Jacob Grimm (1785–1863) became a household name around the world through
the collections of fairy tales he compiled with his brother Wilhelm.
Jacob’s specialism was the history of the German language, which he studied
in the broader context of Indo-European philology. Others working in this
burgeoning field included the older scholar Rasmus Rask and Grimm’s
contemporary Franz Bopp (also published in this series). Grimm’s two-volume
Geschichte der deutschen Sprache, reissued here, was first published in
1848. It is noteworthy especially for the chapter on the major sound shift
now known as Grimm’s Law or die erste deutsche Lautverschiebung, which sets
out regular mappings between Germanic consonants and those found in earlier
Indo-European languages, such as English father and Latin pater. The book
also contains a wealth of comparative material on phonology, vocabulary and
grammar within Germanic and across the Indo-European spectrum.