Can anyone recommend a good comparative grammar of the Germanic languages -- or, failing that, good historical grammars specifically for Old English and Old Norse?

Ideally, what I want is a historical grammar that gives a comparative overview of the Germanic languages from the Proto-Germanic period (or even from PIE). But since I'm mostly interested in Old English and Old Norse, specific historical grammars for those languages would be useful too. Preferably written in English, but any western European language is good.

I have Prokosch's Comparative Germanic Grammar, but it's from 1939, and is obviously idiosyncratic in some of its views even for that period. I've read Ringe's recent monograph on Proto-Germanic, but that doesn't (yet) go beyond the PGmc stage. Suggestions?

  • 1
    Can you read in German or Russian? – Alex B. Mar 28 '14 at 12:59
  • @AlexB. German yes, Russian no. (Should have mentioned this in the post - updating now.) – TKR Mar 28 '14 at 17:48

My standard reference manual has always been Hans Krahe's "Germanische Sprachwissenschaft" from 1967. There's a later edition by Wolfgang Meid from 1969, but it is as far as I can see just a photographic reprint that Meid put his name on.

Apart from that I'd recommend Streitberg's "Urgermanische Grammatik" from 1896 and Hermann Hirt's "Handbuch des Urgermanischen" from 1931-1934.


I believe you are best served with the following volume:

Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic Languages (Handbücher zur Sprach- Und Kommunikationswissenschaft). De Gruyter. 2005.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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