Verner's law


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Related to Verner's law: Grimm's law
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a qualification of Grimm's law

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Noteworthy is the presence of the vestiges of Verner's Law in forms of the 2sg.
In terms of class division, grammatical change is present in all classes of Old English strong verbs, with the exception of class IV where none of the verbs contained stem-final fricative which could potentially undergo voicing by Verner's Law. It is worth noticing that the first three classes are characterised by remarkable regularity and discipline with respect to grammatical change.
As a result of such generalisation, the allomorphy rendered by the operation of Verner's Law was being gradually removed.
In the present analysis it is used in line with the above definition to mean restoration of the original Proto-Germanic voiceless variant and consequent generalisation of this variant to all forms which displayed the effects of the operation of Verner's Law. The definition of elimination can be extended however to include some less regular cases to the effect that forms such as Anglian past participles in classes VI and VII (such as befoen, geseen) can be interpreted as instances where Vernerian alternations were lost.
An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by Bosworth and Toller (1898) served as the main source for identifying the principal parts of strong verbs liable to voicing by Verner's Law. Forms of the prefixed verbs were drawn from the Dictionary as well and, if not specified there, were systematically built on the pattern of the simplex verbs.
In verbs belonging to Class I the alternations induced by Verner's Law are well preserved and very regular.
Interestingly, a few verbs belonging to this class in some forms eliminated the effects of Verner's Law completely.
Table 2 (facing page) demonstrates distribution of the effects of Verner's Law in verbs belonging to Class I.
The effects of Verner's Law are no longer seen in breo[thorn]an 'ruin, destroy' and abreo[thorn]an 'ruin, perish' which generalised the voiceless fricative in all forms: breo[eth]an : bread : bru[eth]on : bro[eth]en abreo[thorn]an : abru[thorn]on : abro[thorn]en
The sentences below illustrate the use of forms in which the effects of Verner's Law had been eliminated before the attestation date.
No occurrences of forms which could testify to the earlier operation of Verner's Law in the non-prefixed freosan 'freeze' were round in the analysed material.
The verb beseo[thorn]an is attested once without traces of Verner's Law in past participle, next to the regular besoden.
The following sentences illustrate the use of forms which levelled the effects of Verner's Law in Old English:
seems to be most susceptible to the influence of analogy, though only two occurrences were attested without Verner's Law. Unaffected by the working of levelling remains subjunctive preterite plural where no levelled forms have been found.
Although the effects of Verner's Law were displayed with remarkable rigour and systemacity in Class III, they can be identified in very few verbs: the scarcely attested feolan and its prefixed forms, and the very well attested weor[thorn]an with its derivatives where grammatical change was abundantly preserved.