Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Possible 'M' suffix on whoM / hiM / theM / Me?|
I am not asking for the origin of the words ''whom'', ''him'', ''them'', or ''me''.
I am asking if these four words were originally formed by the addition of an ''M'' suffix to the words ''who'', ''he'', ''they'', and ''I'', and if so, are these words all that is left of that suffix in English? Is there a related language that still has a suffix of this kind?
I know that the pairs ''she/her'' and ''we/us'' do not fit the pattern of an ''M'' suffix, and ''M'' appears first in the word ''me''. Nevertheless, the addition of ''M'' in those four cases made me wonder if these words were formed using an ''M'' suffix in some ancient language before English.
In Proto-Indo-European, the reconstructed language from which almost all modern European languages ultimately descend, an -m suffix was the marker of the accusative case in all singular nouns as well as pronouns. (Compare in Latin for instance "servus", 'slave', nominative, with "servum", accusative.)
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|