Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

@Metaknowledge You apparently added the rfe here. It appears it corresponds to a now rare, dialectal diminutive plural once common in East Franconian, Swabian and Bohemian German, -lech or -lich. [1] I don't know what the MHG and OHG ancestors are. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:08, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

Thanks. I know so little of High German dialectology, but it's fascinating. I wonder if we have anyone around who could help with finding the ancestral forms. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:09, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
This says the suffix is a contamination of -līn and -ahi, language not specified but presumably Old High German, but the author doesn't give any combined form. I just browsed an Old German dictionary but had no luck. @Korn, Rua, Leasnam, -sche Do any of you know what the Middle German or Old German etymon is? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:18, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
As a rule I know very little of High German, sorry. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 10:26, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
As it happens, there's at least one book on the topic of the Middle High German forms, Fritz Hastenpflug's Das Diminutiv in der deutschen Originalliteratur des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts (1914), which mentions "Verwendung dieses lach-, lech-Suffixes wohl darum, den Plural vom Singular abzuheben und deutlich zu unterscheiden" (across 849 MS pages, he finds 45 diminutives used a total of 91 times, including 16 uses of -lach and 18 of -lech; other "diminutives" are formed via adjectives). (Other MHG spellings are -læhe and -lêhe.) The suffixes could impart collective as well as diminutive meaning, in both the plural and singular, across a range of dialects, and it's not entirely clear which meaning is original; Peter O. Müller, in Substantiv-Derivation in den Schriften Albrecht Dürers, §II.1.4.21 (p. 378), discusses theories (and, incidentally, seems to treat -lich as the lemma form); in any case, they seem to go back to Old High German -ahi, Middle High German -ehe, which "bereits im Mhd. durch den Einschub von -l- erweitert wurde". - -sche (discuss) 18:22, 4 December 2018 (UTC)
@-sche Thanks, that's very useful. Do you prefer any particular variant as the lemma form? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:27, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Either -lach or -lech; poking around, they seem to be about equally common; pace Müller, -lich does not seem to be the lemma form (although the homographic suffix -lich from Proto-Germanic *-līkaz throws up enough chaff that I may have missed something). The few dictionaries I can find which have entries have the definitions at -lach and a pointer at -lech; that may just be because -lach comes first alphabetically, but absent any other reason to prefer one form over the other, we could follow suit.
Btw, Alexander Beider's Origins of Yiddish Dialects has a bit more to say about the etymology: "[the Yiddish suffix's German] equivalent, -lech, is limited only to several islets inside of EF, southeastern PG, and eastern Thuringian [...] yet, earlier, it was much more common [...] in EF, Swabian, and Bohemian, and more rarely in Bavarian and LA. Jews borrowed it from these dialects [...and] we cannot be sure that its presence in both EY and WY is due to the same source. In principle, their donor German dialects could be independent: Bohemian for EY and EF (and/or Swabian) for WY."
- -sche (discuss) 01:54, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
@-sche, Metaknowledge Thanks folks, the etymology is looking good. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:52, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
This is one of those moments where I just love Wiktionary. Six years ago, I must have been curious, and now the answer comes along for anybody curious in the future because someone cared enough to check. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:13, 6 December 2018 (UTC)