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Toward Schwa in Gothic Again and its Melody

Irmengard Rauch

Pages 231 - 245

Gothic, on the one hand, displays archaisms, reputed for Germanic at least, such as reduplicated verbs, while it apocopates, e.g., the final vowel of the accusative singular neuter desinence as in Go. ‘haúrn’, notoriously compared to its retention in the North-West Gmc. ‘horna’ of Gallehus. The same short inscription (5-6 words) yields to the inflected verb North-West Gmc. ‘tawidô’ 1.p sg. pret. the Gothic inflection ‘a’ with a length and a color difference. It is within the realm of this latter phenomenon, viz. vowels under non-primary stress, that this paper seeks further clarification. Arguments are adduced from Gothic data, typology, language contact, universals, and accentology. Genetically, the positing of trimoric laws in the development of non-primary stressed vowels represents a consummate case of prosodic teleological explanation in Germanic grammar. Synchronically, the prosodic structure of Gothic yields convincing evidence for the admission of centralized full vowels under non-primary stress.


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