Talk:Verner's law

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dab () 18:37, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

This article needs some work done on it, and before there is any merge, we need to think a bit about what shape it is to have. The equivalent article in the German Wiki is very different; in terms of its description of VL it is in fact completely deficient, but that is not our problem here. What it does have is a long and fascinating discusion of chronology. This relates not only to VL but also to Grimm and other changes, so I am not sure how much of that material would belong here, and where the rest should go, but at any rate some of it would be good in this article. (What that German wiki discussion does not go into is the possibility that GL and VL were simultaneous!) Also, if it is true that VL is older than GL, then it does not make sense to discuss VL in the context of GL, except in a short opening note about how it came to be discovered. I would like to see more examples. And the sound changes could be more fully described. I suggest these diachronic issues need to be dealt with fully first, and then we will see whether it is sensible to further lengthen this article with the synchronic material at GW, or whether they are better left separate. --Doric Loon 13:58, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Fricatives or stops?[edit]

This article seems to vacillate between calling the results of Verner's law stops (or, at least, using notation which is traditionally used for stops, i.e. b d z g) and calling them fricatives (or using a fricative symbol -- the only such example is đ). It should be more consistent. 01:11, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, the Germanic reflexes of both the voiced aspirated series and the voiced reflexes of PIE *ptkkʷ were presumably voiced fricatives to start with but, owing to the unanimity among the groups, apparently became voiced stops very early in initial position and immediately following consonantal resonants (nasals and liquids). Gothic uses a single set of symbols for what we're pretty sure were stops and fricatives in complementary distribution (thus bindan [bindan], "to tie", fadar [faðar] "father" (1x, voc.) but presumably /fadar/. It's the kind of thing that calls out for special vigilance to be consistent and clear in one's use of symbols. I'll see if I can clean it up. Alsihler 23:30, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Dating Verner's law[edit]

The section "Dating Verner's law" should maybe explain that if Verner's law took effect before Grimm's, we would talking about e.g. a shift of /t/ > /d/ (or /ð/), rather than /þ/ > /d/. I hope that makes sense to someone other than myself. Also, it says "Many details on these questions are given in the article about Verner's law in German Wikipedia." Could we get those details translated and put into the English one? (I know the article is up for a merge or rewrite anyway...) 01:14, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. Maybe. I have seen attempts to argue that the effects of Verner's Law (whatever exactly they were) affected PIE *ptkkʷ before they fricativized in Proto-Germanic, but since Verner's Law affects *s as well as the outcomes of the PIE voiceless stops, the simplest formulation of it is in terms of voiceless fricatives (since "voiceless fricatives" is a more compact natural class than "voiceless obstruents"). By definition such a formulation would presuppose at least part of Grimm's Law. (As a matter of taste, I've never been particulary fascinated by the debates over what might be called the etiology of Grimm's Law -- push-chain vs drag chain, what went first, and so on, since the critical articulatory details are unobservable.)

Regarding the muddle of fricatives and stops, such confusions will arise easily enough (given the facts); I'll be happy to try to wrestle that into consistency and luminous clarity.

Alsihler 23:00, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

When did this occur?[edit]

Hi, when in pre-history did this sound-change occur? --Kjoonlee 23:52, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Absolute dating (i.e. to a particular year A.D. or B.C.) would not really be possible without datable inscriptions or external borrowings. Ordinary methods of linguistic reconstruction can only really establish relative dating. AnonMoos 19:32, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


The complications of Verner's Law and Gothic should probably be mentioned. AnonMoos 19:32, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

þ or θ?[edit]

The statement of Grimm’s law has /t/ becoming /þ/. Shouldn’t that be /θ/ (the IPA for a voiceless dental fricative)? Axnicho (talk) 17:24, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

It might be a good idea to write it that way, but there's no rule saying everyone has to use IPA only, so þ isnt really wrong; it's just a different convention. Soap Talk/Contributions 21:17, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Not only that, it is, for better or worse, the convention almost universally used in Germanic philology. Since we can only hypothesise about the exact realisation of sounds in ancient languages, this is not a phonetic but a phonemic transcription, so perhaps IPA is inappropriate anyway. But I do concede that it must be confusing for newcomers to the topic. --Doric Loon (talk) 10:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

conflicting dates[edit]

Strong evidence has been discovered for dating Grimm's Law only to the (end) of the first century AD (cf. Common Germanic). Especially [...] suggest that the change from initial k to h happened only shortly before the turn of the first millennium. In the new scheme, the argument for the earliest possible dating of this change to the middle of the 1st millennium BC ...

Can this be rewritten so that it doesn't seem to say "The evidence points to AD 100; the evidence points to AD 1000; the evidence points to 1000 BC" ? —Tamfang (talk) 02:09, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Can minimal pairs be given in support of the statement: "Strictly speaking, it would have caused a child to be unable to understand his own grandparents." A lack of minimal pairs for ambiguity would indicate that the child would have no problems comprehending what is spoken by a great-grandparent. Presumably children would be in constant contact with their grandparents in an extended family, and maybe even share their grandparents' habits -- including speech.Botuzhaleny-sodamo (talk) 09:43, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

"Newer considerations"[edit]

Can someone provide some evidence that this section is not in violation of WP:UNDUE? I only know of Vennemann as the proponent of this theory (though some stuff from Griffen might have been tossed in the mix as well; it's hard to tell, as the whole section is unsourced), and I've seen him roundly criticized for it. At any rate, attribution is needed here before someone comes along and eliminate the whole section as WP:OR. --Aryaman (talk) 23:10, 8 November 2009 (UTC)