E 0078ááááááááá BECKON, BEACON

The words "beckon" and "beacon" are of Germanic origin .

H 0241áááááááááá áן ה ב

Concept of root : to direct

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ן ה ב

bohen

thumb

Related English words

to beckon; beacon

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ן ה ב

bohen

thumb

b . h . n

English

to beckon ;

beacon

to beckon ;

beacon

b . k . n

Old English

bēcnan;

bēacen

to beckon ;

beacon

b . c . n

Old Saxon

bōkan ;

bōknian

to beckon ;

beacon

b . k . n

Old High German

bouhnen

bouhhan

bouhnen

bouhhan

to signal

sign

b . hh . n

Middle German

bouchan

boughan

sign

b . gh . n

 

 

Proto-Semitic *BOHEN --- *BOHEN Proto-Germanic

 

 

The English words beckon and beacon are of old Germanic origin. Some see "beacon" as derived from an Indo-European "*bha", for "to shine", because the word has been used frequently to indicate light-beacons placed in the sea. In order to find the etymology, we tend to consider more its function than its looks. And the function of a beacon is that of directing people. Thus we agree that the two English words, beacon and to beckon, are akin, but that the original meaning lies nearer to that of to beckon. And this is where the similarity with Hebrew comes in.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. There is little problem in the difference between the Germanic "K"-sound and the Hebrew "H"-sound. We find the same in the Biblical name "Bocan" that in Hebrew was written with an H. And in older Germanic words we find the consonant " H ".

     

    The Hebrew word of this entry means "thumb", but the original meaning of the root is seen as that of "to direct". In the Book of Joshua is mentioned the Stone of Bohan, which was a landmark that indicated where to go or not. The text, specifying the limits of the territory of the tribe of Ruben, speaks of the "Stone of Bohan ben Ruben". This should mean "son of Ruben", but Bohan is not found as such in the other books. The plural of "bohen" is "behonot", but " my thumb " is " bahaný ". This carries the same vowel A seen in German "Bake" and Dutch "baken". Some scholars indeed sustain that the basic message of the root "B H N " is " to direct ", referring to (possibly) related roots as " B N N = to instruct " and "B W N = to mediate ". In Deuteronomium 32.10 the root "B N N" indeed says " to instruct".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. There are cognates in Akkadian "ubānu = finger", Ethiopian "habin = thumb" and Arabic "'ibham = thumb". Proto-Semitic is supposed to have used the same root seen in Hebrew "*ב ה ן, *B H N".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. Old High German, with the middle consonant "HH" , confirms the nearness in sound between Germanic and Hebrew. Via Middle German the middle consonant has been reinforced into the K-sound we find in modern German Bake, now meaning especially "beacon". Dutch "baken" refers to any sign that warns about or indicates a route to follow, in particular but not exclusively for ships.

     

    Besides Old High German "bouhhan" one sees in older languages further use of the vowel "O". Old Saxon has "bōkan"and Old English "bēacen" with a vowel that is a common development out of a long vowel "Ō". Middle Dutch clearly gives "boken" besides "baken" and "beken". Proto-Germanic, though we do not exclude a "*B O K e N, quite possibly may have had "*B Ō H e N".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. Regretfully we have no information from outside Germanic that would allow a hypothesis for Indo-European. Rather frequently such a specific similarity is found between Semitic and Germanic.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 08/10/2012 at 10.54.20