Talk:Germanic a-mutation

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I've expanded the article, adding more examples and rewriting some of the original bits which I hope has made their meaning clearer. I added references and removed the reference-request tag. All criticism welcome! Dependent Variable 00:15, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Well done, this is good. Perhaps you could tie this in more closely to the verb classes (see Germanic strong verb), and in particular to the difference between classes 3 and 4. This article is now specifically about Germanic, and if you want to keep it this way, it would be worth renaming it "Germanic A-mutation" or similar. Otherwise someone will come along and complain we are being Eurocentric and add a section on a partially parallel phenomenon in Swahili, and the article will appear like an odd patchwork. Articles on language phenomena need to decide whether they are going for depth or bredth, and this one is moving towards depth. If that is the choice (and I agree it should be) then it needs to be protected by a title which specifies this. --Doric Loon 07:18, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! Perhaps we should also change I-mutation to "Germanic i-mutation". There's already a page on "Germanic umlaut", although this needs some work; at the moment (apart from the Rückumlaut section) it treats "umlaut" as synonymous with "i-mutation" / "i-umlaut", and thus overlaps with the article "i-mutation". We could also do with a separate article on "u-mutation/umlaut" in Old Norse (and disambiguation with the modern German letter ü); or maybe that could be covered along with others in the general article "Germanic umlaut". Novice technical query: Why does a search for "u-mutation" now lead to the redirect page for "a-mutation"? And is there a way to make the redirect happen automatically, so that a user types "a-mutation" into the search box and is taken directly to the article "Germanic a-mutation"? Dependent Variable 09:59, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Sure, you can edit redirects. The easiest way is to enter u-mutation, which will open a-mutation, but with a note at the top to say that the redirect has taken place. Clicking on this will take you to the redirect itself, which you can change.

The whole complex of articles on these topics could indeed be rationalised if you felt like taking a lead. Bear in mind what I said about us needing both broad articles on a philological phenomenon in all languages and specialised articles on particular historical instances, the latter going into all the juicy details. Somehow the complex of articles here need to be made to meet those needs.

Rückumlaut is also i-umlaut; the only difference is that the modified form is the citation form, giving a slightly surreal but misleading impression that the process is working backwards. --Doric Loon 12:26, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for all the advice. As you can see, I've added a bit more today. I guess we also need an article on "Germanic breaking/fracture/Brechung" as it's more usually understood. Point taken about Rückumlaut; especially confusing as "back umlaut" is used to describe something else in Old English... Dependent Variable 19:04, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you're doing a great job. And yes, an article on breaking in OE would be useful. I wonder if we need some better way of linking all the articles on Germanic philological developments (Germanic spirant law, Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, High German consonant shift etc)? Maybe it's time for some kind of template? --Doric Loon 21:48, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your work. What do you mean by "It was no longer operative in the language of the earliest Scandinavian runic inscriptions; thus, we meet the form holtijaz in the Gallehus horn inscription." It being the restriction? Symkyn 09:57, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Brechung / breaking[edit]

This is a notoriously ambiguous, or context-dependent, term. Brechung does appear in a list of synonyms for a-mutation supplied by Lloyd in the paper referenced - so probably worth mentioning even if we don't agree with the usage? But yes, I'm aware that it's also used of certain unrelated processes of diphthongisation in North and West Germanic, as well as the process whereby i and u were lowered before r, h and hv in Gothic. Dependent Variable 09:59, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Ah, then you'd better put it in and explain it. Do you have a reference? I only know Brechung used with respect to Old English, where it implies diphthongisation. --Doric Loon 12:28, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Sorry - you already did! --Doric Loon 12:31, 9 September 2007 (UTC)


OK, on the basis of what I said further up, I've made a first stab at designing a template. See what you think. --Doric Loon 22:44, 9 September 2007 (UTC)