Singin’ in the Night

German Nachtigall with Its Cognates and Delocatival Compounding with “Night” in Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Domenico Giuseppe Muscianisi Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Industries, University of Parma Parma Italien

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Starting from present-day German Nachtigall ‘nightingale’, which shows an uncommon and unexpected i-linker, this article provides a morphological analysis of the word and its cognates. Through the frame of historical linguistics, and in particular the historical phonology and morphology of Proto-Germanic, it can be shown that Nachtigall and its Germanic cognates witness a relic word-formation that can be traced back to a delocatival compound in Proto-Indo-European. Comparative evidence allows for just such an etymology within poetic phraseology as well.

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