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Gothic possessives, adjectives, and other modifiers in -ata

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2015

Artūras Ratkus
Affiliation:
University of Vilnius
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Abstract

The paradigm of some possessive pronouns, adjectives, and some other modifiers in Gothic contains an instance of morphological variation in the neuter nominative and accusative singular, where the bare stem of the modifier alternates with the pronominally inflected form in -ata (for example, jugg versus juggata ‘young’). In an effort to account for this morphological variation, this paper examines the evidence for the competition between the bare stem and inflected forms in -ata attested in the Gothic New Testament. Further, it assesses the synchronic and diachronic implications of the variation with a view to gaining a better understanding of the development of the Germanic strong modifier inflection. It demonstrates that -ata is a stylistically charged form observed in specific contexts and grammatical environments. From a diachronic point of view, the evidence of -ata sheds light on the development of the Germanic strong modifier inflection, pointing toward a lexical diffusion-type development, with the inflection of demonstrative pronouns spreading across the lexicon of modifiers through possessive pronouns and quantifiers to adjectives and participles.*

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Copyright © Society for Germanic Linguistics 2015 

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