Jacob (Ludwig Karl) Grimm was a German philologist, jurist, and folklorist. Him and his younger brother Wilhelm were known as the Brothers Grimm.
Often when his name is mentioned people think of the Grimm’s Fairytales which include various allegorical folk lore that the brothers learned in their travels and on their studies.
Until recently most of these tales would be taught to children of grade school and younger. Though with the current distain for Western culture that seems to be pervasive today I’m sure this isn’t the case.
That aside, I feel that often people think of the Brother’s Grimm and the fairytales and overlook the actual religious and linguistic impact on Germanic and Indo-European studies that Jacob Grimm had a direct impact on.
A major discovery by Grimm is called Grimm’s Law of linguistics which shows how Indo-European languages had a phonic shift over time resulting in words of similar origins sounding different. Much of his work was used to construct a more fuller understanding of Indo-European languages in general.
“Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops change into voiceless fricatives.
Proto-Indo-European voiced stops become voiceless stops.
Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops become voiced stops or fricatives (as allophones).
This chain shift (in the order 3,2,1) can be abstractly represented as:
bʰ > b > p > f
dʰ > d > t > θ
gʰ > g > k > x
gʷʰ > gʷ > kʷ > xʷ”
More over he authored the Deutsches Wörterbuch which is considered the most comprehensive dictionary of Germanic languages ever made.
More over he wrote Deutsche Mythologie which was a book on philological, historical, folkloristic, and poetic aspects of the pre-Christian Germanic religion. In this he made open comparisons of Germanic Gods such as the different names for Thor (Donar, Thunor, etc). It was one of the first comparative writings that took seriously the Germanic faith or and form of Paganism as a religious and cultural experience.
While some of his studies may have been surpassed in the modern era. We owe a lot of our understanding and current approaches to the groundwork and scholarship that he had done before us.
If is for this we should thank him and give him more praise than we do.
Thank you Jacob Grimm for your hard work.
~Will of Gaut / Hammer and Vajra