The germanic weak preterite

The dental preterite of weak verbs remains one of the most troublesome chapters of Germanic historical-comparative grammar. The morphological provenience of its dental formative -d- has been debated for nearly two centuries, and there is still no consensus on whether it is a reflex of one or more of the Indo-European dental suffixes, a grammaticalized form of the light verb d¯o ‘do’, or some mix of these. The category’s phonological development within early Germanic presents a whole series of other mysteries. Why does the effect of syllable weight on umlaut in preterite stems differ in North and West Germanic, and for that matter why should umlaut be sensitive to syllable weight at all? Why does the dental preterite seem to undergo two distinct “phases” of umlaut in North Germanic, and why does this category alone undergo a special early phase of syncope in West Germanic?
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