Print

Print


----- Original Message -----

> From: R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Cc: 
> Sent: Thursday, 5 September 2013, 3:03
> Subject: Re: Choosing a word for "German"
> 
> On 04/09/2013 16:59, Paul Schleitwiler, FCM wrote:
>>  "The _German-_ names derive not from any direct contact
>>  with these peoples, but from the Latin _Germanus,
>>  Germania_ (the origin of the Latin term is not
>>  certain)."
>> 
>>  From "herman" (herr man), warrior.
> 
> So why the change of /h/ --> /g/ 

Perhaps the Germans they first met had sore throats and the [x] sound of
WGmc h- came out particularly rough and garbled? ;)))

> and does that account for the long-a of the Latin _Germānus_ ?

Could this not simply be Lat. germāni, in the "brothers and sisters" sense?
That is, a sort of "clan" or "confederation" of Germanic relations, rather
than some kind of borrowing? If it were a borrowing, what might you
have expected, something like *xermanus or *kermanus or something
like that?

> The word is first attested in the writings of Julius Caesar
> and is generally considered to be of Gaulish origin, which
> would certainly make sense.  It could be that "herr man" got
> transmogrified on its way through Gaulish into Latin, and
> that theory is certainly held by some. But other Celtic
> derivations have also been suggested, connecting it
> variously with words for: neighbor (gair), battle-cry
> (gairm-), spear (ger), to shout (gar-).  There possibly are
> other theories as well.

Indeed. And, from what I've read, there does seem to be some
confusion as to who, in that region, were actually Celtic and who
were actually Germanic. Would Caesar have known or cared?
Not being facetious, but did he (or the Romans in general) distinguish 
broad cultural / linguistic groups the way we do? Did he understand 
the difference between Germanic and Celtic (linguistically)?

> Without time-travel or other more tangible evidence, we
> cannot IMO be sure where JC got the word from.
> 
> The words _German_ and _Germany_ appear not to be attested
> in English until the 16th century, replacing earlier terms
> such as Almain/ Alman (of French origin) or Dutch (of German
> origin, and now reserved reserved for the inhabitants of the
> Netherlands).

And Pennsylvania!

> Ray

Padraic