E 0989 WEATHER

The English word "weather" is of Germanic origin

H 0093 א ו י ר , * ו י ר

Concept of root: weather

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

א ו י ר , * ו י ר

awir, *wir

air , weather

Related English words

air , weather

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

א ו י ר

* ו י ר

awir, *wir

air, weather

w r

English

weather

weather

w th r

Old English

weder

weather

w d r

German

Wetter

wetter

weather

w . tt . r

Old Norse

wdr, vr

wdr, vr

weather

w . dr, v . r

Norwegian

vr , vedder

vr , vedder

weather

w . r, w . dd.r

German

Wetter

wetter

weather

w tt r

Dutch

weder , weer

weder , weer

weather

w d r

w r

Middle Dutch

weder , weer

weder , weer

weather, storm, air

w d r

w r

Russian

в е т е р

weter

wind

w t r

 

 

Hebrew AWIR < Proto-Semitic *AWER --- *W Ē D Ĕ R Indo-European

 

 

This entry offers a puzzling example of similarity and there is a rather limited but yet not unrealistic possibility of common origin between the Hebrew and Indo European words. The entry is, obviously, related to number E 0019 (Hebrew 0092), the word "AIR" . And yet we find in the European languages of this Table here an at first sight problematic case of similarity.

 

As shown above, Germanic languages have words , like English "weather" , that have a dental in the middle. Dutch has, besides "weder", also "weer" without a dental . The same phenomenon is seen in Old Norse and Norwegian. Obviously "weer" is generally considered a contraction of "weder". But when we will take a look at Middle Dutch, a new page, or perhaps better an old page, opens.

 

 

Note:
  • With or without dental.

     

    In all considerations about the origin of the words "air" and Hebrew "awir", it is important to note that there are words for "air" and "weather" with or without a central dental. Greek distinguishes between the meanings of "aer" and "aithr". The first is the air at lower level, the second the one at higher level. A further distinction is that the lower level is the air we breathe, whereas the higher level is seen as the one where weather is created and where for example the Gods live. This distinction was maintained in Latin that has loaned the two words from Greek. Part of this is seen also Old Norse with the meaning of "the lower level of the air".

     

    Later on the distinction was mostly lost, at least in Germanic languages. Examples of words for "weather" without central dental consonant are found in Norwegian "vr", Frisian "waar", Middle Dutch and Dutch "weer" besides "weder", Danish "vejr" and especially in Old Danish "veyer", a word that hardly could have originated from a contraction of one with dental.

     

    As seen here under, Proto-Germanic probably had "*W E R-" and besides this already "*W E D E R-". There may have been a distinction in meaning between the two, with "*W E R-" standing for "air" and "W E D R" for "weather". Also in Greek we have seen a distinction between "ar = the air around us, that we breathe" and "aithr = the higher layers of air, where the weather has its origin." This opens the way for a hypothesis that already in Indo European there was an original "*W e R-", meaning "air" and a later form with an added central dental,"*W e D e R", leading to the meaning of "weather". In this context it must be remarked that the initial vowel "A" in Greek, as in Hebrew, was an added prefix to an existing root "*W e R", an athroistic prefix that did not change the meaning of the word.

     

    There can not be much doubt as to the fact that the concepts of " air " and "weather " are basically related in human thinking and expression. Weather makes itself known through the air as its vehicle or carrier. In Hebrew this is very clear, but also in Middle Dutch its traditional character is hardly different. The important meanings of "air" and "weather" are both carried by the word "weer":

 

Note:
  • Middle Dutch "weer" does not only mean "weather", but also "storm" and even "air". So this is a very clear and convincing similarity of meanings with Hebrew.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew though does not say "wir" or "wer", but "awir" for "air". We suppose, that as in many cases, the opening sound "A", indicated by an "aleph", has been added later during the development of language. Both forms may have existed a long time together, just like the Dutch words "weer" and "weder" have coexisted for endless centuries. The conclusion is also that the form "weer" is not a contraction, but that the central dental in all those words has been introduced later. Germanic did not add an initial "A".

 

Note:
  • English "weather" thus should not be seen as an extension of a hypothetical root *"we-" that would stand for " to blow " and has thus given birth to the word " wind ". Wind in fact is only one among various components of the phenomenon "weather".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic . The "TH" in English "weather" is a development out of a "D" . The same goes for German "Wetter". Proto-Germanic probably had "*W E R-" and besides this already "*W E D E R-". There may have been a distinction in meaning between the two, with "*W E R-" standing for "air" and "W E D E R" for "weather".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. The distinction in meanings specified in Greek between words with or without dental and the partial correspondence found in Old Norse gives an indication that this may have existed already in Indo-European.

     

    Slavic has an Old Church Slavonic "vĕtrŭ = weather". Then there are, besides abovementioned Russian "ветер, weter = wind", Ukrainian "védro and Russian ведро, wodro ( Old Russian ведро, vedro), that stand for "fine weather".

     

    Baltic offers interesting words in Old Prussian "wetro = wind", Latvian and Lithuanian "vātra; vétra = storm".

     

    Indo-European may have used a combination "*W Ē D Ĕ R for meanings related to "weather" and "*W È R-" for "air".

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/12/2012 at 16.53.34