The position of the Old Frisian system of adverbs of degree within early West Germanic | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 76, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214

Abstract

Abstract

It is disputed whether Old Frisian should be grouped with the ‘Old’ Germanic languages or the ‘Middle’ Germanic ones. However, a divide in linguistic conservativity exists between earlier and later manuscripts, which also correlates with a conspicuous dialectal variation between East and West. One aspect related to this problem of periodisation that has not yet been studied is the system of adverbs of degree, even though differences have been observed between the Old and Middle West Germanic languages in this respect. Using data from two corpora, the present study documents the Old Frisian adverbial system. A link is found with Old English and Old Saxon through the presence of (‘strongly’), but the Old West Frisian system overall is comparable to Middle Dutch and Middle Low German, making it Middle. The Old East Frisian situation, however, remains less clear. An implication of this study is that adverbs of degree and their usage patterns are highly susceptible to language contact.

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