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CONLANG  July 2000, Week 2

CONLANG July 2000, Week 2

Subject:

Re: R: Re: English oddities

From:

Lars Henrik Mathiesen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 12 Jul 2000 19:56:10 +0200

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> Date:         Wed, 12 Jul 2000 13:43:25 +0200
> From: Mangiat <[log in to unmask]>

> Well, I'm happy, because I like it! That 'yule' has a very Scandinavian
> sound (wasn't the Danish word for Xmas 'jul'?).

It still is. From ON jl, IIRC, presumably the name of a solstice
celebration of some sort.

> SOME OTHER QUESTIONS
>
> English has 'it', German 'es', Swedish 'ett', Latin 'id'. Where's Dutch
> 'het' from? Perhaps analogy with 'hij' (male)?

The etymology of pronouns is a subject that often generates more noise
than light. Their declension tends to preserve archaisms, which may
even transfer by analogy to other pronouns where they are "against the
sound laws." And pronouns can develop suddenly out of any other part
of speech, even phrases: ON had nokkurr (someone) from ne veit ek
hverr (I don't know who). So there may not be an answer to your query.

But in Modern Swedish 'ett' is the number one, that much is sure.

And for what it's worth, ON had a pair af demonstrative pronouns, hinn
and inn --- neuter hit/it --- which may or may not have anything to do
with the Dutch word.

PIE had a number of different demonstrative roots, *ke/o- and *te/o-
among them. I remember nothing that I may have read about the subject,
but as a pure guess *ke- might occur in some Germanic pronouns in hi-,
and *to- in some of the ones in a-.

> Almost every germanic lang has the *bleiv- root: German 'bleiben', Dutch
> 'blijven', Swedish 'bleva'(?). English has the Romance 'remain' and his own
> 'abide' (OE a^bi^dan). What's more, I've tried to find cognates of 'bleiv-'
> in Gothic and OHG. None. What's your opinion?

It's not a Germanic root as such, but try bi-laiban in Gothic. IIRC,
bleiben was formed in German (reduced form of beleiben) and entered
the other languages from there. If I had my dictionary here, I'd check
English believe as well.

(Semantically, it went from live by to stay, remain. Interestingly,
Danish (Norwegian and Swedish too?) has had a further semantic shift
to become and thence to a passive perfective modal).

> German has 'schn', Dutch 'schoon' (?). Where's the English cognate?
> Shouldn't it be 'shoon' (beautiful is from French)?

Danish has skn, too. But for Danish and Dutch I wouldn't rule out a
loan from German, however the word may have originated there. For
English, did you try looking up the etymology of shine and sheen?

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)

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