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> For example, sound [k] changed to [h] from Latin to Germanic, and the Latin word casa transformed into the English house.

The way this is written is incorrect. German is not a daughter of Latin, and the word "house" has a fully understood old Germanic origin [1].

Borrowings from Latin to German starting with the hard c sound retain that sound.

The relationship between the old Germanic and old Latin is that of cousins. The various Proto-Indo-European "k" sounds became "h" in Germanic and retained their "k" pronunciation in Latin.


English PIE Latin

hound kyon canis

who kwo- qui

1. https://blog.oup.com/2015/01/house-word-origin-etymology/


> From Proto-Germanic hudjǭ (“hut, shelter”), from Proto-Indo-European (s)kewdʰ- (“to cover, wrap, encase”), from *(s)kew- (“to cover”).

So the article is indeed incorrect in attributing it to Latin - it came straight from Proto-Indo-European.

de.wiktionary is less optimistic about it. AFAIK \sk should reflect in German "Sch-", not "H-" whereas the s-mobile going amis or never being there is yet unexplained; assuming k-, it is a lot closer to casa; The clue for \sk would be shed, but a shed is not a house, by far. Ii is not impossible that a few family terms (house of [family X], caste, husband [cp. Persian band* "dear") where exchanged or reinforced before the sound shift, perhaps mediated through Celtic; Or a the other direction, into Latin ... As far as Ger and Cel are concerned, 0 BC counts as prehistoric.

PS: if Haut "cutis, skin" and Haus "house, family, sex" ("race"?) share a root, is that a remnant of racism? Scandalous!

> PS: if Haut "cutis, skin" and Haus "house, family, sex" ("race"?) share a root, is that a remnant of racism?

No, because even if they did share a connection related to "skin", there are far simpler speculative explanations, like animal skin being used as a covering for a tent like house structure, like on a yurt.

Hehe, indeed "he's after my leather" means he's after me/my skin, in German (jemandem an's Leder wollen).

A Scheuerlappen, "rag cloth" like a burlap, might be out of leather, though usually of rather coarser material. Just saying so because yurt (from mongolic) reminds of shirt, skirt and Schürze, in rhyme. However the r implies another root, "to cut", same as for Geschir "cutlery, dishes; harness [of horses]; vessel" (though zurren, zerren "to strap, stretch" might be akin, also see zieren, too).

I don't think your notion is implausible, but we have the words tent and Zelt already, and howmany more. housing in that sense, as something movable, could be paradox for a immobilia, but who knows.

While "to hide, conceal" might explain the connection reasonably (note that hide~leather is related closer to Haut than hiding), that would have to be the connection to rule out all others, but it's not that simple. Many \ske- roots relate to "to cut", and in my mind many figurative idioms can be derived from that sense to explain this or that. On the other hand, s-mobile may be treated as a prefix, and, assuming the prefix was sek- originally (i.e. "off"?), then we are left with a load of short stems -et, -es, .... Which reminds of some Akkadian words, and the question about who invented the se-dentry life style.

Hey, it's tangential but it always funny to me... Are you perhaps german? I have no idea what other language would have "language" as feminine =). Though, in polish "speech" is. One of the meanings is quite close, esp. In the example of "mother speech" which seems like a direct copy of mutterspraeche. Its exatcly the same in meaning and literal translation.

I think it is interesting how words got their gender established as part of their etymology. It baffled me when learing german that every other word had it different and it's important for grammar.

> Are you perhaps german?

Nope, just a historical linguistics enthusiast, like a few others around here.

> I have no idea what other language would have "language" as feminine =).

Quite a few languages' words for language is grammatically "feminine", OTTOMH:

Arabic: "lugha(t)"

Sanskrit: "bhaashaa"

But grammatical gender of words without obvious gender associations shouldn't be interpreted in the biological sense of gender.

For example, there are languages whose "gender" system is actually more transparent, representing dichotomies like "animate" vs "inanimate", or "rational" (an entity capable of reason) vs "irrational".

Calling this phenomenon "gender" reflects a historical bias from the study of traditional Indo European and Semitic languages, which repurpose biological gender for grammatical gender, but it should really be called "noun classification" or something similar.

In Ukrainian, the word "language" is feminine as well (and it's not derived from the anatomical word for "tongue" like in most other languages).

That's interesting considering how closely Russian and Ukrainian are related and that in Russian, it's masculine and the synonym for the anatomical "tongue".

In German, Zunge "tongue" is fem. As is "Sprache", and most any other noun on "-e". "Zung'" just doesn't flow well, and it's not an "-er" (e.g. tonguer, which would be one with ... I need to look up the etymology of it). Equally, speaker, speach, speak, but there is no noun ablauting -ach with long A in all of German. That would be preterit verbs, which have no gender. That's where the noun is likely from, ie. the past participle slash gerund, cp. Gespräch "a talk [that was had]", or at least it had to dissimilate.

yup it's strange, for instance Serbian and Croatian are almost the same in many things (even used to be treated as one language for a long time before the political split), but still many common words have a different gender - e.g "flu" is in Sebia "grip" (masculine), while in Croatia it's "gripa" (feminine), but "planet" is in Croatia just "planet" (masculine), while in Serbia it became "planeta" (feminine). And there are even the words like "bol" (pain) that is written and pronounced exactly the same in both languages, but feminine in Croatian, and masculine in Serbian.

Gender often follows pronounciation, not the other way around. Female inflection correlates with objective inflection, to a degree. Dropping Ablaut "-a" is not too odd. Ger. "Grippe" is often used as a name, thus without article, just as you say "I have [sickness]", except for "flu", where flu is maybe influenced by flow.

grip is identical to the Serbian version in Albanian, masculine too planet instead in Albanian is masculine, like the Croatian version, interesting.

Portuguese and Spanish:

tongue (can mean language as well): a língua portuguesa, la lengua española.

language is different, Portuguese is feminine, and Spanish is masculine: a linguaguem de programação, el lenguaje de programación.

idiom is masculine in both: o idioma português, el idioma español.

Apparently (according wiktionary) the reconstructed vulgar latin word of origin, *linguaticum, was neutral.

While learning the language I've noted that in Portuguese words ending in ~gem are generally feminine regardless of their gender in French:

un garage -> uma garagem

un langage -> uma linguagem

un abordage -> uma abordagem

un bagage -> uma bagagem

And many, many others. My point is that I'm guessing that the diference in gender here is purely morphological and not tied to the meaning of the word and whether it's semantically tied to masculine or feminine traits (I'm sure you already knew all of that but I also know that English speakers often have misconceptions regarding how genders work in Romance languages, so I thought I'd clear it up).

> Apparently (according wiktionary) the reconstructed vulgar latin word of origin, *linguaticum, was neutral.

When the transition from 3 gender to 2 happened, neuter words had to be "assigned" to one gender or another. Sometimes this was just arbitrary, other times conditioned by phonology or semantics.

The same phenomenon occurred when Sanskrit's 3 gender system gave way to the dual gender system of the new-Indo-Aryan languages like Hindi. In that case, most neuter words became masculine because they were often already phonologically similar to masculine words in the accusative case.

It never occurred to me that words ending in -gem in Portuguese were mostly feminine. Guess we don't pay much attention to these things regarding our native language.

I have misconceptions about other Romance languages as well. I often confuse genders when trying to speak French, last week I learned moustache is feminine, while in Portuguese and Spanish it's masculine.

Italian too, lingua (tongue in both senses) is feminine, even if language (as in programming language) is linguaggio and is masculine.

Proto-Indo-European *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s 'tongue' was feminine, hence why all the languages mentioned in this subthread (except Hebrew) have the word for 'tongue' feminine.

If the reconstruction is feminine because of the evidence in the daughter languages, you are presenting a circular argument. Maybe there are more reasons for the reconstruction that I don't know, just as I don't know why the PIE root should have been female, which would be much more interesting.

I haven't seen "son x" for anything in English. But there are daughter languages, daughter companies. Perhaps more.

In Hebrew the word for language (שפה) is also feminine. And apparently from this comment thread...in many languages that's the case.

In French too, la langue is feminine.

Language is often linked with the world of the mother. The masculine term is more formal

In spanish and english there are a version masculine (El lenguaje / The language) and other feminine (La lengua / The tongue) with subtle differences in meaning but equivalent basically. The feminine term is polysemic.

It seems that French use only the second version, in a polysemic sense also.

French has both as well, "la langue" (the tongue, both the organ and the spoken word) and "le langage" (the language).

We only use "langue" for natural (for lack of a better word) languages. Programming languages are always "langages de programmation". I believe that the usage is strictly the same in English (you wouldn't lay "a programming tongue" either).

In Portugese, both a linguagem and a língua are feminine.

Greek has it feminine too.

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