[tied] Re: OE *picga

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 16504
Date: 2002-10-24

--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Richard Wordingham
> To: cybalist@...
> 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:).

Summonsing *Frocga and *Stagga might be difficult. Onions (Oxford
Etymological Dictionary) cites only 'frogga', and dates the 'stag'
word to the 12th century, consistently asterisking it as OE. It's a
shame if <gg> also represents [ddZ], otherwise <cg> ~ <gg> would have
convinced me of [gg]. Is there a marked frequency difference
depending on the Modern English development? Alternative witnesses
will be required, such as Frogga, Hogg (a.k.a. Hocg), Earwicga
('earwig') and Sceacga (>'shag', rough wool etc - not the bird until
much later, if it be the same word. The basic meaning seems to
be 'projecting bit').

> 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-

Earwicga spoils the pattern (i-umlaut would have had no effect here),
and a possible reading rule. (<licgan> v. <earwicgan> would be the
near-minimal pair.)

Is the expressive gemination of voiced consonants OE, Germanic or
Scandinavian (cf Swedish sugga 'sow')? Moreover, what is being
geminated in Frogga & co? <-gga>/<-cga> looks like a word-
classifying suffix, akin to '-er' in German animal words. My problem
is that the England's Danes are plausibly accused of hardening a lot
of OE 'soft' consonants, so when my OE textbook (Quirk & Wrenn) says
<cg> is as 'dg' in 'judge', I am inclined to believe it.
(Northumbrian late OE geeggoden 'egged on' probably does have [gg];
Onions cites it as a loan from ON.) English 'stag' may derive from
ON 'staggr', 'staggi' = 'male bird'; the English word has referred to
various male animals. The possible correspondence of English 'teg'
(a type of sheep, first attested 16th century) to Swedish tacka 'ewe'
probably creates more problems than it solves.

>> Why OE *picga?

> 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.

How about OE *pigg, in the light of OE picbre:d 'swine food'?