E 0004 ACRE

The word "acre" is of Germanic origin

H 0025 א כ ר

Concept of root : farm

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

א כ ר ;

*א כ ר

ikkar ;

*aker

farmer ;

to farm (verb)

Related English words

acre

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

א כ ר

*א כ ר

ikkar

*aker

farmer ; farm (verb)

i kh . r

a kh . r

Greek

αγρος

agros

field

a g r .

Latin

ager

ager

cultivated field

a g . r

English

acre

acre, estate

a c . r

Middle English

cer

field, acre

German

Acker

akker

cultivated field

a k . r

Dutch

akker

akker

cultivated field

a k . r

 

 

Proto-Semitic *AKER --- *AGER Indo-European

 

 

We find here nearly the same root in three European language-groups as well as in Hebrew.

 

Note:
  • Acre. This English word has gradually developed from the meaning "field" into that of a piece of terrain of a certain defined dimension. Perhaps this was seen as particularly important for a proper practice of agriculture.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. The word for field, "ager", used around the Mediterranean , by Greeks and Latins, certainly has existed in Hebrew as well. We can say this because the word "ikkar" of this entry must have been shaped after a root sounding either "*akar" or "*aker". This last version is the most near the European ones. And it is the most probable one, because this root for "field" will have had the concept of a situation, not of an action. And in ancient Hebrew such roots are supplied with the couple of vowels "A+E", rather than "A+A". This latter one instead was more common for words indicating actions than for situations. One asks why the entry has "ikkar", thus with the vowels "I+A". This kind of vocalization of a root rather indicates an intensified action, exactly like that of a farmer working his fields. Hebrew is a rather logical and consequent language in the way it has shaped its words.

     

    Some scholars suppose that "ikkar" is a loanword from another Semitic language, Akkadian or even, via this one, from Sumerian, another very important language from ancient Mesopotamia. The first hypothesis, if true, would not change the basic fact of this Euro-Semitic kinship. The second one (Sumerian origin) is anyhow highly improbable, seen the existence of a number of related words in Hebrew itself.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. Sister words of Hebrew "ikkar"are found in various Semitic languages. א כ ר א, Aramaic "ikkar'" and Syriac "akkar'" stand for "farmer", just like Arabic "'akkar" and Akkadian "ikkaru". Also Amharic uses this root. Nouns are thus found both with behind the opening Aleph a vowel A as well as with a vowel I. The use of "I" can be explained as seen above, result of an intensive form . The basic root in Proto-Semitic must have been " א כ ר * Aleph Kaf Resh". In the comparison the vowels " A " and " E " have been supposed.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. In nearly all languages we find an opening vowel A, and following consonant K ( in Danish a "G") as well as a final consonant R. Nearly always there is a vowel , mostly E but sometimes A, between the K and R. Proto-Germanic probably had "*A K . R", with the K doubled and a second vowel pronounced.

 

Note:
  • Origin. The Latin word ager has its sisters in the mentioned Germanic words, and also in North Germanic, with for example Swedish "ger". "Agriculture" is a very important composed word, and extremely clear in its build-up from two roots. No wonder it has been so generally accepted. Likewise people do not wonder about the conclusion that there would have been an original Indo-European word "*agros", meaning "field".

     

    But when somebody supposes that this word "agros" has been derived from a root "*ag", saying "to drive cattle", we are way off track. "Ager" or perhaps "agros" does not mean an already cultivated field. This is the inevitable conclusion from the meaning of the Greek word "αγριος" (agrios), that has as its basic meaning "wild". The "fields" man found in the long past, were uncultivated. In order to communicate with others about them, he had to give them a name and so he did.

     

    The Mediterraneans chose to call them "ager". And they began to collect the fruits of those uncultivated fields. Much later they began to influence as best they could the production of those fields . That is they began to cultivate these "ager"s, inventing "agriculture". OK, they had to drive off animals, but that was not the concept of the root "*ag", as we understand.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. In Germanic, Latin and Greek as well as Old Indian we find an opening vowel "A", that varies between long and short. The following consonant is "K " in Proto-Germanic , " G " in Latin and Greek, with a second consonant R. Old Indian ájra-gh changed the " G " into "J". In Armenian "ar-t" the "R" has absorbed the "G". Nearly always there is a vowel , mostly E but sometimes A, between the first and second consonant. Indo-European probably had "*A G . R", with the G not doubled and a second vowel pronounced before or after the second consonant.

     

    There is also another group of words, in many languages, that point to an Indo-European "*A R W- for "arable land".

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 24/09/2012 at 10.56.07