Talk:Lombardic language

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Lombardic is a west germanic language. The second germanic sound shiftig only occured in this branch. This false classification has spreead throughout diverse international wikipedias. So, please, have a look at them.

So you're sure that it was not a case of phonological influence due to the contiguity between Italy and upper Germany?--Wiglaf 10:10, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, definitely. Though we don't know much about longobardian grammar, the vocabulary is obvious west-germanic (upper high german). --Zinnmann 07:59, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Shouldn't the article title be changed to Longobardic language to avoid cunfusion with the romance Lombard language? -- Pjacobi 18:00, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

East or West Germanic?[edit]

It's as easy as Wikipedia:Cite your sources. Find an authority with the respective opinion, each. Lombardic is generally considered East Germanic, but it may be possible to disagree about it, since it appears to have taken part in the West Germanic second sound shift (which is probably due to areal contact). dab () 08:19, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I have just realized that the sound shift bit is already in the article. doh. ("It is said" is of course not good enough, though...) dab ()
I have edited the article and I hope it is more NPOV now. I'll go and check Zinnman's recent edit history.--Wiglaf 08:25, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hutterrer classifies Lombardic as South Germanic, close to Old Saxon. He doesn't mention East Germanic. It seems therefore that until we find an authority who does, we should be less committed about its classification. dab () 08:31, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

But, at least in Scandinavian scholarship, South Germanic is used for West Germanic and East Germanic in geographical opposition to North Germanic.--Wiglaf 08:33, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
that's right, this means that Hutterer says it's not North Germanic (he refers to obsolete "Ingvaeonic", we don't seem to have this on en:, but see de:Ingaevonische Sprachgruppe, but he refuses to decide between East and West Germanic. But this is just a brief outline in a book on the Germanic languages in general, maybe you can find a more specialist opinion. dab () 08:58, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
There is an article on Ingaevones. Considering the mutual intelligibilty that existed and the ethnic fluidity that existed between the Germanic dialects, I doubt such a matter will ever be settled. When the Langobards arrived in Italy, they were probably composed by warbands from many Germanic tribes.--Wiglaf 09:03, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I suppose so. I think we should not make a statement as to either West or East Germanic, at this point.
Hi Wiglaf, we seem to agree, that Lombardic is a South Germanic language. While i think, that phonology and lexic points towards a West Germanic language, you propose it a East germanic language. But what are your arguments in that direction? Just assuming, that lombardic phonological peculiarities are a matter of contact with west germanic tribes seems a bit weak. What evidences are there, that Lombardic is an East Germanic Language? I believe, we should categorize neither as west nor as east germanic until this is settled. Would that be ok for you? --Zinnmann 12:48, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Hi Zinnmann. It's perfectly OK for me to have it as just a Germanic language. I just prefer a traditional categorization to a questionable new categorization. Place names point to a North Germanic connection, but I don't put it in the North Germanic group ;).--Wiglaf 13:29, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

There has been a similar discussion on the Germanic page (with, currently, a rather absurd result). As I emntion in the discussion there, there are half a dozen very respectable sources who classify Langobardic as Upper German, namely

  • Lexikon der Germanistischen Liguistik
  • The histories of Bach, Schweikle, Sonderegger
  • Nielsen's The Germanic Languages
  • Braune/Mitzka, Ahd. Grammatik

(I seem to remember Krahe/Meid does too, but I can't find my copy.) Any case for another classification will need to be very well supported (much more than just Hutterer) to match those, I would say.

Incidentally, one thing it would be good to establish is when Lgb. died out. Pfold 14:05, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

we are not claiming in contradiction with your sources. we are just trying to be on the safe side, considering almost nothing is known about the language. I presume your sources classify it on the High Germanic consonant shift, i.e. on phonological grounds, alone? This is pretty much what we have in the article, too. Although I admit we seem to have no definite reason why it could be argued to be East Germanic. dab () 14:11, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
looking at what we have, I think it could be defensible to categorize it as High Germanic. Upper German in particular would seem anachronistic, since it is unlikely that the division between Central and Upper German existed in the 6th century. Or what would you name as a 6th century Central German dialect? dab () 14:15, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see what basis there could be for reformulating the conclusions of TEN reputable sources (add Penzel, v.Kienle, Krahe/Meid, Watermann) - they all say UG. Of course, alternative views for which there is support in the published literature can be discussed, but that can't be a reason for changing this article's account of what the prevalent view is. Individually (and on this Talk page!), we can speculate as much as we like, but our speculations, if they can't be backed up by references to publications, don't belong in the article. If you think the UG/CG division is untenable in the 6th century, you need to find someone who agrees with you in a peer-reviewed work. In fact, the distinction seems to reflect a long-standing division between the Elbegermanen and Rhei-Weser-Germanen, which is several hundered years old by the time we get to the sound shift.
Anyway, I've fleshed out the basis for the UG classification, so that it's not just a bald statement.
BTW, I've temporarily changed the ref. to Schwarz to citation needed till we can get the exact source. Is it his article on the sound shift in the 1927 PBB, or did he write something specifically on Lombardic?
I dare say there's more that can be added, but not that much more, so it seems to me this article is long enough to lose the the stub tag. Perhaps we could take the Lombardic>Italian loans on the WP:DE Lombardic page. Pfold 10:35, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
you didn't answer my question above (what exactly is it your sources say? is "UG" equivalent to "shifted consonants", i.e. a purely phonological classification?) care to cite one of your sources verbatim? I will try and look up some of your sources myself now. Again, by saying "High German" we do not contradict "Upper German", we are being careful. Every definition of UG/CG I have seen is in terms of the sound shift, so it seems idiosyncratic to say the division was centuries old by the time of the shift. It's a question of the burden of proof. If I say "we cannot imply that there was a UG/CG division in the 6th century", is it my responsibility to show that our authorities state that there is no such division, or is it, rather, your responsibility, if you want to make the claim in the article, to show that they do, in fact, claim the presence of such a division? dab () 20:30, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
I haven't got time to check them all at the moment, but here's what the first few that come to hand say:
  • Schweiklle: UG
  • Moser:UG/Elbe Gmc
  • Wells: Elbe Gmc
  • Keller: Elbe Gmc
  • Nielsen:UG
  • Bach: just says OHG
  • Braune/Mitzka:UG
  • Sonderegger: uses the term Bairisch-Langobardisch, classed as UG
Some spell it out in words, some use tree diagrams.
The UG/CG division is regarded as the consequnce of the ElbeGmc/Weser-Rhein Gmc tribal groupings, which reflect the Herminonic-Istvaeonic distinction of Tacitus - so the tribal division is at least 400 years old by the time of the Sound Shift. I think it would be terribly surprising if the Franks on the Middle Rhine and the Bavarians on the Danube did not already speak clearly distinct dialects before 500AD, say. Nothing I've looked at suggests that the major dialect groupings are recent or solely the result of the Sound Shift. They all trace the CG/UG division back to an earlier split, even if they use tribal rather than dialectal terms. --Pfold 18:50, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
my suggestion would be that we reproduce this situation along the lines of "sometimes classified as a dialect of OHG, or as close to (Austro-)Bavarian or Upper German in particular, sometimes as close to Old Saxon[citation needed], and sometimes more broadly as South Germanic". That about covers what we've seen so far, I think. I disagree with the second part of your statement: while it is conceivable that the CG/UG division in part continues a division ElbeGmc/Weser-RheinGmc (note German vs. Germanic; it's not "Elbe German"), it is not a direct continuation: there have been too many population movements (the "Migration period"?) to treat CG/UG as 'identical' to dialect divisions predating 500 AD. The Lombards are a perfect example of this; Tacitus has them settling at the lower Elbe (100 AD, "Low German" territory!), then they moved up the Elbe (3rd-4th c.), settled at the Danube (5th c.), in Pannonia (6th c.), and finally in Italy. So would you say they took their "ElbeGmc" with them, and were secondarily influenced by "Bavarian" over the 5th c.? Or did they entirely drop their "ElbeGmc" in favour of "Weser-RheinGmc" during their migration? Obviously there would have been dialects in early Germanic, but it won't do to classify early Germanic dialects as if they were modern German dialects. dab () 08:02, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean "sometimes classified as a dialect of OHG"? - classified as UG by everyone except a couple of WP editors who don't cite any sources! I have cited something like 14, mostly absolutely standard sources (i.e. handbooks, not speculative research) for this. In the several months of this discussion, neither you nor anyone else has cited a single source for an alternative view. You've argued that some of the evidence suggests a different view, but that's not the same thing at all. --Pfold 09:02, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for reviving this long-abandoned subject, but is there any way to tell that by the 7th and early 8th centuries, the latest possible date for the High German sound shift, Langobardic must actually somehow have been systematically different from Bavarian? I'd really be interested in a demonstration. For, from what I've read about Langobardic and the earliest attested Old High German and specifically Bavarian of the 8th century, there is essentially no specifically Langobardic feature – at least as far as innovations are concerned – that could be pinpointed at the time in question (such innovations would necessarily be phonological, of course). The only divergences are a few phonological developments, which however, seem to be palpably late and postdating the sound shift, for example /ai/ becoming /aː/ before /r/, and under secondary stress, and /au/ to /aː/ (almost exclusively under secondary stress, however). One retention which apparently does not occur in Bavarian (which seems to have shift every stop in everywhere context eventually) is the failure of shifting stops under certain (few) conditions. I'm not entirely sure anymore, and I'd have to check the table of shifts in Sonderegger, but I believe one of the few exceptions (or perhaps even the only exception?) was p after liquid. Curiously, however, even that would not be unique to Langobardic at all within the context of Upper German: As Braune-Eggers points out, there are a few names attested in the early period in Bavarian (Passau, 818/819), Alemannic (Murbach, 760/794) and South Franconian (Weißenburg, 786), where lp (Bavarian and Alemannic) or rp (South Franconian) appears unshifted.
One feature that Sonderegger does give as characterising Langobardic, namely the lacking diphthongisation in /eː/ and /oː/ and monophthongisation (or vowel height assimilation) of /ai/ and /au/ is not a diagnostic criterion either, as diphthongisation and monophthongisation are developments that are merely appearing at the time, and especially Bavarian retains the old vocalism until relatively late, /oː/ in particular being preserved long into the 9th century.
What this means is that the impression I've received from all this that Langobardic and at least Bavarian could well have been essentially identical until long into the 8th century, i. e., after the sound shift was certainly complete and our earliest attestions of Old High German north of the Alps appear. The reason we think of Langobardic as a separate language is mainly its separate location and ethnic and literary tradition, not so much the language itself, as far as it can be determined at all; and its divergence only starts as the sources for Langobardic are petering out (and the spoken language itself starts to be affected by Romance more and more, presumably) and those for Old High German are starting to increase. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:53, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

test samples[edit]

there are drawings of the runic inscriptions in Hutterer (p.341), and the words seem to be separated as I have given them (i.e. the d (for andi?) on its own, but alaguthleuba together). The translation, as with almomst all early runic inscriptions, is of course speculative. dab () 09:18, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)


This name looks remarkably similar to the "Harigast/Harixast" on the Negau Helmet. Firstly, could that inscription be considered early Lombardic? Secondly, as Harigast seems to be a god's (teiva) name, perhaps it is the same god here- Alaguth and Leuba made/dedicated (this) to (the god) Arogist? Walshie79 (talk) 21:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Given the early (and uncertain) date of the inscription, I think it would be very questionable whether it would be possible to recognize the words as belonging to any specific later dialect. --Pfold (talk) 13:05, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Ezh or tailed Z?[edit]

Did the alphabet include an actual Ezh, or did it have a form of the tailed/blackletter Z also common in other medieval German scripts? I would also love to see a reference that they used þorn as an actual letter, and not just a digraph which happens to resemble thorn. For both ezh/tailed z and thorn/TH-ligature the letter form may be near-identical, but the actual letter is different. As far as I'm aware the actual Ezh was only introduced by Pitman in 1847, and Thorn was only used by the Anglosaxons and Scandinavians. Jordi· 00:33, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The ezh glyph is used now, i.e. post-1847, for transcription. I don't know how the medieval letter looks exactly. We are talking about a grapheme, not a phoneme, too. The letter doesn't have the value /zh/ at all, it is an allophone of s. (word-final s, I think, much like Greek word-medial and word-final sigma). dab () 16:15, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)


That's a completely German name (...well, OK, at least the -dorf part is). Is it perhaps in Burgenland, which belonged to Hungary before 1921?

According to de:Liste_deutscher_Bezeichnungen_ungarischer_Orte the hungarian name is "Bezenye". It seems to be located near the former czechoslovakian border. --Zinnmann 09:22, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

East or West... "Phonologically"[edit]

I don't have time to read through all the Talk on this, but I note the article is (currently) doing something tricky by stating "Phonologically, Lombardic is now classified as an early High German dialect".

This is not a linguistically sound statement -- it is conflating phonological classification (meaning types of phonology whether for genetically related languages or not) with genetic affiliation. It can't be "phonologically... an early High German dialect" -- but only phonologically in the same sound system class as early High German.

It also is entirely obscuring the fact that -- just going by phonology -- it could have been from any other Germanic group and then took part in the High German sound shift as an areal feature -- and/or the attestations may be under the influence of Old High German spelling norms.

It strikes me that what should be stressed is: that classification within in the Germanic languges is difficult to make due to the extremely minimal material available, and the likelihood of cultural influence from the more Romanized Alemanni to the north. Nonetheless, it does seem to have taken part in the Old High German sound shifts, whether as an areal influence or due to genetic membership in the High German group. Theories on its exact position within the Germanic languages have included X (source), Y (source), and Z (source).

Personally I always had the impression it is considered East Germanic with OHG overlay -- no clue where I absorbed that from.

Encyclopedia Britannica ("Germanic Languages" article) describes -- with caveats on certaintly -- the Lombards as one of three "Elbe River" group Germanic tribes, along with the Alemanni and Bavarians, who later migrated south.

I agree the statement about phonology is oddly phrased but the intention is sound: "on the basis of phonological evidence, and in the absence of evidence about morphology, syntax and more than a tiny portion of the lexicon". But as to classification the handbooks are quite unanimous in assigning it to WGmc. In a long and tedious dispute about its classification on the Germanic Languages page, the proponents of an EGmc classification were unable to cite a single source to support that view, though I see one secondary source is now cited on the de:Langobardische Sprache page. --Pfold 14:16, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

you may want to align this article with High_German_consonant_shift#East_Germanic_hypotheses, which at present matter-of-factly claims that Lombardic is East Germanic. dab (𒁳) 13:30, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Broken unicode[edit]

I removed some broken unicode characters, but the article seems to need some more work in that respect. I’ll leave the rest to someone who actually knows the subject matter. — NRen2k5 01:07, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

"largely" extinct?[edit]

(lede) Seems to me it's pretty much completely extinct... -- megA (talk) 09:24, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Pernik Sword[edit]

As an extant Lombardic text, the Pernik sword inscription appears to be by far the longest. Quoting from the Wikipedia article Pernik sword:


meaning "I do not await eternity, I am eternity."

Why not mentioned? hgwb (talk) 16:48, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

East Gmc again[edit]

The mention of East Gmc ("Formerly, Lombardic was classified as Ingaevonian (North Sea Germanic) or as Eastern Germanic, but these classifications are considered obsolete") has a source, but as I remember it (it's not easily accessible now I'm out of academia) the source doesn't support either of the claims made in the sentence. What the Lexikon des MAs does is mention that another scholar (Italian, I think) had recently (i.e. in 1991) made a new suggestion that Langobardic might be not WGmc but EGmc. But that is just a single speculative article, not supported, as far as I know by any later research, unless someone else can come up with some later discussionfind any. I really do think the claim has to go, as having spent several years in effectively a state of "citation needed". At the very least it should not be the first statment in this para. In fact I'm sure the mention of NSGmc is based on a misunderstanding - there are certainly historical links between the Lombards and the Saxons, which is hardly suprising if you look at their probable migration patterns, but has anyone seriously suggested that that makes Lombardic NSGmc? I've never seen this in 20 years of working with the literature. --Pfold (talk) 23:35, 3 August 2016 (UTC)