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Gender Assignment Of Latin Loanwords In Early Germanic: A Case Study Of Latin Vinum

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Chapter Summary

The integration of loanwords into existing grammatical gender systems supplies evidence for productive patterns of gender assignment in the recipient language. Corbett (1991: 71) likens gender assignment of loanwords to "a continuously running experiment". In the case of Latin loanwords into early Germanic, the outcome of the experiment would seem to be very predictable. Latin vinum 'wine' is one of the earliest loanwords in Germanic. Jellinek (1926: 184-185) argues that the loan occurred no later than the first century CE since the Germanic forms reflect a phonetic glide for initial Latin. The gender of the different Germanic reflexes of the Latin loanword vinumis entirely consistent with the bird's-eye viewof gender assignment patterns in the history of German provided by Salmons (1993).

Keywords: early Germanic; gender assignment; Jellinek; Latin loanwords; Latin vinum



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