[tied] Re: OE *picga

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 16511
Date: 2002-10-24

--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Richard Wordingham
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 2:14 PM
> Subject: [tied] Re: OE *picga
> It's free variation, as far as I can see, just like there being no
orthographic contrast between /k/ and /tS/ in Old English.

Except before back vowels.

> Did you say Hogg? All right, he will testify. Here is what Richard
Hogg says in _A Grammar of Old English [Vol.1: Phonology]_ (1992,
Oxford: Blackwell):
> "Naturally [gg], which was undoubtedly a geminate stop, could only
arise by processes other than WGmc gemination, since [gg] by that
process develops as /dZ/. The problem is that the words which contain
[gg] are not only of dubious etymology but are also members of a
clear semantic set, largely animal pet-names, such as _docga_ 'dog',
_frogga_ 'frog', *_picga_ 'pig', *_stagga_ 'stag' [here the scribal
variation is Hocg's... sorry, Hogg's own], _sugga_ 'sparrow',
_wicga_ 'earwig'. As such, the status of [gg] is rather less clear
than it might be, since it would seem to have some phonaesthetic
> He also notes that <sceacga> is possibly a borrowing from ON
(though one wonders why we have <shag> rather than +<skag> then).

And the ON form with a geminate is skeggr 'beard', so the vowel
doesn't fit either.

> > 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.
> It's OE in these words, but there are similar tendencies throughout
Germanic (plus analogies in Greek, Latin and Celtic). To form a
hypocorism, take a word and truncate it (if you think it's too long),
leaving only the initial syllable and the onset of the second; you
may geminate the latter, and if you manipulate its phonation in the
process, or mutilate what used to be a cluster, nobody will mind;
finally, add weak-noun inflections. "What is your name, boy?
Wulfhere? That sounds too serious; we shall call you Wuffa." The
operation of the process is easy to see in <frox, frosc> -> <frogga>.

I can see *frocca > dialect 'frock' (cited in Falk & Torp, who
propose a different derivation), but do you have examples of the
mangled onset being more marked? The other forms still seem to have
a <-cga> suffix, unless one can derive 'wicga' from something like OE
<wagian> = 'totter', 'sway' (>? 'wag') or an unattested ancestor
of 'wiggle'.

> statistically correct
That's a good way of saying wrong but usually good enough!