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Questions tagged [proto-germanic]

Proto-language for the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages

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Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)?

Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)? BACKGROUND: I suggested to a forum of linguists that a certain Semitic word (...
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How did 'man's time on earth' semantically shift to mean the 'earth' itself?

John McWhorter PhD Linguistics (Stanford). Words on the Move (2016). p. 190 Bottom. World began as wer-eld, where wer p. 191 Top was that "man" word and eld meant "old," as in age. Wer-eld ...
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Possible extrapolation of old German word “hansa” to protogermanic and possibly common root with Sanskrit “sangha”

I came across a discussion about if "Lufthansa" means air-Swan, inspired by the sanskrit word hansa swan. Which is of course wrong as it has its origins in the old german word hansa for group or ...
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1answer
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Is English “lake” Derived from Latin, or is it Indo-European?

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring this one out. Lake, meaning "A large, landlocked stretch of water." seems to have some confusion in the Wiktionary pages. I've looked in the American Heritage ...
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1answer
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How did Proto-Indo-European *septm evolve into English “seven”?

The PIE *septm should have changed to Pre-PG *sefθen, by the Grimm's Law. Then, by the Verner's Law, it should have changed to *sebθen. Why did the *θ disappear for the word to develop into "sieben" ...
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Why do phonemes such as /r/ and /ɾ/ evolve into uvular sounds like /ʀ/?

Forgive me if this seems vague, but this is mainly looking at the Germanic languages. Proto-Germanic probably used an alveolar of some sort, most likely a trill. In terms of Modern Germanic ...
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When was Proto-Germanic spoken?

I am a conlanger and I would like to know when PGmc was spoken for a new Germanic/Italic conlang I am making.
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Do “wise” and “wissen” share the same root?

A cursory search shows that the English adjective "wise" and the German verb "wissen" descend from the same root: the PIE *weyd- ("to see, to know"). I found this by using Etymonline to search the ...
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To what extent are Zero Period loans from Latin into Germanic evidence that the Germanic peoples acquired technologies from the Romans?

The Germanic roots of wine, street, cheese, and many other words were loaned into Proto-Germanic from Latin during the ‘zero period’. Can the fact that these were loaned from Germanic into Latin be ...
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Is “sagon” or “sago” the reconstructed proto-germanic term for “story”?

I found somewhere that "sagon" is the reconstructed proto-germanic word for "story", which later became "saga" in Norse. But in other places I find "sago" instead as the reconstructed proto-germanic ...
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How different were Proto-Italic and Proto-Germanic?

It's (generally) accepted that Proto-Indo-European (PIE) evolved into the subfamilies Proto-Italic, Proto-Germanic, and Proto-Iranian among others. English uses a Latin Writing system which evolved ...
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West Germanic Th-Stopping

This is just one example: In the word "father", there is the interdental voiced fricative. However, in Old English, the word is fæder with a voiced alveolar stop; it is also fader in Middle English. ...
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Umlaut in Gothic

It's said that Gothic had no umlaut, but there would seem to be, although I'm sure it's not, signs of a-umlaut. The digraph au in Gothic is thought to have represented three different sounds, one of ...
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3answers
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Not affected by Grimm's Law?

I've read that path comes from Old English pæþ from Proto-Germanic paþaz. The word is supposedly a cognate with Greek pátos as well as other Indo-European words beginning with the voiceless stop, and ...
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What is the underlying meaning of the English 'of'? [closed]

TL;DR: What is the semantic field or the big picture behind the English 'of'? I seek an explanation like this which exposes the underlying semantic field of ‘tally’. Addendum: of (as a ...
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3answers
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Feminization suffix “-in” in German: etymology and relatives

The suffix "-in" in German modifies an actor noun into a specifically feminine form: Der Lehrer, die Lehrerin Most of the original nouns have the suffix "-er", which is widely used in the Germanic ...
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What connects 'through, by means of' and 'between', with ''around'?

for {English}   Etymology : From Middle English for, from Old English for ‎(“for, on account of, for the sake of, through, because of, owing to, from, by reason of, as to, in order to”), from [3.] ...
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Why was 'thwart' assigned to PIE *terkw- “to twist”?

thwart (adv.) [...] c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source, probably Old Norse þvert "across," originally neuter of thverr (adj.) "transverse, across," (cognate with Old English þweorh "...
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What exactly is remarkable about Proto-Germanic *wrakjon?

wretch, n. and adj. Etymology: Old English wrecca , wræcca , = Old Saxon wrekkio , -eo (applied to the Magi), Old High German reccheo , reccho , etc., exile, adventurer, knight errant (Middle High ...
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Why is /f/ easier to pronounce than /p/?

[Source:] Assistant Professor of Linguistics Andrew McKenzie, University of Kansas In particular, there is no real reason why certain changes happen while others don't. For instance, the * p ...
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Why does the pronunciation of Germanic languages before vowel shift seems to have been more “Indo-European”?

I think the vowels have become "harsher" during the vowel shift and has made them sound very different from Latin, Greek, Sanskrit,... which generally use "soft" vowels. Can we deduce that the vowel ...
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547 views

How does PIE *kʷ in **wĺ̥kʷos change to PGmc. *f in *wulfaz?

wĺ̥kʷos The word *wĺ̥kʷos is a thematic accented zero-grade noun perhaps derived from the adjective *wl̥kʷós ‘dangerous’ (compare Hittite walkuwa ‘dangerous’, Old Irish olc ‘evil’, Sanskrit [script?...
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Origin of current order pattern in English/German

It is well-known, or better said, well-accepted, that the ancestral language Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was a OV language with a very limited (or nonexistent) use of subordinate clauses. In Proto-...
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Grimm's law: what motivates stop -> fricative sound change?

I am trying to understand the sound change that brought PIE *dent- to P.Gmc. *tanth-. Grimm's law seems to be the culprit for the consonant changes: Initial voiced stop /d/ devoiced to /t/ Terminal ...
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Would a Proto language be easy to learn?

Since English descends from Proto-Germanic, which descends from PIE, would either of those two languages be relatively easy to learn (compared to, say, Japanese), or has the language changed too much ...
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What are the Proto-Germanic words for sea, lake and a couple of others?

In Dutch "zee" means "sea" and "meer" means "lake", but in German "das Meer" means "sea" and "der See" means "lake". Similarly, verbs like to want, to need, to have, to desire, etc. are all mixed up. ...
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Was there a Semitic influence on Proto-Germanic?

One of the hypotheses supported by Theo Vennemann and other linguists is that Proto-Germanic was influenced by some Semitic language. The evidence they present for their case includes: Loss of some ...