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6) (h)ræll 'a weaver's rod'. The h- is here organic; *hrah-il-a-> hræll, *hreh-ul-a > OE hreol > Eng. reel; Grk. Kрéкw 'I beat the loom', KepKis 'a staff for beating the loom' (see Fick 101, s.v. hreh).
As the associative word I suggest ræl-ni 'sport, play'; semantic point of contact 'play' = 'quick motions to and fro' as in plying the loom; cf. MHG spiln 'to dart, move quickly' > 'to play' = MHG spielen, and Eng. 'play (of weapons)' etc. = 'quick motion'.
This assumption, however, may not be valid because of the comparatively rare occurrence of the word rælni (recorded only by CleasbyVigfússon). If the word rælni was of such rare occurrence that it was not associated with hræll, then we must explain the loss of the initial h- in hræll (ræll) as due to the general confusion which obtained between initial hr- and r-.
It will be seen from the above analysis that the leveling process between the given groups of initial consonants has not produced a uniform result; analogy has resulted now in the accretion, now in the loss of initial h-. This means that the associative process between these groups of consonants in question was of a double or reciprocal nature, even though in any one given case leveling resulted in only one direction, not in both.
When in the Late OIcel. period kn- and gn- passed over into hn- (cf., e.g., knīfr > hnīfr; gneggja > hneggja) the frequency of initial hn- was thereby increased to such an extent as to affect the leveling between initial hn- and n- in favor of hn-. The resultant victory of initial hnover n- then had its effect upon the two other groups of initial consonants (hl-:l- and hr-:r-), resulting in the leveling in favor of hl- and hrover l- and r-. That is to say that in Mod. Icel. the original reciprocal analogy has finally resulted almost entirely in one direction, i.e. in favor of initial h-.
In the OIcel. period, on the other hand, the reciprocal nature of the "Fritzner records a verb ræla but with uncertain meaning, so that this verb cannot be utilized in our discussion.
"In WGerm. this reciprocal relation is not so much in evidence because here at the very earliest period a tendency existed for initial h- to disappear before l, n, r, whereas in OIcel. initial h- regularly remained (and still remains in Mod. Icel.) before l, n, r.
In OHG (cf. Braune, Ahd. Gramm. §1531) when this tendency first appeared, the reciprocal nature of the analogy was still in evidence; cf., e.g., in the Hildebrandslied, wer, welihhes, werdar, ringa without initial h- (which still existed before w and r, as the alliteration shows) and gi-h-ueit, bi-h-rahanen, h-rūmen with
associative process was still strongly in evidence. Of the nine cases which I have recorded, five show an accretion and four a loss of original initial h-. Those showing accretion of initial h- are h-lykka, h-neisa, h-nýsa, h-rasa; those showing a loss of original h- are (h)rata, (h)rīfa, (h)rjōta and (h)ræll. This does not, however, take into account the far greater number of cases where initial h- was either lost or added because of the general confusion between the consonant groups in question.
spurious initial h-. Later when initial h- before these consonants disappeared, the tendency to add an initial h- before these consonants correspondingly decreased.
For conditions in OE, see Siever's Angs. Gramm.3 §21712; in OS, see Holthausen, As. Gramm. §217; in both these dialects the reciprocal relation was about the same as in OHG.
As an example of spurious initial h- due to association with a definite word (parallel to the cases which I have pointed out in OIcel.) I may mention MHG (h)eischen (> NHG heischen) 'to demand'; associative word heizen 'to command'.
THE ITALIC IMPERFECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The explanation of the Italic imperfects in *-fām Lat. -bam which is commonly accepted in the hand books1 is not without its difficulties, although it has many points in its favor. It is true that the derivation of e.g. legebam from a participial or infinitival form of lego plus *bhyā-m, the old injunctive of IE *bheu-, is unobjectionable from the phonetic point of view, and that both the second syllable of Osc. fu-fans and Lat. -bam -bās, etc., may without the slightest hesitation be derived from *bhya-m. It is also true that the derivation of the formation from one of the most common of IE roots and the analogy of periphrastic imperfects of the type of Engl. was reading are additional favoring considerations. Nevertheless there are two very serious difficulties which make it hard to agree with this hypothesis in its received form.
In the first place the part of the verb preceding the imperfect suffix has the appearance of the stem of the verb both in Osc. fu-fans and in most Latin verbs, sc. those of the first and second conjugations and some of the fourth, e.g. ama-bam, monē-bam, sci-bam, while those of the third and the remaining verbs of the fourth conjugation look as though they were made by analogy to the second, e.g. legē-bam : legère after monē-bam: monēre. Now composition of a complete word *fa-m in Italic times, with no similarly constructed pattern to follow, could take place only with another complete word, and not with a stem. We cannot of course refer to the fact that stems functioned as words in the early IE period, since there is not the slightest doubt that our formation is not older than Italic times, when stems had long since ceased to function as words. If e.g. amā- of amā-bam is a stem, there is no possibility of the latter being a real periphrastic formation, but it must at least have been made over by analogy. Cf. Streitberg, Urgerman. Gram. 341.
1 So e.g. Brugmann K. Vgl. Gram. 550, Gr. 2.3.2506, Lindsay Lat. Lang. 489 f., Sommer, Handb. d. lat. Laut- u. Formenl. 568 f., Stolz, Hist. Gram.1 287 ff.
* I ignore, of course, the use of verbal stems in a narrowly circumscribed function like the second person singular imperative, which can have nothing to do with the first part of the type amā-bam.
However, the adherents of the generally accepted view consistently refuse to admit that the part preceding the -bam is a stem. They speak of a participial or infinitival formation without being able to make any particular construction of such a form plausible. Most satisfactory from the semantic point of view would be the derivation of amābam or legēbam from *amans-bam or *legens-bam (Skutsch, Zeitschr. f. öst. Gymn. 52. 195 ff.), so that amābam would have corresponded to Engl. was loving. But Brugmann, Gr. 2.3.2 506, points out that a change from *legens-bam to legē-bam cannot be harmonized with known phonetic laws. Consequently the common practice has been to look for some old case of a verbal substantive, even though the existence of no particular one has been made plausible. All constructions like that of an instrumental lege (Brugmann, IF 6. 101) or of lege as locative of an ei stem (Streitberg, IFA 2. 170) are utterly in the air, and yet it is hardly to be expected that a verbal noun which was used so commonly as to give rise to such an extensive category as the imperfect should have disappeared completely from every Italic dialect before their earliest stage known to us. Nor does it help much to compare the prior member of compounds like are-facio and cale-facio, as though 'make to dry' and 'make to heat', since these themselves are sadly in need of explanation, and they simply add a second unknown quantity. As a result it is frankly admitted that it is either difficult (Stolz, Lat. Gram. 288) or impossible (Brugmann, Gr. loc. cit.) to arrive at any plausible conclusion as to the nature of the verbal noun supposed to have given rise to the lege- of legebam. As long as this is the case, it will appear decidedly more probable to regard ama-bam and monē-bam and sci-bam as containing verb stems, with legē-bam and audiē-bam made by analogy to the former, and rather than to slur over this difficulty it behooves us to look for an explanation which can account for the fact that these verbs appear in stem form.
3 Otherwise Stolz. However, although there is scanty material to decide the treatment of original -ntsbh- in Latin, the fact that final -ns in Oscan in accordance with its history became either -ss or -f, would lead one to expect either *fuf-fans or *fus-fans instead of the actually occurring fu-fans. Cf. Buck, Gram. of Osc. and Umbr. 72 f.
4 Thus Sommer. The quantity of the second syllable varies.
'Brugmann, thinks it is barely possible that *calens-facio became calē-facio through phonetic change (here Lat. ƒ IE dh); but even so it would not help much for the radically different combination in legē-bam.
The same may be said of the comparison (e.g. by Lindsay) of legē-bam with Slavic imperfects like vidē-achů. A glance at the various possibilities of the explanation of these as cited in Brugmann, Gr. 2. 3.2 516 f., will readily prevent any confidence in them.
The second difficulty in the received explanation of the imperfect in -bam is semantic. The IE verb *bheu- means 'become', not 'be', it was punctual, not durative. Could any form of the present (or aorist) system of this verb come to be used in the sense of 'was' rather than 'became' as early as the Italic period? The original meaning of Skt. bhū- 'become' (cf. Delbrueck, Altin. Synt. 273), the fact that Gr. púw means 'beget' and the middle oμa 'become, grow', and that Lat. fui is not found in the present system' and that no strictly present form of fu- occurs in Oscan and Umbrian, all show that the preterite of *bheu- meant 'became' not only in Indo-European, but in Italic, and that the syncretism of *bheu- and *es 'to be', as found in Irish and partially in Sanskrit, Balto-Slavic and Germanic, is a development which cannot as yet have taken place in the Italic period. And yet 'was', not 'became', is required by the Latin imperfect as well as Osc. fufans; for e.g. legebam is not 'I began to read' or 'I read', but 'I was reading' or 'kept reading', nor is Osc. fufans 'became', but a durative' was' in its only occurrence: Cipp. Abell. 10.8
It would seem that these two difficulties together are of such moment that we cannot accept the derivation of Lat. -bam Osc. -fans from IE *bhua-m unless ways and means can be found to explain the stem form of the main verb and the durative meaning of the whole form. The two alternatives open are either to discard the connection with IE *bheualtogether or else to modify the prevailing theory to meet the objections mentioned. Whichever we do, it is important not to forget that verb stems as well as nominal stems could have no existence as such in the Italic period, and that new formations containing a stem as prior member necessarily were analogical formations. Often they were patterned after associated externally similar forms which were misunderstood as to structure, so that what was a part of the word itself
7 That *fu- got into the subjunctive, e.g. Osc. fusíd Lat. foret. and was used in forms that functioned as futures, e.g. Osc. Umbr. fust and Lat. fore, before it made its way into present indicatives, is exactly what is to be expected of a verb of punctual action. For, on the one hand, it is a common phenomenon that present stems of verbs of punctual action function also as futures (Brugmann 743), on the other hand, the path from use in futures to subjunctives of all types was an easy one because of the fact that the subjunctive referred to future time in the majority of its occurrences (not only the prospective subjunctive, but also most optative and all volitive subjunctives necessarily refer to future acts), and because there was in addition often a formal identity or similarity, as in legam or leget compared to amet (: amāre).
See Brugmann 754.