Chronology of the breakup of Common Romance [long]

Brian M. Scott BMScott at
Thu Aug 19 22:55:25 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

X99Lynx at wrote:

> In a message dated 8/13/99 4:16:39 AM, BMScott at wrote:

> <<Cleasby & Vigfusson gloss <blámadr> (<bla'madhr>) 'a black man, negro,
> i.e., an Ethiopian';... The adjective <blár> (<bla'r>) is 'dark blue,
> livid', with uses ranging into 'black'.>>

> Well of course -madr, -madhr are very recognizable as not referring to men or
> madness but to a red/brown dye,

On the contrary, <maðr> (<madhr>) 'man' is the nom. sing. (gen. sing.
<manns>, nom. pl. <menn>); /nn/ regularly became /D/ (edh) before /r/.
It has nothing to do with ON <maðra> (<madhra>) 'madder', which is found
mostly in place-names (e.g., <Möðrudalr> (<Mo"dhrudalr>) 'Madder-dale').


>  How else could we explain the form 'blake' turning
> up in the old text to mean both black and white?

ME <blake> represents both OE <blaec> 'black, dark-colored, dark' and OE
<bla:c> 'pale, white (as with foam), bleak; bright, shining'.

Brian M. Scott

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