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Thread: Relationship Between the English and German Languages

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnenerbe View Post
    There was clearly one group of speakers of a single Indo-European dialect, proto-Germanic; these people probably settled in southern Sweden and in Denmark between four and five thousand years ago.
    This is outdated information, current research postulates the area of today's Lower Saxony as the most likely Germanic Urheimat.

    Proto-Germanic was a language that inflected nouns in cases. The cases were nominative, accusative, genitive and dative.
    This is incorrect, as this is the current case system in f.ex. German. Proto-Germanic is likely to have at least five, possibly seven or eight of the original eight or nine (depending how one judges the Hethitic Allative) Indo-Germanic casus.

    Old High German and Old English retain remnants of an Instrumental case, which makes it a given for Proto-Germanic. Gothic also retains some limited Vocative forms. There is no proof of a long retention of Locative or Ablative cases, however old N. Germanic Dative has numerous original Locative endings, whilst Gothic retains some Ablative reflexes in adverbial constructions.

    This means it's well possibly that a given pre-Germanic or proto-Germanic era continued a similar inventory than is retained to this day in Balto-Slavic languages (some scholars postulate erstwhile Germanic-Baltic-Slavic linguistic unity, basing this mostly on prosody, notably the existence of trimoraic vowels in some of the ancient material).

    Th would suggest that Ablative - except in remnants - was first to go, and probably in a pre-Germanic era (Lithuanian, as the most conservative language in Europe has merged the Abtlative and Dative, this is basically true for Germanic languages as well), whilst Locative was probably carried into the proto-Germanic era, but soon lost.

    Genitive is what we'd now call "possessive,"
    The old, inherited Genitive is really much more diverse than that, and takes many functions in several Indo-Germanic languages to this date, notably the Slavic languages.

    Standard German also has some remnants of this importance, some prepositions and verbs command genitive exclusively (albeit disappearing in common parlance in favour of the Dative, and long so in most dialects), the view of genitive as a "possessive case" is a very Anglocentric position.

    Here are some other interesting things about proto-Germanic grammar: instead of just two numbers, singular and plural, pronouns had a third number, dual.
    In some cases, the dual forms were retained in several Indo-Germanic languages (in f.ex. Slovenian it's still productive), albeit used mostly in a plural context these days:

    The most notable are the Bavarian pronouns "ees, enker" instead of "ihr, eier", this is originally a dual form. One might like to notice also that "dual" is - albeit often a natural pair - a number that may originally also refer to groups of natural threes or fours; this is basically one theory why some languages declense numerals and ordinals up to four.

    Proto-Germanic was a gendered language with three genders, masculine feminine and neuter.
    This is still the case in German, and very productive, including some words that hop the boundary of natural gender, notably das Kind "the child" or das Mädchen "the girl". Some that are now f.ex. masculine used to be neuter (notably dialectal Baam, pl. Baama, that's the old neuter Nom/Acc Pl. -a)

    The Ostrogoths conquered Italy and the Visigoths conquered Spain; the Vandals made it all the way to North Africa--but their impact on the later languages of those areas is negligible.
    Some vocabulary was retained, we see this f.ex. in the fact, that no Western Romance tongue has stuck to its own word for "war" (German word Kriegswirren is etymologically speaking a figure etymologica, both meaning "war"): guerro, guerre (< Frankish *werra < PG *werza) instead of bello, belle (< Latin bellum < Old Latin duellum).

    The phonological dimension is uncertain. Some have conjecture that the richness of the spoken Spanish language in fricatives and spirants is either due to Celtiberian, Visigothic, Arabic, or internal dynamics. The test is out.

    Most of these are rivers: the Thames, the Trent, the Avon, the Derwent. Two county names are Celtic: Devon and Kent, as are the Corn- of Cornwall and the Cumber- of Cumberland.
    How one could forget about place-names alongside these, is beyond me. Most of Anglo-Norman Scottish Lowlands are rich in Celtic place names, they also pervade England to some extent, and most notable is of course York, which was re-interpreted by different forms of folk etymology no less than three times!

    Again there are place-names, especially those that end in -chester (from the Latin castra, "camp").
    ...forgetting all towns ending in -minster.

    Ernst Haeckel's semi-linear evolutionary tree of the Indo-Germanic and Aryan languages (from the 5th ed. of The Evolution of Man, 1910)[/CENTER]
    It over-rates the influence of Low German on the advent of today's Standard German. Most of the differences in inherited words is because Old High German (Low German did not undergo most of the High German consonant shift) did all the interesting things on the consonants whilst Old English performed all the interesting things on the vowels, Low German naturally taking an intermediate position.

    High German: Ich rauche (an) meiner Pfeife.
    Low German: Ik rooke (an) mine Pipe.
    English: ~I reek [smoke] mine pipe (of course it's [main] and [paip], but that's later parallel development]
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    I split my replies due to length

    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    If Gothic is that unrelated with German, how comes that these three genitive cases are basically exact the same? Not just similar, but the same.
    Conservative vowels. English us is, when we see it in written form, also identical to German uns for the simple exception of the /n/ dropping out and the /u/ lengthening (making a later shift possible)

    Regardless of the aforementioned point, I think that English sciencific texts are more and more inunderstandable to me.
    Blame all those intellectuals beginning in the renaissance era. As if the English language hadn't already Frenchified enough, they thought it sounded sophisticated if they talked all-Latin.

    That's why the common man's English is really Germanic in feel, but the learnt man's English is an awfully Latinate mess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    Well, that could be, but there´re also other examples where, for example, Bavarian dialect is nearer to English than Standard German - by coindcidence or not.
    The /oa/ is a later parallel development, better visible in words like Loab vs. loaf or broat vs. broad - another English term untertaking this is actually the non-Latinate word for a street, road, which is quite literally a form of way which allows to be ridden on.

    It's funny because in reality, dialect is of course always more archaic than the standard language, and we see this because we still basically say OHG bruoder, muoter, liob, huot, ruota, muot, tiuri as Bruada, Muata, liab, Huat, Ruatn, Muat, tuir (at least here) --- English would be brother, mother (both originally with a long /o/), (love), hood, rood, modd, dear,...

    This pervades to vocabulary of course: the Alemannic do "liesna und luaga" (listen and look), the Tyrolese do "schnackseln" when they have sex (yea, that's LG snakken, Nordic snacka/snakke, English snack and snatch) - the Semantic relation between "visiting the girl next door for a talk" and the bodies doing the talking is probably too obvious to need to elaborate.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Two people have mentioned the differences between German and English regarding scientific language. Here is really the biggest difference between the two languages. English uses Latin based words and German uses new words made up of other German words. So you have to learn your languages scientific words and then you have to learn the other languages scientific words and then for each science, you have to relearn the whole thing over again.

    Also mentioned was the Frenchification of English. I've got a flash, to get on a Ph.D. program in German language for any school of any repute you have to pass a French proficiency test. Latin has contributed to the German language. Latin and French have contributed to the English language as well.

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