The Riustring Old Frisian -ar plurals: borrowed or inherited

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Rolf Bremmer () concludes that the language of the Old Frisian Riustring manuscripts shows traces of copying from texts written in other Old Frisian dialects, notably from the Ems region. The strongest indication for his hypothesis comes from the masculine plural ending -ar, which is the rule in Ems Old Frisian but the exception in R1 and absent from other Riustring manuscripts. In this contribution, Bremmer’s hypothesis is partly confirmed, but augmented with the reconstruction of an indigenous Riustring plural ending -ar in masculine a-stem nouns denoting an animate subject, which appear substantially more often in the nominative. Nouns with a higher frequency of occurrence in the accusative take the plural ending -a. This is taken to reflect a former Proto-Frisian situation, with the ending -ar in the nom. pl. of masculine a-stem nouns against -a in the acc. pl., similar to Old Norse. The earlier distribution had become lexicalised by the time of Riustring Old Frisian. Some of the attested instances, however, are better explained as remnants of a copying process from Ems Old Frisian.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)442-456
JournalAmsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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