Full text: Interferenz-Onomastik

’Wolf and ’Bear’ in Germanic and Romance Name-Giving 
Names embedding animal designations, i.e. so-called theriophoric names, are 
particularly common among Germanic anthroponyms. Names containing 
Germ. *wulfa-z M. ,wolf are most numerous, followed by those formed with 
Germ. *berdn M. or *bernu-z M. ,bear\ These Germanic personal names find 
their semantic counterpart in the Romance names Lupus and Ursus as well as 
in the varied diminutives and suffix-derivations of those latter. 
It is striking that mainly from the 6th century onwards Romance names 
increase noticeably, the majority of which is already accounted for as 
cognomina as well as in inscriptions in almost all parts of the Roman Empire 
from the 1st century BC on. Their importance apparently declined, however, 
in the 4th and 5th centuries. The article investigates whether we can speak of 
independently formed, parallel developments or whether interferences can be 
detected when exploring the semantic field of those Romance and Germanic 
anthroponyms embedding animal descriptions, which mainly appear in areas 
of Romano-Germanic interference. It can be shown that a major portion of the 
Lupo- and LTvo-names formed mainly from the 6th century onwards is owed 
to the increasing predominance of the Germanic name system. We are 
therefore looking at one of the numerous linguistic phenomena that can be 
explained by the encounter of the Roman and the Germanic name systems 
during Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. 

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