E 0363 - GE

The Old English suffix " – ge " is of Germanic origin .

H 0385 י ו ג ,ו ג

Concept of root : community, tribe

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

;ו ג

י ו ג

gef;

goy

community;

tribe

Related English words

Old English -ge

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

;ו ג

י ו ג

gef;

goy

community;

tribe

g . w;

g (o) i

German

Gau

gau

district

g . u

Gothic

gawi

gawi

district

g . w i

Old High German

gewi

gew

district

g . w i

Old English

-ge

district

g .

Dutch

gouw

g(ou)w

district

g (o) uw

Middle Dutch

gooy

goy

district

g (o) i

 

 

Proto-Semitic *GOWY < "GOW" --- *GOUW- Proto-Germanic < GOW Indo-European

 

 

The Hebrew word "goy" is rather well known as the name for non-Jewish people. Often it is thought that this word has a negative implication, but it does not. It simply meant and means that a "goy" is a person belonging to the people or nation among which the Jews in diaspora lived and live. It is in fact a substantivated adjective of the other word, "gef" that stands for "community". The Germanic words indicate the place where the community lives, the Hebrew word the community that lives in the place. We have seen the same phenomenon in entry number E 0265 (Hebrew 0338).

 

Note:
  • Hebrew gives another example of the adventurous life of the Waw ( ו ). And we should not say of the "letter waw" because a written letter is just a symbol for a sound in language. The so adventurous life is that of the sounds themselves. We indicate as the basic sound W, but we see that it changes into many others. In this case we have an O-sound in "goy" and an F-sound at the end of the word "gef".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic is seen with a word "*gawy-" which means that the root is the same as the Hebrew one, but with a vowel "A" inserted and thus with the Waw pronounced as a consonant. Hebrew in "goy" makes a vowel "O" out of this Waw. This hypothesis of a word "*gawy" is based on the presence of the vowel "A" in Akkadian "gā'um, gāwwum; gā'u = people; group of men"." and some branches of Aramaic . But Arabic "'āwā = encampment" that has the vowel "A", has abolished the initial consonant "G" and has a further related meaning. In southern languages like Amharic, Ethiopian, and Harari we find, with the related meaning "country, town" , just a brief word "ge". Phoenician uses the two consonant root "G W" for "community". As a conclusion the hypothesis of a Proto-Semitic root "*ג ו י, G W Y " besides an older " *"ג ו , G W " seems convincing.

 

Note:
  • Germanic has a number of words that have this same root. The German word "Gau" became sadly known as a term beloved by the Nazi’s to indicate their regions and responsible governors (Gauleiter). Modern German has inserted a vowel A between G and Waw, shaping "GAU". Gothic had done the same with "gawi". But Old High German with "gewi" was nearer to Hebrew "gef".

 

Note:
  • English in Old English has a shortened version at the end of names for villages. This is also found in Frisian, and in the Dutch province of Friesland we see quite a few names of villages ending with "–ga." Then in the adjacent province of Groningen the names of districts end on "-go".

 

Note:
  • Dutch once more offers a special position as in Middle Dutch the word "gooy" is identical to the Hebrew one, be it always with the difference we mentioned before: In Hebrew the word indicates the people of a community, in Germanic the place where the community stays. A known "district" south-east of Amsterdam is "Het Gooi" with the town Hilversum.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic All Germanic languages have a first consonant "G". We see interesting words in Gothic: "gawi = country, district" and "*gauja = people of a country". Old English, Old Frisian and Old Saxon ( -go, -ga ) have just a single vowel after that "G". But Middle Dutch gives us a clearer picture about what happened with this adventurous root . Often one sees, especially in Hebrew, a "W" becoming an "Y" or disappearing. Middle Dutch has "gouw, gou, gau, go, gooy", presenting many alternatives. Old Franconian is helpful as well with "gaua, go, goie". Old High German gives a hand as well : "gawi, gouwi, gawa, gowa, gawia, gowia". The probable Proto-Germanic was a form "*G O UW" , though also a vowel "A" may already have been introduced: "*G Ā W A-".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European.The information outside Germanic is limited. It is a not unfrequent phenomenon that among Indo-European languages specifically Germanic is found nearest to Semitic.

     

    Greek. The well-known word "χαος, khaos", from which English "chaos" stems, is sometimes considered related to the Germanic words of this entry, but we fear this cannot be right. In Germanic we see a well-defined district with a certain population, in Hebrew a well defined population in a certain district. In Greek "khaos" we have an "immense empty space" or in philosophy "unformed material". The distance in meaning is too wide.

     

    Armenian has a word "gavarr= region, district,environment", with a very similar root plus a final "R", that seems in fact related to Germanic "gawa".

     

    On the basis of Germanic and the mentioned Armenian word, one may suppose that Indo-European used a form "*G . W-", with a vowel "O" or "A", to express the concept of a certain district or region with a defined population.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 21/10/2012 at 18.04.35