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 we’re going to play “How might the Germanic prototheme propogate down into 14th century Italian?” The masculine name we’ve got from Friulia in 1326 is clearly of Germanic origin — the deuterotheme is Old High German bald ‘bold’ — but the prototheme is clearly something that has been corrupted over time. Could it be Old High German lant, Old Saxon land ‘land’, making this a variant of Landbald? It could be, but we’d like to see more evidence for lan(d/t) becoming lem, in Italian contexts or otherwise, before we draw such a conclusion. Do you have any such evidence? Any other examples where lem is clearly a variant of lan(d/t)? Or an alternative hypothesis for its origins? Please share in the comments!