Old Germanic tribes and dialects

4. The concept of proto-language

5. Traditional and historical classification of Germanic languages

6. Old Germanic alliterative verse

7. Force stress in Proto-Germanic

8. Written records in Old High German

9. Indo-European and Proto- Germanic consonant systems

10. Grimm’s Law, Verner’s Law. Interpretation of the First Consonant Shift

11. The High German Consonant Shift

12. The Danish Consonant Shift

13. Historical sources of Germanic languages

14. Indo-European and Proto-Germanic vocalic systems

15. Types of mutation

16. Morphological classification of verbs in Germanic

17. Nouns: the development of the category of number

18. The Germanic development of Indo-European ē

19. The rise of article.

20. Grammatical categories of the Finite Verb in Germanic

21. The original structure of a substantive in Germanic. The development of the category of gender

22. Declension of adjectives in Old Germanic languages

23. Nouns: the development of the category of case

24. Runes and their origin

25. Components of Germanic vocabulary

26. Historical background of Scandinavian languages

27. Afrikaans

28. Dano-Norwegian

29. Dutch

30. New Norwegian

31. Swedish

32. Danish

33. East Germanic languages

34. Frisian

35. West Germanic languages: historical background

36. Sounds and phonemes in Wulfila’s Gothic

37. Icelandic

38. Peculiar features of the East Germanic subgroup

39. Faroese

40. Dialect geography


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Ablaut - a system of vowel gradation (i.e. regular vowel variations) in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages.

Areal classification – classification of languages based on the acquired similarity between them due to their close geographical distribution.

Assimilation – (from Latin assimilatio; "to render similar") a linguistic process by which a sound becomes similar to an adjacent sound.

Cognate – (the word cognate derives from Latin cognatus, from co (with) +gnatus, natus, past participle of nasci "to be born", literally it means "related by blood, having a common ancestor, or related by an analogous nature, character, or function") - are words that have a common origin. Cognates do not necessarily have the same meaning in different languages. The term cognate is not used with loanwords.

Comparative method - a method used in linguistics to demonstrate genetic relationships between languages. It aims to prove that two or more languages descended from a single hypothethical proto-language by comparing cognates found in them using regular sound correspondences between the languages.

Convergence - a type of contact-induced change whereby languages with many bilingual speakers mutually borrow morphological and syntactic features, making their typology more similar.

Diachrony – the approach to the analysis of language which regards a phenomenon in terms of developments through time (diachronic, adj.)

Diphthongs (also gliding vowel) - (from Greek δίφθογγος, "diphthongos", literally "with two sounds" or "with two tones") is a unitary vowel that changes quality during its pronunciation, or "glides", with a smooth movement of the tongue from one articulation to another. Diphthongs often form when separate vowels are run together in rapid speech.

Divergence– the process of language splitting, fissioning of language groups due to their isolation, language contacts, conquests, migrations, etc.

Dual number - is a grammatical number that some languages use in addition to singular and plural, which is used when exactly two people or things are meant. In many languages with dual forms, use of the dual is mandatory, and the plural is used only for groups greater than two.Verbs can also have dual agreement forms in these languages.

Etymological doublets - two or more words in the same language that have the same etymological root but have entered the language through different routes. Sometimes they are diverged in meaning. Etymological doublets are usually a result of chronologically separate borrowing from a source language or borrowing from both a language and its daughter language.

Etymology - The word "etymology" itself comes from the Ancient Athens ἐτυμολογία (etumologia) < ἔτυμον (etumon), “‘true sense’” + -λογία (-logia), “‘study of’”, from λόγος (logos), "speech, oration, discourse, word". Etymology is the study of the history of words (when they entered a language, what was their source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time).

Family-tree theory – theory which uses a model of a tree to represent genealogical relatedness and similarities between languages within a language family, grouping of languages and shows evolution of languages out of common ancestor.

Gemination – lengthening or doubling of consonant.

Genealogical classification – classification of languages based on their genetic relatedness and having the same parent-language (common source).

Germanic tribes– a historical group of Indo-European-speaking peoples, originating in Northern Europe and identified by their use of the Germanic languages which diversified out of Common Germanic in the course of the Pre-Roman Iron Age

Germanic tribes: Angles, Angrivarians, Aviones, Bastrarnians, Burgundians, Cattans, Chamavians, Chasaurians, Cimbrians, Dulgubinians, Gepides, Goths (Visigoths, Ostrogoths), Helleviones, Hermiones, Hermondurians, Ingaevones, Istaevones, Lombards, Lygians, Marcomanians, Peucinians, Reudignians, Rugians, Semnones, Suebians, Tencterians, Teutons, Vandals, Varinians, Vindals (Vindili), etc.

Grimm’s law - also known as the First Germanic Consonant Shift.It describes a set of regular correspondences between early Germanic stops and fricatives and the stop consonants of certain other centum Indo-European languages and describes the process of transformation of the inherited Proto-Indo-European stops into Proto-Germanic ones in the 1st millennium BC. It consists of three acts: 1. Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops change into Proto-Germanic voiceless fricatives; 2) Proto-Indo-European voiced stops become Proto-Germanic voiceless stops; 3) Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops become Proto-Germanic voiced fricatives. Grimm's law was the first systematic sound change to be discovered in linguistics.

Holtzmann’s law - is a Proto-Germanic sound law originally noticed by Adolf Holtzmann in 1838. The law affects the "doubling" of PIE * -y- and * -w- to Proto-Germanic * -jj- and * -ww-, which further "hardened" to -ggj-/-ggv- in Northern and to -ddj-/-ggw- in Eastern dialects, while in West Germanic the group results in a diphthong.

Isogloss - is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature (phonetic, semantic, morphological, syntactic), with their help major dialects are typically demarcated. The largest isogloss is the Centum-Satem isogloss, which traditionally separates the Indo-European languages into two distinct categories. Different types are distinguished: Isolex (the geographical boundary of a lexical feature; Isophone (the geographical boundary of a phonological feature); Isomrph (the geographical boundary of a morphological feature).

Language family - is a group of languages related by descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family.

Language group – the subdivision of languages within a language family, the membership in which is determined not only by the genetic relatedness, but shared innovations which are presumed to have taken place in a common ancestor (proto-language of this particular group).

Laryngeal hypothesis.The laryngeal theory is a generally accepted theory of historical linguistics which proposes the existence of a set of three (or more) consonant sounds that appear in most current reconstructions of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). These sounds have since disappeared in all existing Indo-European languages, but some laryngeals are believed to have existed in the Anatolian languages, including Hittite.

Law of analogy – describes regular or similar changes in different aspects of language (phonology, morphology, etc.), the development by analogy.

Loan-translation (a calque)is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation. In other words the borrowing of morphological pattern of a word which is built with the help of native roots.

Monophthong - (Greek μονόφθογγος, "monophthongos" = single note) is a "pure" vowel sound, whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation.

Neo-grammarian movement – a German school of linguists, which appeared in the late 19th century who proposed the Neogrammarian hypothesis of the regularity of sound change. According to this hypothesis, a diachronic sound change affects simultaneously all words in which its environment is met, without exception. They formulated the law of analogy. The primary principle they followed consisted in the aknowledgement of the object of linguistic investigation being psychological aspects of language, mainly the speech of the individual, not the language structure.

Palatal mutation (syn. i-umlaut) - is a type of sound change, regressive assimilation of back vowels which are fronted as a result of the influence of /i/, /j/ of the following syllables.

Preterite-presents - are a small group of anomalous verbs in the Germanic languages in which the present tense shows the form of the strong preterite.

Proto-language - is a language which was the common ancestor of related languages that form a language family.

Qualitative changes –phonological changes that concern the length of the sound, not its main characteristics.

Quantitative changes –phonological changes that the main characteristics of the sound undergo.

Reconstruction - is the practice of establishing the features of the unattested ancestor (proto-language) of one or more languages. There are two main kinds of reconstruction. Internal reconstruction uses irregularities in a single language to make inferences about an earlier stage of that language. Comparative reconstruction establishes features of the ancestor of two or more related languages by means of the comparative method.

Rhotacism - the conversion of another consonant, e.g., s, into r.

Rune – letter of the runic alphabet.

Runic alphabet (FUTHARK)– an alphabet using letters known as runes, an old Germanic alphabet used for writing by various Germanic languages prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter.

Sanskrit - a historical Indo-Aryan language. The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BC, qualifying Sanskrit as the oldest attestation of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family.

Centum-Satem division is an isogloss of the Indo-European language family, related to the evolution of the dorsal consonants. The terms come from the words for the number "one hundred" in representative languages of each group (Latin centum and Avestan satəm). The Satem languages include Indo-Iranian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Albanian, which merged PIE-velars and PIE-labiovelars into sibilants. The Centum group features a merging of PIE-velars and PIE-palatovelars to velars in a separate Centum sound change, independent from and predating the Satem sound change and includes Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek.

Schwa indogermanicum - vowels of uncertain quality (rather than neutral sound) in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language, a separate Proto-Indo-European vowel ə reconstructed to account for some correspondences.

Shift – a series of parallel or similar changes that took place approximately at the same time in a language and result is the change of the whole system or pattern.

Sound clusters – a combination of sounds.

Sound law - regular sound changes (Grimm’s law), which take place within a specified area and within a specified period of time and result in emergence of regular sound correspondences between languages.

Statics and dynamics – two opposite states simultaneously pertained to the language, two sides of evolutionary process in the language.

Stem-suffix – means of word-derivation, an obligatory morphological element of 3-morpheme structure, positioned between the root and the grammatical ending.

Strong verbs - are those which mark their past tenses by means of ablaut.

Suppletive verbs – verbs characterized by irregular grammatical forms (having different roots for different forms).

Synchrony – is one of the approaches to view linguistic phenomena which analyzes them only at one point in time, usually the present, though a synchronic analysis of a historical language form is also possible (synchronic, adj.).

Typological classification – classification of languages according to their structural (morphological) features.

Umlaut - (from German um- "around"/"the other way" + Laut "sound") is a process of assimilation of a vowel by a vowel in the following syllable (e.g. a back vowel is modified to the associated front vowel when the following syllable contains [i], [iː] or [j]). This process affected all early Germanic languages except for Gothic.

Velar mutation(u-umlaut)– is the assimilation of a vowel by a vowel u of the following syllable, which produces narrowing effect of the preceding vowel.

Verner’s law – the regularity of consonant shift stated by Karl Verner in 1875, who described a historical sound change in the Proto-Germanic language where voiceless fricatives f, þ, x and s, when immediately following an unstressed syllable in the same word and intervocally, underwent voicing and became respectively b, đ, g and z.

Wave theory – theory proposed by H.Schuchard and J.Schidt, explaining the mechanisms of innovations formation in languages. It was based on the idea that innovations are spread from centers of their formation to the periphery as waves making circles on the water starting with stronger intensity and loosing it gradually.

Weak verbs – are those verbs that form their preterites and past participles by means of a dental suffix, an inflection that contains a /t/ or /d/ sound or similar.


1. Основна

1. Введение в германскую филологию / М.Г.Арсеньева, Г.П.Балашова, В.П.Берков, Л.И.Соловьева. – М.: Высшая школа, 1980. – 319с.

2. Введение в германскую филологию / Под редакцией В.М. Павлова. – М.: Высшая школа, 1980. – 319 с.

3. Ершова И.А. Введение в германскую филологию. – Вып. ІІ: Древнегерманский глагол. – М.: Изд-во МГУ, 2000. – 72 с.

4. Жирмунский В.М. Введение в сравнительно-историческое изучение германских языков. – М.: Наука, 1964.

5. Жлуктенко Ю.О., Яворська Т.А. Вступ до германського мовознавства. – Київ: Вища школа, 1986. – 232с.

6. Левицкий В.В. Введение в германскую филологию. Сборник задач. – К.: Вища школа, 1983. – 96 с.

7. Левицький В.В. Вступ до германського мовознавства. – Вінниця: Нова Книга, 2006. – 264 с.

8. Левицький В.В., Кійко С.В. Практикум до курсу „Вступ до германського мовознавства”. – Вінниця: Нова Книга, 2003. – 192с.

9. Линский С.С. Введение в германскую филологию. – Днепропетровск: ДГУ, 1975. – 82 с.

10. Хлебникова И.Б. Введение в германскую филологию и историю английского языка (фонология, морфология). – М.: Высшая школа, 1996. – 146 с.

11. Fomenko E. A short history of Germanic languages. – Zaporozhye: ZGU, 2001.