Each among men

*[XGEN.PL] gahwaz

by C Ryan Moniz

original research· spring 2013 - harvest 2021
updated & published· spring 2022

philology

Mjǫðr Óðins· Reconstructing Germanic verse formulae


This halfline-filling formula, like the fomrula ‘children of men,’ is one of the two most common used as a generic way to indicate “everyone” or “anyone”; translating more closely to ‘each of [the] men/people,’ it takes the form *[XGEN.PL] gahwaz¹, where X is any term meaning ‘people, men, folk, warriors’ that alliterates with the other alliterating words in the line. Within this general formula, there are at least 3 specific exemplary versions of this formula attested in both West and North Germanic that I reconstruct for Proto-Germanic: *aldijǫ̂ gahwaz, *gumanǫ̂ gahwaz, and *mannǫ̂ gahwaz. There are also 3 examples which show up in 2 of the West Germanic languages which I reconstruct for Proto-West-Germanic: PWG *erlō gahwilīk/gahwaʀ, *manakunnjas gahwilīk/gahwaʀ (which is notable for its genitive singular form), and *þegnō gahwilīk/gahwaʀ. The final section of this article lists other examples of this formula in the source languages for which I have not found a cognate X value outside of that language.

Most variants of this formula replace the basic distributive pronoun *gahwaz with a derivative, most commonly a reflex of *gahwarjaz in North Germanic (Old Norse hverr) and a reflex of *gahwilīkaz (PWG *gahwilīk, Old English gehwylc, Old Saxon gehwilik)


*aldijǫ̂ gahwaz

Old English

Psalm 77 10a

ylda gehwylc

Old Saxon

Genesis B 480a

eldio ênhwilik

Old Norse

Fáfnismál 10

alda hverr

 

*gumanǫ̂ gahwaz

Old English

Béowulf 2516a, 2859a; Crist 820b

gumena gehwylc

Old Saxon

Hêliand 1418a, 1963a, 2065b, 2490a

gumono gehwilik

Old Norse

Hávamál 15, 18

gumna hverr

 

*mannǫ̂ gahwaz

Old English

Béowulf 155a, 2527a, 3057a; The Seafarer 90a, 11a; Crist 431a, 589b; Old English Rune Poem 2a, 9a, 61b; Wið ymbe 10a

manna gehwylc/(ge)hwá

Old Saxon

Hêliand 1113a, 1712b, 1925a, 2616a, 3216b, 3874a, 4249a, 4377a, 4595b

manno gehwilik/gehwê

Old Norse

Hávamál 12

manna hverr

 

PWG *erlō gahwilīk/gahwaʀ

Old English

Béowulf 2891a; Old English Rune Poem 84b, 90b

eorla gehwylc/gehwá

Old Saxon

Hêliand 1486a, 1536a, 1699a, 1752a, 1825b, 1885a, 2051a, 4587a

erlo gehwilik/gehwê

 

PWG *manakunnjas gahwilīk/gahwaʀ

Old English

Crist 1026b

moncynnes gehwá

Old Saxon

Hêliand 1504b, 4050b

mankunnies gehwilik

 

PWG *þegnō gahwilīk/gahwaʀ

Old English Rune Poem 7b

ðegna gehwylc

Hêliand 1188b

thegno gehwê

 

Miscellaneous language-specific examples

Old English

Old Saxon

Old Norse

 


Mjǫðr Óðins· Reconstructing Germanic verse formulae


philology

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