Why does OHG wedar from PGmc *hwaþeraz have "e"?

1 Answer 1


These are two different ablaut grades: IE *-tero- versus *-toro-.

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    Wrong syllable – the question is about the e in the first syllable of wedar: PIE *kʷo-(t-) > PWGmc. *hwaþ- > OHG wed-. In fact, it becomes e pretty much everywhere in West Germanic, with OE being the only language to show the intermediate stage æ. Feb 20 at 11:40
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    No it doesn’t. The PIE form is uniformly *kʷóteros in all branches, not **kʷéteros or **kʷótoros. And even if there were such a variation within PIE, it is completely unthinkable that the individual languages that developed from Proto-West-Germanic suddenly decided to make productive use of ablaut in this one word (for absolutely no reason). Ablaut was a fossilised system by then, only systematically discernible in strong verbs. Feb 20 at 12:52
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    @Tristan I trust you have looked at Pfeifer; dwds.de/wb/weder
    – fdb
    Feb 20 at 16:17
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    @AlexB. I can’t really satisfactorily explain the WG e here. It’s a very good question. My best guess is that it’s an extreme case of Anglo-Frisian brightening that somehow made its way outside Anglo-Frisian. This only works if the PWG form was *hwaþer, of course (not *hwaþar as Wiktionary has it), but then I’m not sure why Wiktionary thinks PG *-þer- should become PWG *-þar here, only to then become *-þer again almost everywhere; it seems more economic to assume that it remained *-þer- in general, but was assimilated or lowered in a few individual languages. Feb 20 at 21:45
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    @JanusBahsJacquet thank you! FYI, as for the ablaut hypothesis in this case, it’s not that completely unheard of, see e.g. books.google.com/…
    – Alex B.
    Feb 21 at 0:13

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