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Academic Paper

Title: Hinn and hinn: Early Icelandic as the clue to the history and etymology of two Old Scandinavian words
Author: Ulla Stroh-Wollin
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: Icelandic
Norse, Old
Subject LANGUAGE Family: Germanic
Abstract: The history and etymology of Old Scandinavian hinn is a disputed matter. One question concerns whether hinn as a contrastive demonstrative indicating ‘the other (one)/the former (one)’ and hinn as a pre-adjectival article, both of which to some extent are still found in present-day Icelandic, are related or not. Another issue concerns the fact that hinn has no immediate parallel in Germanic outside Scandinavia, which has led scholars to assume that it is a Proto-Scandinavian innovation. This paper argues that Old Scandinavian possessed two hinn words with separate backgrounds, one stemming directly from an anciently inherited distal demonstrative, and one from an innovated proximal demonstrative. However, the innovation was no more founded on common Germanic material than the former hinn was. Instead, it arose from the reinforcement of an ancient precursor. This precursor is traceable in early Icelandic enn, which was used as a pre-adjectival article and as a primitive post-nominal definiteness marker.


This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 43, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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