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Abstract

In Germanic, the presence of various devices to express ‘agent’ implies that this was a fundamentally important cognitive category. These devices are mainly morphological, and we find various competing agentive word formation patterns. This article provides a corpus-based analysis of the morphological agentive word formation patterns in Old Frisian. These range from suffixal derivation with different suffixes such as Gmc *-(j)an- and the loan suffix Gmc *-ā̆rja-, to compounds with suffixoids such as -mon or -māster. The corpus for the analysis is gathered from the Altfriesische Handwörterbuch by Hofmann and Popkema (2008) and, as such, it offers an insight into the whole corpus of Old Frisian agent nouns.

Open Access
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

Drawing on data from the Old Frisian Riustring manuscripts, modern Frisian dialects, as well as older and more modern Scandinavian dialects and languages, this article argues for two points: first, that Vowel Balance is ultimately a reduction process, and second, that a foot-based analysis can account for Vowel Balance. In Old Frisian, i and u appear after light stems while e and o are found after heavy and polysyllabic stems; in some other languages and dialects, vowels after heavy and polysyllabic stems are reduced supporting an interpretation of e and o as reduced allophonic variants of i and u respectively. Two caveats can be made for arguments in favour of interpreting Vowel Balance as a reduction process, namely the case of trimoraic Vowel Balance in disyllabic words, and the reinterpretation of the contrast between i~e in Old Frisian as a means of marking the prosodic contrast between stem size. These caveats help clarify how prosody can shape stems both in terms of additional manifestations of Vowel Balance, and extending the vowel alternations based on light-heavy stem contrast to words which would not have otherwise undergone Vowel Balance.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

This article discusses the meaning of the rarely attested Old Frisian term etheling. Two interpretations have been presented: nobleman, which seems to be the obvious one, versus freeman. After consideration of all attestations extant as well as the previous debate on this question it is inferred that the term etheling represents a nobleman in the older attestations, a freeman in the younger ones. This conclusion has relevance as to the debate on the distinction of social ranks in medieval Frisia.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

In the Old West Frisian charters, weak personal names quite often feature the ending -en in both dative and accusative contexts. In this article, it is shown that the data do not indicate that this foreign (Middle Low German or Middle Dutch) case ending is intruding upon the original weak case ending -a in Late Old West Frisian. Therefore, the initial hypothesis is that -en might function as a kind of differential object marker, just like the ending -en with personal names in modern Mainland North Frisian. Since -en is limited to the formal, written language of the charters, however, one is drawn to the conclusion that the ending indeed serves the purpose of object marking, but purely as a notorial convention.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Author:

Abstract

A well-known list of properties, owned by St. Martin’s church in Utrecht, dates from the early tenth century, although it has survived in younger copies. This source contains mainly place-names from the present-day Dutch provinces of North and South Holland and Utrecht. The coastal dialect there still had North Sea Germanic characteristics. Some of these characteristics seem to have been adapted by the Utrecht scribes, who used an Old Dutch dialect, probably because they recognized elements in the names. However, the personal names in the same source were less tampered with, in all likelihood because they are possibly less transparent and hence interesting to the scribes.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

The Germanic verb hlaþanan , usually glossed ‘to load’, has been wrongly evaluated because of a failure to examine the material in sufficient depth as regards both phonology and semantics. The Old High German evidence indicating a regular Verner’s Law alternation in the paradigm is supplemented not only by the Gothic past participle -hlaþans* with analogical voiceless spirant but also by modern East and North Frisian data. This points to a pre-Germanic proto-form with root-final *-t (Part 1). As emerges from a study of the situation in North Germanic, a core meaning for the Germanic verb appears to have been ‘to lay something down (flat)’, from which development to ‘to stack’ and ‘to load’ is straightforward (Part 2). Potential cognates exist in Balto-Slavic, but the exact formal relationships are unclear (Part 3).

Open Access
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Free access
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

In his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, V.10, Bede apparently introduced a two- fold division of Frisia when he called Frisia citerior the region to where Ecgberht sent missionaries. Neither Bede nor the Old English translator of Bede’s work offer a precise identification of the region at issue; moreover, the passage does not mention a possible counterpart, that is, Frisia ulterior. While Bede uses Frisia citerior, the translator refers to fyrran Fresan. An analysis of possible sources does not yield any parallel to Bede’s reference, nor to the use of the term as a geographically identifiable territory. On the other hand, the use of Old English feorr in similar geographical contexts, whether in translations or original texts, vouches for a free and imaginative employment of the comparative fyrran, which was not used as a precise geographical marker. This essay suggests that the mission to Frisia, which was of great importance in both Bede’s narrative and the Lives of missionaries, such as that of Willibrord, had the effect of striking the translator’s imagination. He chose a suggestive term, rich in connotations, rather than supplying a geographical identifiable information.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

The medieval Frisian Twenty-four Land-laws and the Danish Law of Scania share an eye-catching phrasing in their provisions on animal liability: they refer to a number of animals’ injurious body parts, e.g., a dog’s tooth. Similar formulas have been identified in the Decretum Gratiani and the Edictum Rothari, but the author’s analysis shows that the Frisian and Danish formulas and the legal rules in which they are embedded correspond to a much higher degree than with any other legal source.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

Karl von Richthofen’s voluminous Altfriesisches Wörterbuch was published in 1840, when the author was only 29 years old. It marked a major achievement in the field of Old Frisian studies and well beyond that discipline. This article introduces the author, his study at the universities of Berlin and Göttingen and how the dictionary evolved from what was originally intended to be a subject index to accompany his critical and comparative edition of all the then known legal texts pertaining to medieval Frisia, Friesische Rechtsquellen (1840). Much information about the genesis of the dictionary can be extracted from the intense discussion which Richthofen in numerous entries entertains with contemporary scholars. The article furthermore presents an analysis of the dictionary’s macro- and micro-structure and finally discusses how this highly innovative dictionary was received upon publication.

Open Access
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik