2014-12-16Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1515/if-2014-0019
The lengthened grade in Germanic hypocoristica
In Germanic a group of nouns belonging to the n-stems display a long *ē followed by geminate voiced stops, MHG tāpe ‘paw’ (*dēbban-), OHG tāpe, MHG hā(c)ke ‘hook’ (*hēggan-), OHG chrācco ‘uncinus: barb, fuscina: trident’ (*krēggan-), OHG chrāppo ‘aspidius, uncinus: barb’ (*krēbban-), MHG snācke snōcke ‘midge’ (*snēggan-). While Kluge explained geminate voiceless stops as lengthening before *n, he attributed geminate voiced stops to analogy. But the investigation about whether geminate voiceless stops are allowed following long vowels in Proto-Germanic reveals that Kluge’s opinion is indefensible. As sound symbolism and expressivity are present in the Germanic lexicon, it is assumed that mental phenomena caused these sounds. In this regard the status of the long *ē will be clarified. It is postulated that the long vowels in front of geminate voiced stops have the function of reinforcing expressivity by creating this phonetically odd mixture.
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