Verner's law

From Glottopedia
Revision as of 10:06, 14 September 2014 by NBlöcher (talk | contribs) (Removed the block {{format}})
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
CAT This article needs proper categorization. You can help Glottopedia by categorizing it
Please do not remove this block until the problem is fixed.


Verner’s Law is a voicing process which affected the Proto-Germanic voiceless fricatives in the intervocal position, so that ɸ, θ, x, , s became β, ð, ɣ, ɣʷ, z respectively unless there was a stress in Proto-Indo-European on the immediately preceding syllable (in the majority of sources notated as f, þ, χ, χʷ, s becoming ƀ, đ, ǥ, ǥʷ, z).
After the application of Grimm's law, Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops should have become voiceless fricatives in Proto-Germanic. However, often they were also voiced. These irregularities to Grimm's law were noticed before Verner: the voicing alternation in certain verb paradigms had been already described by Braune (1874) and was referred to as grammatischer Wechsel after Holtzmann (1870), however, Karl Adolf Verner (1846-1896) was the first to find an explanation for these irregularities. According to his biographical notes (Verner 1903), he formulated the rule already in 1875 and published it in 1876 under a misleading title Eine Ausnahme der ersten Lautverschiebung.
Verner's rule can be exemplified with the development of the word *ph2tḗr 'father'. Proto-Indo-European *t developed into ð instead of the expected *θ: Proto-Germanic *faðēr instead of expected *faθēr.


  • Beekes, Robert S. P. 1995. Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Braune, Wilhelm. 1874. Über den grammatischen Wechsel in der deutschen Verbalflexion. Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 1.513-27.
  • Collinge, Neville Edgar. 1985. The laws of Indo-European. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Holtzmann, Adolf. 1870. Altdeutsche Grammatik I. Leipzig: Brockhaus.
  • Lehmann, Winfred P. 1967. A reader in nineteenth century historical Indo-European linguistics. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.
  • Ringe, Donald A. 2006. A History of English: Volume I: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rooth, Erik 1974. Das Vernersche Gesetz in Forschung und Lehre. Lund: Gleerup.
  • Verner, Karl Adolf. 1876a. Eine Ausnahme der ersten Lautverschiebung. Kuhns Zeitschrift (Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung) 23.97-130.
  • Verner, Karl Adolf. 1876b. Zur Ablautsfrage. Kuhns Zeitschrift (Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung) 21.131-38.
  • Verner, Karl Adolf. 1903. Afhandlinger og breve udgivne af Selskab for germansk filologi. Copenhagen: Selskab for germansk filologi.