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The Grammar of Names in Anglo-Saxon EnglandThe Linguistics and Culture of the Old English Onomasticon$
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Fran Colman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701675.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Grammar of Names in Anglo-Saxon England

Fran Colman

Oxford University Press

This introduces the concept of an onomasticon in relation to a common-word lexicon, and the diachronic and diatopic variability of both. The types of lexical information in each include primary categories (major word classes), whose notional characterization determines their syntactic distribution. With items of major categories are associated secondary categories, needed for a word to figure in language use, including grammatical gender in the relevant languages. Distinguishing derivational morphology from inflectional, for a particular language at a particular time, is crucial for constructing an onomasticon. Names are associated with secondary categories stipulating ‘person’ versus ‘place’, and (other) distinctions in gender. Types of evidence are evaluated for assigning gender to Old English personal names, including names of moneyers on Anglo-Saxon coinage. Unlike common words, however, names lack the sense relations that correlate with denotation. Therefore, unlike a common-word lexicon, an onomasticon does not contain information about a name answering ‘what does it mean?’

Keywords:   coinage, denotation, gender, lexicon, moneyer, morphology, notional grammar, primary category, secondary category

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