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Why did PG *ei become English o?

Posted: 2005-11-24, 9:33
by minus273
'Tis too weird...
:shock:

Posted: 2005-11-24, 11:40
by allemaalmeezinge
lol

Posted: 2005-11-24, 15:30
by Stan
what does "PG" stand for?

Posted: 2005-11-24, 15:58
by lu:ka
Stan wrote:what does "PG" stand for?


I guess it stands for Proto-Germanic

Posted: 2005-11-24, 16:00
by Stan
lu:ka wrote:
Stan wrote:what does "PG" stand for?


I guess it stands for Proto-Germanic


thanks, I wish that would've been explained earlier

Posted: 2005-11-24, 19:37
by Stan
could you give an example?

Posted: 2005-11-24, 20:09
by Kirk
I don't think English /o/ came from PG */ei/. However, many Modern English words with /o/ ultimately came from PG */ai/. In PG */ai/ went to Old English /a:/. Later on this /a:/ in English would become /o/.

Proto Indo European: *kei-, *stai-
Proto Germanic: *khaimaz, *stainaz
Old English: ham, stan [ha:m] [sta:n]

Modern English: home, stone [ho(ʊ)m] [sto(ʊ)n]

As far as I know, PG */ei/ did not lead to /o/ in English. Also, perhaps maybe your question shouldn't be "why" but "how"--(and of course as I explained above it didn't really happen this way).

In terms of "how" /a:/ went to /o/, such things are quite common in languages, since vowels tend to move around over the ages. For instance, observe the much earlier merger of Proto Indo European */a:/ and */o:/ to Proto Germanic /o:/. Compare the related words in different Indo-European languages:

Proto Indo European */a:/

--Latin frater (with /a:/)
--Old English broðer (with /o:/)

Proto Indo European */o:/

--Latin flos (with /o:/)
--Old English bloma (with /o:/)

Proto Germanic also merged Proto Indo European */a/ and */o/ to /a/.

Posted: 2005-11-25, 7:42
by minus273
(in blank verse)
oh... so i had made a terr'ble fault...
Methinks that 'stone' and 'home' are both with *ei...
so 'tis an *ai?
Klar...

Posted: 2005-11-25, 7:57
by Kirk
minus273 wrote:(in blank verse)
oh... so i had made a terr'ble fault...
Methinks that 'stone' and 'home' are both with *ei...
so 'tis an *ai?
Klar...


Nope, apparently they're from PG *ai. Maybe you were confused because Modern German writes them with orthographical "ei" :) Anyway, if that's the case, definitely don't assume that where forms differ between German and English that German has the PG form! German's vowels and consonants have changed quite a bit from Proto-Germanic as well (just in different areas and in different ways).

If you're interested in further information and discussion on this topic, check out this thread from another language forum with stuff closely related to this sound change.

Posted: 2005-11-25, 8:50
by minus273
i thought about an 'ei' not because of high german...
but of low saxon 'ee', west nordic 'ei' and east nordic 'e'.
So 'tis hard to imagine an 'ai' (if not for english and gothic)