For a start, I know there has already been this question, but I have an extra bit to add... On wiktionary (I know it isn't great in general, so don't slate me for using it!), it says 'the current stress on the second syllable is explained by Jacob Grimm's German Grammar as the result of the tones of -end and leb- switching.' Can anybody elaborate on what this means? Or just explain generally why the stress is on the 'wrong' syllable? Thanks.

  • My own (non-educated) impression is that all three-syllable adjectives ending in -ig have their stress on the second syllable. – Sebastian Redl Mar 9 '16 at 1:55
  • Please clarify what your question actually is. If you want to know why lebendig is stressed on the second syllable, that’s clearly a duplicate; the answers to that question also address Grimm’s theory („im 16. jahrh. aber, wo das wort von allen ähnlichen bildungen allein übrig geblieben ist und neben einer reihe von ableitungen steht, die den hochton unmittelbar vor der ableitungssilbe -ig haben (vgl. von dreisilbigen beständig, verdächtig, (…)), beginnt lebendig in der betonung sich nach diesen zu richten“). If you want to know why English Wiktionary writes nonsense, that’s off-topic. – chirlu Mar 9 '16 at 4:02
  • I can't seem to find the answers y'all talking about. The linked duplicate candidate does not contain info about the Grimm book. – hiergiltdiestfu Mar 9 '16 at 7:43
  • @hiergiltdiestfu: I quoted in my comment what the DWB has to say about it. You’ll find that Wrzlprmft’s answer addresses exactly this (even though he doesn’t refer to the DWB). – chirlu Mar 9 '16 at 11:49