Studies in the history of the Germanic r-stems
This thesis presents the first comprehensive history of the Germanic r-stems, the words preserved as Modern English “father”,”mother”, “brother”, “sister”, “daughter”; and “four”.
A brief introduction gives general orientation and indicates the position taken by the author on the question of the grouping of the Germanic languages and the laws of final syllables. It also contains specimen paradigms.
The main body of the work falls into three parts.
The first traces the history of the cardinal numeral “four” (Proto-Indo-European *kwetwór-) in Germanic, discussing in particular the initial and medial consonantism and the relation of the two types of Germanic inflection (Gothic and West Germanic versus North Germanic) to one another and of both to the paradigm of the Indo-European parent language.
The second part concerns itself with the sole Indo-European -or stem relationship noun, *swésor- “sister”. A new analysis of the Older Runic form swestar (Opedal Stone) is given, interpreting it as a(n -er-stem) vocative form, and the dating and mechanism of the shift to Germanic -ter inflection is reconsidered in connection with the question of the development of the Indo-European sequence *-er(-) in Germanic unaccented syllables.
The third part begins by rejecting alleged o-grade forms of the -ter-stems in Germanic, and proceeds to establish the Proto-Germanic paradigm, special attention being accorded the problem of the genitive singular. The history of this paradigm in the daughter languages is given in the succeeding sections. Special mention may be made of the conclusions reached on: the Gothic nominative singular and plural endings; the stem-vocalism of North-West-Germanic *dohtēr “daughter”; the nominative plural ending in North Germanic; the derivation of the Old English paradigm; the nominative singular and the vowel-quality of the suffix in Old High German.