28 votes

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

It's also worth pointing out the term originates in German as Urgermanisch or Protogermanisch, and that the German for German is Deutsch, not Germanisch. It was intended to be more neutral w.r.t. ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
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26 votes
Accepted

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

Roman authors, at the latest from the time of Caesar, used "Germani" to identify all the "Germanic" tribes on both sides of the Rhine. So this usage has been established for a long ...
fdb's user avatar
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17 votes
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How different were Proto-Italic and Proto-Germanic?

As you noticed, there is something common between modern Romance and Germanic languages which is not shared by other Indo-European languages. It does not come from their ancestral languages (Latin and ...
Frédéric Grosshans's user avatar
14 votes

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

It is not the case that pretty much all PGmc words are from PIE. Many well-known linguists have turned their attention to the problem of precisely why PGmc had such a large proportion of non-IE ...
legatrix's user avatar
  • 717
13 votes

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

The other answers have all touched on different aspects of the question, but I'll try to combine them. Thousands of years ago, the Romans named much of north-central Europe Germānia, and the people ...
Draconis's user avatar
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12 votes
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Have linguistics found any evidence that Semitic languages influenced Germanic languages or vice versa (in ancient times)?

There are some very controversial theories by the German linguist Theo Vennemann postulating a contact between Phoenician and proto-Germanic in the 6th to 3rd century BCE. The evidence for such ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
12 votes

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

I am not an expert on Old Norse, but my guess that in Old Norse happened something similar as in the development of the German language: The second person singular acquired a new -t from the start of ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
12 votes

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

It is certainly puzzling, and not only to you. The problem has frustrated many scholars and is thus described on page 724 of The Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North ...
pinnerup's user avatar
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10 votes

How different were Proto-Italic and Proto-Germanic?

Even if these languages belong to the Indo-European family, there's a huge gap of time and space standing between Pre-Italic and Pre-Germanic languages. "A probable cladistic tree of the IE family"(a)...
suizokukan's user avatar
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8 votes
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Are English 'gay' and Norwegian 'gøy' cognates?

According to the Norske Akademis Ordbok, gøy is from English “gay”.
melissa_boiko's user avatar
8 votes

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

Names are to a good part conventions. It is historically long established to name the group of languages consisting of the Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic; but not ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
7 votes

West Germanic Th-Stopping

Th-stopping of original Proto-Germanic voiced /d~ð/ to /d/ in all contexts is normal for Old English. It seems to be a common feature of West Germanic languages. The modern-day /ð/ in "father" is due ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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7 votes

How did Proto-Indo-European *septm evolve into English "seven"?

The excellent German etymological dictionary by Pfeiffer has this: sieben Num. Ahd. sibun (8. Jh.), mhd. siben (md. siven), asächs. siҍun, mnd. sēven, sȫven, mnl. sēven, nl. zeven, aengl. seofon, ...
fdb's user avatar
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7 votes
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Possible extrapolation of old German word "hansa" to protogermanic and possibly common root with Sanskrit "sangha"

Sangha is from Sanskrit *saṃ- (PIE *sem) "together" + *han- (PIE *gʷʰén) "strike, kill", and originally in Sanskrit meant "struck, put together". Hansa (referring to the Hanseatic league) is ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is English "lake" Derived from Latin, or is it Indo-European?

The word is without doubt Indo-European, the question is whether it is strictly Germanic or did it come via Latin. Pokorny says *laku is the source of Gr. λάκκος, lat. lacus, OIr. loch, and lagu etc. ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes

Not affected by Grimm's Law?

The Wiktionary entry for "path" does a terrible job of making this clear, but the reconstructed Germanic form *paþaz is generally thought to be a loanword taken from some other Indo-European ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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6 votes

Umlaut in Gothic

It's the result of lowering of /u/ before the consonants /h~x/, /hʷ~xʷ~ʍ/ and /r/. According to Winfred P. Lehmann in Gothic and the Reconstruction of Proto-Germanic, short /o/ and /u/ (and short /e/ ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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6 votes

Why do phonemes such as /r/ and /ɾ/ evolve into uvular sounds like /ʀ/?

Any answer given here will perforce be speculative, but... There is a well-known speech impediment, rhotacism (or de-rhotacization), whereby speakers cannot pronounce sounds similar to the alveolar ...
pablodf76's user avatar
  • 1,235
6 votes

When was Proto-Germanic spoken?

Roughly, 500 BCE - 200 CE. There's no firm date at which Proto-Germanic stops being Proto-Indo-European, or becomes other Germanic languages. These are all artificial divisions imposed on a continuous ...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes
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Do "wise" and "wissen" share the same root?

These words are indeed cognate! They both stem from the PIE root *weyd-, meaning "to know" or "to perceive", along with less obvious cognates like "guide", "vision", and "eidolon". In Proto-Indo-...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes

To what extent are Zero Period loans from Latin into Germanic evidence that the Germanic peoples acquired technologies from the Romans?

“Wine” is a prehistoric wander word occurring not only in Indo-European, but also in Semitic (Arabic wayn, Hebrew yayin etc.) and Kartvelian. It is possible that Germanic had it from Latin, but that ...
fdb's user avatar
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6 votes

How implausible is it for the name "Oslo" to have come from the Semitic root w-ṣ-l instead of from Proto-Norse *ansuz +‎ *lauhō?

The original name of the city was Ánslo, and the decomposition into *ansuz + *lauhō is uncontroversial and completely non-problematic. One can always conjecture that true source was something else, ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes

How implausible is it for the name "Oslo" to have come from the Semitic root w-ṣ-l instead of from Proto-Norse *ansuz +‎ *lauhō?

The existing answer has addressed the plausibility of the Germanic etymology. I will address the plausibility of the Semitic etymology. First of all, Phoenician, like all other Northwest Semitic ...
Tristan's user avatar
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5 votes
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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?

Linguistic evidence can be combined with other historical and archaeological evidence to form hypotheses, but the existence of loans alone cannot be used to prove this, because: Loans can exist ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
5 votes

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

As Anixx said, a shift from /kʷ/ or /kw/ to /p/ isn't at all unprecedented. To add a few more examples: The "P-Celtic" languages: Welsh pen ~ Irish ceann < */kʷenn/ "head" The "P-Italic" languages:...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes

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

It is of course right that Gothic has Verner's Law variants -χ- / -ng- (spelled <h> /<gg>, respectively), as seen in your first two examples. It is also right that tuggo has a zero grade ...
lvcivs's user avatar
  • 253
4 votes

West Germanic Th-Stopping

Spelling with -th- (15c.) reflects widespread phonetic shift in Middle English that turned -der to -ther in many words, perhaps reinforced in this case by Old Norse forms; spelling caught up to ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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4 votes

Do "wise" and "wissen" share the same root?

Yes, en wise and de wissen share a root, but not as recently as Levenstein distance would suggest. de weise is more directly cognate with en wise, whereas de wissen is directly cognate with en wit, ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Was there a Proto-Germannic root of "miskunn"

From Bokmålsordboka: miskunn m1 (norrøntmisskunn, egentlig 'det å ikke skylde en for noe', -kunn beslektet med kunne med eldre betydning 'skylde') særlig i religiøst språk: (Guds) nåde A ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Why does PIE *weydtos give PGmc wīsaz not wīssaz?

It probably did, but one of the last phonological changes that happened to create what we call ‘Proto-Germanic’ was that long *ss was reduced to short *s after long vowels or diphthongs. More ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar

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