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The Power of Cognates, Part 5: High German Consonant Shift d -> t

Beginning in roughly the 8th century AD an iconic sound shift was set in motion, one that is easily spotted by beginners because it affected so many of the words that make up German learners’ core vocabulary: d > t.

It caused Proto-West-Germanic words like ald, bard, braud, god, dohter and fader to become alt, Bart, Brot, Gott, Tochter and Vater. Translation: old, bread, god, daughter and father.

So if you come across a High German word that contains a t and you’re not sure what it means, perhaps changing the t to a d will get you very close to an accurate translation.

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