0

Why is PGmc *brekaną strong class 4 verb (not class 5)?
It doesn't have the ablaut vowel followed by a sonorant (m, n, l, r).

1 Answer 1

1

Presumably for the same reason that similarly structured roots can also be found in class 3: metathesis.

The Wikipedia article on strong Germanic verbs notes:

In class 3, there are also a few cases where the vowel is followed, at least in Proto-Germanic, by two consonants, neither of which is a nasal or a liquid.[3] Examples: *brestaną "to burst", *þreskaną "to thresh" *fehtaną "to fight". All but one have a nasal or a liquid in front of the vowel. This will have become syllabic and resulted regularly in u before the nasal or liquid, which was then metathesised on the analogy of the remaining principle parts. E.g. part 3 of *brestaną will have been *bʰr̥st- > *burst-, reformed to *brust-.

[Note 3] Ringe, Don. 2006. A Linguistic History of English. From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, pp. 226, 243.

The same applies in class 4: the zero-grade of Proto-Indo-European *bʰreg- was *bʰr̥g-, which by regular sound change would, and probably did, yield Proto-Germanic *burk-. But since the three other principal forms of the verb all (regularly) retained *brVk in PG (*brek-, *brok-, *brēk-), the fourth one – which appeared only in the past participle – was reworked to *bruk- as well, to match the others.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.