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Article

Old Frisian compounds: kinship terms

Žurnalą „Žmogus ir žodis“. 2017. Vol. 19. No. 3. P. 79-96.

Together with derivation, compounding is one of the most salient word-building processes in the world’s languages, as it is both frequent and quite universal.

In the Germanic languages, compounding has become extremely productive [Müller a. o., 2015]. As opposed to studies in other Old Germanic languages, compounding in Old Frisian has not been investigated in full. Unlike those of the neighboring languages like Old English, Old High German, Old Saxon and others, only a small number of Old Frisian lexemes is present in of the most comprehensive books on Old Germanic nominal compounds [Carr, 1939].

Although since 1939 a lot of research on Frisian has been carried out, compounding in Old Frisian has not been analysed in a comprehensive way. This paper is one in a series reflecting the findings of my PhD-project contributed to compounding in Old Frisian. The research project has been supported by the University of Groningen, thus allowing to improve the project with the help of thorough feedback from the experts in Frisian.

Kinship terms in Old Frisian are of Indo-European origin, many of them are compounds and have cognates in other Germanic languages. Alongside with this, many of kinship terms are compound words in Old Frisian. The analysis is made: (1) as per the Sanskrit classification, (2) in terms of parts of speech used as the constituents, (3) in terms of the semantic connection between the constituents. A total of 75 compounds is covered, most of them classifies as determinatives with possessive meaning.

The results allow to conclude productivity of compounding patterns and their features within the given semantic field. Although limited, the paper provides the data that can well be used to compare the trends in Old Frisian and in the related Old Germanic languages in order to contribute to the theory of compounding in Germanic.