Grimm’s Law

Grimm’s Law is a study of correspondences between certain consonants in the Germanic language and those found in Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. A Danish scholar Rask discovered that these changes were regular and according to certain laws of change. This was more formulated by a German scholar Jacob Grimm. Grimm’s Law collects the basic principles of the first sound-shift. The changes are concerned with sound changes.

b, d, g are voiced explosive consonant sounds. p, t, k are voiceless explosive consonant sounds. Ph, th, kh are aspirated consonant sounds. The changes of consonant sound take place as follows :

ph, th, kh —————-> b, d, g
b, d, g ——————> p, t, k
p, t, k —————-> ph, th, kh 

  Ø  ph, th, kh changes to b, d, g :
                                Greek                   Latin                      English
                                phero                    fero                        bear
                                thura                     foris                       door
                                khortus                 hortus                   garden
  Ø  b, d, g changes to p, t, k :
                                Greek                   Latin                      English
                                baklon                  baculum              peg (stick)
                                deca                      decem                   ten
                                genos                    genus                    kin
  Ø   p, t, k changes to ph, th, kh
                                Greek                   Latin                      English
                                pater                     pater                     father
                                treis                       tres                        three

                                kuon                      canis                      hound (dog)

However, there are certain exceptions to Grimm’s Law. The Danish Scholar Karl Verner discovered that the operation of the law of sound-shifting depended on the position of the law which explained the puzzling linguistic phenomenon. 

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