder(e)}, see Sec. 9, 2. Umlaut caused by the {-iu} occurs in the nom. sing. feminine and nom. acc. pl. neuter of {al}, all, and {ander}, other, second, as {alliu}, {andriu}. This rarely happens in other words.

SING. Masc. Neut. Fem.

Nom. micheler, great michel(e)[z] micheliu Acc. michel(e)n michel(e)[z] michel(e) Gen. michel(e)s michel(e)s michelre, micheler Dat. michelme, michelme, michelre, michel(e)m michel(e)m micheler


Nom. michel(e) micheliu michel(e) Acc. michel(e) micheliu michel(e) Gen. michelre, michelre, michelre, micheler micheler micheler Dat. michel(e)n michel(e)n michel(e)n

Like {michel} are inflected monosyllabic adjectives ending in {-l}, {-r} with a short stem-vowel, and polysyllabic adjectives ending in {-el}, {-en}, {-er}, as {bar}, bare, {hol}, hollow; {zw[i]vel}, doubtful, {eigen}, own, {tougen}, secret, {ander}, other, second, {bitter}, bitter, {vinster}, dark; {eben}, even, {ubel}, evil, bad, &c. See Sec. 9, 1,2.

2. {The Weak Declension.}

Sec. 56.

The weak declension of adjectives agrees exactly with that of the nouns.


Masc. Neut. Fem.

Nom. blinde, blind blinde blinde Acc. blinden blinde blinden Gen. blinden blinden blinden Dat. blinden blinden blinden

Plural {blinden} for all cases and genders.


Sec. 57.

The comparative was formed by means of the suffix {-er(e)} = OHG. {-iro}, {-[o]ro}, and the superlative by means of the suffix {-est(e)} = OHG. {-isto}, {-[o]sto}. On the loss of the medial or final {e} in such forms as {tiurre}, dearer, {tiurste}; {minner}, {minre}, less, {minnest}, {min(ne)ste}, see Sec. 9, 3. Most monosyllables have umlaut in the comparative and superlative either exclusively or have mutated beside unmutated forms. The cause of these double forms is in a great measure due to the two OHG. double suffixes: comp. {-iro}, {-[o]ro} and superl. {-isto}, {-[o]sto} having fallen together in {-er(e)} and {-est(e)} in MHG., as {elter}, older, {ermer}, poorer, {junger}, younger, {gr[oe][z]er}, greater, {h[oe]her}, higher, beside {alter}, {armer}, {junger}, {gr[o][z]er}, {h[o]her}; superl. {eltest}, {ermest}, {jungest}, {gr[oe][z]est}, {h[oe]hest}, beside {altest}, {armest}, {jungest}, {gr[o][z]est}, {h[o]hest}. Adjectives which have umlaut in the positive regularly preserve it in the comparative and superlative.

The comparative is declined weak, but the superlative is declined strong and weak.

Sec. 58.

The following adjectives form their comparative and superlative from a different root than the positive:—

guot, good, be[zz]er, be[zz]est, beste (Sec. 23). ubel, bad, wirser, wirsest, wir(se)ste. lutzel, little, minner, minre (Sec. 9, 3), minnest, min(ne)ste. michel, great, m[e]rer, m[e]r(r)e, meiste.

Sec. 59.

The following adjectives are defective:—

[e]rer, [e]rre, erre, former, [e]rest, [e]rste, first. hinder, hinder, hinderste, hindmost. ober, upper, oberste, uppermost. le[zz]este, leste (Sec. 23), last. vorder, former, vorderste, foremost.


Sec. 60.

1. By adding {-e} (= OHG. {-o}) to the adjective when this does not already end in {-e}, as {eben}, even, {h[o]ch}, high, {lanc}, long: adv. {ebene}, {h[o]he}, {lange}; {edele} (OHG. {edili}), noble, {ubel} (OHG. {ubil}), evil: adv. {edele} (OHG. {edilo}), {ubele} (OHG. {ubilo}).

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse