Derivational synonymy in the old Germanic languages (a case study of Gothic, Old Icelandic and Old High German).

2015. №3, 70-89

Irina V. Novitskaya
National Research Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 634050, Russia;


The article presents results of a research that aimed to reveal the extent to which the old Germanic nouns with the same root but different paradigmatic affiliation and derivational suffixes are spread in the Gothic, Old High German and Old Icelandic languages. Recent theoretical research of synonyms at various language levels has enabled us to term the old Germanic nouns under analysis «one-root derivational synonyms». Some approaches are known to have been offered to account for the existence of the old Germanic «one-root derivational synonyms» (e. g. by E. Benveniste, O. A. Ossipova, N. B. Pimenova and others). They all argue that the investigated phenomenon has an underlying semantic or logical opposition as its foundation. A total sampling of one-root derivational synonyms made it possible to divide all synonyms into groups according to the types of their paradigmatic and word-formation opposition. As a result, it brought to light both the most empirically productive word-formation types of the synonyms and derivational suffixes. The obtained results allowed to highlight some shared and unique features of the old Germanic languages.