GRIMM’S LAW—A WEIRD CHANGE IN LANGUAGE? Kids, Grimm’s Law is wonderful. It is useful; if you are trying to learn German it tells you how to remember lots of German words. It’s elegant; it works on so many words that it seems magical. Grimm’s Law is named after one of the Grimms that gave us Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Among other things, it says that words that in most Indo-European languages that begin with p, t, and k begin in Germanic languages with f, th, and h respectively. Pater in Latin becomes father in English (and vater, pronounced fater, in German); tres in Latin becomes three in English; and canis in Latin becomes hound in English. John McWhorter say that the changes described by Grimm’s Law are “weird.” It’s common for an Indo-European language to change the way Sicilian Italian has changed—unstressed vowels dropping off and “p” sounds becoming “b” sounds. He argues that it’s “weird” for a “p” sound to change to “f”—he can’t imagine “a generation starting to say “fopcorn” instead of “popcorn” or “thop” instead of “top.” He says that these changes “are not things your typical Indo-European language pulls.” And he has a theory as to how the changes happened.
- “IN BOCCA AL LUPO”. (1)
- Dick Weisfelder: I thought of adding some of the Sicilian phrases I learned from workers in the cemetery where I...
- GIVING UP ON A LIFETIME GOAL—JURY DUTY. (3)
- Nick: I am curious if I will ever get a shot. I was only ever called for jury duty once, out in Connecticut, and I...
- Carl Davidson: I agree with Dick Weisfelder. You made the wrong decision. You could well have been picked. Even...
- Dick Weisfelder: A lifetime goal given up to spare a couple possibly fruitloess hours. Doesn’t ring true!
- A PROFESSOR PREPARES. (2)
- WHO WAS PROFESSOR KINGSFIELD? (4)
- Karen Braucher Tobin: Dear lawyers and others, My father was Robert Braucher, who taught contracts for years at...
- CHRISTMAS EVE FEASTS. (1)
- Mary Jane Schaefer: Worse than that! Aunt Ernestine went into the kitchen to get a drink of water in pitch darkness....
- A SCIENTIST AT WORK. (1)
- Mary Jane Schaefer: This is absolutely wonderful!
- SEEING FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. (1)
- Mary Jane Schaefer: As a grandchild of four Italian immigrants, I’m very aware of what this country has meant...
- A VALENTINE THOUGHT REVISITED. (1)
- Mary Jane Schaefer: D.H. Lawrence agreed with you.
- AN INFANT MEETING HER FATHER’S TWIN. (2)
- Elmer: At very early ages babies stare longer at things that surprise them. That’s the basis for...
- “IN BOCCA AL LUPO”. (1)