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On Thu, 7 May 2009 10:23:51 +0200, Benct Philip Jonsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Andrew Jarrette skrev:
>> On Wed, 6 May 2009 19:01:47 +0200, Benct Philip Jonsson <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
>>
>>> Peter Collier skrev:
>>>> I suspect, but could anyone confirm if the Old High
>>>> German 'weibón' (to go back and forth) is cognate with
>>>> modern English 'to waver' (or perhaps 'to weave')?
>>> It is cognate with neither it seems.  It might be
>>> that "wave" < OE _wáfian_, but there seems to be
>>> another OE _wafian_ with a short _a_.  _wáfian_
>>> should become **_woave_ /wou)v/ in MnE.  There is
>>> no _*ai_ in the etyma of _weave_ and _wave_.
>>> A zero-grade of _*waib-_ would have _i_.
>>> There does seem to be an e-grade _vífa_
>>> (Pre-Gmc _*weib-_) in ON.  Apparently Torp
>>> thought _wife_ is cognate but don't ask me how
>>> (although marriage is confusing at times!)
>>>
>>
>> The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots lists <wife> as from
>> the IE root *ghwi:bh-, which occurs in Tocharian B <kwi:pe> and Tocharian A
>> <kip> in the meaning "female pudenda".
>
>I know.  I was rather wondering **how Torp thought _wife_
>was connected to _*weibh-_**, nor could I forego the joke
>about marriage being confusing...


Yah, I don't have a guess for what he was thinking about that semantic
connection.

>
>> Webster's New World College Dictionary lists <waver> as a Middle English
>> frequentative of <wave>, from Old English <wafian>, akin to German <waben>
>> "to fluctuate", from IE *webh- "to move to and fro" (perhaps ultimately the
>> same as *webh- "to weave"?AJ).
>
>That's the other _wafian_ (_wăfian_ with a short /a/).
>The word Pete was asking about is _wáfian_ (_wāfian_
>with a long /a:/) in Old English; remember Germanic
>_*ai_ > OE /a:/ but OHG /ei/.


Well, it was not clear from his statement that he was only talking about OE
<wa:fian> specifically; he just asked whether modern English <waver> (and
possibly <weave>) is related to OHG <weibo:n>.  You already explained that
it is not related to the OHG word, and that Modern Engl <wave> goes back to
OE <wafian> with a short <a>, not <a:> as would be expected for a cognate of
<weibo:n>.  I was just adding a short explanation of the form with <-er>,
since he asked about that form rather than <wave>.  Just to supplement the
information, in case he was still wondering about the origin of <waver> as
opposed to <wave> which you discussed.

>
>BTW I've been laughing all morning.  The connexion
>between _Feldwebel_ and VACILLARE made me remember
>the old Swedish routine with a colonel complaining
>about a _väbel_; it is from before the time you could
>use 'bad words' on stage or in print, and they got a
>truckload of fun out of the fact that _väbel_ is a
>near homonym of _jävel_ 'devil, bastard' by using
>several idioms and expressions were one would
>expect _jävel_, but saying _väbel_ instead!
>

What do German <webel> and Swedish <vbel> mean?  Does the German word only
occur in the compound <Feldwebel>?  Why choose that compound for the meaning
"sergeant"?

Andrew Jarrette