Mystery Monday: Kermunt

Apologies for the radio silence over here at DMNES central! Not only are we in the midst of busy terms for most of us, three of the editorial staff are participating in NaNoWriMo (see our monthly topic from this time last year for advice on naming characters in your historical novel!) and a fourth is busily writing up her Ph.D. dissertation.

(Almost) Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is almost the name of a muppet. In fact, the bit that has changed is the bit that is easiest to identify: The deuterotheme is Old Saxon mund, Old High German munt ‘hand, protection’. But what is the prototheme?
A gut feeling suggests Old High German, Old Saxon gēr ‘spear’, but one does not write dictionary entries on the basis of gut feelings. Does anyone have any data to corroborate this hunch? Preferably in the form of other examples of gēr being spelled ker? Next best, in the form of other examples of a g/k switch in 7th-9th C Germanic contexts? If you do, please share in the comments!



Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

6 responses to “Mystery Monday: Kermunt

  1. Be interested to find out the derivation of this name. For what it’s worth, according to PASE, Garmund is a twice attested Old English cognate; the instances are from the ?9th and mid-11th centuries. Can’t think of any OE G-/K- switches but I’m fighting a cold so am operating at 50% capacity right now!

  2. One ‘Keremondi’ (gen.) is cited in a 10th century [936-977] document copied in the cartulary of the monastery of Cellanova, Galician (NW Iberian peninsula):
    “alia terra que comparavit de Invendo qui est super domum Keremondi usque in monte pro que dedit precio modios I” [936-977] (Celanova doc. 454)

    The are other instances of C alternating with G in Galician and Portuguese charters in the 9th and 10th centuries: Cresulfus 865 (vs. Gresufus), Conterico [975], Condericum 909 (vs. Gunderico), Caudemirus 966 (vs. Gaudemirus), Cumdubridu 921 (Vs. Gundefredo), Cundemiro 980 (vs. Gundemiro), Condufus 878 (vs. Gundufus)…

    We can add here modern place names which present /k/ where we would rather expect /g/:
    * Contimunde, Rois, A Coruña < (villa) *Cuntimundi
    * Contín, Rois, A Coruña < (villa) *Cuntini
    * Contariz, Guitiriz, Lugo < (villa) *Cunterici
    * Conturiz, Lugo, Lugo < (villa) *Cunterici
    * Contomil, Sanxenxo, Pontevedra < (villa) *Cuntemiri
    Vs. more frequent Gundín, Guntariz, Guntumil, Gundar, Gondomar…

  3. Jörg Knappen

    G/K confusion (and also B/P confusion) is typical of Southern German dialects, especially Bavarian and Langobardian. There is also Kudrun (<Gudrun, see, the only surviving manuskript comes from Tyrolia).

  4. Cossue

    Incidentally, I’ve found another Galician name that can be interesting: a man named Fralenko 1007 (Celanova, d. 3). This name is probably a variant of the more common -locally- Froaringus (*frawj- ‘lord’ + *hrengaz ‘ring’ ?), with dissimilation r..r > r..l, and g/k confusion.

  5. Pingback: Solution Saturday: Kermunt | Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources

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