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Thesis (Master's)

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/26648

  • From inn to hinn: Independent Definite Article in Old Icelandic and Acquisition of Word-Initial h- in the 13th and 14th Centuries
  • Master's
  • In the end of the 12th century, the Old Icelandic independent definite article inn, in, it, was represented without word initial h-. The demonstrative pronoun hinn, hin, hitt, ‘this very one; this other one’ with word-initial h-, had an almost identical paradigm. By the end of the 16th century, the independent definite article was almost universally represented with word-initial h- meaning that the two paradigms of the independent definite article and the demonstrative pronoun were now only contrastive in the neuter nominative-accusative singular. This was a general change that occurred gradually and is represented sporadically: many early sources show little to no presence of word-initial h- orthographically even after the change had presumably begun in the spoken langauge. Conversely, many later sources continue to represent the independent definite article without word-initial h- long after the change has become widespread and forms with word-initial h- had become typical.
    This paper examines the separate roles of the definite article and the demonstrative, contrasts their paradigms, and examines the change of inn, in, it, to hinn, hin, hit on the analogy of the demonstrative hinn, hin, hitt. This paper examines the etymology of both words and contrasts two conflicting theories as to their respective origins. Twenty-four sources with twenty-five identifiable hands are then examined for instances of the independent definite article in regards to word-initial h-. Throughout, special attention is paid to the neuter nominative-accusative singular, as this remains the sole form of the definite article and the demonstrative that remains diagnostic after the former acquires word-initial h-.

  • Jan 20, 2017
  • http://hdl.handle.net/1946/26648

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