E 0124 BRUNNA

The Old English word " brunna " is of Germanic origin .

H 0228 ר א ב

Concept of root : well

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ר א ב

bә’er

well, waterhole

Related English words

Old English : brunna

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ר א ב

bә’er

well, waterhole

b . r

Greek

φρεαρ

frear

well, cistern

ph . r

Old English

brunna

well

b r n

Middle Dutch

born, bron

born, bron

well

b r n

Dutch

bron

bron

well

b r n

German

Brunnen

brunnen

well

b r n

 

 

Proto-Semitic *BE 'ER --- *BRUN Proto-Germanic < *BREU- Indo-European

 

 

There is a wide-spread opinion that words for "well" like Old English "brunna" and German "Brunnen" have a common origin with words like "to burn", possibly in an Indo-European "*BREU", related to English "brew". Also in Hebrew words for the two concepts are very similar. Therefore comments have been partly combined. So this entry E 0124 (Hebrew 0228) is related to entry number E 0130 "burn, brand" (Hebrew 0231), besides naturally to entry E 0125 ( Hebrew 0292) regarding "pit, well" . Entry E 130 (Hebrew 0231), "ב ע ר", has the concept of "to burn", both transitive, "to burn something", and intransitive "it is burning".

 

This similarity, this common origin for words that indicate water that wells or bubbles up and flames, is also seen in a particular and quite different example. Middle High German had for "well" also a word "sōt", that is based on the same root as English "to seethe", seen in entry E 0786 (Hebrew1083).

 

 

Note:
  • Hebrew has also the versions "BOR" for "cistern" and "BAWIR" for "spring". The spelling of these words BOR and BAWIR remains identical : ב ו ר.

     

    Comparing these two words with " ב א ר " of this entry , we see that sometimes within the same root the neutral Aleph ( א) can be interchanged with the famous and versatile letter "WAW", that can sound like "W" or "O" or "U". This is done by Hebrew to diversify on the basis of one older root with two consonants only ( here B + R ) into a number of specific messages. See also entry E 0125 ( Hebrew 0292).

 

Note:
  • Hebrew here has diversified roots. First it used the versatile Waw as a consonant with the clear vowels A and I in the word "bawir" for "spring" and the opened up the Waw as vowel in the word "bor" for "cistern" or "pit". Then it has introduced the softer Aleph and neutral vowels in the word "be’er" for "well". All words about water.

     

    And finally, in order to express the concept of the action of flames that burn, it uses the more energetic vowel-stopping "Ayin" between the B and R .

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. It is accepted that for this concept of "well" there existed two roots. In fact we see the following. Hebrew presents two roots , "Beth Aleph Resh ( b . ' . r )" and earlier "Beth Waw Resh, "b . w . r", also " b o r ". Aramaic has " b '. r '. " and "b . r '. " in "ב א ר א, be'er'" and "ב י ר א, ber'". Akkadian has the words "bu'ur(u), bir(u)" bar(u)". Rather well known is Arabic "bir". All these words stand for "well, pit". Probably three roots already lived together also in Proto-Semitic, all three continuing into Hebrew : "*ב א ר , B Aleph R" and "*ב ו ר, B Waw R", besides for the meaning of "to burn "*ב ע ר, B Ayin R".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic The Germanic languages have not done a very clear job of diversification between the concepts of those two elements in motion, that are kinds of "water" and "fire". It has added a third consonant, the N, to all words in both meanings. The R, having become the middle consonant of three , shifts to and fro. It stands either before or after the single vowel the Germanic tongues practice here as so often. Thus we find English "to burn" and German "brennen". And in the realm of water we find Middle Dutch "born" and modern "bron".

     

    For the meaning well, as moving water, in nearly all languages we find the initial BR, and a vowel "U" , followed by a single or double "N". Dutch as an exception has a short vowel "O" in "bron" and the older "born", that was present in Middle Low German and is also found in German as a second choice after "Brunnen". One can say that Proto-Germanic probably was "*B R U N-".

     

    The vowels O and U, akin to the Hebrew Waw, in Germanic are found in words for both concepts, moving water and moving flames. But sometimes they are absent, like in German "brennen" for "to burn" and "Brand" for "fire". Proto-Germanic probably had "*B R U N-", but also already "*B R A N-" for the meaning burn, as moving flames.

 

Note:
  • The Indo-European origin of the European words is supposed to have been " *B R E U" (related to English "to brew"), used to indicate the kinds of movement one often sees of water and flames . Thus it must have meant "boil, effervesce, burn, bubble". This may be right, but people soon would have wanted to distinguish between moving water and moving flames by diversifying into different roots. And further the movements of water in a well would have required a word quite different from that for "boiling water" in cooking activities. For the boiling of water exists indeed another word, both in Semitic and in Germanic. See entry E 0786 (Hebrew1083).

     

 

Note:
  • Fire, the English word, has many sisters, such as Greek "pur", Latin "fervere", German "Feuer" and Dutch "vuur". There is little doubt that they are akin to the other words, and with that also to the original Hebrew root that was "B R" . The first consonants vary from P to PH to V, very naturally. But we find all the time a kind of vowel related to the consonant "W" , the "U". English "I" is not a real exception, because also elsewhere we see this development from O or W to I or Y. See Entry E 0130 (Hebrew 0231).

 

Note:
  • Italian and French use for the concept of "to burn" the tris of B, R and U in "bruciare" and "brler < brusler". It is hard to define their way of becoming. Certainly they had a common predecessor in medieval Latin "brusiare". Some say that word has been loaned from Germanic, but it lacks the Germanic N and has an "S"-sound instead. On the other hand there is no clear indication of an older Latin relative. The word" fervere" we mentioned above is the fruit of a different development. Interesting is that an S like inm "brusiare" is found in Old Indian "PRUSH", that has the U as well. It says "to burn".

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 07/10/2012 at 15.02.41