Appendix talk:Proto-Germanic/mann-

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Nominative form of *mann- in Germanic[edit]

I am quite certain that this word was not declined as an a-stem in Germanic, and that *mannaz was not the nominative form. All the later languages (even Gothic) seem to agree that it was a consonant stem. The problem is the nominative singular form, which differs in Gothic. North and West Germanic have a form going back to *mannz while Gothic has a form that would go back to *mannô, as if it were a masculine n-stem. So I'm wondering what the actual formation would be. One theory I saw suggested that the stem is similar to Latin carō, with a nominative in -o and all other forms in -n. If that's the case then the original nominative would have been *man-ô, and the other forms *man-n-. This does at least fit with compounds of the word in Gothic, which are formed from a stem mana- with only one n (and maybe *allaz belongs to the same group, since it also has compounds in ala-). Does anyone have any more information on this? —CodeCat 11:55, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Indeed. According to Kluge's Etymologisches Wörterbuch, the Germanic base is *manōn-, an n-stem, which had zero-grade vowels in certain forms.
This has lead to a new base *mann-. --MaEr 18:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the above: I think there was more than a single stem, as Old English also has manna "man, human", a weak n-stem. These might be better represented as separate entries, broken-out for each. Leasnam 22:15, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there are actually two distinct nouns, especially since Gothic preserves an irregular paradigm. I think that the original paradigm must have been a consonant stem *mann- but with a nominative singular *manô or *mannô. This formation was unique in Germanic so it would have probably confused speakers a lot. Most speakers would have concluded that the nominative singular was irregular and unconsciously replaced it with a regular form. But there might have been some that would have built an n-stem paradigm from the nominative singular form instead, creating a minority formation that was never widely used beyond a few speakers. In that respect, Gothic probably preserves the original paradigm the best. —CodeCat 22:27, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
According to Kroonen, it was inflected as an n-stem in the singular, consonant stem in the plural, from earlier sg. *mannô, pl. *mannaniz, which with "... regular syncope of the unstressed vowel in the sequence *-nnan-..." became *manniz. And that the n-stem endings were removed from the singular in all but Old English and Gothic. Anglom (talk) 15:43, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Also, he does mention that the original nom. would have been *manô, that the gemination probably came by analogy from the oblique, he gives gen. *mannaz/*manniz. If that helps clear the picture any. Anglom (talk) 15:50, 13 May 2014 (UTC)