so named from the brilliant discoveries of Karl Verner, first published in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, xxiii. 97-130 (1875). It embodies an explanation of certain apparent exceptions to the laws for the first or Teutonic shifting of consonants (see Grimm's Law), affecting the representation in Teutonic of the Indo-European voiceless explosives (tenues) k, t, p, and the voiceless sibilant s; thus, while the th of Eng. tooth corresponds regularly to the t of Greek ὀδόντος, in Eng. hard it is a d which represents the t of Greek κρατύς: so Germ. bruder and vater, representing Gothic brar and fadar, correspond to Lat. frter and pater, both having t. There is divergence even within the forms of the same word. The c (k) of Lat. dco is represented in Germ. ziehen: gezogen both by h and g. It appears that Indo-European k, t, p produce not only Teutonic h, p(th), f, as set forth in Grimm's law, but also g, d, b. The essential feature of Verner's discovery, which explained this diversity, was the recognition that it was connected with the diversity of the original word-accent in Indo-European. The syllable on which this accent fell varied in different words and in different forms of the same word. This method of accentuation is partially preserved in Sanskrit and Greek, as well as in the Balto-Slavic languages; cf.
Gr. δέκα: Skr. da/s/a (ten)
Gr. ὀκτώ: Skr. astA/ (eight)
Gr. πέντε: Skr. pa/Jca; (five)
Gr. ἔτι: Skr. a/ti (yet, still)
Gr. ἐγώ: Skr. aha/m (I)
Gr. γένος: Skr. ja/nas (race, family)
Gr. κλυτός: Skr. s/ruta/-s (famous)
Gr. νέος: Skr. na/va-s (young)
Gr. ἡδύς: Skr. svAdu/-s (sweet)
Gr. μέθυ: Skr. ma/dhu (wine, mead, drunkenness)
Gr. ζυγόν: Skr. yuga/-m (yoke)
Gr. πούς, ποδός, πόδα: Skr. pA/d, pada/s, pA/dam. (foot)
The law is this: Indo-Europ. medial k, t, p, s become Teutonic h, (th), f, s, which then, if associated with voiced sounds, become voiced (, , p, z), when the Indo-Europ. accent rested upon any other than the preceding syllable; or, to state it in another form, I.-E. k, t, p, s appear as h, th, f, s when the I.-E. accent immediately preceded, otherwise (except before s or t) as g, d, b, z.
Examples: K. Gr. δέκα: Goth. tahun, ten; Skr. s/va/s/ura-s: Schwher, father-in-law; on the other hand, Skr. s/vas/rU/: Schwieger (mutter), mother-in-law; Gr. δεκάς: Goth. tigus, number 10.
T. Skr. bhrA/tar-, Gr. φράτωρ: Goth. brpar, Eng. brother, but Gr. κλυτός: Eng. loud; Gr. ἑκατόν: Goth. hund, Eng. hund-red; Skr. ketu/-s: Goth. hidus, Eng. -hood; Skr. damita/-s: Eng. tamed.
P. Skr. limpA/mi: Goth. bileiban.
S. (Teutonic z becomes in Germ. and Eng. r) Skr. bha/rase 2 sg. indic. pres. pass: Goth. baraza.
The I.-E. causatives were accented on the syllable following the root; hence I.-E. nosyeti appears as Germ. nhren, Goth. nasjan, make healthy, causat. of root nes-, cf. Gr. νέομαι, νόστος, return, Goth. ganisan, Germ. genesen; I.-E. loisyeti appears as Germ. ehren (cf. Eng. "lore"), Goth. laisjan make to know, causat. of root leis-; cf. Lat. lra, Germ. geleise; I.-E. wosyeti, Skr. vAsa/yati appears as Goth. wasjan, cf. Eng. wear, causat. of root wes-, in Lat. vestis, etc.; so compare Goth. reisan, Eng. rise, with Goth. urraisjan, O. Eng. rran, Eng. "rear", make rise. For a parallel effect upon t-roots, cf. Skr. varta/yati (I.-E. wortyeti), Goth. frawardjan, spoil, from root wert- of Lat. verto, Goth. warpan; I.-E. sontyeti, Goth. sandjan, Eng. send, from root sent-, go, in Goth. sinps, time, Lat. sentis, path; I.-E. loityeti, cause to go, Eng. lead, Germ. leiten, causat. of root leit-, in Goth. leipan, Germ. leiden.
The difference of the consonants in Eng. was: were is due to the fact that in Indo-Europ. the perfect was accented on the root in the singular and on the ending in the plural, cf. Skr. ve/da (=οἶδα), I know, but vidma/ (=ἴδμεν for ἰδμέν), we know. To a similar variation in the I.-E. accent are due the phenomena of grammatical interchange, such as: Germ. ziehen: gezogen; leiden: gelitten; schneiden: geschnitten; Eng. lose: forlorn ( Germ. verloren); Eng. seethe: sodden.
References: Verner, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, xxiii. 97 foll.; Wilmanns, Deutsche Grammatik. 22-24; Brugmann, Compar. Grammar of the IndoGerm. Languages, i. 530 foll., 581; Skeat, Principles of English Etymology, First Series, ch. ix; King and Cookson, Sounds and Inflexions, pp. 256 foll.; Brandt, German Grammar. 411, 416; and Giles, Manual of Comp. Phil.. 104 (Oxford, 1894).