Zeitschrift für Indogermanistik und historische Sprachwissenschaft / Journal of Indo-European Studies and Historical Linguistics
Ed. by Fortson, Benjamin W. / Keydana, Götz / Rieken, Elisabeth / Widmer, Paul
IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.237
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Many explanations have been proposed for the dative singular in -u in Old Norse ō-stems. Most of these take as their starting point a Proto- Germanic instrumental in *-ō, PIE *‑ā. Such an ending, however, should according to the established laws for syncope in Nordic result in an Old Norse zero ending. This article reveals the many problems researchers have encountered attempting to back up the traditional explanation. Instead it argues that the dative in -u must stem from a Proto-Norse ending covered by a nasal, *-ōn or *-un, where the vowel later got nasalized and therefore was preserved as -u in Old Norse. This nasal-ending of Proto-Norse could in turn be connected with the Balto-Slavic instrumentals in -mi, Plural -mis, for which in Germanic there have so far only been found cognates in the dative plural. The ultimate source for the Old Norse dative in -u could either be a PIE ā-stem instrumental in *-āmi, which would give the proposed Proto-Norse ending *-ōn, or a PIE consonantal stem instrumental in *-mi, which, with the addition of an analogical -u- between stem and ending, would give Proto-Norse *-un. In the latter case, the ending must have been transferred analogically from the consonantal stems to the ō-stems during the Proto-Norse period.