Hi, Everybody! A happy and prosperous New Year to you all!
I have a question that I think Piotr already may have answered, but I can’t
get the Yahoo search engine to go back that far. (Piotr, is there a way that
the archive can be duplicated so that it can go on a CD and be maybe archived
and searchable on the web? It seems a shame that all the valuable stuff and
you and others have put in the archive can’t be retrieved and could be lost
if Yahoo fritzs out.)
The question: Can we possibly date the introduction of the Germanic week-day
names by the variance in the different languages where it appears?
In other words, do the day-names show some sign of development that would
place them at a particular time?
For example, do OE <wo:dnesdaeg>, OFrisian <wo:nsdei>, <we:nsdei>, MLG,
<wo:densdach>, ON, <o:[d]insdagr (Odin’s day) reflect general expected sound
differences between the languages, that happened at a certain stage in their
separate developments? If they look like loan words, do the differences
present at a certain time period?
I guess there is also the difference between the Wodan/Odin word and how it
developed differently from the “wednes-” part of the Wednesday word.
In other words (ha, I say that a lot) -- if Wodan’s name started to differ
from Wednes(day) at a certain point in time, presumably it would help
identify when the two words were once the same. And of course when the two
words were exactly same might give a hint when the day was first named.
(The general consensus being that Wednesday was named after the Germanic god
who was at the time considered equivalent to Odin, and whose day was the
equivalent day - Mercury - in “Mercurii dies”. The 7-day week names were
made official in 321 AD, but they were probably in use before that.)
Also, it strikes me that OE <wo:dnesdaeg> looks a lot closer to the
reconstructed *wodinaz than OE <woden> or OHG <woutan>. Is it possible
Wednesday originates in an older, more proto form of the Odin name than we
see in the OE or OHG version - or is this just a case ending difference?
I seem to recall Dennis Green in “Language and History in the Early Germanic
World” said the linguistic evidence suggested the name (and the connection
with Mercury) could be dated to Northwest Germany sometime around 300 AD.
But it looks like someone lost the book on me so I can’t check.
Any help with this would be greatly appreaciated.