Sound change

The law is called a certain rule-based sound change process. It is therefore beside analogy and borrowing one of the basic phenomena of language change.

According to laws apply only to a language or dialect and act only over a limited period of time. They concern, unless it is a combinatorial sound change, with a particular phoneme is generally only a few, often explainable by certain circumstances exceptions.

Examples of sound laws

Such By law ( Ostmitteldeutsche unrounding, from the 12th century ) has, for example, the Middle High German phonemes / ø / and / y / can be in many German dialects with / e / and / i / coincide.

A According to the law, namely, the Second (High German ) Sound Shift is also the reason that in words of Germanic origin, where in English a < th> stands, the Germans usually a is, for example:

  • This - this
  • Think - think
  • Thick - thick
  • Thin - thin
  • Thirst - thirst
  • Thorn - thorn
  • Three - three

History of sound laws

For historical linguistics the postulate of " Ausnahmslosigkeit the sound laws " is central. It challenges the scientists also look there to sound laws, where these are not overtly obvious. The " Ausnahmslosigkeit " prohibits the researcher rashly give up and "explain" a development as an exception. Apparent exceptions turn out on closer study often referred to as sound laws into something more complex formulation.

It was the linguist of the Leipzig School, also called neo-grammarians, who raised the Ausnahmslosigkeit to their creed. In the so-called young Grammatical Manifesto Karl Brugmann write and Hermann Osthoff:

"All sound change, as far as he mechanically going on, takes place after exceptionless laws, ie, the direction of motion is said aloud cooperative at all belonging to one, except for the case that dialect fission occurs, always the same "

With non- mechanical sound change here are mainly meant analogy and borrowing. The junggrammatische commitment is more complicated than it seems, because the " language- cooperative " or the boundaries of dialects are precisely defined by the phonetic laws.

The most fertile, it is certainly to understand the requirement of Ausnahmslosigkeit as a methodological postulate. In fact, the neo-grammarians ( and probably also the researchers before them! ) Have worked practically on the basis of this understanding of methodological postulate.

On the basis of the Ausnahmslosigkeit Neogrammarians denounced many until their time recognized word relationships as " impossible ". This word must often be like in those years in Leipzig and was the older linguists (Georg Curtius, Leipzig, August Pott, Halle) from their former students relied again and again. This dispute between the younger ( which were then derided as Neogrammarians ) and the elderly has become known as The law dispute in the history of science. In writing the classical philologist Georg Curtius has it waged; the first answers were by Karl Brugmann and Delbrück Berthold.

In addition to the basic methods dispute was in these writings to specific disagreements. So the neogrammarians was clear that the Sanskrit ( Ancient Indian ) was not so originally and conservative, as it had been believed until then. The previous generation of researchers had believed that was a- sound of Sanskrit in many European languages ​​such as Latin or ancient Greek become e or o. However, the ancients could not explain why the a × a sound remained and even became e or o. Already Franz Bopp, the founder of the Indo-European, had in vain for conditions for which different development from the supposed origin of vowel a sought ( " without any secure laws for any occasions choosing from these three vowels could specify "). From the postulate of Ausnahmslosigkeit followed for Neogrammarians that not the Sanskrit had received the old vowels best, but the European languages ​​, and that a, e and o were collapsed in Sanskrit to an a - sound.