Questions tagged [proto-germanic]

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

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6 votes
2 answers
558 views

Are English 'gay' and Norwegian 'gøy' cognates?

Norwegian gøy means "fun" in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Does this word have anything to do with English gay? Wiktionary says gay comes ultimately from Proto-Germanic ganhuz "sudden" via Old French gai ...
0 votes
0 answers
31 views

Help me find grammatical innovations across Germanic languages? [closed]

Odd request, but I'm compiling a list of any and all grammatical innovations across all Germanic languages that I can find to use them for a project. What do I define as a "grammatical innovation&...
0 votes
1 answer
61 views

Is it not plausible that English "wraith" could be connected to Proto-Germanic "*wraith-" or its derivatives?

For wraith, OED has: 1510s, "ghost," Scottish, of uncertain origin. Weekley and Century Dictionary suggest Old Norse vorðr "guardian" in the sense of "guardian angel." ...
-4 votes
1 answer
58 views

Is OE "g" iegland from Pgmc "w" or "j" awjōlandą?

Is OE "g" iegland from Pgmc "w" or "j" awjōlandą?
14 votes
2 answers
989 views

Development of Old Norse 2nd and 3rd person sg. (present indicative) forms of "to be"

I was comparing the conjugations of "to be" in Old Norse and Proto-Germanic, and it looks like ON has flipped the 2nd and 3rd person singular forms. Is this what happened, or is there some ...
1 vote
1 answer
75 views

Why Gothic fairweitjan doesn't have an ablaut?

Gothic "jan" means a causative (e.g. driggkan "to drink" drankjan "to give drink to"). Gothic "ei" PGmc ī should turn into "ai" (e.g. dreiban "to ...
25 votes
5 answers
6k views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
56 views

Why does PIE *weydtos give PGmc wīsaz not wīssaz?

Why does PIE *weydtos give PGmc wīsaz not wīssaz? compare Pgmc *stassiz, *gawissiz, *kwissiz
-1 votes
1 answer
63 views

Why Does PGmc *smalaz (from PIE *(s)mal-) have "a" (not "o")?

Why Does PGmc *smalaz (from PIE *(s)mal-) have "a" (not "o")?
-1 votes
1 answer
29 views

What is the name of PIE "en+Consonant" > PGmc "in+Consonant" process?

What is the name of changing PIE "en+Consonant" to PGmc "in+Consonant" process (*pent- > *finþaną)?
1 vote
0 answers
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Why do Germanic languages signal stressed short vowels by writing orthographically closed syllables?

In learning spelling and pronunciation rules for English, German, and Swedish, I always assumed that Germanic languages tend to distinguish stressed short and long vowels according to orthographic ...
1 vote
0 answers
90 views

Why does Old Norse ‘Óláfr’ have á instead of ei?

The Proto-Germanic (PG) diphthong *ai generally becomes ei in Old Norse (ON), except regularly before an original *h and commonly before r (but only from PG *r, not from rhotacised PG *z). Examples ...
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

Why have we named this proto language proto-Germanic? Apparently it developed in southern Scandinavia. Then expanded (via migration or contact?) towards what's now Germany. I wonder why linguists ...
10 votes
2 answers
673 views

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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
76 views

What is the name of Proto-Germanic e/ē lengthening?

What is the name of Proto-Germanic e/ē lengthening before ō? *kwelaną *kwēlō *wrekaną *wrēkō *sprekaną *sprēkō *frehnaną *frēgō I know that e/ē lengthening before "i" is Vṛddhi gerundive? *...
1 vote
0 answers
91 views

Why Proto-Germanic *frēgō is reconstructed?

Why Proto-Germanic *frēgō is reconstructed on the following forms (not *fragō PIE o-grade of *frehnaną )? from wiktionary
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

a-stem genitive singular in NW Germanic languages

This is a classic problem and I'm not sure I expect a good answer to it, but it's worth it anyway. The question is partly about what appears to be some specious reasoning around Verner's Law forms and ...
0 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is Proto-Balto-Slavic zero-grade from long zero-grade i? [closed]

Is Proto-Balto-Slavic zero-grade from long zero-grade i pílˀnas wilkás źírˀna śírˀnāˀ Is Proto-Germanic zero-grade from long zero-grade u fullaz wulfaz kurną hurną
1 vote
1 answer
284 views

Why did 'r' disappear in English "speak" (compare German "sprechen") and in German "Welt" (compare English "world")?

I cannot help but notice some 'r'-s seem to have randomly disappeared in both German and English. What is going on there?
4 votes
1 answer
291 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
97 views

Why are Proto-West Germanic hwaʀ and OHG wēr cognate?

Why are Proto-West Germanic hwaʀ and OHG wēr cognate? What is the kind of mutation a > ē?
1 vote
1 answer
118 views

Could Proto-Germanic *tīhaną be a "ē-grade" of *tungǭ zero-grade?

Could Proto-Germanic *tīhaną be an ē-grade of *tungǭ zero-grade? Gothic has -h- / -ng-: huhrus – huggrjan juhiza – juggs ga-teihan – tuggo ?
0 votes
1 answer
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Is there evidence for expletives (ie. dummy subjects) in Proto-Germanic? What can we say about the situation in IE?

I am aware that obligatory expletives did not exist in early ON and perhaps also not in early OHG, but my knowledge of the specifics is hazy. In OE at least, I believe expletives in conjunction with ...
1 vote
1 answer
224 views

Did Grimm's law take effect only 2500 years ago?

Some of the indo-european languages* are documented to be up to 3800 years old, like Hethitic, or 3600 years for Greek. So one would expect that the others are not substantially younger. (* I refer to ...
1 vote
1 answer
195 views

Proto-Indo-European *nepōts cognate in Old English

From Proto-Indo-European word *nepōts (Latin nepos, Sanskrit napāt) I need to determine what is its cognate in Old English. More precisely, I need to determine whether the result is nefa (Grimm's Law) ...
6 votes
0 answers
573 views

Why is the word "wherefore" not "whatfore" and the word "therefore" not "thatfore" and related anomalies

There is a pronominal adverb in many germanic languages that is a conjunction of the descendants of the proto-germanic words *hwar (where) + *furi (for/fore) which means something very similar to "for ...
0 votes
1 answer
211 views

Petwor and fedwor?

In Proto-Germanic, the word for four is *fedwor. But, in Proto-Indo-European, it was *kwetwores. In pre-Grimm Germanic times, it was pronounced *petwor. Hmm. When was this word a petwor, and why did ...
1 vote
3 answers
357 views

Why does it seem that all Proto-Germanic words have PIE roots?

In Latin, there are words from Etruscan and unknown sources. In Proto-Germanic, pretty much all words are from Proto-Indo-European. Why is that? Are the Proto-Germanic peoples and language very ...
3 votes
1 answer
219 views

When turned "to hear" into "to belong" in Germanic Languages?

In most Germanic languages the verbs for „to hear“ and „to belong [to]“ are the same or very closely related. It seems a plausible explanation, that in practice belonging to someone (G. gehören) meant ...
0 votes
1 answer
183 views

What semantic notions underlie PIE *meh₂d- ('wet') and Proto-Germanic *matōną, *matjaną (“to feed, eat”)?

I was reading the etymology of amadouer when I lighted on these attested morphemes: Etymology From Middle French amadouer (“to coax, lure”), from a- + *madouer (“to lure, give food to”), from ...
5 votes
0 answers
81 views

How was excession expressed in Proto-Germanic?

The state of excession (of an adjective) is indicated differently accross Germanic languages. West Germanic Languages (E: too long, Du: te lang, G: zu lang) build it by the use of descendants from ...
-4 votes
2 answers
603 views

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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
97 views

(proto-)Germanic evidence for Late Latin vowel length

I would like to find a list of borrowings illustrating the reflexes in (proto-)Germanic of Latin long and short vowels. In particular I would like to find substantiation to the standard claim that it ...
6 votes
3 answers
1k 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?...
1 vote
2 answers
208 views

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 "...
2 votes
1 answer
124 views

Was there a Proto-Germannic root of "miskunn"

I was not able to find an etymology of ON "miskunn" within PrG. Is the first syllable a prefix "mis-" indicating any "wrong kunn, lack of kunn" or a deformed "midi-" as in E "com-passion", G "Mit-leid"...
5 votes
2 answers
730 views

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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
541 views

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 (...
3 votes
1 answer
210 views

Could someone illuminate for me how PGmc *suma and *sama(n) were derived?

Ie, I am assuming that they are both ultimately deriviative of PIE *sem-/*som-. So, how are they derived from this, in terms of morphemes, and their meanings? I have skimmed through both Ringe and ...
3 votes
1 answer
210 views

Homophones in Proto-Germanic

Does anyone know reconstructed homophones in Proto-Germanic or where I could look them up? I am interested in clear homophones, not polysemes.
7 votes
2 answers
4k views

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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
280 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
316 views

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" ...
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

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.
3 votes
3 answers
433 views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
226 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
89 views

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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

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. ...
4 votes
3 answers
706 views

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 ...