Re: u-stem, wa-stem, adjectives (thick, murk, etc.)
- --- In email@example.com, "Ingemar Nordgren" <ingemar@...> wrote:
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "llama_nom" <600cell@> wrote:
> > Also, I'd be interested to hear any opinions on potential cognates of
> > 'thick' and 'murk'. --
> In the case of the latter, at least, this might be
> > due to its being influenced by, or reintroduced by, the Norse cognate:
> > 'myrkr', masc. ac. sg. 'myrkvan'. Otherwise, the OED speculates that
> > the palatisation in English might have been blocked by an intervening
> > I'm wondering which seems better: Go. *mairqeis (as OE mierce, OS
> > mirki), or Go. mairqus, given that little remains of the u-stems
> > outside of Gothic, and that many of the Gothic u-stems exist as
> > ja/jo-stems in OE?
> > LN
> Hi Llama non!
> As you well know I am not at all a linguist, but still I dare prefer
> 'mairqus' since there is often a similarity with
> Nortgermanic/Scandinavian in Gothic like e.g. the lack of definite
> article and also many other likenesses. I know this is controversial
> but still... Also Anglo-Saxon might be influenced by e.g. the Jutes
> and OE is still more influenced later by Scandinavian tounge.
> Westgermanic anyhow should be the language group being most far away
> from Gothic.
Interesting subject this, and one that I certainly don't have all the
answers to. The use of the demonstrative as a definite article
increased as time went by in the various Germanic dialects. From the
earliest examples of English and Norse poetry, both traditions look
much more like Gothic in this respect than later Old English and Old
Norse prose. A while ago I made some diagrams to show one other
rather arcane way in which the various Germanic languages are similar
/ dissimilar, namely the choice of voiced or unvoiced endings in
certain verbal inflections [
http://www.oe.eclipse.co.uk/nom/verner.htm ]. In this one respect,
Gothic most resembles North Germanic and (Proto) Old High German --
and is furthest from English / Frisian. But then there are details
such as the 'sharpening' of geminite semivowels: ww > ggw; jj > NG
ggj, Go. ddj; and the assignment of gender among the an- / on-stems --
where Gothic agrees with North Germanic against West Germanic. And
then there are other trends that cut across the boundaries of the
traditional three-way division, e.g. within North Germanic, there is
the failure of a-umlaut the further east you go, till you get to
Gotland where there's none at all but instead a rule about lowering of
[u] to [o] before /r/, as in Gothic. And of course, there are lots of
details on which North and West Germanic agree, although some of these
might be innovations. In particular, there is the close relationship
between English and Norse, not all of it due to contact in the Viking
Age. And, of course, the drawing up of a family tree of languages has
to take into account later contacts between the different groups,
which certainly took place between the North Germanic people and their
relatives to the south-east...
As for the declension of adjectives, WG, and in particular Old English
preserves some interesting distinctions that were lost quite early in
North Germanic, such as u-stem adjectives as a distinct category.
This was presumably once a feature all the Germanic dialects shared.
But even in OE, the category is very much reduced, and former u-stems
have mostly gone over to the a/o-stems and ja/jo-stems (which is were
we find 'mierce'). Often former u-stems fluctuate between these two
declensions in OE, but according to Campbell (Old Emglish Grammar)
that's not a sure fire way of detecting them. So, suffice to say: you
may well be right.