Analogy refers to a diachronic process which changes words after the model of other forms.
In Gothic, the stem of the noun meaning 'foot' is a so-called u-stem, i.e. a stem ending in a suffix -u, although originally this stem did not end in a suffix -u. Compare the nominative singular of the non-u-stem foot in Latin (pe:s), Ancient Greek (pó:s), Sanskrit (pá:t), and Gothic (fotus) with the nom.sg. of the u-stem son in Ancient Greek (huiós), Sanskrit (su:nús) and Gothic (sunus). The diachronic account of this class shift runs as follows. Historically, the accusative ending -m was syllabic after consonant-final roots. By a regular sound change this syllabic /m/ became -um in Germanic. Hence, the accusative of foot became fot-um. The result of this change was that the accusative fotum became indistinguishable from the accusative of u-stems (e.g. sunum), although their underlying morphological structure was different: fot-um vs. sun-u-m. If one assumes that the accusative fot-um is reanalyzed as fot-u-m, the change *fot > fotus (nom.sg.) can be schematized as sun-u-m:sun-u-s = fot-u-m:X, where X is fot-u-s.
- Beekes, R. 1990. Vergelijkende taalwetenschap: een inleiding in de vergelijkende Indo-europese taalwetenschap. Het Spectrum, Utrecht.
- Kiparsky, P. 1974. Remarks on Analogical Change, reprinted in Kiparsky, P. 1982. Explanation in Phonology. Foris, Dordrecht.
- Kiparsky, P. 1970. Historical Linguistics, reprinted in Kiparsky, P. 1982. Explanation in Phonology. Foris, Dordrecht.
- Kiparsky, P. 1968. Linguistic Universals and Linguistic Change, reprinted in Kiparsky, P. 1982. Explanation in Phonology. Foris, Dordrecht.
- Kiparsky, P. 1965. Phonological Change. PhD diss. MIT Cambridge Mass., reproduced by IULC Bloomington, Indiana.