Grimm's Law

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Post  John on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:46 pm

If your childhood was anything like mine, you were raised on the original Grimm fairy tales, replete with blood-filled magic slippers and Pied-Piper pedophilia. What you might not know is that Jacob and William Grimm were both respected philologists. In fact, Jacob was one of the great founders of comparative philology with an emphasis on Germanic languages. He is the namesake of "Grimm's Law," and, surprisingly enough, invented the umlaut, commonly used in modern German, and pretentious English.

As a young child, staring at the ceiling awake, I used to wonder whether Grimm garnered the connotation for 'dreary and gloomy' prior to the brother's work on those fabulous fairy tales or whether it was based on the popularity of said tales. Apparently, grim was first recorded in the 12th century, meaning something comparable to our current definition, long before the surname Grimm (19th century) arose in this context.

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