The Proto-Germanic n-stems

A study in diachronic morphophonology


The n-stems are an intriguing part of Proto-Germanic morphology. Unlike any other noun class, the n-stems have roots that are characterized by systematic consonant and vowel alternations across the different Germanic dialects. This monograph represents a diachronic investigation of this root variation. It traces back the Germanic n-stems to their Indo-European origin, and clarifies their formal characteristics by an interaction of sound law and analogy. This book therefore is not just an attempt to account for the typology of the Germanic n-stems, but also a case study of the impact that sound change may have on the evolution of morphology and derivation.

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Guus Kroonen’s research focuses on the historical linguistics of the Germanic languages, both from the modern dialectal and the Indo-European perspective. He studied Scandinavian languages in Amsterdam and Comparative Indo-European linguistics in Leiden, where he also obtained his doctoral degree. He is a contributor to the Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, for which he has prepared the Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Brill, forthcoming).
”Alles in allem handelt es sich um eine Studie von hohem Wert” in: Germanistik, 2012, Band 53, Heft 1-2

“Kroonen’s study is well researched and carefully presented. He offers a wealth of data… The author has made important connections between the various items ha has collected from the different Germanic languages, including modern dialects, and used reasoned judgment in their evaluation. The book will prove useful not only to scholars of Germanic and Indo-European phonology and morphology, but also those interested in Germanic etymology.”
NOWELE 67:2 (2014)
List of abbreviations
Language abbreviations
Linguistic abbreviations
Logical symbols
Preliminary remarks
The Germanic linguistic sources
Normalization and orthography
Presentation of the evidence
The inflection of the n -stems
The Indo-European n-stems
Origins of the inflectional types
The Proto-Germanic n-stems
The Proto-Germanic geminates
Kluge’s law
Shortening in over-long syllables
Exceptions to Kluge’s law
Different configurations of Kluge’s law
Kluge’s law and the n -stems
Gemination as grammatischer Wechsel
Reconstruction of the n-stem paradigm
Paradigmatic analogy
Kluge’s law and the directionals
The Germanic directional system
The Pre-Germanic situation
On the full grade of Go. iup
Consonant gradation in the verb
Evidence for Osthoff’s hypothesis
The iterative system
Evidence for de-iterativization
De-iterativization in Gothic
The rise of PGm. * ū as a full-grade marker
A life without Kluge’s law?
The Expressivity Theory
Evaluation of the argumentation
The Leiden Substrate Theory
Root ablaut in the n -stems
Kauffmann and nominal ablaut
The ablaut types
Reconstructing the ablauting paradigm
The evidence
The * e ~ * u type
The * e ~ * a type
The * a ~ * u type
The * ī ~ * i type
The* ai ~ * ı ̄̆type
The * ū ~ * u type
The * ū ~ * u ~ * a type
The * ō ~ * a type
The * ō ~ * ū̆ type
The * ē ~ * a type
Upper German
West Norse
Summary and outlook
Index of cited forms