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Old English būtan / Old Frisian būta: From Adverb to Conjunction

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Another Anglo-Frisian Parallel?

image of Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

It is well established that Old English is more closely related to Old Frisian than to any other West Germanic language. This fact rests especially on phonological, morphological and lexical evidence. Syntactic arguments are few and far between. In this article, the author argues that the Old Frisian conjunction būta ‘but’ and its Old English parallel būtan ‘but’ do not derive their behavioural similarities to an erstwhile Anglo-Frisian pre-stage, but must be explained as having arisen from a similar, but independent, process of grammaticalization.

Affiliations: 1: Universiteit LeidenNiederlande


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1. Afr. Hwb. = Altfriesisches Handwörterbuch Hofmann Dietrich, Popkema Anne T. Heidelberg 2008
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15. Lasch 1914 Agathe Lasch Mittelniederdeutsche Grammatik Tübingen
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