Re: [tied] Re: OE *picga

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 16497
Date: 2002-10-23

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Wordingham
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 12:41 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: OE *picga

How strong is the evidence that OE <cg> represented [gg] as well as [dZ]?  I'd always understood that <cg> only represented [dZ].
Well, Frocga, Docga & Stagga can give their testimony if summonsed. No, Richard, <cg> ~ <gg> does not stand _exclusively_ for OE [dZ] (or rather [ddZ]), though this is indeed its most frequent pronunciation, since the usual source of the geminate is the West Germanic consonant doubling before *j, that is PGmc. *-gj- > *-ggj- > *-JJ- > OE -ddZ- (> Mod.Eng. -dZ-), as in <licgan> 'lie', <brycg> 'bridge', <ecg> 'edge', etc. (*ligjan-, *brugjo:, *agjo:). However, the absence of i-umlaut in Frocga & Co. (with OE expressive gemination) is proof enough that there had never been a *j there to palatalise the velar, and that the OE pronunciation was [-gg-].

> Why OE *picga?  Why couldn't the word have been created in Middle English, by which time English would have 'pork' from French from Latin porcus.

You are right about *picga being a mere back-projection of a ME word, hence the asterisk (and often a question-mark for good measure). The plural is <pigges> from the very beginning never <piggen>, to my knowledge (though I haven't che, while <doggen> and <froggen> _are_ attested ca. 1300), which leaves the case for an OE weak noun even weaker. <pork> was occasionally used for the animal in ME (especially one fattened for slaughter as opposed to a young pig), but the basic 'pig' word was still <swyn>, only later gradually superseded by <pigge> and <hogge>. Farmyard terminology is one hell of a problem for historical linguists, since there are few texts sufficiently technical to allow the reconstruction of semantic nuances, while modern usage is more typically confusing than helpful.