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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2019

Kleines Lautgesetz, große Wirkung

Die Formen nisi, nimis, nihil, mihi, tibi, sibi, iīs und ihre Gemeinsamkeiten

Simon Fries


The unexpected i instead of expected *e in the first syllable of Latin wordforms such as nisi, nimis, nihil, mihi, tibi and sibi has until now been explained in various ways either from vowel assimilation of original *e to the i of the second syllable or from clitic weakening of the words. This article aims at giving a common mechanical explanation for all of these words by posing a new sound law according to which original *e in Latin becomes i in initial open syllables followed by a syllable which originally contained the vowel ẹ̄ as the result from monophthongisation of the diphthongs *ei̯, *oi̯or *ai̯(< *h₂ei̯) in second syllable position. For this purpose, the article reconstructs the history of the abovementioned explanations - especially the vowel assimilation theory which goes back to an early article by Sommer -, tries to falsify them by critically examining the evidence adduced for proving them, and eventually derives the new sound law from parts of the original evidence of the falsified explanations, and by making use of additional evidence.

Online erschienen: 2019-09-18
Erschienen im Druck: 2019-09-18

© 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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