In the last three chapters I have cited forms which give evidence that laryngeals or their reflexes survived into Gmc. in the neighborhood of resonants. I shall now examine Gmc. forms, some of them from roots whose forms have already been discussed, that have preserved an unexplained r in some rare forms.
Preterite forms with
The oldest explanation falls into the first classification. Lachmann suggested in his notes to the Nibelungenlied that the r was a hiatus-breaker; his explanation has been adopted by Müllenhoff, Weinhold, Zarncke, and Flasdieck.2 Scholars who adopt it cite in support of it forms with epenthetic r; Zarncke, for example, cites from the Ludwigslied wolar, abur and also some German dialect forms where r is found internally in words: rueri ‘peaceful’ and strārete ‘strewed’. Loewe objected to this explanation and his arguments are still pertinent: why is r found only in certain forms, and why was it introduced in a diphthong where there is no hiatus?3 Moreover, the forms cited in support of this theory are random examples that do not belong to one category, whereas the OHG preterite forms are part of one morphological system. One may readily find examples of intrusive sounds, such as the r of Eastern American English, but such sounds fall into specific phonetic patterns rather than morphological ones. If an intrusive r was used as a hiatus-breaker in OHG, as it is in Eastern American English, we should not expect to find it established only in strong verb preterites, but also in other forms with a similar succession of vowels. Although this explanation may be the best suggested—Flasdieck, op.cit. 275, arrives at it by eliminating other suggestions—it is very weak.
In other theories, various forms, later lost, have been cited as the origin of the r-preterite. Osthoff, Schmidt, Loewe, and Janko consider the r-preterites remnants of reduplicated perfect forms;
Knoblauch suggested origin for scrirun in an s-aorist; his suggestion has been adopted by Schmidt, Streitberg, and Brugmann.5 His theory is very weak for we have no other evidence that an s-aorist was ever found in the Gmc. languages. Proponents of this explanation must further explain the r of the pret. ptc.; they may assume spread by analogy in the form erscrirena, but we have no evidence that r-preterites were made from spīwan from which the r may have spread to pespiren.
Feist suggested that the r-preterites started from forms like OIcel. *rōan : rerō; on the pattern of this was formed blōzan : *bleroz. Michels and Karstien have adopted his view.6 But again the objection may be raised that the forms from which r-preterites are said to develop are not found in OHG.
None of the theories proposed, or combinations of theories,7 can be considered satisfactory. Karstien characterized the problem as ‘ein ganz unleidliches gebiet,’ but favored Feist's theory. Hirt made no choice among the various theories.8 It is obvious that no adequate explanation has been suggested.
The r-preterites fall into two groups according to form: those with
The origin of the preterite formation in NWGmc. of seventh class verbs is disputed; the ablaut grades found in these preterites have been the subject of much discussion. For although these preterites follow a definite pattern, this pattern is not found in other IE dialects. Its origin must be explained from evidence found in Gmc.
Two theories have been proposed: 1. that the seventh class preterites are from reduplicated forms like those of Gothic; 2. that they and the seventh class presents developed from forms with ablaut grades different from those of the first five classes.9 According to the second theory the preterite forms of the seventh class verbs are based on forms with an ablaut grade contrasting with that of the present, which have also acquired a contrast in meaning. In formation then, the seventh class differs from the first five classes only in its development from an ablaut pattern that was less widespread than the /e : o : e/ ablaut of the first five classes. This theory accounts both for forms and for the development of meaning. According to the elaboration of the theory which Prokosch presents, the contrast in meaning between present and preterite developed in ablauting forms contrasting between punctual and durative force.10 The strength of the first theory lies in the presence in Gothic of reduplicated preterites for seventh class verbs; its weakness lies in the impossibility of suggesting a development in accordance with sound laws from such forms to the preterite forms that occur in NWGmc. Consequently I follow the theory in which the preterite is derived from contrasting ablaut forms.
Prokosch, CGG 175ff., suggests that the verbs belonging to class VII are made primarily from diphthongal heavy bases. For the present tense he posits the reduced grade in all Gmc. dialects, for the preterite in NWGmc. the normal long e-grade; e.g. the present tense of OHG stōzan is from Gmc.
In chapters 4 to 6 we have noted that laryngeals, or reflexes of laryngeals, survived in Gmc. dialects long enough to produce modifications of sounds. According to Prokosch's theory, at least the four seventh class verbs with r-preterites developed from forms with laryngeals; examination of the r-preterite forms may disclose the treatment of these.
OHG stōzan, Goth. stáutan, OIcel. stauta ‘push’ are cognate with Skt. tundate, tudáti, Lat. tundō ‘push’. Although WP assume an IE root
OHG scrōtan ‘cut’, OE scrēadian ‘cut off’, OIcel. hrjóþa ‘peel off’ are from PIE
OHG bluozan ‘offer’, Goth. blōtan ‘honor’, OIcel. blóta, OE blōtan ‘offer’ are related by WP to Lat. flāmen ‘priest’, and are therefore derived from
OHG būan, OIcel. búa, OE būan ‘dwell’ are from PIE
All r-preterite forms made from seventh class verbs are found where we should expect an earlier sequence
r-preterite forms of the first class verbs on the other hand are found where we expect zero grade of the root vocalism, that is, i. Both first class verbs with r-preterite forms developed from roots with laryngeals.
Cognates of spīwan give clear evidence for laryngeal, see above 5.4b. In OHG, spīwan ‘spit’ is a regular first class strong verb with the principal parts spīwan, spē, spiuun, gispiuuan.11 Since the PIE root differs from that of other first class verbs, these forms must have been made in Gmc. by analogy with other first class verbs. I follow Collitz' suggestion, Mod. Phil. 15.103ff., that spīwan < *spiXwan became a first class strong verb when PIE ei became Gmc. ī; the other forms were then made on the pattern of first class verbs. I assume that pespiren on the other hand developed from a verbal adjective in
OHG scrīan ‘cry’ is a regular first class strong verb, with, apart from the r-preterite, one aberrant form, the preterite singular screi. The vocalism of screi can only be explained by assuming lengthened i; as has been indicated above, this developed from a form with laryngeal. The long i of Lat. crīmen supports derivation from a laryngeal base. Since scrīan is a first class verb, not a seventh class verb, I assume PIE
The sequence assumed here for seventh class verbs is PIE
We have already noted that Gmc. is remarkably conservative in the treatment of laryngeals when these were contiguous to resonants. The upper dialects of OHG give further evidence of such conservatism.
In Alemannic we find the forms āmar rather than jāmar ‘suffering’ and enēr rather than jenēr ‘that one’.12 On the other hand the initial j is preserved in jesan ‘ferment’, jetan ‘uproot’, and jehan ‘say’. While the cognates of jetan and jehan have not been determined, it is clear that (j)enēr is cognate with Skt. yás, Gk. ὅς, (j)āmar with Gk. ἥμερος ‘tame’, but jesan with Gk. ζέω ‘seethe’. We may also adduce OHG joh ‘yoke’, Gk. ζυγόν as further evidence for suggesting a correlation between Alemannic and Greek in the treatment of ‘initial y.’ Where j-was dropped in Alemannic we find a rough breathing in Greek; where it has remained, we find ζ. Sapir13 has demonstrated that rough breathing in such Greek words corresponds to PIE [y] preceded by voiceless laryngeal. It seems plausible to assume for Alemannic too that the initial sound of (j)āmar and (j)enēr had become voiceless after a voiceless laryngeal and was then lost.
We can only tentatively suggest reasons for the representation of the reflex of laryngeals as r in OHG. For as yet only general phonetic descriptions have been suggested for the laryngeals. Evidence in one Hittite text points to a phonetic similarity with r; in this text
We may note that OHG scorra ‘crag’, scorrēn ‘jut out’ has an inexplicable double r. WP derive these forms from the root from which scrōtan developed but are unable to account for the lengthened r. Since it is clear from Skt. kr̥ṇāti that the base is
It is difficult to say how wide-spread was the r-preterite formation in Gmc. The r-preterites did not fit into the regular patterns of the Gmc. verb and were eventually displaced by the regular forms. In scrīan, spīwan, scrōtan, and stōzan the strong preterite forms predominated; in būan and bluozan the weak. Very few r-preterites survived into OHG; some of these were obscure to the later scribes and were corrected to the regular forms. By MHG times traces of the formation were almost obliterated.
1 J. Schatz, Althochdeutsche Grammatik, (Göttingen, 1927) lists the forms and gives references for them on pages 282 and 294; he also lists the regular preterite forms of these verbs. For the preterite forms of spīwan and scrīan that have survived into MHG, see H. Paul and E. Gierach, Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik14 117 (Halle, 1944).
2 K. Lachmann, Zu den Nibelungen und zur Klage, 66 (Berlin, 1836); K. Müllenhoff, Angebliche aoriste oder perfecta auf r im altnordischen und hochdeutschen, ZfdA 12.397-9 (1865); K. Weinhold, Alemannische Grammatik 167 (Berlin, 1863) (on page 326 Weinhold cites Bopp's explanation for schriren. Bopp in his Vergleichende Grammatik3, I.36 (Berlin, 1867), assumed a general phonetic interchange between iw and ir); F. Zarncke, Zu den reduplizierenden Verben im Germanischen, Anglia 60.241-365 (1936), especially 279ff. and the references cited.
3 R. Loewe, Das starke präteritum des Germanischen, KZ 40.266-351 (1907). See also J. Schmidt, Die germanische flexion des verbum substantivum und das hiatusfüllende r im hochdeutschen, KZ 25.592-600 (1881).
4 H. Osthoff, Zur reduplicationslehre, PBB 8.540-67 (1882); J. Schmidt, Zur Geschichte des Indogermanischen Vocalismus II.429 (Weimar, 1875); Loewe, KZ 40.343-51; J. Janko, Über germanische ē2 und die sog. reduplizierenden Praeterita, IF 20.229-316 (1906-7).
5 K. von Knoblauch, Die germanischen perfecta auf r, KZ 1.573-6 (1852); J. Schmidt, KZ 25.598-600; Streitberg, Urgermanische Grammatik 281 (Heidelberg, 1896). K. Brugmann, KVG 541, lists under ‘unsichere Reste des s-Aor.’ wissun and scrirun; 596-8 he connects scrirun with the r-formations found in Indic and Italo-Celtic; I have found no scholar who has adopted this suggestion.
6 S. Feist, Die sogenannten reduplicierenden Verba im Germanischen, PBB 32.447-516 (1907); V. Michels, Zur deutschen Akzentgeschichte, Germania 87-8 (Halle, 1925); C. Karstien, Die reduplizierten Perfekta des Nord- und Westgermanischen 153f. (Giessen, 1921).
10 Prokosch discusses the seventh class verbs CGG 144-6, 148-9, 176-82.—It has been suggested that a similar development from aspect to tense was involved in the development of the weak preterite, Language 19.25 (1943).