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Month: February 2017

How are “boon”, “ban”, “prophet” and “fame” related?

“boon” meaning “blessing, benefit” come from Old Norse “bón” where it meant “prayer” or “petition”. This word ultimately comes Proto Indo European *bʰeh₂- where it meant “to say”.

“ban” comes from Proto Germanic *bannaną where it meant “curse” or “forbid” and it took came from Proto Indo European *bʰeh₂-

“fame” comes from Old French “fame” where it meant “celebrity” or “renown”. This word came from Latin fāma where it meant “talk”, “rumour” or “reputation”. This word ultimately also came from Proto Indo European *bʰeh₂-

You may be wondering how “prophet” is related? Well, it came into English from Latin prophēta. But Latin got it from Ancient Greek προφήτης ‎(prophḗtēs) where it meant “one who speak for a god”. The “phḗ” part comes from “phēmí” which means “I say”, and you guessed it, that too comes from Proto Indo European *bʰeh₂-

All of these are examples of semantic shift, which means that words change meaning over time. “boon” now means “benefit”, but it used to mean “prayer” or “petition” which is usually something spoken.

“ban” is also derived from the Proto Indo European word “to speak” because when people were banned it usually was the result of spoken commands, as you can see in the Old English version of the word. “ban” comes from Old English “bannan” where it meant “to summon” or “to proclaim”.

“prophet” is someone who speaks for a god, so the speaking connection is clear there. “fame” is quite interesting because it started out just meaning “reputation” or “rumour”.  Well, as people talk about someone, there reputation can grow, and as your reputation grows, you might eventually become famous.

Word connections are all around us, and these are but a few of them 🙂

An article about German replaced with English cognates

The article about the German language in German replaced with English cognates. If a cognate doesn’t exist, I tried to create one that is as close to what the real one would be if it existed

Dutch Speech

The dutch speech beteewise dutch offcurted Dt., Dtsch., is a West Germanic Speech. Ye speechroom umfetch Dutchland, Eastern Empire, the German Swiss, Lightstone, Littlecastle, East Belgium, South Tirol, that Else Sazo and Lutheringen sowhy North Sleswich. Outerthem is she a minihoodspeech in any european and outer-european lands to byspell in Romania and South Africa, sowhy national speech in african Namibia.

The standard speech, that standard dutch, set sik out standard variants the roof speech tosame. The dutch speechroom bestand orspringlike alone out an fulltale fan high dutch and nether dutch mouth arts, the innerhalf the continental west germanic dialect continuums mid-one-other bind sint.

The Germanistics is the academic discipline of ghostwitship the the dutch speech and dutch speechish literature and your historical and againstwart forms erforced, documented and middled.

The article translated into English

The German Language or German shortened to Dt., Dtsch., is a West Germanic language.

Its usage area includes Germany, Austria, German Switzerland, Liechenstenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium, Southern Tirol, Alsace and Lorraine as well as North Schleswig. Besides this, it is a minority language in a few european and outside european countries, such as Romanian and South Africa, as well as a national language in african Namibia.

The standard language, Standard German, consists of standard varities of the common German lingua francas brought together. The german usage area consisted originally of only a multitude of high german and low german dialects, which are themselves connected by being part of the continental west germanic dialect continuum.

Germanistics is the academic discipline in the Humanities where the german language and german language literature in its current and historical forms is researched, documented and disseminated.

Cognates vs translation

Cognates are words that share a common ancestor. For example, “Zweig” comes from Proto Germanic *twīgą as does Modern English “twig”.

“Zweig” can mean both “branch” and “twig”, but the English cognate has lost one of those meanings.

Cognates sometimes diverge a lot over time, such as “merry” being cognate with Ancient Greek “βρᾰχῠ́ς ‎(brakhús) which means “arm”.

Other times two cognates have the same meaning as in English “ship” and German “Schiff”.

Translation, on the other hand, seeks to translate the meaning of the original, and using words that are merely etymologically related is a minor concern. Translation often changed the whole sentence to make sure the sense is carried across.