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[ Tatian ] [ Psalms ] [ St Emeramer Gebet ] [ Otfrid ] [ Das Ludwigslied ] [ Muspilli ] [ Notes ]


The OHG. Consonants in General.


§ 88. Here will be given chiefly such remarks only as are of importance for OHG. inflexions.


Simplification Of Double Consonants


§ 89. OHG. double consonants were simplified in the following cases:—

1. When they became final, as fėl, hide, gen. fėlles; far, bull, pi. farri; uninflected form grim, fierce, inflected form grimmēr; swimman, to swim, pret. sg. swam; rinnan, to run, pret. sg. ran; nom. sg. man, man, gen. marines; ėzzan, to eat, beside pret. sg. āz; nom. sg. kus, kiss, gen. kusses; sprėhhan, sprėchan, to speak, pret. sg. sprah; &c.

2. Before other consonants, as kunnan, to know, pret. sg. konda; kussen, to kiss, pret. sg. kusta; brennen, to burn, pret. sg. branta; &c.

3. Frequently medially after long vowels, as slāfan beside slāffan, to sleep; lāzan beside lāzzan, to let, leave; lūtar beside lūttar, pure; &c.

The Semi-vowels.


§ 90. On the representation of this sound in OHG. manuscripts, see § 7, under u and w.

Single w became vocalized to o if it came to stand at the end of a word or syllable. This o was then mostly dropped after long vowels, as sēo, sē, sea, gen. sėwes; kneo, knio, knee, gen. knėwes; garwen, to prepare, pret. garota, beside the longer form gar(a)wita; trėso, treasure, gen. trėsewes; &c.

Final –aw > ao > ō, as uninflected form rao, rō, raw, beside inflected form rawēr, gen. rawes.

ww was treated differently according as it was general Germanic ww (= Gothic ggw) or West Germanic ww from wj (§ 80).

1. General Germanic aww > auw > ouw which became ou when final, as OHG. inflected form glauwēr, glouwēr, exact, clear, uninflected form glau, glou, beside Gothic adv. glaggwō, exactly; hauwan, houwan, to hew=Gothic *haggwan.

General Germanic eww > iuw which became in when final, as bliuwan = Goth. bliggwan, to strike ; triuwi = Goth. triggws, true, faithful; iu, dat. pl. to ir, ye; spriu, chaff, nom. pl. spriuwir.

2. West Germanic ww from wj. In this case aww > auw > ouw, as frauwa, frouwa, woman, from *frawjō-; foouwen, to rejoice, from *frawjan, beside pret. sg. frewita (§ 41) from *frawita. The inf. form frewen was a new formation, made after the analogy of the pret. and the pres. 2. 3. sg. frewis, frewit; conversely the pret. form frouwita was made after the analogy of the inf. and 1. sg. pres. and the pres. pl.

iww (from original ewj) became iuw, as siuwen from *sewjan, to sew, cp. OE. sēowian, Goth. siujan; niuwi from *newja-, cp. Goth. niujis.



§ 91. On the representation of this sound In OHG. manuscripts, see § 7, under g, j.

j seems to have becorne a spirant (written g) before e, i,. and after r (sometimes written ig), as genēr beside jenēr, that, yon; inf. gėhan, to confess, pres. sg, gihu, gihis, gihit, beside pret. sg. iah, pl. iāhun; nergen, nerigen, beside nerien, to save; herige beside herie, dat. sg. of heri, army, cp. Goth. harja.

j, when absolutely final, became vocalic i, as nom. sg. heri, army, cp. Goth. harjis. ja (jā) became e in final syllables, as nom. pi. sunte, sins, from *suntjā-; kennen, to know, from *kannjan.


Liquids and Nasals.


§ 92. The West Germanic liquids and nasals underwent no material changes in OHG., except that final -m, when an element of inflexion, became -n in the course of the ninth century, as tagun, older tagum, dat. pl. of tag, day ; habēn, older habēm, 1. sg. pres. of habēn, to have; &c.




§ 93. For the fate of Germanic p, b (/b) in OHG. see 84-86. From what has been said there and in §§ 66, 89, 3, it will be seen that OHG. f is of twofold origin, i.e. it equals Germanic f or Germanic p. On the representation and pro­nunciation of these two f’s in OHG., see § 7, under f.



§ 94. The OHG. shiftings of Germanic k and g (gh) have been given in §§ 84-85. The Germanic combination kw was represented in Franconian by qu, and in Upper German by chu, as quėman, chuėman, to come=Goth. kwiman (written qiman). Germanic h was dropped in OHG. in the initial combinations hl, hn, hr, hw, in the course of the ninth century. In other cases Germanic h, hw (= prim. Germ. χ, χw) had a twofold development according to their position in the word. Initial h before vowels and medial h, hw, between vowels became the aspirate h (on h from χ, see § 77), as habēn, to have; sėhan (=Goth. saķhran, read seχwan), to see; in other positions they remained spirants, and thus had the same sound-value as the HG. h which arose from Germanic k; cp., on the one hand, naht, night=Goth. nahts; sah, I saw=Goth. sahrę and, on the other hand, OHG. ih, I=OE. ic, Goth. ik; sioh, sick=OE. sēoc, Goth. siuks; sprah, I spoke=OE. spręc.




§ 95. For the OHG. development of Germanic đ, d, t see §§ 84-86. Germanic ž became d through the intermediate stage đ in the course of the OHG. period (§ 83). The Upper German dialects had changed ž to d in all positions by the beginning of the ninth century. Tatian and Otfrid wrote th initially, but d medially, thus UG. dėr, but UFr. thėr, the; UG. and UFr. ėrda, earth; UFr. quad, UG. chuad, quoth.


[ Contents ] [ Intro ] [ Glossary ]
[ I ] [ II ] [ III ] [ IV ] [ V ] [ VI ] [ VII ] [ VIII ] [ IX ] [ X ] [ XI ] [ XII ] [ XIII ]