Latin loanwords in Old Saxon : a statistical analysis of three dictionaries

Weiss, Bradley Gerald
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

The following is an analysis of loanwords of Latin origin found in the historical Germanic language of Old Saxon, which was spoken by a group of people in parts of modern-day Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and which is preserved in a number of texts dating from the 9th to the 12th centuries. Included is a general discussion of the historical socio-linguistic context in which the speakers of Old Saxon were in contact with Latin, as well as the linguistic principles of borrowing between languages. Three dictionaries of Old Saxon, those by Holthausen, Tiefenbach, and Köbler, provide both the definitions and the grammatical information of the individual Latin loanwords (LLW) for analysis. The statistical analysis includes comparisons between the dictionaries as to where they (dis)agree, including possible reasons for their (dis)agreement. The primary analysis is of the LLWs themselves, identifying: 1) what types of grammatical forms are borrowed and how they are incorporated into the Old Saxon grammatical system; 2) what types of words, in terms of semantic fields are borrowed, and with what frequency; and 3) what types of LLWs are found in the various source texts and the possible reasons for this distribution.