Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Languages, Literatures and Cultures

First Advisor

Kurt Goblirsch


This thesis is intended to be a comparative study of Old High German and Gothic breaking. The process of breaking is unique in both Old High German and Gothic compared to the other Germanic languages in that it does not result in diphthongization, but rather the raising and lowering of accented vowels. The intent is to integrate research detailing the process of breaking in Old High German and Gothic in order to better understand how it may be related in both languages. The issue of the Gothic digraphs and the debate over their phonemic values will also be explored, namely whether they represent monophthongs or diphthongs, an issue which is directly connected to our understanding of Gothic breaking. This will be followed by a look at the development of Germanic e, i u, the main vowels involved in breaking. Lasty, this paper will examine the role of consonants, particularly r, h, hw, and how they behave differently in Old High German vs. Gothic breaking


© 2022, Olivia C. Paglia