From Proto-Germanic *mann-, whence also Old English mann, Old High German man.


Descendants Old English: mann, man; manna English: man Old Frisian: man, mon West Frisian: man Old Saxon: man Old Dutch: man Dutch: man, men Afrikaans: man Old High German: man German: Mann, man Old Norse: maðr Icelandic: maður Faroese: maður Norwegian: mann Old Swedish: maþer, mander, man Swedish: man Old Danish: man Danish: mand Gothic: (manna)

Old Norse must have undergone some kind of sound change, otherwise the "d" would be remained in other branches, including English.

Or it is just an element form another Old Norse word? Moreover, the "r" is also unknown to me.

Is there any other example?

  • 2
    the cluster -nr- often becomes -ndr- with epenthetic /d/. – Mark Beadles Oct 13 '12 at 19:40
  • @MarkBeadles Thank you!! Another problem to me is the intrusive "r", I hope to find out why it's also there. – archenoo Oct 14 '12 at 9:58
  • 2
    That's not intrusive - -r is a masculine nominative infection in e.g. Old Norse. – Mark Beadles Oct 14 '12 at 16:54
  • 1
    @MarkBeadles Thanks a lot, the function of "r" becomes clear, Thank you again! – archenoo Oct 15 '12 at 14:24
  • Interesting. Sort of the opposite of linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/2650/…. – Mechanical snail Oct 15 '12 at 22:33

In Old Norse, the sequence -nnr(-) becomes -ðr(-). It's just a rule of Old Norse. You'll find it described in any grammar of Old Norse.

| improve this answer | |

Even though this was answered a long time ago, I feel there is a need for clarification. As Sverre mentioned, -nnr- becomes -ðr- in Old Norse per regular rule, but this is often avoided: words like Proto-Germanichanþaz (clever, sharp, "quick") gave Old Norse hannr, then *­swinþaz (strong) giving svinnr, as well as *­minniz (small in quantity) giving minnr. This isn't that frequent, with not a lot of words featuring no alternative form that has -ðr-. It's also noteworthy that many Norse words can take either the -ðr- or -nnr- form and in many cases they can even alternate without any visible pattern. Icelandic and Faroese usually have words that reflect the -nnr- variety but -ðr- can also sometimes pop up here and there, and, even in some cases, such as with "annar" in both languages, we can see a complex (yet in this case regular) alternation between the two forms.

| improve this answer | |
  • You also find sviðr and miðr. svinnr and minnr have an analogically reinstated nn from other forms of the paradigm. There is, as far as I know, no Old Norse word *hannr. – Sverre Nov 11 '14 at 12:59
  • I wasn't aware of sviðr and miðr, and hannr is attested as part of sjónhannr as I've seen here: books.google.de/… – Darkgamma Nov 11 '14 at 13:02
  • Miðr even exists in Modern Icelandic as a perfectly normal word: it’s the second part of the very common expression því miður ‘unfortunately’. It’s not part of the ‘less’ paradigm, though. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 4 '18 at 11:54
  • @JanusBahsJacquet that miður looks like it's etymologically from *midjaz, though; it's not cognate – Darkgamma Jun 17 '18 at 1:38
  • 1
    @Darkgamma I don’t think so. I realise Wiktionary says so, but I don’t think it’s right. That’s a different miður, which means (and is cognate with) ‘middle’. It would be highly unexpected if this miður were etymologically the same, given all the other comparatives of lítill/lítt which have minn- as their root. Incidentally, I was wrong before: miður isn’t part of the adjectival minni (‘less’, comparative of lítill) paradigm, but it is the comparative of adverbial lítt, so it is part of the ‘less’ paradigm; the superlative is minnst. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 17 '18 at 8:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.