One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The observation that certain Indo-European consonants (mainly stops) undergo regular changes in the Germanic languages that are not seen in non-Germanic languages such as Greek or Latin. Examples include p becoming f so that Latin pedem corresponds to English foot and German Fuss. The principle was set out by Jacob Grimm in his German grammar (2nd edition, 1822)
- ‘According to Grimm's law, the First Consonant Shift occurred when p, t, k in the ancient Indo-European languages (Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit) became f, t, h in Germanic languages.’
- ‘His interest in the relationship among Germanic languages led to his formulation of Grimm's law.’
- ‘In accordance with Grimm's law, the ‘h ‘in Greek corresponds to ‘s ‘in English, while ‘d ‘may soften to ‘t ‘and ‘p ‘or ‘b ‘to ‘f ‘or ‘v‘.’
Grimm's law/ˈɡrimz ˌlô/
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