As i- umlaut is referred to in historical linguistics a sound change, in which a vowel a subsequent i- sound ( short i, long ī and j) approximates or completely adapts by being spoken to upscale or more front-facing tongue.

The i- umlaut is to be found in the Germanic languages ​​in various forms; only in the Gothic he is as your own, from a general uplift * e> i clearly divorced phonetic development uncertain. Examples: NHG King, MHG künic < PGmc. * kuningaz; NHG lamb - lambs < OHG lamb - lembir; NHG sit nengl. sit, asächs. sittian < PGmc. * setjan.

The vice- denominated vowels were transferred in the course of language development on words and forms in which they were purely phonetically not be explained, and serve in part to the identification of grammatical categories, for example NHG Swan - Swans (instead of older Schwanen ) by guest - Guest as a direct continuation of OHG hospitable - gesti.

  • 2.1 Primary, secondary and residual umlaut
  • 2.2 i - umlaut of Germanic * e
  • 2.3 Riickumlaut
  • 2.4 Functionalization and current situation in standard German and in the dialects
  • 3.1 The i- umlaut in Old English dialects
  • 3.2 Further development of the i- umlaut vowels to the Middle and Modern English
  • 4.1 Demarcation from other sound change processes
  • 4.2 i- umlaut in Old Icelandic
  • 4.3 " Exceptions" i- umlaut
  • 4.4 iR - umlaut, R- umlaut and g / k- palatalization
  • 4.5 Morphological integration of the umlaut
  • 4.6 Development for Neuisländischen
  • 6.1 General manuals and grammars to the old Germanic languages
  • 6.2 Special literature on the umlaut, in particular for i- umlaut 6.2.1 Some theoretical essays on ( i ) Umlaut
  • Dictionaries 6.3.1

Germanischer i- umlaut

As all Germanic languages ​​own form of i- umlaut umlaut of Germanic ( Germanic ) * e i is assumed to Germanic *. In Gothic this sound change, however, is obscured because there Germanic * e generally appears as gothic ( Goth ) i - except before the consonants Gothic r, h and Ƕ where it continues (written ai) e occurs. For example, in Gothic faihu ' assets ' in comparison to Old High German ( OHG ) fihu ' cattle '.

This sound change a Germanic * e is lifted to a * i, if occurs in the following syllable, possibly in the same syllable, an i- sound. Examples:

  • Indo-European ( IE ) * médhyos ' middle ' is * medjaz midjaz to Germanic *. This form is obtained, for example in Gothic midjis, Old Norse ( an. ) MIDR, Old English (OE ) midd or OHG mitt.
  • Indo. * bhéresi ' you're wearing ', or * bhéreti ' he / she wears ' is berizi *, * beriþi to Germanic * birizi, * biriþi, in turn, for example, in ae. bursts, birth or in OHG Biris, Birit, yes bearest in High German ( NHG ) you think she gives birth (although with a different meaning ) is obtained.
  • Indo. * néwios 'new' is niwjaz a Germanic * as in Gothic niujis, ae. Niewe, OHG niuwi.

Elevation of Germanic * e to * i in other environments

In connection with the sound changes just described, further elevations of Germanic * e * i are called to often. Thus, a Germanic * e is also raised to i * when the * e followed by a nasal, either on this another consonant must be followed or the nasal is in Wortauslaut (that is, when it occurs in the syllable coda ). Examples are:

  • Indo. * s 'in' will Germanic * in.
  • Indo. * pénkwe ' five ' (see ancient Greek. πέντε ( pente ) ) is in the Germanic fimf to *.
  • Late Indo-European. * h2weh1n̥tós ' wind' is wentós windaz about Germanic * to *.

Another case of such an enhancement is in Old High German and Old Saxon and the raising of * e to * i before a * u in the following syllable. Thus, for example, is a ahd Sibun ' seven ' a ae. seofon opposite. The same applies to the first -person singular present indicative in the strong verbs, for example, in OHG ( I ) stilu ' ( I ) steal ' or ( I ) GIBU ' I give ', or even in OHG ( I ) biru ' ( I ) Wear ', the beoru Psalter, for example, the Old English form of Vespasian, and contrasts with the Northumbrian bero. In the High German standard language of this phenomenon in the first person singular present indicative is no longer present, whereas for example the Bairische raising still shows when it says [i ː ki ː p] ( geschr.: i give ).

The same applies here again for the diphthong Germanic * eu. So say the first -person singular present indicative of verb OHG klioban ( Germanic * kleubaną ) ' split klieben ' in Old High German ( I ) kliubu.

Although the results of this sound change processes are similar to the result of the ( common ) Germanic i- umlaut, they are still no cases of i- umlaut, as they were not sound - i caused by a. The totality of all not on Gothic limited sound changes from Germanic * e to * i, regardless of their origin, is summarized under the name Northwest Germanic uplift.

I- umlaut in the High German

Primary, secondary and residual umlaut

Within the High German of the i- umlaut of OHG is / a / tangible in the manuscripts since the 8th century, while often still missing in glossaries before. It appears this e affected by the character of which are the most / a / in front of an i- sound; for example, in the following cases:

  • In Old High German festi adjective "fixed" ( cf. Engl. to fasten ' moor ')
  • In Old High German comparative lengiro ' longer ' ( to OHG long)
  • In conjunction enti 'and' ( cf. Engl. and)
  • With the nouns beri ' berry ' ( Gothic basi ) and heri ' army ' ( Gothic harjis )
  • Staple in the OHG verb ' stitching, binding ' ( Gothic haftjan ) and lezzen ' inhibit, prevent ' ( Gothic latjan ), etc.

The last three words are exemplified also be found in one verse of the first Merseburger spell, where it says: suma Hapt heptidun / suma heri lezidun ( ' some tacked / some hampered the army ').

Within a Flexionsparadigmas looked around and was umlaut bulk forms may also face:

  • Nominative singular hospitable 'Guest' - nominative plural gesti
  • Nominative singular hano ' rooster ' - Upper German ( UG ) gene. Dat. Henin Sg
  • Infinitive faran ' go ' - second -person singular present indicative feris ' 're driving '

Also some Old High German loanwords show this i- umlaut, such as

  • Old High German Engil 'Angel ' from ancient Greek ἄγγελος ( aggelos ) ' messenger '
  • Old High German kezzil ' boiler ' from Latin catīllus

This umlaut a to e is the only one who is occupied throughout most of the Old High German, and is also referred to as primary umlaut. However, he was omitted in certain phonetic environments and is visible only at a later stage of language development here. This so-called Umlauthinderung can occur in the following cases:

  • Between a and the i -sound is a consonant cluster / xt / ( geschr. ht ) or / xs / ( geschr. hs ): Nominative singular MAHT 'power' - nominative and accusative plural Mahti ' powers '
  • Wahsan infinitive ' grow ' - third person singular present indicative wahsit ' grows '
  • Garwen infinitive ( cf. NHG tanning ) from Germanic * garwijaną ' prepare '
  • Haltan infinitive ' hold ' - second -person singular present indicative haltis ( Frankish ( fränk. ): heltis ) ' think '
  • Comparative form starchiro ' stronger '
  • Infinitive sachan ' fight ' - second -person singular present indicative sahhis ' making war '
  • Nominative singular zahar ' tear, tear ' - plural Zahari or zahiri tears
  • But nominative singular apful ' apple' - plural epfili ' apples '; Nominative singular Nagal ' nail ' - plural negili ' nails '

From about 1000 AD, the i- umlaut of OHG / ū / iu is graphically represented especially in the writings of Notker. This is because, as in most of the Old High German dialects of the old diphthong / iu / too long [ ȳ ] is repectively and thus phonetically / coincides with the umlaut product of OHG / ū. It is therefore for the umlaut a character available. Examples:

  • Nominative singular hat ' skin ' - nominative plural hiute ' skins '
  • Nominative singular Chrut ' herb ' - plural chríuter ' Herbs'

From the 12th century appear in Middle High German ( MHG ) also written for other representatives was vice vowels, but not consistently. To appear - at least in the normalized Middle High German - u of u, ö from o, iu of ū, œ from ô æ from â, ÖU from ou, üe from uo and ä from a in those cases where Umlauthinderung occurred in Old High German. Examples:

  • MHG cube ' cube ' - OHG wurfil
  • MHG oil ' oil ' ( OHG oli, ole ) from medieval Latin ( mlat. ) olium
  • MHG hiute skins
  • MHG higher ( OHG hōhir ) ' higher ' to MHG high ' high'
  • MHG swære ' difficult ' - OHG swāri
  • Nominative plural löuber ( OHG loubir ) - nominative singular loup ' foliage, leaf '
  • MHG büezen ' atone ' - OHG buozen from Germanic * BOT -ja-
  • Nominative plural tougher 'Tears '
  • Nominative plural mowed ' powers '

The umlaut ä from a is often considered also by the term secondary umlaut, since the written reproduction occurs later, in contrast to the primary umlaut, which is already occupied in Old High German. The other umlauts ( u ü, etc.) are referred to in this reading of secondary umlaut umlaut as a residual. However, the term secondary umlaut may also refer to all i- umlaut in addition to the primary OHG umlaut. The term is so ambiguous.

Individual place name evidence proving the existence of the secondary and residual umlaut, however, already for the early 9th century, so it seems likely that all umlaut guys were actually present already in Old High German, even if they were not given in Scripture. Presumably, they arose in the early 8th century. Ottar Grønvik reaffirmed in the face of spellings of the type ei, ui and oi in the early documents, the old Epenthesetheorie who sees the origin of the umlaut vowels in the insertion of / j / after back vowels, not only in the West but also in North Germanic.

I- umlaut of Germanic * e

It should be noted yet that even an Old High German, open / ë / can be converted reads to a closed [e ] when it is faced with i- sounds. This would sound Legally not possible because a Germanic * e ( ë = ) before i- sounds yes to * i (cf. Germanic i- umlaut above), but can be introduced ë for example, by analogy again before i- sounds. In modern German it is no longer recognizable, in recent dialects that still the "old " ë separate the primary umlaut -e (from the Germanic inherited ), but soon enough. So the number word is NHG six in Bavarian [ seks ] with closed e - sound, although the word already in the Germanic one e -sound had ( Germanic * sehs ). In contrast, the word for NHG sixteen [ sɛxt͡sen ] in Bavarian is an open e - sound, which corresponds to Germanic * e. The form [ seks ] will now be explained so that they ahd sehsi / sehsiu comes from the inflected form of the word number where the open ë came to stand before an i -sound and was thus raised to a closed e.


The term Riickumlaut denotes a change between vice and lauteter umlaut loose form of certain verbs with a j suffix. That is, for example, the infinitive to the verb for ' to burn ' in Old High German burn with primary umlaut ( from a Germanic * brannijaną ), the past tense to but in the 1st and 3rd person singular indicative Branta ' I / it burnt ' without umlaut. In contrast, the past tense of the verb OHG refineries is ' save ' ( nazjaną from Germanic *) in the 1st and 3rd person singular preterite indicative Nerita ' I / rescued ' with i- umlaut. This is explained so that when the back umlaut forming verbs which i had already failed in the past tense, before i -mutation occurred .. In Middle High German is offered, including verbs such as hear 'hear' with the past tense heard ' heard ' announce ' announce ' to the preterite kundte who do not yet show in Old High German this change, since the umlaut had not been shown in these cases, yes. In modern German the cases where Riickumlaut is still visible, restricted to a few verbs, for example, are burning - burning, race - ran, send - sent etc., already send in the (regular ) Apart form sent is present.

Functionalization and current situation in standard German and in the dialects

Following the weakening of the volltonigen side syllable vowels of Old High German ( for example i for schwa sound [ ə ] ( geschr. e) as in NHG guests ) at the beginning of the Middle High German umlaut is increasingly functional significance in the word formation and in the marking of certain morphological categories such as plural, 2nd and 3rd person singular present indicative verb or when in the Comparison of adjectives. The i- umlaut is morphologisiert so to speak, the sound change is abstracted and is now characterized by certain morphological categories. Already in Early New High German umlaut in the plural designation is transferred analogically to nouns that are likely to have no i- umlaut, according to law, for example Frühneuhochdeutsch ( fnhd. ) nominative plural hälser ( OHG nominative singular neck - plural Halsa ). The NHG word pupil also shows umlaut, although it was made in the 18th century.

These morphological functionalization can also be found in the modern present-day language. The Duden grammar for example, leads to rules, when a plural is formed with an umlaut. Among other things, always have feminine nouns with a plural in-e umlaut on, as well as neutral with the plural in-er, if the stressed vowel is ever capable umlaut. Just the he - plural shows the expansion of the umlaut very clearly, this mode of formation was in Old High German but only to a limited inflection ( OHG: lamb ' lamb ' - lembir, calf ' calf ' - kelbir, even the nouns OHG huon ' chicken ', an ' egg ', Farh ' piglet ' blat ' leaf ', etc.).

Of course, German dialects show reflexes of the phonetic i- umlaut, as well as the functionalization. Although the rounded umlaut vowels appear from phonetic side in most High German dialects as unrounded front vowels and thus are identical to the old i, e, etc., the process of affection is still to be seen in it. That's about the standard German word key with the i- umlaut vowel u ( OHG sluzzil ) in Bavarian [ ʃlisl̩ ] ( geschr. Schlissl ) with i to entrundetem above sea level.

I- umlaut in English

The i- umlaut in Old English dialects

A single umlaut process does not exist in Old English as the Old English - as well as the Old High German - was divided dialect. One distinguishes four dialects: the Saxon, especially in its expression West Saxon, the Jutland dialect Kentisch, and the two Anglian dialects Merzisch and Nordhumbrisch. Accordingly, in the affection are also differences, though not serious, determine between the dialects. In addition to the i- umlaut Old English also knows a Velarumlaut that is not covered here.

Unlike in Old High German i- umlaut in Old English territory in the earliest texts is fully detectable. The following table gives an overview of the umlaut in the various Old English dialects. However, it is still the development of the germ * a and * ā in Old English premised as it is important to understand the affection of these vowels. Germ. * a and * ā appear regularly in Old English as æ and ǣ if no nasal follows. Examples are ae. Dae ȝ ' day ' compared to OHG tag or ae. lǣtan ' leave ' against OHG Lazan. Before nasal, however, was verdumpft the a- sound and appear in the case as a or o as in ae. one or the mon ' man '. The nasal can disappear sometimes, so before the fricatives f, þ, and s, as in ae. ȝ OS ' goose ' in comparison to OHG goose. Also be on the Development of the Germanic diphthong * ai to ae. â pointed, as in ae. stan ' stone ' ( OHG stone ).

The Old English diphthongs can be umlauted. The i- umlaut of the diphthongs ae. ea and ea is in the West Saxon ie, or IE, as ' older ' in ieldra to ae. eald ' old ' or ' higher ' to heah in hīehra ' high'. This he, or IE is in the West Saxon later to so called " unfestem i / ī ", which is written as i od y, or ī or the ȳ. In the other dialects of the i -mutation to ea and ea e appears and ē. The other diphthong, io, io, respectively, the reflection of the Germanic diphthong * eu before i- sounds, shows as i- umlaut in the West Saxon ie again, or IE with the later " unfestem i / ī ", in the other dialects it appears unchanged as io, or IO, the partial will eo, eo or later.

Further development of the i- umlaut vowels to the Middle and Modern English

The further development of umlaut vowels in Middle English is unspectacular. Ae. oe and oe, where they were preserved, were unrounded, at the latest, as ' judge' in dōēman to Deman in Northumbrian in the 11th century. Also y and ȳ are unrounded in Spätaltenglischen or Middle English to i and ī, but regionally different and partly to u Ae. æ was changed to a and also ǣ undergoes a qualitative change.

In contrast to the Germans of the i- umlaut in English has never experienced a substantial morphological importance, such as the singular - plural distinction and the like. Viktor Schirmunski are described in an article from the early 1960s, a few reasons: Already in the Old and Middle High German often was the difference between umlaut -less singular form and vice lauteter plural form ( cf. the above example: OHG hospitable 'Guest' - gesti ' guests '), which was later extended to other nouns, which should normally have no vice denominated plural. In English, this was not the case, as here often both singular and plural form is converted is. It is in Old English, for example, in the singular wyrp ' throw ', sle ȝ e ' blow ' or br ȳ d ' bride ' with the corresponding plural forms wyrpas, sle ȝ e and br ȳ de. In comparison, the sample words denominated in the German language levels so: OHG throw wurfi with the plural, OHG slag slegi with the plural and OHG brut with the plural Bruti. Only a small class of nouns also exhibited in Old English singular - plural differentiation by means of i- umlaut, as ae. fot ' foot ' with the plural fet. This class also includes the modern English still partly on Umlaut such as ne. foot ' foot ' - feet, tooth ' tooth ' - teeth, mouse ' mouse' - mice. Moreover, it was in Middle English period the suffix- s to the general plural indicator, a suffix * - he, as it was productive in German, was therefore not necessary in English. Even in the case of its enforcement there would be no i- umlaut causes, as in Old English a different variation of the same suffix as in Old High German was predominant (see ae lomb ' lamb ' and the Pl lombru compared to OHG lamb -. Lembir ).

In other categories, such as the 2nd and 3rd person singular present indicative in the strong verbs of the i -mutation was analogically compensated already in the later Old English. Thus we read in the previous Old English though ( Thu ) fielst ' ( you ) fall ' and (he) feald ' ( he ) falls ' to the infinitive feallan ' fall ', but already spätaltenglisch fealst and feald. The New High German forms, however, show umlaut. Even with the so-called agent nouns, the offender Omen, the German umlaut is often seen in NHG Guardian ( OHG wahtāri. ) In Old English this umlaut is completely missing, such as the noun ae. bōcere ' scholar, writer ' to ae. boc ' book'. So that English resembled in its linguistic history often morphologically related alternations between umgelautetem and not umgelautetem vocalism from, if ever such an age nation had passed. The i- umlaut is in English, although still recognizable today in words like ne. bride ' bride ' and the like, but it is morphologically essentially irrelevant.

I- umlaut in Icelandic

Distinguish it from other sound change processes

Also the Icelandic shows effects of the umlaut. In addition to the i- umlaut ( and the Germanic a- umlaut ) is also a u - umlaut is there but occurred in which, for example, a urnordisches ( urn. ) was a o- sound [ ɔ ] changed to an open, as in Old Icelandic ( AISL. ) hǫll ' hall ' or AISL. vǫllr 'field ', the Hi from the Germanic * or * walþuz hallu over * and ( among other things) * walþuR to the specified forms developed. In the course of this Old Icelandic vowel [ ɔ ] is but then urn with the i- umlaut product of. o, AISL. ø, ø collapsed. Therefore, the corresponding words are denominated in modern Icelandic höll and Völlur.

Addition, however, is yet another sound change in Old Icelandic to notice the so-called a- and u - refraction. ( She is responsible for ensuring that from a Germanic * Herton ' heart ' ( cf. NHG heart, OHG HERZA etc. ) in Old Icelandic one hjarta was, from a Germanic * ferþuz a AISL. Fjǫrðr ' fjord ' was. ) However, it is with the i- umlaut in any context.

I- umlaut in Old Icelandic

The i- umlaut appears at the beginning of the handwritten old Icelandic tradition. The earliest surviving documents are dated to the 12th century, even if one assumes that has already been written earlier in this language. The emergence of the umlaut vowels from the i- umlaut throughout North Germanic area is, however, roughly dated to a period 550-1050, from which no original manuscripts have survived, but only forms in foreign language texts as well as runic inscriptions. In the First Grammatical Treatise, the umlauts, including those from the u - umlaut, in any case already mentioned. The author suggests it before, the five Latin vowels, and add four more, namely < ǫ >, < ę >, < ø > and . It states:

" The ę is written with the hook of a, but in the Great with the shape of e, how is it mixed the two, spoke with his mouth open less than a, with offnerem than the e "

The same is found for the letter < ø > and . The former was " mixed from the sounds of e and o of the " last " consists of the sound of i and the u".

Phonetically similar to the i- umlaut in the North Germanic or Old Icelandic Germanic in the other languages ​​. The following table will show this ( between i- umlaut - in the narrow sense, that is triggered by short i or long ī - and j- umlaut - triggered by the semi-vowel j - is not distinguished):

A special case occurs when there is a combined umlaut of i - umlaut and u - umlaut. Thus, the second person singular present indicative of the verb is for ' cut ' ( aisl. hǫggva ) AISL. høggr. The infinitive Germanic * hawwaną ( see also knock NHG, OHG Houwan, ae. Hēawan ) is in the Old Icelandic regularly to AISL with the tightening of Germanic * ww. * ggv and u - umlaut ( or w - umlaut ) to hǫggva. The second person singular Germanic * hawwizi or urn. * haggwiR other hand, undergoes both u - umlaut as well as i - umlaut of * a to AISL. ø.

" Exceptions " i- umlaut

As the German, so knows the Old Icelandic cases in which the i- umlaut would occur should, but it is not. This phenomenon is related to the syllable weight and syncope umlaut -triggering * i, while a * j always triggers umlaut. Verbs ending in a j suffix with severe root syllable, ie verbs whose root syllable starts on long vowel or diphthong plus consonant ( AISL for example dœma. Dōmijaną from Germanic *: œ denotes a long vowel, m, logically, a consonant ), show in the past tense and past participle of i- umlaut (for example dœma in the infinitive, dœmða ' I judged ' in the past tense ). ( ' Select' AISL for example. Velja ) verbs ending in a j suffix with light root syllable, ie verbs whose stem syllable short vowel and a maximum of one consonant or long vowel ( AISL for example. Knýja ' hit ') or diphthong (eg. AISL þreyja ' crave ') auslautet without following consonant, form the past tense and past participle without i -mutation (ie Velja - Valda knýja - knúða, þreyja - þráða ). This phenomenon is in principle similar to the Riickumlaut in German, although the i- umlaut in German not in those cases is omitted, as in the Old Icelandic. Roughly speaking, appear in the German langsilbigen verbs without i- umlaut (eg MHG hear 'hear' - heard ' heard '), which, however, kurzsilbigen with i- umlaut ( OHG as refineries ' save ' - Nerita ' saved '). The situation in the Germans will appear " reversed " as in Old Icelandic.

This absence of the i- umlaut is not only restricted to verbs, nouns also exhibit the phenomenon. The Germanic word * katilaz shows in Old Icelandic nominative singular Ketill the expected umlaut before i preserved the nominative plural katlar however, shows non-converted lautetes a, since that had been syncopated i and a light syllable was present ( kat - with short vowel plus consonant easy ). A similar schwersilbiges word is AISL. engill ( as OHG Engil loanword from gr ἄγγελος ( aggelos ) ), which has englar as nominative plural.

IR - umlaut, R- umlaut and g / k- palatalization

Another phenomenon complicates the Old Icelandic umlaut: A auslautendes urn. * iR resolves after a short syllable also umlaut from, who would regularly be omitted actually. This phenomenon is called iR - umlaut. Thus, the second person singular present indicative is of AISL. troða ' enter ' not * troðr but trøðr as it appears on urn. * trodiR is due. However, also solves immediately following the vowel urn. * R is a kind of umlaut, although there is no i- more sound in the game is (R- umlaut ). Thus the word for ' pig ' in Old Icelandic is sýr, from the Germanic * Suz on urn. * Sur to the corresponding AISL. Form was.

Another special case is, for example, in the dative singular of the word for ' day ' before, which reads DeGi. That i the ending is not the continuator of a former i- sound, but it continues the diphthong * ai, the urn about. * ē and * e in the Old Icelandic to i was. So it's not the i- umlaut -inducing i- sound, as in the dative singular of the word for ' arm ', AISL. armi, is apparent. DeGi has nevertheless " vice were" root syllable vowel (cf.: nominative singular: dagr ) as a phonetic group g / k this I sound a following vowel again " umlautet " or palatalized.

Morphological integration of the umlaut

The sound change processes described - different accents and the two openings - are deeply rooted in the morphological system of the Old Icelandic and run between the categories subject to significant differences. To illustrate this example, three paradigms were led from the nominal inflection:

Development for Neuisländischen

In Neuisländischen the umlaut vowels are almost unchanged in the case. < ø > but written in modern Icelandic as in German with < ö >, the long vowel < œ > contrast is a < æ >. The articulation was but partly changed radically: and < ý > represent as and < í > the vowels [ ɪ ] and [i ], < æ > presents a diphthong [ ai ], as it is for [ ei]. In the theory of forms, however, turn a few changes have occurred. The paradigm of AISL. fjǫrðr for example, has only the nominative singular to nisl. Fjörður, as well as the accusative plural on nisl. firði changed.